Robert MacNeill

Solo show at 2nd Flr Gallery in Chicago, opening on June 10, 2011 at 6pm

2nd Floor Gallery
903 W 19th Street 2nd Flr
Chicago, IL 60608

The title of the show “Divining Landscapes” refers to the Orthodox Christian practice of using the landscape around monasteries to record, re-enact, or presage events. This practice is best understood when considering the Byzantine concept of time: where events, particularly religious ones, did not unravel with time, but were rather repeatable. In a series of sculptures, the artist applies this same logic to the modern city, creating vignettes that re-imagine the detritus of the urban landscape and ask what it may reveal.

The artist presents a series of scenes cropped from the background of city life: a spontaneous fence memorial, a collection of discarded objects, fragments from a battered wall. These temporary moments are re-interpreted as delicate sculptural arrangements. They evoke furniture-like spatial structures or altars, many with metal armatures that serve at the same time as supports, drawings in space, and sculptures. These armatures serve as a framework that ties together a network of disparate objects carefully placed on, under, or around them. Many of the objects bear traces of their history –with splatters of paint, marks of cutting and sawing, holes, and remnants of tape – positioning the artist’s studio as a site in which to simultaneously represent and recapitulate the forces of the city.

Functioning as mediums of information, these sculptural “landscapes” connect the various collage-like layers of objects with each other and allow them to appear as a kind of complex system of reference. Inevitably, these small and tenuous vignettes draw us back to the urban landscape as a whole, where they portend to reveal its secrets.

ART LOOP OPEN: October 15 - November 12, 2010

My work was chosen to be included in Chicago's first Art Loop Open, a juried competition held in Chicago's loop.

See my sculpture Dress on display in the Palmer House Hilton at 17 E Monroe. It's located inside at street level in the west hall.

Please visit the sculpture and vote by text message beginning October 15th.

Art Loop Open - Robert MacNeill

LOCAL OBJECTS: September 25, 2010

The upcoming exhibition and performance "Local Objects" will feature new work by Robert MacNeill. It will be held in a vacant warehouse space at 1965 W Pershing Road, Chicago on September 25, 2010 from 6-9pm.

The night will feature an exhibition of works by Michelle Welzen, Michael Murphy, and Robert MacNeill, as well as a sound and multimedia installation performance by Randall West, Michael Murphy, and Robert MacNeill.

FROZEN MUSIC: May 15 – June 19, 2010

Robert MacNeill will have his first solo show of sculpture at ICEBERG, one of Chicago's newest galleries.

Opening Reception: Saturday May 15, 2010 6-9pm

The gallery is located at the rear of the property.
Please enter through the gate at the back of the driveway.

At the home of Dr. Daniel S. Berger, MD
7714 N Sheridan Road
Chicago, IL 60626
(Thursday & Saturday 10am-4pm by appointment only)


Iceberg is pleased to present its inaugural show and the first solo exhibition of new work by Robert MacNeill. Utilizing a variety of materials including concrete, plaster, fabric, wood, and found objects, MacNeill creates sculptures that present materials in contradictory ways. The show’s title refers to Goethe’s comparison of architecture to “frozen music.” MacNeill extends this metaphor to sculpture, creating compositions that solidify movement and the ephemeral. Originally trained as an architect, MacNeill’s sculptural work can be seen as an extension and a critique of that discipline, reacting against Modernist and Cartesian tendencies in favor of structures that are intuitive and irrational.

MacNeill’s sculptural mix of dualities - heavy/light, permanent/ephemeral, lofty/grounded, static/moving - results in works that become contradictions of themselves, calling into question the true nature and substantiality of their materials. Things lose substance, defy gravity, and become reversed, tentative, or unsettled. A massive wall of hand-made concrete blocks is rendered delicate and ephemeral by the undulating folds cast into its surface; ribbon-like strips of fabric soaked in plaster form airy networks of parabolas that are frozen in space as they reach upward; an arrangement of wood fragments seems to hover unsupported above the floor. Through these and other works, the artist pushes the dualities of matter into a sculptural statement which disrupts the structuring and substance of materials, creating works that underscore fractured elements of doubt in the solidity of the contemporary world.

DESSERT: March 27, 2010

Robert MacNeill will exhibit in the upcoming group show DESSERT at Chicago's 2ND FLR Gallery.

"2nd FLR Gallery is proud to present the works of Chicago based artists Jay Boeldt, Arno Mayorga, Michael Murphy, Robert MacNeill and Darrell Roberts. DESSERT is a series of artworks that are visually salivating and result from the artists' processes of making intuitive paintings, sculptures and installation. "

Saturday March 27th 6-9pm with after hours celebration 9pm-2am.

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