Sunday, January 26, 2003

Visual art

Versoza has a one-man show


Joey Versoza's "Bikes and Paper" rocked Chicago's alternative Stray Show last month, an event characterized as the surprise of the art fair by Chicago art critic Pedro Velez.

Not bad for a couple of dirty bikes with paper draped over the seats. And not bad for the 24-year-old Mr. Versoza who found himself in the company of Whitney Biennial contenders.

Since we last spoke to Mr. Versoza a year ago, he has been featured in four other group shows, attracted the attention of several new collectors and currently has his first one-man show, Final Fantasy, at Linda Schwartz Gallery, downtown.

"I'm still fixated on failure and fantasy," he says amid the Play-Doh cans and an elaborate Christmas village that are part of the show. "I'm getting interested in things a little more conceptual."

It would be hard to get more conceptual than Mr. Versoza's "Open," an installation where the doors between the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Art Academy of Cincinnati were opened for a window of time on Sept. 11.

Or his "Note," made from construction paper and double-sided tape, an exact replica of the Post-it notes manufactured by Scott.

"Note" sold before the show opened for $100.

Now Mr. Versoza is tackling the question of life versus graduate school or perhaps better categorized as work versus Cal Arts. He says he is concentrating on making good decisions, and if his choice to participate in Ms. Schwartz's "Welcome" show this spring is any indication, he's on a roll.

"'Welcome' is my most important show this year," says Ms. Schwartz. "And of course, Joey is there."

- Marilyn Bauer

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