The hybrid painting-objects in “Virtual Still Life,” an exhibition of late works by the Chicago Imagist Roger Brown, respond to shifting aesthetic values during the home computer boom of the 1990s. In the face of emerging digital media and virtual reality technologies, Brown held fast to real life, imbuing his colorful, graphic still lifes with three-dimensional materiality. Thrift store ceramics collected by the artist are carefully positioned on shelves that extend from the bottom of the frames. A particularly charming piece titled from 1995, Virtual Still Life #20: A Painting for a Sofa: A Sofa for a Painting, depicts a gridded field, thin horizontal lines of green bushes separating long swaths of dirt. On the shelf rests a dollhouse-size couch, also brown and beige, with horizontal stripes. Although there are no figures, the tableau is alive with visual and emotional resonance. For figurative, politically-minded works by the artist, see his concurrent solo presentation of works from 1983 to 1991 at DC Moore, through July 31.
Pictured: Installation view of “Roger Brown: Virtual Still Life”; at Maccarone.