Sunday, November 15, 2009

Locrian in Time Out

From Time Out Chicago

Art review

Scott Treleaven

By Lauren Weinberg

Kavi Gupta Gallery

Through Dec 5.

Looking at Scott Treleaven’s work feels like spying on someone’s love life. Beautiful young men fill the collages and photographs in “Your shadow at morning striding behind you Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you” (a reference to T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land), often blurred as though seen through the imperfect lens of memory.

The Canadian artist, who lives in Paris, also presents hazy images of European parks and landmarks. These composites of watercolors, drawings, photos and tiny inset film stills are largely black-and-white, evoking earlier, decadent eras. In The Arrangement (2009), a collection of photos, scrapbooks and photocopies in a vitrine table, Treleaven pairs two copies of a man’s portrait with pictures of elegant statues, implying a personal connection—though one may not exist.

Treleaven positions viewers as voyeurs, having us peek at several photographs through lens- or keyhole-like dark circles within their borders. But so many of his subjects are so overtly constructed, it’s obvious we’re intended to see them. Unfortunately, the insularity of the artist’s faux nostalgia keeps us at a remove.

In Treleaven’s film Last 7 Words (2009), singer Genesis P-Orridge turns his head back and forth as his feminine golden hair is blown toward the camera. The unexpectedly lovely image is enhanced by Chicago band Locrian’s wordless soundtrack. It’s one of the few pieces that engages our emotions as strongly as our aesthetic sense.