John Wenner | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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John Wenner

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John Wenner owns a company that does custom metalwork, producing smooth surfaces in stainless steel and other metals for architects and high-end interior designers. But his two dozen works at Drive-Thru Studios are rough and imprecise, carefully made with flaking paint and hints of rust to resemble bits of industrial junk--as if to critique sleekness. That theme is expanded in his four "Plumb Paintings." In each a plumb bob is suspended from the center of a target painting on the wall and aimed at a smaller, roughly painted target set on the floor. But the small target can be moved, so the plumb's precise straight line--something Wenner relies on in his job--sometimes misses its center. Many of Wenner's other pieces, which resemble machinery that has no apparent use, invite one to touch them. In Land Buoy #14 a rectilinear frame with a curved bottom supports a freestanding metal bar that can be wheeled along grooves in the frame, and in Rocker Disc a curved bottom supports a disk at the end of a rod that can also be moved along a groove. But both move with difficulty--again undermining the notion of perfection. Drive-Thru Studios, 626 W. 18th, through November 30. Hours are 12 to 5 Saturday and Sunday; 312-243-7901.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Fred Camper.

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