Figures within Christina Forrer’s work are most often tangled together or caught in some bracing mode of discourse – hollering into another being’s ear or emerging from it as an aural emanation. There is give and take, but it’s never super relaxed, it’s agonistic, at times violent, always negotiated.
In Christina Forrer latest tapestries, eight of which constitute November Calls April, presented by Corbett vs. Dempsey gallery in Chicago, some of the female protagonists are decapitated, or perhaps uncapitated, a trait that the L.A.-based artist links to a tradition of headless figuration in her native Switzerland. The large vertical tapestry “Regula” features a solitary woman carrying her own face, ferning vegetation sprouting from between her shoulders. In “Sunset Connection” vine-like figures, one of them two-headed (perhaps to make up for some of the headless ones), entwine tendrils, blurring the divide between flora and fauna.
“I have been thinking about connections and ways of communication that are non-verbal,” Forrer said. “Connections to past- and future-selves, conduits. Ourselves seeping into others and others seeping into us, ancestors and future relatives negotiating through time and space. Dead entities fertilizing seeds and mountains, Novembers calling Aprils, from Zurich to Chicago, from the middle ages to the industrial revolution. A piece of a skull from the ancient world, another piece from the middle ages, composited to form a relic.”
Corbett vs. Dempsey presents November Calls April, an exhibition of new work by Christina Forrer, on view through June 11, 2021. This is the artist’s second exhibition at CvsD. The gallery will present a selection of tapestries as well as ink and watercolor drawings on paper, exploring the tensile quality of interpersonal relationships. Additionally, Forrer has made a special zine that will be available at the gallery.
As always, the work is daringly composed and sensitively constructed. Forrer’s penchant for explosive expressionism and painterly finish push against the mechanical feel of the warp and weft of the weave. A few parallel works on paper – ink and watercolor drawings that contain elements of the tapestries – hang alongside their larger textile counterparts. The tactile is of utmost importance in all these scenes where chronology can experience its polar reversal and the optimistic and pessimistic hunker down on a cozy mattress for an antic game of ‘second that emotion.’
“My grandmother just called me to tell me that her grandmother called her last night to tell her about her grandmother and that she had a message to give to Chicago April 2021 and the message was November Calling April,” Forrer said.
In CvsD’s adjacent North Gallery, fresh work by New York artist Elizabeth Ferry will be on view.
ABOUT CORBETT VS. DEMPSEY
Founded in 2004 by John Corbett and Jim Dempsey, Corbett vs. Dempsey is an art gallery with an associated record label, book imprint, and historical archive, specializing in contemporary art, art in Chicago, and improvised and experimental music. Corbett vs. Dempsey is located on the ground floor of 2156 West Fulton Street in Chicago, and is currently open with advance reservation from Tuesday through Saturday, 12 to 4 pm.