The following review appeared in Artforum in June, 2015.
Having recently relocated to Southern California, Edie Fake returns to Chicago with “Grey Area,” a solo exhibition of ten ink and gouache drawings on paper. Each work describes a different geometrical space: The Blood Bank, 2015, features an ornate green-and-gold-tiled, roofless bathhouse. Behind three arched columns, one glimpses the inside of this building, where there is a rich red pool. As the warmest mass of color, the pool vibrates in powerful juxtaposition to the drawing’s otherwise cool, angular lines. As with many of Fake’s compositions, the space is foreshortened, and the building presents itself in the manner of a stage model, tilted down, creating a false illusion of depth. This compressed spatial experience is elaborated in The Fitting Room, 2015, a labyrinth of vertical parallelograms and hexagons that read at once as a diagram of reflecting mirrors and as a lush geometric pattern. The constant refraction of each nonreflective silver surface induces a sickening but beautiful claustrophobia.Though still resonant with his series of “Memory Palaces,” 2012–13—highly ornate drawings of building facades from historical or imaginary queer and feminist spaces—Fake takes greater risks inscribing dimensional space in this latest body of work. The resulting compositions are less literal in most cases and stray farther into abstraction. His pleasure in pattern remains consistent, congealing in the ecstatic parade-float composition of Sugar in the Tank, 2015, which reappropriates homophobic slang, and Sue, 2015, an entirely abstract work. By producing these illusory and structural interventions in the two-dimensional picture plane, Fake asserts the need for a radical, transformative space.