Static Cling Artist Talk

Sunday, November 11, 2018 - 1:00pm

Artist Talk between Nico Gardner and Lauren Carter about their current exhibition Static Cling


Oh, Maker

Friday, December 7, 2018 - 7:00pm

Within the current social and political climate we’re found looking backward as a way to find answers for today's problems in America. “Oh, Maker” explores the work of 7 artists who through the act of re-appropriating materials are looking at that history of trauma on American Soil, the act of rebellion, as well the narrative of black women, and families. These artists are building on these conversations in their work. Using mix materials, visual language, and archives as a starting source to re-appropriate materials used to aid conversations about America today.

Artists: Kevin Demery, Andrea Coleman, Mark Allen Blanchard, Shanna Merola, Zakkiyyah Najeebah, Sadie Woods, Michael Curtis Asbil

Curated by Darryl DeAngelo Terrell

Exhibition runs December 7, 2018 - January 20, 2019

Spectrum of Touch

Friday, October 26, 2018 - 7:00pm to 11:00pm

A Text For My Friends Marisa and Alex
Written by Shai-Lee Horodi

My friends both use the word ‘relationship’ while talking about their works. That’s not to say that relationship is some theme or a sort of ‘aboutness’ that makes for a connection between their works to account for putting them side by side in the same exhibition. It is their relationship itself, them being a loving couple, that brought this exhibition to be. Hopefully this kind of connection could give account of no lesser strength then the symbolic/thematic commonality that is usually used to excuse the putting side by side of art works. Marissa and Alex put their bodies of work side by side and similarly put their bodies themselves side by side, sharing their apartment. 
Without submitting to the conventional abuse of theory for the explanation of art practice; that is a reversal that refers to theory as if it precedes practice; we might find thought emerging from the works in a way other then the awkward positioning of an artist as the translator of ideas to things. Both Alex and Marissa suggest a triangle of mutual dependence between thought, body and the other. Alex would possibly oppose this articulation and say I should replace the word ‘other’ with ‘another,’ so to imply the multiplicity of centers that he holds dear.
Thought and body are dependent on one another because a body without thought is no more then an object in the narrowest use of the term, and thought with no body remains an ideal that is forever outside experience. ‘Another’ separates the body from the whole, gives it its measures as a particular. It creates the inner, the self that could be alone and therefore could be together. The negotiated space of internal and external that allows for thought.
If one were to ask Alex’s drawings ‘how does thought flow?’, one might answer “in the form of a speech-bubble-eye-tit-cum-tear.” If another asks Marissa’s sculptures ‘where is the conversation about the body located?’, they might answer ‘there is a conversation about the body outside it and there is a conversation about the body inside it. But there is also a conversation OF the body, and of the language it does speak, we know very little. If we were fluent in that language we might ask something other than ‘what would you like to eat?’, ‘where would you like shit?’, where can you lay your head to rest?’.

Alex Bradley Cohen (b. 1989) lives and works in Chicago, IL. His work has been included in solo and two-person exhibitions at The Luggage Store, San Francisco, CA; Mana Contemporary, Chicago, IL; and Carrie Secrist Gallery, Chicago, IL, among others. Cohen has shown in group exhibitions at The Studio Museum of Harlem, New York, NY; The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; Elmhurst Art Museum, Elmhurst, IL; Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, NY; and The Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, CA. He is a 2014 alumni of the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture.

Chris Zain is an interdisciplinary artist with an insatiable curiosity in the boundary of the body in all of its physical and spiritual permutations. Her work circulates through the inability of the body to escape its edges, destined to be a self-contained sack of flesh holding mind, body and soul. Her work tethers memory to the body (as place). Containers for all sentience, our physical bodies are home to a history of touches. Her architectural references slump with gravity on shape and texture, harkening anti-form artworks. Through installation she play with the poetic and gestalt relationship of objects crafted in ceramics, fiber, paper, tar and more. These organic materials reveal the physical qualities of the body in all its mental and emotional states. Her work posits that re-activating sensorial awareness (to the body) simultaneously triggers a sense of empathy towards the fragility of being contained.

Zain received her BA in Art History and Journalism from Loyola University Chicago after completing her thesis on feminist co-operatives in the late 20th century. She received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she embraced a post-medium studio practice. She has shown her work most recently at Chicago Artists Coalition, Roman Susan, For the Thundercloud Generation, Links Hall, the Luggage Store Gallery, and Brown University’s David Winton Bell Gallery. Zain is an art educator and has ardently pursued alternative educational spaces through participating in residencies at MassMoCa, Chicago Artists Coalition, Ox-bow School of Art and Anderson Ranch Art Center to name a few.

Static Cling

Friday, October 26, 2018 - 7:00pm to 11:00pm

In their second exhibition together, artists Nico Gardner and Lauren Carter continuously shift between the personal and the general, the specific and ambiguous, creating new work in conversation with each other. With a primary focus on desire, ritual, identity, and the expression of human need, Static Cling addresses the power and persuasive nature of mundane, domestic objects.

Ordinary household possessions become intertwined in a person’s daily life as symbolic evidence of a sense of selfhood and identity. These metaphors are employed in this exhibition to explore the universal relationship between people and objects. Gardner and Carter’s use of found or purchased items is a starting point to explore themes that ultimately result in an investigation of both material culture and making. Continuing their collaboration together, Gardner and Carter riff off of each other's frequencies to disrupt their respective practices. The artists ultimately create new works that highlight similarities in their decision making while embracing their respective differences.

Nico Gardner is a Japanese-American interdisciplinary maker and critical thinker. He holds an MFA in Fiber + Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a BA in Fine Arts, and a BA in Art History, both from Rice University in Houston, Texas. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and acquired by private collections. 

Lauren Carter holds an MFA with Distinction from the University of New Mexico and a BFA from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in Painting and Metalwork.
Primarily working in mixed media sculpture and installations, she often includes found objects and personal items that are synonymous with loss, vulnerability, and sentimentality. 
Carter is a native of south Louisiana and presently lives and works in Chicago, Illinois where she is a teaching artist at Marwen.

Artist Talk - not to scale

Sunday, October 7, 2018 - 1:00pm

Join artists Shir Ende and Matt Brett and curator Elizabeth Lalley for a walk-through of Shir and Matt’s two-person show “not to scale.” The artists will discuss their practices and also lead an impromptu exercise and experiment in choreography, inviting participants to engage in a walking session through and around Brett’s sculptural arrangement in the gallery.

Coffee provided by Starbucks

not to scale

Friday, September 14, 2018 - 7:00pm

The phrase not to scale implies an inaccurate representation of something with regards to proportion. It also suggests that the “thing” being represented has rational, accepted dimensions, typically “scaled” or understood in relation to the human figure. Together, Matt Brett and Shir Ende present sculptures, drawings, and videos that combine architectural language and a degree of speculative thinking to explore movement (of both body and eye) within modern space. Both artists look beyond familiar scales and surfaces, past hard edges and rigid grids, to expose constructed barriers that attempt to dictate or inhibit motion. 

“About a hundred years ago some artists were trying to imagine hypothetical invisible structures that drove life and informed experience. Surrealists. Now there are actual invisible forms that drive life and inform experience. These are my attempts to imagine those structures formally.”
---Matt Brett, notes from July 14, 2018

Manipulated by hand, Brett’s works prune and distort the notion of a grid into a commanding, tangible object, scaled in such a way that each form confronts the viewer with the presence of a figure. Each sculpture possesses the dual nature of being both an image that we apprehend as a primary form, like a cone or cylinder, and as a physical thing, a shape that we can peer through and into. The forms are also informational, their structures revealing the process of construction, much like a surface of a woven textile. And yet, even as they mark and delineate space, they do so without visually obstructing it, instead revealing the potential for movement inside the hard lines. 

“If movement can be materialized through repetition, continuity and simplicity, we can now consider ways to dematerialize architecture through the score. The score articulates the imagined and abstracts the real. It has the capacity to contain the ideology and potentiality of movement with architecture while making it more malleable and easy to manipulate.”
--Shir Ende, “Re-imagining architecture: how movement conditions the production of space,” 2018

Through drawing, sculpture, and video, Ende works to reduce the “bigness” of architecture, re-imaging built structures as intimately scaled, malleable forms. In doing so, Ende minimizes architecture’s imposition on the body and softens the authority of modern design. Each of Ende’s hand-drawn “scores” demonstrates the inherent tension between the straight lines of architectural order and the fluidity of bodies within. As she composes the scores and guides the pencil, Ende quietly insists on self-determined movement within modern space, where the body itself is a generative material. 

Matt Brett Matt Brett is an artist living and working in Chicago. His work has been exhibited in Chicago at; Gallery 400, Slow and Heaven Gallery, In Philadelphia at; High Tide, Little Berlin and Icebox, In New York at 136 w 22nd, in New Orleans at Parse, and in Richmond at Reference. He has attended residencies at ACRE and Skowhegan. He holds an MFA in studio arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago (2014) and a BFA in sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University (2009). He is currently a lecturer for the City Colleges of Chicago.

Shir Ende is a Chicago-based artist. Ende received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has shown at Gallery 400, Terrain Biennial, South of the Tracks, Mana contemporary, Woman Made Gallery and was a Sponsored artist at High Concept Labs. She has screened videos at Nightingale, Comfort Station and Roman Susan. She currently teaches at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Elizabeth Lalley is a Chicago-based writer, curator, and administrator. Lalley is the Curatorial and Design Associate at CNL Projects and the Assistant Director of Goldfinch, a commercial project space for contemporary visual practices. She received an MA in Museum & Exhibition Studies from the University of Illinois-Chicago, and holds a BA from the University of Michigan. Elizabeth has worked for the Chicago Artists Coalition, the Smithsonian Center for Folklife & Cultural Heritage, and the University of Michigan Department of English. She is also a Curatorial Fellow with ACRE (Artists’ Cooperative Residency and Exhibitions) and a contributor to Newcity and Chicago Artist Writers.

Performance and Talk will be held October 7th

Event of a Thread

Friday, September 14, 2018 - 7:00pm

“Tangential subjects come into view. The thoughts, however, can, I believe, be traced back to the event of a thread.” -Anni Albers, On Weaving

This exhibition brings together three artists whose nuanced and abiding interests in weaving, fiber, and textile arts evoke the multilinear progression of both thought and material that Albers describes. Melding traditional processes with experimental techniques, Jeffrey Grauel, Melissa Leandro, and Noël Morical create works that are not defined by clear beginnings or ends, but are instead filled with layered compositions that activate color, form, and surface—built thread by thread, knot by knot. “How can [one] know how this thing is done that has never been done before?” Albers asks in a gentle nudge to be adventurous, surprised, and sometimes mystified. These artists push their materials, gestures, and processes into conceptually rich realms and experimental pathways, trusting that one thread of a thought or process may lead in a new direction altogether. Grauel’s shagged rugs, their imagery sourced from decades-old latch hook kits, reveal multiple layers of fibers—rugs buried in rugs—like scents embedded in an old carpet over time. Here, craft kits from the past are adapted into works that are both richly tactile and sculptural, the original imagery obscured and altered into a strangely unfamiliar form. Layered processes likewise comprise Leandro’s vivid textiles which blend weaving, embroidery, adornments,domestic references, and synthetic elements. Each piece pulses with color and shifting shapes and lines, displaying a degree of chaos, as tensions between family history, tradition, and the formation of identity are combined through varied processes and materials. Weaving together the past and present, Morical utilizes the centuries-old technique of macramé to craft colorful hanging sculptures and wall-pieces that exist somewhere between domestic objects, like plant holders or garments, and alien life-forms. Held together through the tension of each tightly worked knot, the pieces seem to generate their own energy—as though filled with the potential to swell and burst apart at any moment.

Jeffrey Grauel is a Chicago-based sculptor influenced by 1970’s hobby crafts. Antiquated images persist. Ideas rendered useless by time remain as flawed foundations. In my work they become advertisements burned in plywood, beer can venetian blinds, rugs buried in rugs. Well-crafted things that are useful outside of an art context, but exceptionally more complex within. His work has been presented in parking lots, former mortuaries, museums, corporate lobbies, malls, abandoned lots, faculty offices, and the windows of Tiffany’s. As co-director at Slow (an artist run gallery and curatorial project) he directs an independent gallery in the bathroom (Loo), brew curated beers, give tours of artwork under hotel beds, and once carried an exhibition in a purse (Clutch Gallery) to the White House in Washington D.C. Grauel received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL; and BA from California State University, San Bernardino, CA.

Melissa Leandro (Miami, FL) is an artist who works between the media of drawing, painting, and textiles. She received her BFA and MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Leandro's woven and embroidered surfaces explore her composite cultural identity through means of intuitive mark-making. Reflecting on her past and present travels, she considers the impact of these environments on the fragmentation of identity and place. Leandro was awarded the Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship and EAGER Grant (Shapiro Center), both for her studio work at SAIC. Leandro has attended ACRE Residency (Wisconsin), Roger
Brown House Residency (Michigan), TextielLab (The Netherlands), and is a BOLT resident at Chicago Artists Coalition. She has exhibited throughout the US at the Chicago Cultural Center;
Efrain Lopez Gallery; Andrew Rafacz Gallery; Arts Incubator; University of Chicago; The Franklin; Gallery 400; Union League Club Chicago; Wright Museum of Art, Beloit, WI; N A W A, New York, NY; ArtSeen Gallery; Flagler Art Space, Miami FL; and internationally at the Central Museum of Textiles, Łódź, Poland. 

Noël Morical (American, b. 1989) lives and works in Chicago, IL. She received her B.F.A. from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2011. Recent solo exhibitions include Skiptracing at Ace Hotel Chicago, High Swoon at Andrew Rafacz Gallery in Chicago and at the Fiberspace Gallery in Stockholm. Group and two-person exhibitions include SLOW Gallery, Chicago; Weinberg-Newton Gallery, Chicago; 99¢ Plus Gallery, Brooklyn; Athen B. Gallery, Oakland; Chicago Artist Coalition, Chicago; LVL3, Chicago.

Outstanding Balance

Friday, August 10, 2018 - 7:00pm to 11:00pm

With Outstanding Balance, Jeffrey Michael Austin presents a new body of sculptural works that offer playful and poetic lenses through which to meditate on the philosophical paradox of desire for private gain in an inexplicable, omnipresent universe; capitalism in the cosmos. How do we measure the value of individual profit on the scale of cosmological time and space? How do we cultivate equanimity amidst a plague of fear and isolation? How do we recognize likeness within a social and political culture defined by its polarity? 

"We are accustomed to figuring out how to flip relationships into more profitable opportunities. Social capital turn our personalities into currency. When is our existence not run through a monetized filter? To learn, to dwell, to heal are valued at their proof of purchase, but what comes of life when supposed given rights are no longer affordable?  For many of us, this is an abusive relationship we cannot leave. The spoils of choice are fueled by aspirational transactions.

The irony of personal debt is buying-in to render debt imperceptible.  Image supplants the reality of a perilous situation. The ironies don't stop there.  Maybe a precarious life of rich experiences is more interesting than what a job title and salary are supposed to deliver.  Technology allows us to be better connected remotely than we are by proximity. This is fast improving (or worsening), but at what costs that are not numerical?  In what ways are we indebted to each other? With whom and where do we live when our time is no longer livable? When is overdue truly too late? How tender is an embrace through a spacesuit?"
-- Lyndon Barrois Jr.


Jeffrey Michael Austin is an interdisciplinary artist and musician based in Chicago. Through a variety of sculptural and installation processes, Austin composes situations characterized by instability, impermanence and illusion -- inviting from their visitors a sense of empathy, mindfulness and openness to the unknown. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, with recent solo-exhibitions at Bert Green Fine Art, The Luminary (St. Louis, MO) and Chicago Artists Coalition and with group exhibitions in such venues as Société d'Électricité (Brussels), DEMO Project, Hyde Park Art Center, Ed Paschke Art Center, Le Carreau de Cergy (Paris), Kunstenfestival Watou (Belgium), The University of North Texas Art Galleries, Lehr Zeitgenössische Kunst (Berlin), The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Fondation Vasarely (Aix-en-Provence), Terrain Exhibitions, The Franklin, and Manifold in partnership with ACRE Artist Residency.

Austin studied at Columbia College Chicago and the Burren College of Art in Ireland before eventually receiving his BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Austin also produces music under the moniker Young Elder and as one third of the Growing Concerns Poetry Collective.

This exhibition is made possible with support from the Luminarts Cultural Foundation and the Montello Foundation.



flowers always...

Friday, August 10, 2018 - 7:00pm to 11:00pm

Alejandro Jiménez-Flores: flowers always…
Accompanied by florencio and Matt Morris

Images of flowers began to appear in Alejandro’s work 3 years ago. At first, Alejandro candidly took these reference images while walking to their studio, but they soon felt uneasy about this act, for it seemed like intruding upon the flowers; framing them and imposing a language onto the flowers that was not their own. Thinking there could be a better language to relate to their subjects (and, in a way, to Alejandro’s own subjectivities), they decided not to take these photos anymore. Around the same time, they started to receive and use photos of flowers sent to them by friends, usually with text (“So happy to have you in my leaf! ”). These images contained a softer language and offered an encounter (interweaving) of Alejandro’s personal narrative with those of the flowers.

In a new series of works, Alejandro traces lines from these floral compositions on film and makes stencils by cutting through the lines. Drawing and tracing from these images, they aim to unravel what lies in between the lines: a kind of writing, a correspondence, a longing (“thinking of you”), a conjuring of a language that is yet to be. The outline of a leaf overlaps over a petal, and they begin to communicate, just like in nature when the sun shines on the petals and casts its outline onto the leaves, and the leaves in the shadow (the obscured presence of the sun) feels the transferred presence of the petals.

Furthermore in this show, Alejandro mines images from memory to explore relationships to self and family (both chosen and determined by birth). Alejandro draws from memory the geraniums from their aunt's garden, where they recall playing with their cousin and collecting dried petals and leaves from the geraniums and placing them into a bucket with water and dirt. Stirring this concoction with a stick, playing witchcraft (“haciendo brujeria”) to conjure up a spell, but what spell? It was probably all gibberish, but perhaps they were already learning to speak a language of flowers, learning from the way the flowers communicate, of pigments and shapes, of color and effect of light, their pure materiality and its exhaustion. Alejandro also recalls when they noticed a small voice in their head, florencio! A conceptual personae, And how in their dialogues they both have been making attempts to break out of subjectification systems by learning how to coexist with others and each other. Asking themselves what it is to write (speak) in place of the other, to conjure a language that is not here yet (that perhaps exists outside of straight time), full of sensibilities and kindness. So florencio asked Alejandro to ask their mother to teach them again, just like when they were a child, how to draw a flower again. florencio also asked Alejandro to ask Matt if he could make a perfume of florencio’s essence and Matt kindly agreed.

So come see and smell (and read) gestural propositions for a new language in flowers always...

Alejandro Jiménez-Flores (b.1989) is a Conceptual Artist & Poet. They attained a BFA in Studio Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago In 2012 & a very minor in Poetry from School of Poetics in Marseille France in 2013 ;). Through a process based conceptual practice, they think, write, & craft about, multiplicities, becomings, de-subjectifications, funny things, & likes using language to assess the limits of semiotics.

Artist Talk - I See Cat People

Sunday, July 22, 2018 - 1:00pm
Join the curator, Eric Ruschman, along with participating artists Sarah Bastress, Erin Hayden, and Elaine Rubenoff for a casual discussion about the exhibition, painting, companion species, internet memes, love and death, and (almost assuredly) at least a handful of cat stories. 
Free event
Coffee provided by La Colombe