April 3 - May 8, 2009
Rebecca Shore has been cultivating a personal body of work in Chicago since graduating from the School of the Art Institute in the early 1980s, drawing inspiration from a rich variety of intellectual and aesthetic sources. Her meticulous paintings and drawings have always been characterized by an abiding interest in pattern and system (she’s the daughter of a scientist) and issues of signification. Given her sensitivity to materials and background in quilting, her work can also be understood in the context of Chicago’s rich fiber arts tradition. Shore was also profoundly influenced by Chicago Imagism, whose artists were her teachers and friends. Look carefully at one of her seemingly cool, immaculate paintings and you’ll often find a layer of wry, even punning humor.
Shore nourishes her amalgamated aesthetic with an intensely concentrated studio practice and an obsessive collection of resource materials. The latter includes original photographs that she takes and studies, among them images that consider the broken pattern of a pleated skirt, the negative space created between the cartoon bodies of Homer and Marge Simpson, tangled ringlets of women’s hair, and architectural ornament. This exhibition includes a number of Shore’s recent paintings – executed in oil, casein, egg tempera, gouache and acrylic – derived from her photographs of faux rock walls. These sparklingly inventive pieces, which introduced a roughness and asymmetry into her work while retaining pattern, gradually evolved into another body of paintings in which the shapes began to congeal into a mysterious iconography, walking the edge between being completely legible and at times openly lettristic, and being wildly cryptic and subject to interpretation. Shore has created a world all her own from fragments of the world around her, microscopically examined, broken down and rebuilt.
Shore’s recent exhibitions include solo shows at the Elmhurst Art Museum; the Herron Gallery at the Herron School of Art, Indianapolis; and at the Chicago Cultural Center in 2000. Since 1996 she has taught in the painting and drawing department of the School of the Art Institute.
The exhibition is accompanied by a 52 page, full color catalog .