October 5, 2009
Now on view at the Chicago Cultural Center is Stateless, New Work by Nicole Gordon. The paintings by the Chicago-based Gordon employ a lush commingling of diverse stylistic references from Flemish artists to Persian miniature paintings to create her own whacky vision of the clash between urban civilization and the natural world. In her two major paintings on view here, onlooking monkeys gaze dreamily or stare directly at us, perhaps assessing our complicity in this. A centrally placed sculptural element completes this “unnatural” tableau.
Gordon’s work can be seen as a fusion of dialectical tensions, between disparate cultures, between three dimensional “real” space and the two dimensional picture plane, as well as between civilization itself and the natural world. Her painting clearly employs imagery from Pieter Bruegal as well as his dark allegorical sensibility and moral tone. But it also has specific references to the patterning of Persian miniatures and to be flattened, layered Asian perspective. Thus East, Mid-East and West are conjoined in these paintings. Ultimately the exhibition can be seen as commentary on our relationship to the natural world and on the representation of our place in it.