John Sparagana: Reviver

Opening: Friday, Jan 26, 2024 6 – 8 pm
Friday, Jan 26 – Mar 9, 2024

2156 West Fulton St.
Chicago, IL 60612

Opening Reception: Friday, January 26, 6-8 PM

Corbett vs. Dempsey is pleased to present Reviver, an exhibition of new works by John Sparagana. This is the artist’s fifth solo show with CvsD.

John Sparagana is always looking forward and back, toward a future for his work by way of its past. His methodology is constructive ourobouros: the eternal image of a snake eating its tail. A revolution of destructive and creative energy, the kind of recycling that really works – taking what one has made, breaking it down systematically, constructing anew from its shards. In the case of Reviver, the work hearkens back to a series from two exhibitions ago, his genealogical excavation and constructive reinvention focused not simply on the work from that 2016 Themesong Variations show, but on its catalog. Using the same complex, labor-intensive collaging process he deployed in the construction of the ”Themesong Variation” works, Sparagana chose pages of the catalog to cut and remix, taking images that had themselves been cut and mixed from pages of Dick Tracy comics and subjecting them to a kind of further processing by means of surgery. One publication (the comics) into artworks (Themesong Variations) into another publication (the catalog) into artworks (Reviver). 

The results of this recursive action find these images completely transformed, assuming a new identity as even more deeply abstracted fields of color, sometimes exploding into angularity that defies an originary grid, shimmering darks against light, flashes of heat and pools of cool, references to the starting images of figures in spaces now but a distant echo. Even the cover of the catalog and one of the pages of text are treated to the cut and the remix, producing yet another energy. These works are insistently material. Paper. Pigment. Tonality. Shape. Vector. They are fragments of a deconstruction of a representation of a cultural milieu, so granular, so aerated, so corpuscular, and their motion so Brownian, that they become atmospheric, nebular, like heavy weather. In the end the works call us to see them for what they are – not to read into them, but to meditate on them.