Lay a Ghost
Cornerstore, Chicago IL
J. Michael Ford, Meg Nafziger, and Caleb Yono
February 27 - April 3, 2016
He knows the secret of laying ghosts, or of quieting houses haunted. How to determine a practice that renders impossible the rigorous distinction between what is intrinsic and what is extrinsic to it?
Colloquially, to lay a ghost is to quiet it—presumably returning it to the grave. To lay a ghost could mean to fuck it. After all, specters are always under the sheets, amoebic and bedded.
cornerstore is happy to present three painters—Caleb Yono, Meg Nafziger, and J. Michael Ford—working on the boundaries of the exchange, indexicality, and apparitions of paint.
What is a ghost? An emotion, suspended in time, like a blurred photograph. Like an insect trapped in amber. A ghost: that’s what I am.
Ghostliness is what causes a face to appear. Only the predisposed, children or the sensitive see ghosts. In painting, “we are still dealing with the ghost of a presence.” If applying makeup—summoning another face or suggesting the latent one—is a quality of haunting, the ghost is perpetually undecided between flesh or paint. Are we the specters behind our glamorized selves, or does a bigger apparition express itself through eyeliner?
Spotlit glamor, acrylic, oils are all transposable, but require some absence to be seen. Just as the canvas support might be denounced or the artist’s hands excised from material production, celebrity and glamor rely on photographic and other spectral devices to produce an uncanny body. It is the ghost’s absence from the grave that makes its traces spectacular—doubly so as today ghosts have no unanimous domain. Painting, with its spectral artists, flashy skin and relentless vitality, is a bed for others and lovers to come.