Author Archives: vsines

Review: Spencer Stucky’s Paul Makris

Paul Makris, the culmination of Spencer Stucky’s 2015 BOLT Residency, occupies dual sites, the Chicago Artist’s Coalition and Front Room in Wicker Park. 

The exhibition guide at the entrance of the gallery at CAC is the key necessary to fully enter the exhibition. Replacing wall text, Stucky provides an index of the objects on display, complete with titles, measurements, dates, and origins. None of the objects were manufactured by Stucky, save for a photograph of a photograph which intentionally reveals itself as a degraded copy. The guide also contains an integral essay by Karsten Lund, which is elucidating and at the same time mystifying, as he poetically provides insight into the significance of the objects on display and delineates the underlying theme of constructed narratives and their residual magnitude.

The aesthetic cohesiveness of the exhibition, intriguing in its range of objects (painted reproductions of photographs of sites of myths, neat stacks of recycled newspapers from the Chicago Tribune interrupted by alien-looking instruments used for squid fishing, porcelain interpretations of alligator backs, a 1982 Sanyo radio tuned to the same static station as the 2012 Panasonic in Front Room) is deepened once one familiarizes herself with the printed information. The multitude of connections between them are dense in the way a heavy fog is both tangible and not. Enchanting in its opacity, to avoid the conceptual rigor that Paul Makris demands is to deny oneself the potential for accessing the inaccessible, whether real or imagined. 

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 12.29.39 AM

Paul Makris is on view at the Chicago Artist’s Coalition from May 1 – May 21, 2015

(detail of “Location of Liu Ao’s Dream & Emperor Gaozu’s Conception” 2015  Oil Painting produced in Dafen Village, China 1st of 3rd sightings 36″ x 48″)

Opening Reception for COORDINATES: Graduate Design Show

Saturday, May 9

6PM to 8PM

33 S. State Street, 12th Floor

Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects

Coordinates features 41 works by graduating design students with: Master of Design in Designed Objects; Master of Design in Fashion, Body and Garment; Master of Architecture with an Emphasis in Interior Architecture; and Master of Architecture. A desire to situate oneself materializes between 28 South Wabash Avenue and the 12th floor of the Sullivan Center, 33 South State Street, the two nodes of SAIC’s 2015 Design Show. Coordinates celebrates the positions of 41 students whose work explores where we are in space and time. The answers are as diverse as their expressions, but they come together as fitting parts of one geography

Eli Bensusan (MDes 2015), Object of Presence, 2015, digital model

Eli Bensusan (MDes 2015), Object of Presence, 2015, digital model

TONIGHT: An Evening with Zackary Drucker

American trans artist Zackary Drucker presents “She Gone Rogue” (2012), an Alice-in-Wonderland-inspired narrative that weaves a history of trans feminine people, practices, and revolutionaries into its tale of identity exploration. A producer for the Golden Globe-winning series Transparent, as well as an artist working in performance, video, and photography, Drucker brings a funny, critical, disturbing and provocative new voice to American media.

“She Gone Rogue,” which was part of the 2014 Whitney Biennial, will be screened along with three other short pieces by Drucker, followed by a Q&A and reception with the artist.

This event is curated by Nicole Erin Morse with the support of the Film Studies Center’s Graduate Curatorial Grant, the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality’s Counter Cinema / Counter Media Project, the Office of LGBTQ Student Life, and the Karla Scherer Center for the Study of American Culture. It is affiliated with the Graduate Student Conference “Performing Bodies: Gesture, Affect, and Embodiment on Screen.”

Veronica Sines interviews Thomas Huston

Thomas Huston is a first year MFA candidate in the SAIC Print Media Department.

Untitled, 2015 Digital prints, pine, dimensions variable

Untitled, 2015
Digital prints, pine, dimensions variable

fort/da (detail), 2015 Mixed media, dimensions variable

fort/da (detail), 2015
Mixed media, dimensions variable

Six Suns, 2015 Thermodynamic paper, approx 8.5x10

Six Suns, 2015
Thermodynamic paper, approx 8.5×10″ each

Holy Face, 2015 Ink on vellum, 11x8.5

Holy Face, 2015
Ink on vellum, 11×8.5″

E-178 (Rev. 9-2003) Cat. No. 62249D, 2014  Digital print, 36x50

E-178 (Rev. 9-2003) Cat. No. 62249D, 2014
Digital print, 36×50″

The interview recording was lost before it could be transcribed due in part to flawed app design (and the interviewer’s negligence). The following are Thomas’s generously provided written responses to the guiding questions after the conversation had taken place.

This notion of ephemeral reality and the subsequent attempt to capture it parallels some of the themes discussed and acts as a metaphor for the duplications/repetitions/and re-interpretations found in Thomas’s work.

Can you describe your practice?

My practice is situated around contemporary image culture–the image saturated world in which we exist–where images are endlessly reproducible and malleable.  How does this nearly infinite access to images affect their “truth,” power, and meaning?  More and more I’ve been trying to complicate my own understanding of this “truth” value in images, working between many mediums to create situations in which images and objects begin to slip in their reference to each other.  These situations created in my studio then extend out into my experience in the world, where plastic bags drift through the city, getting caught in the branches of trees, creating a network of visual experiences that are distinct yet reference a larger, repeated trope.

How has your practice evolved since you began the mfa program in the fall?

When I came to SAIC I was making work that was conceived with a determined end result in mind.  Once I had created the system to generate the work, I could output it without having to make many subjective, personal decisions.  Since starting grad school I have challenged myself to make work that is intuitive and undetermined.  Working through, instead of towards, has allowed me to make decisions that surprise myself, create situations that I do not fully understand.

How does your knowledge of art history affect your approach to art making?

I have a BA in Art History, which as an artist I’ve found to be both a blessing and a curse.  I have a wealth of references and sources, but at the same time I think it can be easy to get caught up in “what’s been done.”  I try to be very careful about how I appropriate art historical content, using a light touch when I do so it doesn’t become a crutch to support the work.

Could you talk about your interest in patters/repetition/reproduction? 

I question whether repetition and patterns of reproduction increase meaning or diminish it.  When you repeat something enough times, does it become an empty sign?  I have been drawn to Praxiteles’ Aphrodite through this inquiry.  We know the sculpture through its many copies, none of which are exact, many of which are fragmentary, and all of which signify without a specific referent.  I am becoming more excited by chance repetition, an almost surrealist encounter of an image or object that unintentionally refers back to an unrelated experience, creating its own meaning.

Which artists have had the biggest influence on you?

Some artists I’ve been looking at and inspired by recently are Camille Henrot, Trisha Donnelly, Corin Hewitt, Francis Alÿs, and Alex Chitty (Printmedia Faculty), among many others.

What’s next??

This summer I’m excited to get a bit of distance from the critical academia of grad school and just spend a few months making and playing in my studio.  I also plan to start working on a project surrounding my hometown of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, which was home to one of the uranium enrichment plants that the US Government built as a part of the Manhattan Project during WWII.  I am especially interested in local folklore about a man named John Hendrix, “The Prophet of Oak Ridge,” who is said to have had visions foreseeing the development of “a huge factory…that will help win the greatest war there will ever be” some 30 years before the city and its nuclear facilities were developed.

Were The Eye Not Sunlike: Reflections on(to) Space and Time

Inspired by Chicago’s winters, Were The Eye Not Sunlike is a two part exhibition curated by Third Object. One part is an exhibition at Fernwey Gallery, and the other is a broadcast of three consecutive series on ACRE TV, video compilations meant to communicate the transitory experiences of different times of day: Sunrise (April 1st – April 19th), High Noon (April 19th – May 10th), and Sunset (May 10th – May 31st).  About one month ago we set our clocks back an hour, and we have been experiencing longer days ever since! 

IMG_3878Alas, more daylight does not mean more time. I missed the April 3rd Fernwey opening and decided to visit on an overcast Monday afternoon. I knew the gallery would be closed, but I also knew that it has an entirely glass facade. I thought it would be an interesting exercise in illumination.. Before my visit, I consulted my own personal light source/affective entity (my macbook). I watched a bit of ACRETV’s video stream and I read the exhibition’s accompanying publications; both of which seemed to support my selfish inclination to review an exhibition that was technically off duty. What I saw of the video stream was an empowering segment on dancers in their eighties who embodied a “why not” attitude, while Third Object’s text on the concurrent exhibitions begins with, “…the Sun is the obvious role model for the aspiring tyrant,” which is as true as it is comical.


Looking through my reflection into the darkened gallery, I can see only three quarters of the works described in Third Object’s text, including the powered down electronics: a slide projector and two TVs with black screens. I found myself considering the essay Danny Floyd wrote for the show, in which he describes how emptiness creates the potential for one’s own creation. Alternating between getting up close to the window, cupping my hands around my eyes to get a clearer look inside, and gazing at an amalgamation of the forms in the gallery with the reflections of the outside world; I focused deliberately on exploring all I could see. I optically permeated the gallery space as I stood on Division Street amongst the joggers and the people pushing strollers. Although unfair to the artists whose work I did not experience; the curatorial current of Were The Eye Not Sunlike penetrated the panes of glass, bathing my narcissism in awareness and appreciation.

internet awareness

In this video from June 2014, Robin Pekham, who co-curated the exhibition Art Post-Internet with Karen Archey, gives a comprehensive description of post-internet art and the considerations that went into producing the exhibition.

He provides many names for further reference; notably, the main contributors to the literature on post-internet art (Artie Vierkant, Seth Price, and Brad Troemel)  and the leading philosophers whose theories influence and validate the practice (Graham Harman, Reza Negarestani, and David Joselit).