Revolvers Are Meant for Crocodile-skins, Chicago Artists Coalition, November 2016
B. Quinn, John Steck Jr., and Caleb Yono
Revolvers Are Meant for Crocodile-skins is an exhibition that addresses medium and embodiment, sense and sensation. Imbued with an ominous perception of human finitude— physical violence, environmental damage, and the ephemeral nature of memory—Quinn, Steck, and Yono bear witness to the passing of time and acknowledge an undetermined but ever- encroaching future. As Jean-Paul Sartre did in his 1945 short fiction, The Age of Reason, these artists ask the viewer to draw their gaze to the past and future, contemplate the passage of time, perceive the brightness of the immaterial, and feel the weight of the uncanny and dense.
Yono’s performative spectre haunts the gallery space. She searches for anonymous human comfort, following paths of desire laid out for them along the rural Wisconsin landscape. Her bathing suit, like the skin of Sartre’s character Marcelle, is like leather—tanned and dehumanized. This raw physical presence is also deeply felt in Quinn’s work, which displays 18,928 clay cookies saturated with a metaphysical materiality. In the manufacture and consumption of these objects, Quinn sets out to understand how the material functions and how it can be controlled, an analogue for a semiotic language. Steck uses photographic paper to quarry simple materials for their textural properties and allegorical possibilities. Elements such as water and earth trace the surface of the paper, leaving a signal transmission that emulates a self-reflexive psychological space.
These artists pose questions about the human condition and its bearing on the natural world. A physical, conceptual, and temporal weight is laid upon the viewer. Like the protagonists in The Age of Reason, we are waiting—melancholic about the passing of time, anxious about our future trajectory—but waiting for what, we are unable to tell.