“In Life Review, Ben Murray’s solo show at Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago, continues the artist’s reconnaissance of the maddeningly amorphous landscape of memory, here pinned to the walls in its most dramatic form. The “life review” is the classic, quasi-paranormal event wherein one’s life flashes before one’s eyes—in totality, crystal-clear—during a near death experience. A fictional trope and indelible fact to those who have experienced them, the life review is memory armed with the exigency of death, its celerity contrary to every little thing we imagine about ourselves—that we are some grand elegy in our total, that we are incapable of reduction to a series of scenes—when in fact we are, of course, nothing but scenes, none ever seen from the same perspective twice, singular in both our mind and the minds of others.”
“A sculptural departure from her usual two dimensions, these trees are equal parts memorial and physical polemics. Fosberg’s trees talk as well, mercifully avoiding the tie-dyed tautologies which can plague eco-centric works and hitting, instead, with an acerbic, borderline gallows humor befitting of things which live to be cut down. The missives come radiating from the wounds, pithy and cruel. “Ouch,” simply reads one; another blithely recounts its death, “Fast trip, long drop,” while the observer is reassured that “Youre [sic] my favorite kind of lie,” cold comfort from the talking dead. “What you hate, deserves it,” one of the hollowed remains assures us, the most prominent edge of Fosberg’s happy knife.”
“Is it any wonder Diocles was so highly paid, his skill set in such strong demand? Consider the circumstances: mounting a chariot—usually pulled by four horses, sometimes two, when really showing off, as many as 10—with the reins tied around his waist like a cummerbund-cum-noose, festooned in the red regalia of his racing team, drowning in the fevered cries of the 250,000 Romans who have packed the mighty Circus Maximus, what Struck poetically called “the beating heart at the center of the empire,” except this heart is screaming, is drinking and dining and cheering and tossing cursed coins, a heart roaring all at once as the gates are sprung.
Thousands of pounds of muscle and metal, wood and blood, all careening about the track of the Circus, the knives flashing and wheels grinding as each full contact lap finds them attempting to ram each other into the spinae, the median, at the center of the track; now they come crashing pell-mell into the hairpin turns, each revolution marked by destruction, death commonplace, as if Mars, Victoria, Mania, and Mercury were all locked in an orgy. Is it any wonder this was the most popular of the famous Roman games?”
“A girl died in southeastern Pennsylvania. A mere 16 years of age, she was driving a 2004 Honda Civic on Bethel Church Road. She lost control of the vehicle, skittering across the median into the southbound lane before striking a tree, slamming metal and plastic and bark and bone. Rescued from the crash, she was driven to the hospital, where she would pass away shortly after the accident.
The typical types of descriptors were bandied about; bright, music loving and much missed by family and friends. A varsity soccer player at one of the high schools on my beat, her team was to take the field for the first time without her on my assignment. Purple headbands and wristbands were there–purple had been her favorite color–and the emotion was palpable. I made the requisite mention of her in the piece, then moved on to the game. The local paper’s coverage was different.”