Chromatic Patterns for the Art Institute of Chicago
10 May - 30 September, 2018
The Art Institute of Chicago
Bluhm Family Terrace
159 East Monroe Street, Chicago, IL
This spring Ledgerwood’s work occupies the Art Institute’s Bluhm Family Terrace, covering the vertical surfaces in a pink vinyl painted with her signature quatrefoil pattern in gold enamel paint. Central to the installation is the artist’s sustained interest in the relationship between pictorial space and the physical space that contains the work: in this case, the painting depends on the architecture for its structure while also directly challenging it. The pink background, installed in long, horizontal washes of color, gently sags in the center, appearing as if it were a textile pinned at the upper corners. These pink curves filled with floral motifs rebel against the terrace’s strict, vertical architectural elements, while the gold paint—reflective, drippy, and distinctly material—activates the otherwise neutral modernist space.
Chromatic Patterns for the Art Institute of Chicago reaches beyond painting to alter the experience of the space. Indeed the experience itself is heavily mediated by the specific color that defines the space, informally referred to as “drunk tank pink,” which has a proven calming effect on those exposed to it. The profound physical, mental, and emotional effects of color are essential both to this particular installation and to Ledgerwood’s entire body of work.