“The body is our general medium for having a world.” - Maurice Merleau-Ponty
How do we move forward in the world where there is no definite answer or direction ahead? Often we have to reason and grasp at reality through the debris of our own darkness in which we cannot see our path. The exhibition The Height Below presents Chicago-based artists Liz McCarthy and Soo Shin’s recent works that explore the fear of uncertainty, and the struggle in having faith in something we cannot prove. This collection works reference body and ritual as mediums in search for small epiphanies in the unknown path ahead of them.
Liz McCarthy is an artist and arts organizer based out of Chicago. Her work combines photography, sculpture, and performance to explore our psychological framing of experience. She regularly shows work throughout the Midwest, most recently at the Comfort Station in Chicago. She has participated in residencies such as Atlantic Center for the Arts, ACRE, and High Concept Laboratories, and has been honored with fellowship support from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, Illinois Arts Council, and Chicago’s Department of Tourism.
Soo Shin was born in Seoul, Korea and currently lives and works in Chicago. She holds an MFA from the School of Art Institute of Chicago. She is interested in the uncertainty in having faith in the unknown and turns the psychological struggle into physical experience through the latency of body in her sculpture, painting, and drawing. Her work has been shown in various locations in the states as well as abroad.
Artist featured include:
Benjamin Zellmer Bellas
Jinn Bronwen Lee
Mindy Rose Schwartz
Curated by: Paul Hopkin
Chicago redesigned itself after the Great Fire. That was just the first rebirth of its cultural scene. More recently, there was the grand fire that devastated the River North gallery district in 1989 that gave rise to dirtier, scrappier, more independent artist venues. Other fires, other afters. After always tries to be better.
Sometimes we get impatient. We want better sooner. We want to redo the f****d up parts so the sewage doesn’t back up into our bathrooms. To fix that deeply, we have to clear away.
The fires of our history were terrible accidents that devastated who and what was there. It's an entirely different beast that sets the blaze in defiance. Does the end justify the means? We hardly think so. No guarantee that our end will approximate our better intention, just as likely paving the undesired path.
New work by:
In the land of thieves and ghosts
Historically, the proto-science of alchemy signified an effort to sublimate base metals into gold, distill life-extending elixirs, and divine universal solvents out of common, household items. Alchemy is a “sciencey” practice that deals in paradox, wonder, and the transmutation of the mundane into the miraculous. Similarly, artists are in the business of creating works that transcend their material origins, pose nebulous questions, and embrace the improbable.
The alchemists of the old world shrouded their work in mystery and mysticism. Alchemical texts, like some artworks, are notoriously inscrutable, often written in a language of symbols only decipherable to their authors. Alchemical artists are not explicitly invested in the practice of being obscure or secretive, but they do encourage speculation concerning the overall meaning of a particular work. Alchemical artists conjure more than they create, summoning unfamiliar apparitions from familiar materials.
Not unlike the specters in one of Etienne Gaspard Robertson’s 19th century phantasmagoria, F.W. Murnau conjured demons and magic for the screen in his 1922 film, Nosferatu. (The phrase, “In the land of thieves and ghosts,” is taken from a title card in the film and refers to the homeland of Nosferatu’s vampiric antagonist, Count Orlok). The flickering of light and shadow in Murnau’s film transports viewers from the black cube of the cinema to a land that is both wondrous and alien. IN THE LAND OF THIEVES AND GHOSTS has similar goals in mind.
Like Murnau, artists Buki Bodunrin, Bea Fremderman, Christopher Ottinger, and Matthew Schlagbaum create works that are at once familiar and strange and that elicit something ethereal from the materials they use in their artistic concoctions. Fremderman and Schlagbaum, for example, frequently make use of construction materials and kitsch artifacts, creating ghostly forms out of readymade objects and images. Bodunrin and Ottinger, conversely, deal more with the interplay of light and shadow, optics and illusion. The spirits they summon function as non-corporeal foils to Fremderman and Schlagbaum’s concretized ghosts.
A contemporary notion of alchemy—mandala-wielding metaphysicians and mystics aside—signifies an impulse towards experimentation and discovery unencumbered by the restrictions of institutionalized thinking. Likewise, the images and objects here are not designed to satisfy a particular hypothesis or prove a theory. Rather, these works represent the unexpected results that can emerge from free-form experimentation and play. Though varied in form, the mark of the alchemist is present throughout the exhibition, lurking in the shadows like the iconic and haunting silhouette of Count Orlok himself.
work by Robert Burnier, Aron Gent, Heather Mekkelson, Robert Chase Heishman and Jessica Taylor Caponigro
An excursion longer than the journey. A mudslide over a mountain pass. A road sign blown over by the wind. Something taken, put back, and taken again. A badly worn fragment of carpet. An archipelago.
Aron Gent is an artist, photography printer and art organizer residing in Chicago, IL. He received a degree in photography from Columbia College Chicago. Gent is a co-founder of MDW Fair, Director/Founder of printing/exhibition space DOCUMENT and Board member for the ACRE Residency. His photographic work is built around project-oriented investigations including images of family, familial settings, self, and intimates that are both poignantly quotidian and quietly surreal. Gent’s work is in the collection of the Milwaukee Art Museum and has been exhibited at the Hyde Park Art Center, Houston Center for Photography, Chicago Cultural Center and the Kohler Arts Center. His curatorial experience includes Transparent Reflect (2009), an exhibition of nine artists exploring portraiture and self-portraiture, and Hic et Nunc (2008), a survey of new guard photography. He currently teaches photography at the School of the Art Institute and Columbia College Chicago.
Heather Mekkelson lives and works in Chicago. Solo and two-person exhibitions include Now
Slices at 65GRAND, Invisible Apocalypse at Roots & Culture; Heather Mekkelson at +medicine
cabinet; Limited Entry at Old Gold; Debris Field at threewalls; and Out Land at STANDARD (all
Chicago, IL.) Her work has also been in group shows at The Museum of Contemporary
Photography (Chicago, IL), The Figge Art Museum (Davenport, IA), The Poor Farm (Manawa,
WI), Raid Projects (Los Angeles, CA), and Vox Populi (Philadelphia, PA). Mekkelson's work has
been written about in Art Journal, Broadsheet, Time Out Chicago, New City, Chicago Tribune,
Artforum.com and others. In 2012 she became an Artadia Award Chicago awardee.
Robert Burnier is an artist and writer who lives and works in Chicago. He is an MFA candidate in Painting and Drawing at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania. He is currently represented by Andrew Rafacz Gallery, Chicago, and has shown his work in numerous exhibitions in Chicago, New York, Miami and Los Angeles. He writes for Bad at Sports and Chicago Artist Writers, and has lectured at several Chicago area universities.
Born in 1984, Robert Chase Heishman completed his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute in 2008 and his MFA from Northwestern University in 2012. Utilizing photography, sculpture, and video, his artwork explores self-referentiality, conditions of framing, flatness, and the peripheral. He has collaborated with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company as a Décor Artist on the work, Split-Sides, provided artwork for Icelandic band Sigur Rós’ album BA BA TI KI DI DO, in addition to exhibiting both nationally and internationally. Heishman's work is held in the collections of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Walker Art Center. He currently lives and works in Chicago, Illinois.
Before receiving her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Jessica Taylor Caponigro attended Bryn Mawr College where she earned her BA in the History of Art. She has taught classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Olive Harvey College and currently teaches at Harold Washington College. Caponigro is also the director of Andrew Rafacz Gallery. In addition to solo and group shows in Chicago, her work has been exhibited in Long Beach, Philadelphia, and Rome. Her work is in the permanent collections at California State Long Beach and the Joan Flasch Artists’ Books Collection. More of her work can be seen at www.jtaylorcaponigro.com.
Heaven Gallery and DOCUMENT are pleased to present, Layered and Exposed, a group exhibition with artist’s Elizabeth Atterbury, Scott Cowan, Owen Kydd, Phillip Maisel and Erin Jane Nelson.
Layered and Exposed is a group exhibition exploring collage in contemporary video and photographic practices. The artists in the exhibition vary from studio-based constructions, digitally made collages and visual assemblages made using the camera.
A collage is a work of art composed of numerous materials, such as paper, newsprint, photographs, ribbons or other objects attached to background support, such as plain paper. A collage can even be made with physical materials or electronic images, attaching them to a digital background. Originating from the French word "coller", meaning "to glue", the collage allows you to experiment with a wide range of materials to achieve amazing end results. This article provides a sample of the many possibilities limited only by your creativity and imagination.
1- Choose a style of collage. By definition, a collage should be made up of several different pieces. Those pieces can be made of all sorts of items, such as paper, yarn, fabric, stamps, magazine cut-outs, plastic, raffia, foil, labels, lids, matchsticks, corks, natural items (bark, leaves, seeds, eggshells, seashells, twigs, etc.), buttons, and so forth. You can either choose one medium such as paper or fabric, or you can make an eclectic mix, such as paper, buttons and foil
2- Choose a suitable backing. While a paper or cardboard backing is the usual choice, the backing can be anything you consider will work well. For example, a backing could be blotting paper, card stock, fabric such as a piece of hessian (burlap), newspaper, old book covers, wood, smooth bark, plastic, etc. If the surface is usable and items can be stuck to it, you can probably use it for making a collage.
3- Hoard the materials for future collages. As you become more proficient at and enthused about making collages, you'll probably start seeing opportunities in all sorts of materials. Be sure to keep a special collage materials box for collecting the pieces in.
Elizabeth Atterbury received her MFA from MassArt in 2011. She has shown her work recently at Bodega (Philadelphia), Tyler School of Art (Philadelphia), The Center for Maine Contemporary Art, and the Chelsea Art Museum (New York, in conjunction with The Collectors Guide, Vol. 2, Humble Arts Foundation). She lives and works in Portland, Maine and is currently a Visiting Lecturer in Art at Bowdoin College.
Scott Cowan lives in LA and is pursuing a masters degree in theology and philosophy. Scott was born in 1986 in Kansas City (he grew up on the Kansas side). His interests include political theology, cultural criticism, philosophy of mind, and investigating the social structures of language. Previously Cowan completed a BA in photography.
Owen Kydd lives and works in Los Angeles. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver and a Masters degree from UCLA. His works have been exhibited in soloexhibitions at the Vancouver Art Gallery and Nicelle Beauchene Galleryin New York, and in group exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Galleryin Vancouver, the Surrey Art Gallery, and the Daegu Biennial in SouthKorea.
Phillip Maisel was born and raised in Chicago. He graduated from McGill University in Montreal with a B.S. in Psychology and from California College of the Arts in San Francisco with an MFA in Visual Arts. He is the only two-time recipient of the Yefim Cherkis Scholarship for Photographic Excellence. His work has been shown in galleries both nationally and internationally and is included in multiple collections. Phillip resides in San Francisco, and he teaches photography at California College of the Arts and The Nueva School.
Erin Jane Nelson is an artist and writer based in Oakland, California. She studied at The Cooper Union School of Art, Malmö Art Academy (Sweden), and Oxbow School (Michigan). Recent Projects include Kantan An Libe Tavleau at Forever & Always (Chicago), Love's Labor's 1 at Important Projects (Oakland), Broon published by Gottlund Verlag (Los Angeles), and www.stilllifelive.com.
Center of the Circle: Sarah Belknap & Joseph Belknap +
Everything You Need Is Already Here: Stacia Yeapanis
Opening Reception: January 17, from 7-11pm
Exhibition Dates: January 17- February 16, 2014
An exhibition of work by Sarah Belknap and Joseph Belknap explores a shared experience with the cosmos, as described by the artists themselves:
“All of us grow up with the sense that there is some personal relationship between us, ourselves, and the universe.”
The first meteorite we physically encountered was at the Hayden Planetarium. It was the Willamette meteorite- steeped in history, controversy and legend. We hugged it and it felt like magic and our hearts were won over and we started making work that looked at the cosmos. In this new body of video, photography and sculpture we try to recreate that magic- we are looking at the moon, meteorites, comets, the myths and romance they produce, and our love of the wild
A solo exhibition by Stacia Yeapanis exploring repetition, desire and impermanence.
Everything You Need Is Already Here (2014) explores the spiritual predicament of desire, the presence of impermanence in everyday life and the possibility of responding to it with wonder and play, as opposed to anxiety. This solo exhibition brings together works from Specimens (2013), a series of pinned, shadowbox collages made of advertising images collected from glossy magazines, with an improvisational sculptural installation assembled on the floor of Heaven Gallery.
Stacia Yeapanis highlights the nature of impermanence in an installation that only lasts the length of the exhibition. One Day to Install (Heaven Gallery, Chicago) (2014) is inspired by the sites and relics of the human pursuit of a spiritual life—shrines and altars, mandalas, rock gardens and cairns, stupas, rosary beads, icons. The thousands of individual components, which will be reconfigured in future installations, are byproducts of the artist’s private meditation practice. The repeated gesture of coiling, winding, rolling easily-accessible materials, which results in an accumulation of empty centers, becomes an embodied metaphor for presence. Yeapanis selects both manufactured goods and collected detritus of her life as an artist, a consumer, a cultural participant and a waitress, because these materials represent an acceptance and engagement with what is, rather than a striving towards what should/could be.
Wild Dream: Re-imagining the Ballet Russes
Renovar Spring 2014
"We are witnesses of the greatest moment of summing up in history, in the name of a new and unknown culture, which will be created by us, and which will also sweep us away"
The Ballet Russes was the impresario Serge Diaghilev's wildest dream. He created an art enterprise that manufactured excitement and celebrated modernism. His theatrical spectacles combined traditional narrative with emerging art, enabling him to promote his taste and making him reputable to his collaborators. He was neither a composer or artist, yet he managed to assert an unprecedented influence on art in the early 20th century.
Serge Diaghilev started his career as an art exhibitor, curating a show of 4000 works in St. Petersburg. He later was part of a collective that created the art journal Mir Iskusstva (World of Art) and held art lectures and discussions. Later he applied his curatorial eye to the ballet, in association with the migration of artists and nobility that fled Russia from the Bolshevik revolution, Diaghilev exported Russian culture and artists to Paris. In 1909 his Ballet Russes was a instant sensation, beginning his legendary collaborations with artists, composers, choreographers and fashion designers. Among his collaborators were Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Henri Matisse, Joan Miro, Leon Bakst, Sonia Delaunay, Jean Cocteau, Coco Chanel, Vaslav Nijinsky and Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. The Ballet Russes unification of all mediums made it much more than the ballet, with Picasso's cubism applied to set design and Chanel's simplicity to costume, it gained international fame. With glory also came controversy. Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring", inspired by Pagan rituals to spring, met with outrage for it's primitive dance and jolting score that ignited the infamous riot in 1912.
Over a hundred years later the cultural phenomenon of the Ballet Russes continues to intrigue with exhibitions popping up all over the world. Recent exhibitions included, When Art danced with Music at the National Museum in Washington D.C 2013, Elegance in Exile:Between Fashion and Costume, the Diaghilev Era at the Palazzo Moceniza Museum in Venice 2011, Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballet Russes 1909-1929 at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London 2010, and Ballet Russes Art of Costume at The National Gallery in Australia 2010, all showcasing the elaborate costumes and visuals from the rich history of The Ballet Russes.
Wild Dream, Renovar's Spring 2014 collection gives in to the daydream of becoming a modern ballerina, inspired by the explosive and kinetic costumes of The Ballet Russes. While maintaining a contemporary context, Renovar pairs sumptuous blasts of color with whimsical styles to recreate spectacle. The costumes are both thrilling and shocking with bold geometry and dripping pearl
work by Jessica Bardsley, Gwynne Johnson, and Ashley Thomas
Oct 18th- 27th
“… a shadow is a simultaneous memory…”
“From the outset, perception belongs to recollection.”
Night Without Sleep presents a world drawn in shadows, revealing the contours of our guiding drives, passionate attachments, and forgotten remains. Gwynne Johnson’s photographs and objects reveal the unconscious of domestic life through the rhythms of celestial and corporal bodies. Ashley Thomas’s noir-palette drawings and collages depict the objects of her fixation larger than life or swimming in darkness, while Jessica Bardsley’s constellation of archival film and photographs activates historical residue to trace the ocean’s haunted past. The artists of Night Without Sleep remake common objects and archival materials according to their memories, perceptions, and desires, illuminating the periphery of the visible, or quietly revealing what goes unseen by day.
Heaven Presents "Being a Woman in an all Women Show"
18 women art exhibition
Marissa lee Benedict
Jessica Taylor Caponigro
I have been accused of secretly wanting to be a man. This comment was made recently during a studio visit with a fellow artist, who saw how uncomfortable and wary I became as she steered our discussion towards gender politics.
I do not harbor the desire to undergo a sex change, but I also do not want to be seen solely as a female artist. It is from this position of defensive resistance in which I find myself "being a woman in an all women show."
There are many ways to experience discrimination in the art world; gender inequality is just one of them. To be defined by one's gender as a female artist is to be limited. A colleague recently brought to my attention the fact that the most reputable galleries here in Chicago all represent far more male artists than female. This inequality is made even worse when one realizes that our city's art schools are enrolling more women than men. An admissions counselor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago informed me that women compose roughly 70% of its student body. A woman can be trained (and pay for that training) as an artist, but it is not the same as her becoming one. "Being a woman in an all women show" is an effort to make up for this blatant discrepancy.
Not all artists consciously implicate their gender while making their work, and yet gender remains a determinant factor in how artworks are curated and disseminated. It seems unfortunate that an all-female exhibition is unusual enough to serve as a curatorial platform.
With this exhibition, Heaven gallery is pleased to exhibit the work of eighteen artists, who all happen to be women. These are good artists, not good-for-being-female artists. With this exhibition, let us hope that the exceptional work of each artist is seen as expected, and not a surprise.
View with a Window
Opening Reception Fri. March 20th 7-11pm
March 20th ~May 3rd
Heaven Gallery proudly presents, new paintings by Mika Horibuchi and Dan Rizzo-Orr in View with a Room.
Horibuchi and Rizzo-Orr are painters who understand painting’s ability to deliver a picture; they know too that the window of space a painting depicts is but an ephemeral illusion. Rather than despair at painting’s difficult ontology, these two artists revel in the space between painterly picture and contemporary art object.
Rizzo-Orr simultaneously seduces with both articulated figures and gestural marks while Horibuchi glides between geometric abstraction and trompe l’oeil painting. Each work in View with a Room showcases this painterly range. The singularity of their practices dissolves into a shared interest in the abstract illusions. Working together in a single studio, their seemingly disparate images reveal the unexpected possibilities that may dance shift across a painting’s surface. This is their View with a Room.
Both Mika Horibuchi and Dan Rizzo-Orr are Chicago-based artists and hold BFA degrees from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Horibuchi was born in 1991 in San Francisco, CA and Rizzo-Orr was born in 1989 in Phoenix, AZ