Saturday, July 17, 2021

Sarah Krepp in "Relentless" at Hofheimer Gallery

Sarah Krepp, Detail - White Noise: Interference (614)

The group exhibition—RELENTLESS—opened at the Hofheimer Gallery last Friday evening. This uncompromising collection showcases the work of artists, Ann E. Coulter, Colleen Cox, Frances Cox, Nova Czarnecki, Sarah Krepp, Karen Perl, Joyce Marcus, Emily Rapport, Jeanine Coupe Ryding, and Eleanor Spiess-Ferris. With each artist presenting a sampling of their current work, the show offers a variety of powerful imagery connected with a subtle thread of darkness. In most cases, the artist’s personal truth is offered through symbol or metaphor.

As I drifted through the space, I was continuously pulled to an abstract mixed media work by Sarah Krepp. Titled “White Noise: Interference (614),” the painting is a culmination of found objects inferring the misfortune of a highway accident. Predominantly white with minute elements of black, red, and caution-tape yellow, the image includes wire, frayed tire treads, and recovered objects stitched or adhered to the surface. Glistening globs of silvery-white paint conceal areas of a background, composed of meticulously hand-written notes. Upon closer inspection, the words become random… symbolic of a message lost in translation. 

Lisa Wainwright of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago wrote an essay about Krepp’s work for a solo exhibition at the Rockford Art Museum in 2016. In the essay, Wainwright offers a bit more personal insight into Krepp’s work. After referencing similarities to the bold marks of the Abstract Expressionist painters of the 1960’s, she explains that instead of paint, Krepp creates her marks “…from the scraps of found materials holding personal meaning for the artist.” She goes on to explain that several years ago, Krepp witnessed a highway accident involving her son. “…and while the highway material has served as a kind of fetishistic tokenism ever since, the back story quickly gave way to a much larger viewpoint (Wainwright).

That viewpoint touches on an array of current social issues. The imagery highlights the sins of our society—missing the mark and drifting off course like a driver falling asleep behind the wheel. As a society, we’re closing our eyes to actual science and putting our faith in magical thinking, turning our backs on people who seem to be different, and ignoring uncomfortable topics. From the artist statement… “I seek to question our indulgent contemporary society, as well as present an aesthetically dynamic experience. And she succeeds.

Hofheimer Gallery is located at 4823 N. Damen Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60625. For additional information, contact the gallery at 847.274.7550 | The exhibition continues through July 30.

Sarah Krepp, White Noise: Interference (614), text, oil, mixed media on linen, 48″x60″

With an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sarah Krepp has been a noted Chicago artist for more than 25 years. She has shown nationally and internationally, and her work is included in many corporate and private collections. She is a Professor Emeritus of Art and former Chair of the Painting Program in the School of the Art and Design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has over 20 years of teaching experience at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Southern Illinois University, the Burren College of Art (Ballyvaughn, Ireland), as well as the University of Illinois. She has taught freshman through graduate level courses in drawing, painting, sculpture, interdisciplinary and site-specific practice, and interdisciplinary critique. Many of her students have gone on to achieve significant success as practicing artists, art educators, and curators.


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