Press Release: New Drawings – Damien James & Russ White at Brainforest Gallery


New Drawings
Damien James & Russ White
Brainforest Gallery
Chicago, IL
October 5 – 31

Chicago, IL — Opening this Friday, October 5th: a show of new drawings by two Chicago artists, Damien James and Russ White. Due to Chicago Artists’ Month, multiple receptions have been scheduled for the 5th, 6th, and 12th.

Known previously for his wooden assemblages, Russ White will present an entirely new body of work. a dark and occasionally funny look at the increasing aggression in American culture. From bright, unsettling shooting range targets inspired by the Trayvon Martin and Aurora, CO, shootings to riot police shields emblazoned with flippant chatroom jargon, White’s work uses simple constructions to investigate complicated themes. Cops, criminals, victims, and crowds all play a role here in questioning our societal rage and our flawed correlation between violence and justice.

Sharing the gallery, Damien James will show a series of drawings inspired by Jonathan Lethem’s short story, “The Collector”. Simultaneously adapting and interpreting individual phrases and themes of Lethem’s text, James’s work draws out the charm and morbidity that tints each line. Pairing totemic items from the story—birds, stamps, pennies—with multiple drawings of the same face, James develops a stylized portrait gallery with wide emotional breadth, from wickedness to happiness to utter dejection. Also on display are some quite literal story illustrations of the space between lines of text. Says the artist: “I’ve always felt that type exists on a page due to its buoyancy in the ocean of white. With these pieces, I wanted the page to feel oceanic while allowing the words to float.”

Brainforest Gallery
1932 S. Halsted, Unit 406
Receptions: 10/5 & 10/12, 6 – 10pm – 10/6, 12 – 7pm
Otherwise by appointment: 312.492.6600

Russ White
Blue Target
Ink on hand-dyed paper
15 x 20”

Damien James
New Grim Purpose
Marker on paper
11 x 20”