The Variable, Will Yackulic

Diagnostic, Will Yackulic

April 27, 2008

Will Yackulic in San Francisco

Will Yackulic's new work ("A Prompt & Perfect Cure" at Gregory Lind in San Francisco April 1- May 17, 2008) is a homemade charm/prayer that might actually work because it admits right up front that it doesn't believe in quick fixes.

The title of the show kicks up tiny ironic sparks against the labor-intensive method of these drawings. They clearly take forever to make, so there isn't much prompt about them. They are printed using a 1930's wide carriage typewriter. In a method that suggests weaving, sky, stars, waves, and warm other-planetary winds are punched in with closely spaced asterisks.

As for perfection, the orbs look pretty slick in reproduction, but in person they are heartbreakingly handmade dreams of order. Yackulic paints each of the facets with care, but he doesn't expect us to mistake it for a spaceship that is coming to save us. He expects it to read like a prayer for a spaceship (or a super drug, or a bulletproof plan to stop global warming) that is coming to save us. That someone painted at the kitchen table. Alone.

In his earlier work as well, Yackulic uses texts as an ironic drag on the idea that our beaver-like persistence in building things and paintings is going to actually get us anywhere. "Diagnostic" is typed in red and blue as if he expected you to have 3-D goggles in your pocket. The fancy rendered orb is replaced with a schematic diagram orb which sends words beaming down to two mountains below. It reads "'THERE'V BEEN SOME PROBLEM" going down one side, and "SSSSSSSSS" down the other. "SSSSSSSS" sounds like the air being let out of a balloon or the credibility draining out of the Space Program.

At least with regard to text and irony, Yackulic is the opposite of Chris Johanson, whose recent mini retrospective at Jack Hanley Gallery in San Francisco gave us paintings that ironically undercut image-building real well in the paint and then add horrible mock sincere texts (maybe they are really sincere, I've never quite been able to tell) like "It's about human communication dealing with dealing through paint...IT IS TRUE. I BELIEVE SOONER OR LATER BOTH WAYS ALL TIME..."

"A Prompt and Perfect Cure" sets out a particular attitude towards salvation or hope whatever you call your cure. Yackulic knows that all our care and cleverness might not be enough to save us, but these drawings say we just have to keep hoping and building the best we can anyway. The artist Matthew Ritchie told me in a college studio visit, "Nobody wants to see your doubt." I have thought a lot about that, and I still think doubt is part of faith. I do want to see it in paintings. Yackulic's are agnostic with a whole lot of asterisks.

- Kim Bennett