Titled All Fall Down – a nod to the 14th-century nursery rhyme about the Black Plague – the exhibition focuses on the devastating aftermath of America’s post-Industrial age. Now, as then, the urban landscape is devoid of figurative elements. Instead, Van Slyck’s provocative paintings depict the remnants of human presence: dilapidated houses, abandoned factories, empty streets and burnt-out cars. Once-glorious Victorian homes are condemned, lurking in the shadows of freeways, replete with soaring scrap heaps, fields of tires and other objects left behind.
In these depopulated compositions, Van Slyck simultaneously explores the landscape’s beauty and banality. The “city as graveyard” is approached from a visceral perspective and rendered in unexpected and often startling hues. Meanwhile, lush, glossy surfaces are combined to commemorate the cast-offs of an increasingly disposable culture.