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Perfect Being

Monday, November 10, 1997–Friday, December 12, 1997

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Artists: Michael Banicki, Forrest Bess, Alfred Jensen, Paul Laffoley, Tatsuya McCoy, David Russick, and Stephen Williams

Perfect Being is a group exhibition featuring paintings by seven established and emerging artists who employ distinct visual languages of signs, codes, and symbols in an attempt to bring about the presentation of existential dichotomies—inner/outer, spiritual/material, and order/chaos. While extremely idiosyncratic in their personal visions, these artists have in common an overwhelming need to control interpretation so that the viewer’s experience carries the revelatory power of the original experience. Their goal is to create a utopian moment in which expression and communication attain equal status. While all of these artists strive toward a common goal, the individual approaches illuminated in Perfect Being are as different and specific as each artist ’s own DNA.

Though they diverge in style, the expressive hermeticism of Forrest Bess’ “ideograms,” the esoteric complexity of Paul Laffoley’s diagrams, and the reserved pop of Tatsuya McCoy’s paintings commonly contrast systems of signs to subjective feelings.

The paintings in Perfect Being oscillate between deeply personal worldviews and controlled interpretations. From Michael Banicki’s systemized charts, in which subjective feelings and emotions are presented as empirical results, to Alfred Jensen’s geometric abstractions based on scientific and mystical investigations, these artists’ highly individuated practices evoke original encounters with the universal.

The exhibition is accompanied by a twelve-page black-and-white catalogue.

PRESS RELEASE

Curated by Lisa Erf
Perfect Being

Gallery 400
Chicago, IL
November 10–December 12, 1997

Opening Reception: Wednesday, November 12, 1997, 4–7pm

Perfect Being is a group exhibition featuring paintings by seven established and emerging artists who use distinct visual languages of signs, codes, and symbols in an attempt to bring about the presentation of existential dichotomies: inner/outer, spiritual/material, and order/chaos. While extremely idiosyncratic in their personal visions, these artists share an overwhelming need to control interpretation so that the viewer’s experience carries the revelatory power of the original experience. Their goal is to create a utopian moment in which expression and communication attain equal status. While all these artists share a common goal, the individual approaches illuminated in Perfect Being are as different and specific as their own DNA.

Artists featured in the exhibition are: Michael Banicki, Forrest Bess, Alfred Jensen, Paul Laffoley, Tatsuya McCoy, David Russick, and Stephen Williams.

Catalogue available upon request.

Perfect Being

Perfect Being

Catalogue essay by Lisa K. Erf
Gallery 400, School of Art and Design,
University of Illinois at Chicago, 1997
12 pp., 8 x 6 in., with black-and-white reproductions

This catalogue can be purchased for $3.00 plus shipping by calling Gallery 400 at 312-996-6114.

PRINT COLLATERAL

Postcard: Perfect Being – Opening Reception

EXHIBITION SUPPORT

Perfect Being is made possible by the School of Art and Design and the College of Architecture and the Arts at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the State University of New York College at Potsdam, and supported in part by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

CURATOR BIOGRAPHY

Lisa Erf Head ShotLisa Erf is the director and chief curator of the JPMorgan Chase Art Collection, one of the oldest and most extensive corporate collections in the world, founded by David Rockefeller in 1959. Formerly, she was head of the art program for First National Bank of Chicago, later Bank One Corporation. Erf is also an artist, writer, and lecturer, and resides with her family in Westchester County. Her paintings have been featured in solo exhibitions at venues such as Byron Roche Gallery, Chicago; the Elmhurst Art Museum; and the Chicago Cultural Center, as well as in group exhibitions at the Illinois State Museum; the Evanston Art Center; Gallery 400; West Virginia University; the Hyde Park Art Center; and other venues. She received a BFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an MFA in studio arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and completed further studies at New York University.

EXHIBITION CHECKLIST

Michael Banicki

Common Detergent Soap (ca. 1960) Rating, 1995
Acrylic and pencil on canvas, 17 x 17 in.

Negro League Baseball Star Rating, 1989–90
Acrylic and pencil on canvas, 48 x 48 in.

(Pick One) Contemporary Artist Rating (9 Pieces), 1987
Acrylic and pencil on masonite, each 14 x 15 in.

Salamander Rating, 1996
Acrylic and pencil on canvas, 20 x 25 in.

Forrest Bess

Eye of God, 1966
Oil on canvas, 14 1/2 x 16 in.

The Greek, 1953
Oil on canvas, 14 x 14 in.

Untitled, c. 1950
Oil on canvas, 9 x 12 in.

A. E. Boetti

Verbi Riflessivi, 1983
Embroidery on canvas, 9 1/4 x 9 1/2 in.

Alfred Jensen

Physical Optics
, 1975
Oil on canvas, 86 x 153 in.

Untitled

Silkscreen, 40 x 40 in.

Paul Laffoley

The Astrakakiteraboat
, 1983
Oil, acrylic, ink, and letters on canvas, 69 x 74 in.

The Hollow Earth, 1968
Oil, acrylic, ink, and letters on canvas, 53 1/2 x 53 1/2 in.

The Number Dream, 1968
Oil, acrylic, ink, and letters on canvas, 73 1/2 x 73 1/2 in.

Tatsuya McCoy

Painting
, 1993
Oil and enamel on canvas, 60 x 50 in.

Pause, 1992
Oil on canvas, 72 x 54 in.

David Russick

Comfort Her
, 1992
Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48 in.

Contempt Plate
, 1994
Acrylic on canvas, 30 x 36 in.

The Everything, 1991
Acrylic on canvas, 36 x 26 in.

Nothing

Acrylic on canvas, 52 x 38 in.

Tender, 1995
Acrylic on canvas, 22 x 20 in.

Stephen Williams

Untitled

Oil on paper on board, 10 x 8 in.

Untitled, 1995
Oil on masonite, 20 x 16 in.