Robert Overby at Rhona Hoffman Gallery
You have until January 21st to catch the current exhibition of underappreciated artist Robert Overby’s work at Rhona Hoffman Gallery in Chicago. Long before Rachel Whiteread cast the inside of a house in London,Robert Overby, a California artist who lived from 1935-1993, layered latex and cheesecloth on the exterior of an abandoned house. The works that resulted from this now hang in Hoffman’s gallery from ceiling to floor. The two large scale works speak to each other across the main gallery space.
One with two holes where windows were and one a complete rectangle of layers and layers of latex. Overby was interested in the skins that resulted from his process, not a sculptural freestanding object left behind. What I love about the works are the imperfections, the details you notice in the textures. Unlike a photo, the casting process literally captures details of a space–paint, wood, etc. And to Overby, process was key.
Be sure to also check out the works on paper in the other galleries which while textural, don’t carry as much emotive power as the large latex works–at least for me.
Born in 1935 in Harvey, Illinois, Overby attended the School of the Art Institute in Chicago in the mid-1950s and later moved to Los Angeles, where he worked as a graphic designer and taught advertising and graphic design. There was a retrospective of his work at the UCLA’s Hammer Museum in 2000. Keep your eyes out for more exhibitions of his work in the upcoming months.