Paintings Glow in a Repurposed Northwest Side Bar: A Review of “The Noise of Art” at Soccer Club Club

Rebecca Morris, “Untitled (#04-16),” 2016. Oil and spray paint on canvas, 68 x 69 inches

Soccer Club Club, owned and operated by Drag City Records, brings together curator Mari Eastman’s work along with artists Rebecca Morris, Mary Weatherford, Anna Sew Hoy and Allison Schulnik for “The Noise of Art.” Judiciously hung, this group exhibition uses the more nuanced aspects of the space to the artists’ advantage, like the coat closet and mirror-backed bar, to smooth the edges on an otherwise unruly placement of works.

On a mahogany wall, in a now-empty bar with gridded floor-to-ceiling accents of the same rich brown color, hangs Mari Eastman’s seven-feet-high painting, “Artist Parties (White Sneakers).” The work depicts a gathering of women, children and a central male figure (the one with the white sneakers) under a crescent moon and feigning palms. Flanking either side of this work, Mary Weatherford’s neon paintings glow with a low intensity that illuminates their hand-painted linen backgrounds, faintly warming the colors nearest the tubes. Appropriately, Eastman and Weatherford’s work hang facing the DJ booth and two commemorative mosaic portraits of the bar’s previous proprietor, a former Polish soccer player of moderate success. Complicit in their surroundings, these works do not highlight the pulsing rhythm of the night, but rather that quiet, buzzing calm that comes after the barkeep has said their last goodbyes and locked the door.

Installation view of “The Noise of Art” at Soccer Club Club, Fall 2016

Anna Sew Hoy’s glazed stoneware and Allison Schulnik’s topographical oil paintings insert moments of faint domesticity into this shrine of days past, with equally casual moments. The cat in Schulnik’s “Orange Kitty” neither appears frightened nor pleased, but simply acknowledging, and the wonderful “Red Amaryllis” work well in dialogue with Schulnik’s own ceramic contributions and Hoy’s vases.

As Eastman’s blue and white painting “Breaking Up By Phone” would suggest, these works contain the inexplicable noise of transition, that moment of anticipation as one song ends and the other has yet to begin. Hanging from a coat hook, Anna Sew Hoy’s “Pallette” best exemplifies this duality as it represents both signs of past use and future potential, nights of celebration remembered and days soundlessly lived. 

Through December 9 at Soccer Club Club, 2923 North Cicero

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