Rebecca George: Turn the Other Eye at the Arts On Elston

He could tell by the way animals walked that they were keeping time to some kind of music. Maybe it was the song in their own hearts that they walked to.”

― Laura Adams Armer

The solo exhibition, Turn the Other Eye, which featured 75 pieces created by Rebecca George, invited viewers to engage with the artists ability to work with various mediums and the strength in which she has to compose pieces in a multitude of styles. From more traditional and realistic, to figurative and abstract, George’s vast oeuvre from 2011-2016 is incredibly diverse, while her subject matter remains rooted in her compassion and connection to the relationship between animals and humans. Georges work is infiltrated with the theme of loss and its expressive nature is represented through painting, printing, drawing, and sculpture.

"Qui Tacet Consentire Videtur," 2015, Oil and Wax on Belgium Linen, 6' x 4.5'
“Qui Tacet Consentire Videtur,” 2015, Oil and Wax on Belgium Linen, 6′ x 4.5′

Sizes of the works in the exhibition varied between 2.75” x 3.75” to 60” x 50” and demonstrated George’s skill to work on differing scales and in an assortment of media. Nestled between paintings were small scale ceramic pieces that paid homage to her animals, her long-standing muses, her bunny’s. The 2D representations characterized the subject matter in an abstract sense, free-floating and translucent, while the ceramic pieces, for example, “Resting Pose,” gave the bunny’s a physicality and permanence.

The exhibition was not displayed chronologically, and rightfully so. George’s interest in animal life and human life is fused and therefore has no time stamp — her message remains the same. The curatorial decision to display the works based on aesthetics and subject matter completely spoke for itself, no matter the date in which it was created.

"Burial," 2016, 2.75" x 3.75", Oil on Linen
“Burial,” 2016, 2.75″ x 3.75″, Oil on Linen

The more narrative based works from her earlier years included “Burial” which created a literal sense of loss and innocence. George’s recent works are abstracted, expressive, and blur the lines of the narrative that can be present in past pieces. Her definitive shift to working with splashes of color, large scale canvas, and translucence led the viewer towards a more gripping understanding of the artists transition. Her growth in her work is obvious.

In “Reveal Thyself” a collapsing subject encompasses the entirety of the upper horizon. The position is reminiscent of George’s earlier works where she repeatedly illustrated a figure in a fetal position, for example, in “Pentimento” and “Figuration.” In “Reveal Thyself,” George reminds the viewer of her haunting themes of loss and abandonment.

"Reveal Thyself," 2016, Oil, Enameland Wax on Belgian Linen, 45" x 55"
“Reveal Thyself,” 2016, Oil, Enameland Wax on Belgian Linen, 45″ x 55″

The piece “Qui Tacet Concentiure Viteur” which translates in Latin to, “He who is silent is taken to agree” was the most vivid work in the exhibition. The piece fused George’s past style to her current trends in more recent paintings. A cloaked figure stood in the center, hands exposed, with a layering of animals surrounding the individual. The subject pushed and pulled against the foreground and background of the work, which created an emotional dynamic of permanence, or lack of.

The exhibition opened at the Arts on Elston on April 15th and was on view until April 17th.

Rebecca George is the director of The Art House and is an adjunct professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago, Business of Artists.

Nicole Lane
Nicole Lane