State of the Union (2008)


John Delk

Noelle Mason

Conor McGrady

Chicago Tribune by Alan Artner

State of the Union: Not since the Vietnamese War have artists seen the United States as so vicious and venal as they do today. “State of the Union,” the three-person show at the Thomas Robertello Gallery, strongly promotes this view by mirroring “the current status of the United States as an ideological gun-toting machine whose devotion to global domination and hegemony manifests as thinly disguised totalitarianism.” Enjoy!

The most devastating piece is “Drain” by John Delk, an actual floor drain from which actual excerpts from President Bush’s State of the Union addresses are piped. The texts have been edited to emphasize words and phrases that generate fear. Heard in relation to the applause that punctuates these speeches the effect is shameful. Even the apolitical will not be able to help being moved by words that are echoing within a sewer.

Nothing else by Delk, Noelle Mason or Conor McGrady matches that degree of virulence. Mason’s most effective works are textiles and a stained-glass window in which subject matter and medium are disjunctive. The most pointed of McGrady’s icy black-and-white paintings is called “Pedagogy” and shows a dead animal being violently beaten.

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