As its name suggests, Valerie Carberry Gallery’s “Outdoor Disco” is a playful exploration of the interplay between artists’ material processes and natural processes, construction and decomposition. Organized in part by Josh Dihle, a Chicago-based painter and sculptor, this group exhibition focuses on forms of nature—ranging from sculpture to mixed-media works to paintings—and plays with the tension between manmade objects and organic matter.
Jim Lutes’ Little Worlds (2011), a sculpture made from urethane resin and detritus, is made to resemble a boulder, typically the work of natural water erosion, yet it simultaneously recalls a giant clear trash bag filled with everyday waste. A similar dichotomy exists in Scott Wolniak’s works like Weed (Pen Flower) (2005/2013) and Grass (2009), sculptural recreations of weeds and blades of grass that are made from found materials that have been manufactured. In Dihle’s Sink (2013), an oil painting with miniature, realistic renderings of plants, each element is connected by abstract lines, so that the end result is a matrix of vegetation. Judith Belzer’s Edgelands #23 (2013) investigates human-built environments and how they conjoin and interact with natural terrain. A timely subject for the present day, where contention over man’s carbon footprint is omnipresent, each artist offers a visual, physical response to the human impact on the natural world and his or her conception of what is natural.