Michael Schall at Pierogi

The Augmented Fourth

2 Jan – 1 Feb, 2009

Press Release

The augmented fourth is an ominous sounding chord that the Catholic Church once considered evil. Together, the works in this exhibition create a tense and disturbing chord themselves and capture the underlying tone of unease that has recently been creeping into cultural thought. Most of these graphite on paper drawings deal with imagined ways in which we try to fix or counteract the damage we have already done to the planet. In “Defense Fans,” for example, two small fans are a futile defense against the oncoming wall of clouds, but there is beauty in the mere effort. “Rebuilding the Quarries” uses the symbols of industry (smoke, scaffolding, power lines) but in a reverse of what is typically expected—instead of industry destroying the natural world, it is trying to rebuild it.

In these works, Schall hopes to blur the lines between the industrial world and the natural world. Both sides have become so unknowable and precariously balanced that they begin to mimic each other. Drawings like, “Giant Tree,” “Rock House,” and “Black Rock Forest Preserve,” are about this middle ground, where the natural world seems so artificial, unpredictable, and reinforced, that it might be taken to be purely man made. This will be Schall’s second exhibition at Pierogi.