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CJ Pyle's Recent Show at Carl Hammer Gallery, Chicago

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Below is an excerpt of the gallery statement for CJ Pyle's recent show at Carl Hammer Gallery in Chicago, written by the critic Robin Dluzen:

“Crawling From the Wreckage,” like most of CJ Pyle’s exhibitions, is like a snapshot of the current state of his making process. Pyle’s solo exhibitions don’t necessarily contain a certain body of work, or act as bookends to a particular set of ideas or conceptual stimuli. The artist explains that his intuition guides the progression from piece to piece, as it does his compositions, his mark-making, his choice of colors. In a way, his entire oeuvre is a career-long continuation of a single practice: his laborious style of “knotted” mark-making with ballpoint pen upon found paper material.

Pyle’s adoption of ballpoint pen in his drawing began decades ago, when he was a touring musician and free pens were the medium readily at hand. Over the years, Pyle has studied, researched and mastered the practice of drawing with a ballpoint pen, the intricacies of which are made so compelling throughout the works in “Crawling From The Wreckage.”

The LP sleeves, the backs of which are so often the surface Pyle draws upon, are another holdover from his music career. Compared to the glossy print of the album covers, the versos are a kind of blank canvas, though in Pyle’s hands, even this plain paper board incites his aesthetic decisions. For the artist, the matte, lightly sealed surface is ideal for retaining the strokes of the pen; the square format and the head and shoulders of his subjects are in perfect harmony. In The Nice, Pyle makes use of an album cover entirely unfolded, its center crease a crucial component of the picture --a formal hinge separating the figure’s head from her body like an exquisite corpse.