Daily Archives: September 16, 2013

another lecture.

I try to frequently attend artist talks.  I listen to fashion designers, artist, performers, musicians illustrators etc.  I observe there seems to be a standard format for how these things are supposed to go. In general, we, the audience, travel through time as  artists break down their artistic development while we view the highlights of their practice through slides.
 
 Last Wednesday 9/10/13  I attended:
 Performance: Robin Deacon
“If Not from the Heart, from Where?,” presented as part of Assistant Professor Robin Deacon’s final review toward tenure in the Department of Performance.
 
I am always pleasantly surprised to experience artist talks by performance artists.  All bets are off.  This talk was no exception.
 
This was not a tenure review I imagine, an artist defending their practice and their place at an institution.  Deacon utilizes speech as one of his performance tools, so I tried to pay attention to every detail presented to me.  Often speakers get lost in their thoughts and catch up with pauses or “ums.” In Deacon’s speech every bit of information seemed to be presented in a manor that it was specifically rehearsed and delivered.   If there was a pause I felt like it was supposed to be there, and I went along for the ride.
 
I appreciated how the artist utilized humor to deliberate over intense concepts.  Something very interesting for me was his challenging the very stereotype of what performance art is.  
 
I left this talk contemplating what performance art asks me to think about a lot-> Which is: If performance artists can elevate simple tasks like a lecture into a performance, then as artists, how do we navigate what is worthy to be a performance and what should remain a standard ritual?
 
If you haven’t seen or heard any of Deacon’s work it’s worth investigating:
 
http://www.robindeacon.com
 
– Whittle

SOUGWEN : CHIARO/OSCURO

Chiaro / Oscuro, Chung’s first solo gallery exhibition opened at Public Functionary in Minneapolis, MN as their 2nd show with the brand new project. The show examines the interplay of light and dark as the old and new. The exhibition includes a large scale installation providing a look at four key elements of her practice: traditional drawing technique, digital reproduction, video animation and projection mapping. Her work makes think about a certain rebranding of traditional art and the immersive possibilities of new technologies. She works across print, digital and environmental mediums, to set up visual conflicts of the then and now techniques of creation.

The show was visually stimulating which I expect from new age digital art. However, there was a real lack of surprise which left me feeling a bit underwhelmed upon later mental digestion of the show. With such clique topics as nature and technology next to light and dark, the boundaries seriously need to be pushed for an artist to carve their name in the stone with those topics.

I did leave the exhibit feeling a little proud to be a Minneapolis native with this space now holding shows and lectures to help propel Minneapolis forward in it’s journey to becoming a legitimate arts community. It was only 6 weeks ago that Jerry Saltz was on a panel endorsing their actions. A space like this doesn’t exist in MN, and I expect it to do great things. So, whatever ill feelings I may have with the space, do become a secondary note played, as I feel a pass can be easily granted for only their second show.

Wendy White at Andrew Rafacz Gallery

Wendy White’s solo exhibition Pick Up a Knock opens this Friday, September 20th at Andrew Rafacz Gallery.  White began to gain recognition close to a decade ago with her paintings that often times had a strong emphasis on the boundaries of the picture plane, which she often physically built away from.  Inspired heavily by her New York surroundings and more specifically the Chinatown neighborhood, White’s mark making incorporates a language that is engrained in the everyday passerby.  The paintings are often times visually fast, but strong structural decisions hold the image in place.

For White’s upcoming exhibit at Andrew Rafacz Gallery, she has installed white Astroturf to accompany the paintings.  Let’s see how White’s Astroturf compares to AIC’s current exhibition Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity’s usage of the faux playing field.

Further commentary to follow

Wendy White will also be presenting a lecture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago on Monday, September 23rd at 5:00 in the Columbus Auditorium.  The lecture is presented by the Painting and Drawing department at SAIC.

Andrew Rafacz Gallery, 835 W. Washington Blvd. Chicago IL 60607

Friday September 20th, 6-8PM

Andrea Zittel & Restriction

I don’t usually find myself enthralled during an entire artist lecture, but Andrea Zittel held my complete attention for the hour she spoke in the Rubloff Auditorium at the Art Institute of Chicago on Monday night. The hall was packed as President Massey took centre stage to announce the launch of the Fall 2013 SAIC visiting artist lecture series.  Lisa Wainwright was eloquent in her description of Zittel’s practice as filling the gap between art and life and the “splendid oddness” of her work which she described as perplexing and beautiful.

Zittel has a very warm and down-to-earth manner and I appreciated her admission of extreme nervousness before confidently proceeding to outline a variety of projects with just the right amount of detail, imagery and humour. She certainly knew her audience.

A comment I’ve heard from attendees and those lucky enough to win a studio visit was her openness and generosity. She made us feel is it OK to expose our weaknesses and quirks and allow people to see the things that make us unique, for example: our eating habits, obsessions and need for privacy.

One key point stood out for me. Throughout the entire lecture, she referenced the idea of there being a fine line between freedom and restriction. Many of her projects include strict limitations, whether that be in space, time, material or food supply. Zittel’s work illustrates her argument that “Limitations make us more creative.” I’ve already applied this advice to my own studio practice which has recently become a mixed-bag of media as I attempt to make the most of every single facility SAIC has to offer. Dubious, but willing to try, the restrictions I imposed felt freeing and solved many formal and conceptual issues.

I’m now even more eager to spend some time in the desert alongside Zittel and experience the limitations involved in staying in one of her wagon stations for myself.

Ron Jude at MOCP

Photographer Ron Jude has an exhibition up at The Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College through October 6, showing numerous images from his recent book release entitled Lick Creek Line,  in which he captures images of wilderness in his home state of Idaho. He uses a narrative of a fur trapper as a spring board to further investigate ideas about a more simple way of life where humans interact within nature, as part of it, rather than trying to tame it for our modern needs. Perhaps a bit nostalgic and sad, these photos nonetheless are reminders about our impact on the more rugged, wild terrains that exist in this country. I was glad I saw the show, and bought the book. It’s made me think. I definitely plan on going again if anyone wants to join me, let me know.  Jude is also doing a gallery talk and book signing from 5:30-7:30 on Friday September 27th. Maybe some of you want to go with me?