Year: 2012

Welcome to Goonswood: Visualizing the Just Out of Sight

“Part reptile, part human, maybe they are angels,” Goons mused. He was reflecting on his creatures, also called goons, who he obsessively paints and draws in different settings, guises, outfits, and identities. The goons, marked by their iconic giant open mouths with thick lips, are electric, psychedelic, and whimsical creatures. Opening on October 5th, Welcome to Goonswood presented a prospective landscape peopled by Goons. In the interview I conducted with the artist, Goons the artist and goons the visual creatures he produces often melded and collided in our conversation, becoming one and the same, or sometimes different. Goons’s relationship with his art reminds us of the complexity of any art practice, but particularly art making with such an intimate relation to publicity. His work is simultaneously a scream for attention, with loud colors, fantastic scenes, and humor, and an illumination of the decidedly ordinary and universal capacity for spaces and people, to be lit up with creativity. Using rough surfaces, a manic process, and raw looking creatures, Goons expresses a utopian model of public art …

Attempts, Impulses and Talking With Fear, Revisited

  Forward motion is ineluctable. It is something that most of us accept as a part of life. Art-minded individuals tend to be particularly sensitive to this intrinsic vanward impulse, which makes the occasional chance to stop and reflect something to be appreciated. Almost two years after our initial interview about the series Talking With Fear About Dying Tomorrow, Matt Austin and I once again found ourselves in conversation about the photographic fragments of his travels several summers ago. Only this time around a selection of photos have been pulled from the series and placed within the context of  Everyday Always Trying, the inaugural exhibition of The Coat Check at David Weinberg Photography. Revisiting the past isn’t always easy or even desired, but we tried it anyway–perhaps channeling the ideas at the heart of the exhibition. Over drinks on a  warm fall evening, I got the opportunity to ask Matt about the different definitions of impulsive, the value in our attempts and who to call if you’re looking for a good time in Fargo. Tempestt …

Arresting Views of the Arrested: An Interview with Marcelo Grosman

It is not everyday that we are confronted by work that stops us in our tracks, works at our psyche and leaves us wanting more. When I first laid eyes on the work of Argentinian-born artist Marcelo Grosman, I couldn’t help but wonder who the artist was and who were the people in these spellbinding and unsettling images. Guilty!, the most recent show of Grosman’s work at The Mission Projects, brought together Chicago-specific works that used the open image source provided by the Illinois Department of Corrections Inmate Database to create a show that was not only visually arresting, but act as a window into the disturbing truths that weave themselves into our local and global systems of control. During his visit to Chicago in late September for Expo Chicago, I got the chance to speak with Marcelo and The Mission Projects director, Natalia Ferreyra, about his constantly evolving relationship with photography, process and purity in portraiture, and his desire to reinsert the aura back into the duplicated image. Tempestt Hazel: Before we get into the …

Cuddled Apples and Coital Rods: An Interview with Bobby Doherty

A twig resting precariously on a wrench propped against a bubble gum pink painted background. Two apples, one faded green and one bright red, nestled in a bright red and white stripe cloth. A man, with perfectly smooth and dark skin sits erect and upright, facing away from the camera, his back covered with neatly arranged baby-pink bows. Objects positioned (or mistakenly happened) into anthropomorphic affairs: cuddled apples, coital rods. In his photographs, Bobby Doherty simply states, Maybe Everything is About Love. Kate Korroch: In your artist statement you explain, “that  [the] moment when the photograph is taken is the only thing that really matters to [you].” That is a beautiful and poignant line that is especially interesting when considering the staged look of your photographs in your series Maybe Everything is About Love. Can you tell me a bit about your process and the balance between spontaneity and composition? Bobby Doherty: It’s all from the same place. Some things are set up, some things aren’t. Most of the stuff I try to put together …

Artist Profile: The One and Only Jeremy Fish

Sixty Inches From Center’s Exchange Partnerships are our chance to spread the word about others who are writing about and documenting art and artists in Chicago, and doing it so beautifully. We have been longtime fans of our friends at Gozamos.com and their coverage of Latino art and culture from here to Milwaukee and are happy to have them as a partner. This week Gozamos writer Terry Carlton interviews Jeremy Fish about his work and recent show at Rotofugi. Positioned across the street from Delilah’s and two doors down from the Republican campaign headquarters, Rotofugi sits on the corner of Lincoln and Racine (and has for the last two years since moving from their Ukrainian Village location on Chicago), unaffected by the hubbub and perfectly content slanging toys and living toy culture. Roto stands for the type of Western toy design-evolved from the traditionally Eastern Sofubi and Kaiju styles-found throughout the award-winning and internationally known store. Fugi stands for the owners’ dog, who you can find running around the store at any given moment. Hanging …

Expanding on Relationships with Everyday Items with David Brandon Geeting

  David Brandon Geeting is a Brooklyn-based photographer who has an interest in creating art from mundane, everyday objects.  Geeting moved from his home state of Pennsylvania to New York in order to pursue his BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts, which he completed in 2011.  His photography made its first appearance in Chicago earlier this year while taking part in the group show, Temporal Figuration, at LVL3 Gallery.  Geeting’s work will return again to Chicago and be featured in  November 2 show, Everyday Always Trying, the first show by the new curatorial project, the Coat Check, at David Weinberg Photography in River North.  The show is curated by Matt Avignone and will feature David’s series, Leaky Faucet Metronome. Lydia Shepard (LS): How did you get started with Photography? David Geeting (DG): I grew up in the suburbs of Bethlehem, PA.  It’s one of those places where there isn’t much for teenagers to do.  I played in bands in basements and skateboarded; I was into that scene.  My friends were always taking …

Arts Advocacy At Its Best & On the Wall: An Interview with Monique Meloche

Situated between Chicago’s Wicker Park and Ukrainian Village communities is Monique Meloche. The gallery’s on the wall program has become not only one of the freshest art windows in the area, but a conversation piece with which Meloche seeks to engage passersby. Here’s what Meloche had to say about the origins and future of this two-year old program, which seeks to not only encourage interest in the inner happenings of the gallery, but to also go beyond the walls and engage her community. Rehema Barber: Monique, so tell me about the on the wall program and how you came up with the idea. Monique Meloche: It just seems like so many times gallery’s push that front window up to the front of the window and just put the gallery’s name on that front wall and I felt like it was a missed opportunity, so I worked with the architect [of the space] and we figured out that if we pulled that wall back about three feet, there would be enough space for somebody to work …

Evanston’s Howard Street Gallery

Sixty Inches From Center’s Exchange Partnerships are our chance to spread the word about others who are writing about and documenting art and artists in Chicago, and doing it so beautifully. We have been longtime fans of our friends at Gozamos.com and their coverage of Latino art and culture from here to Milwaukee. This week we bring you a look into a brand new space in Evanston, Howard Street Gallery, through an article by Gozamos writer Andres Villela. Howard Street Gallery, located at 747 N. Howard St. in Evanston, brings to you street art in a refined form. It is a gallery and paint shop attempting to bring a positive message to the community. Howard Street Gallery is the combined effort of owners Tony P. and Yusuf. It was a business partnership that came from a like-minded vision to bring street art into the Chicago area art scene. Tony, a north side resident who has established creative ways to pursue his own artistic endeavors, had entertained the idea of opening such a gallery over a …

Sixty on Sixty: An Interview with Danielle Jackson

Since she started with Sixty, Danielle Jackson has shown undeniable dedication to the art and artists that she chooses to write about.  In her short time with us she has brought a refreshing and often playful edge to the archive through her conversations with artists like David Leggett, Michael Rea, Willy Chyr, Claire Ashley, Dutes Miller & Stan Shellabarger and Adelheid Mers. In the final days leading up to her departure to San Francisco to begin graduate school at California College of the Arts, Danielle and I sat down for brunch and revisited some of the most memorable moments of her interviews, the themes that will anchor her curatorial practice and her imagined future as the potential James Bond of the art world. TH: When did you realize that art was something you wanted to do as a career? DJ: I think I always knew it. But I originally started off in architecture. I got really frustrated with that, I felt really restricted because you’re designing for someone else. You’re not really doing what you …

Seeing the Unseen: An interview with Jeremy Bolen

How do we visualize what we cannot see; things that are scientifically proven to exist but are unable perceive with the naked human eye? Photographer, Jeremy Bolen uses his photographic process, a combination of science and art, to explore the unseen realm. In this interview we discussed his interest in the unseen, a bit of physics, some visual theory, and much more. Kate Korroch (KK): What inspired your interest in artistically documenting the unseen? Jeremy Bolen (JB): I guess it kind of began with an interest in exploring the apparatus. To create a site specific apparatus that could have a more intrinsic relationship, or collaboration, with the space or non- space. From the very beginning photography has been about capturing the unseen, about creating a different way of seeing, a new mode of observation and documentation. I have been rethinking the potential of the document and trying to create a more comprehensive, poignant document- a document with greater presence, a document incorporating the ontological. I spent some of my childhood living near Fermi-Lab, and when …

Clarissa Bonet: The Visual Artist behind the Camera

At 26 and not even a full year after graduating from Columbia College Chicago’s photography graduate program, Clarissa Bonet’s photographic series City Space has been praised. An award winning photographer, her work has been exhibited in Chicago, Florida, Paris, China, Israel, and published by the award winning photography magazine PDN (Photo District News), the Swiss Magazine Das Magazin, Booooooom, and Feature Shoot…to name a few. Clarissa possesses the ability to create work that is captivating and full of emotion. I had the pleasure of learning more about the visual artist behind the camera.     Sophia Nahli: When did you know you wanted to be a photographer? Clarissa Bonet: I started photography when I was in middle school. We had a little dark room in my school, so I started experimenting there, but I really got into photography when I was in high school. I knew my sophomore year of high school that photography was going to be my medium to work in. SN: Why is photography important to you? CB: That’s kind of a …

Explorations of Identity, Surroundings, & the World with Hannah Dunsirn

Hannah Dunsirn is a photography student at Columbia College, RAW artist, portrait photographer extraordinaire, and an all-around lovely person.  Hailing from a small town in Northeast Wisconsin, Hannah came to Chicago in 2009 to pursue her love for photography.  Hannah was recently featured at the RAW: Natural Born Artists September showcase, “Ensemble,” where she showed a beautiful series of photographs taken while traveling in India this past summer.  Past projects of hers explore the idea of personal identity and the process of adapting and changing the surrounding environment to one’s own, such as a place of employment.  Hannah is also deeply inspired by travel, as many of her photos reflect the discovery of new places, people and culture.  She has also made a zine featuring her series from India, and plans to continue to make zines in the future.  I met with Hannah at Cafecito in the South Loop, where we both enjoyed a delicious sandwich and chatted.  We discussed how she got started, her inspirations, her time at Columbia, and her plans for the …

Geoffrey Todd Smith and Josh Mannis at Western Exhibitions

Western Exhibitions opened two corresponding exhibits this month– Looker, a collection of Geoffrey Todd Smith’s intricate geometric paintings, and Fashion, a hypnotic video installation by Josh Mannis. Smith painstakingly works acrylic, gouache, and ink into colorful optical candy reminiscent of spirograph drawings and beadwork. Whimsical titles like Indecent Docent and The Flirtation Station provide the abstract works with an extra layer of intrigue. Some of the works sport neutral color schemes like cream and camel flirting with repetitions of black. The more color-saturated pieces are seldom consistently bright, but instead feature unexpected accents of subdued shades. The most captivating are the compositions with meticulous gel pen linework over  elliptical patterns, like the red-and-purple-schemed Gentlemen Crawler (Detail shown above. Image courtesy of Western Exhibitions).   Josh Mannis’s Fashion inhabits the second exhibit space deeper within the gallery. The domineering work features a dancer in a tracksuit and an altered Bob Gates mask cutting loose with no holds barred to catchy, scratchy house music. His plethora of party-appropriate dance skills is multiplied and layered in bouts of …

Shooting the Periphery: An all-nighter with Zane Davis

“Following the north branch from the edge of Skokie to the heart of downtown you see the complete transformation from a creek in a forest, to a drain for the city.” —Zane Davis on the Chicago River A dark and sober night makes me pay attention. Shadows hide the distracting details of daily life; the bits of light that are present guide my eyes. I meditate on the details as something seemingly ordinary transforms to something noteworthy. From industrial parks to deer sprinkled mid-western forests, the bridges dispersed along the Chicago River highlight the heterogeneous landscape of the great city. Zane Davis’s series Towards Wolf Point, gives the viewer a chance to see this. He shoots at night and invited me to go along for one of his “all-nighter” photo adventures. The plan for the evening was to jump into the rented convertible, Rosa, and shoot the Chicago River from the bridges on the city’s periphery. Around 10:00 P.M. we started at West 35th  Street and Ashland, the southernmost bridge crossing the Chicago River. Each …

A Spotlight on Michael "Dos Santos" Tousana

Michael Tousana is an up-and-coming musician and artist from Chicago who now resides in Queens, New York. Even though he is no longer in Chicago, his name is still being blown around the Windy City’s underground art and performance world. His work is hard to ignore. Whether it’s pieces like “Radiant Eyes” with vivid tears of color falling or “Higher Reach” which depicts a hand reaching out for something better, his art is more than eye catching. He has shown with the former art collective Chicago Artists Network (CAN), and his pieces have been on display at the Defibrillator in Wicker Park. Tony Jackson: What is your method? Michael Tousana: I don’t like to limit myself to just one outlet. When I have a certain vision I just put them together. For the most part I create them threw graphic design, painting or collaging images of my own or ones that I find. TJ: What types of art do you prefer and who inspires you most? MT: I like all art as a collective. My favorites as …

Did You See Heaven? WYSIWYG @ Peregrine Program

Peregrine Program is poised at a unique threshold of the Chicago art scene. While it’s certainly not an apartment gallery, located inside of an East Garfield Park studio building, the space lacks the sterile snap of a commercial space. The walls are white, but the exhibition space is rather small, best lending itself to one person installations and the viewing of small works. Usually, the openings spill into the hallway where artists congregate, converse and bump into each other while trying to enter the show. The current exhibition, Did You See Heaven: WYSIWYG, is the second of a series of thoughtful curatorial statements by Peregrine proprietor, Edmund Chia, made in response to artist Mary Heilmann’s titular question. The subtitle of the current iteration, WYSIWYG (or What you see is what you get), hinges on the possibility that there may be more to this abstract painting show than initially meets the eye. Now, I can hear you already: “not another 8.5 x 11 abstract painting show,” and usually I would be in agreement. Thankfully though, while …

Apocalypse 2012/Genesis 2013 // Jackson Junge Gallery

You hear a lot about the end of the world nowadays.  It is everywhere: the end of the Mayan calendar, global warming, and foreign conflict.  The apocalypse is a concept that has fascinated humankind for ages, and continues to captivate the imagination of many. Jackon Junge Gallery, located on Milwaukee Avenue in the Bucktown/Wicker Park area has taken that very concept and turned it in to the premise of their current exhibition, “Apocalypse 2012/Genesis 2013”.  The gallery hosted the show’s opening event on September 14.  The show is co-curated by Chris Jackson, Laura Junge, and Anna Vlaminck, and reflects upon the Mayan calendar along with the Nostradamus prediction that the world will end in 2012.  “Often we try to do a couple of shows a year that tie in with current events,” Chris Jackson, co-owner of the gallery, said about the show.  “We thought it would be interesting to do a group show base on those predictions because they are getting a lot of attention.” The show represents over 30 artists, both from Chicago and …

EXPO CHICAGO // An Interview with Tony Karman

This week, the art world’s glitterati will descend upon Chicago for a new contemporary art fair: Expo Chicago, The International Exposition of Contemporary/Modern Art & Design. Occupying Navy Pier’s colossal Festival Hall, the fair showcases a selection of top tier galleries—capped at 100—from around the globe. Also included are EXPOSURE, a section comprising younger galleries; IN/SITU, a presentation of large-scale installations and site-specific and performative works; the conclusion of /Dialogues, a series of panel discussions and conversations; and a VIP Program. Designed by the architecture studio of luminary Jeanne Gang, the fair’s floor plan mimics Chicago’s grid system, boasting gallery-lined streets that allow visitors to view everything in sequence without losing their way, as well as a diagonal avenue on which visitors can view select exhibits and installations. Hanging from the hall’s high ceilings are mammoth mirrored cones. While many may be curious as to whether Chicago can live up to the challenge of hosting such an event, some involved in the lively local art scene have a separate concern: Can the fair get out-of-town …

Caleb Weintraub’s Nightmarish Dreamscapes

Grotesque animals, violent battles, and neon colors–these are the things that nightmares are made of in Caleb Weintraub’s exhibit at the Peter Miller Gallery. Weintraub’s saturated oil paintings wander through mysterious storybook dystopias with motifs that walk the line between Disney and The Lord of the Flies. “To The Death” follows two tribal-clad, ostrich-riding children at war in the desert, the highlight being their painstakingly rendered determined expressions. A few steps away, the viewer is immersed in the terrifying whimsy by a colorful, cluttered, life-sized sculptural diorama called “Snowglobe-A Plastic Dream”—a clear plexiglass dome filled with a crocodile, ostriches, and a Moulin Rouge-style master of ceremonies, while children sporting animal skins peer out desperately for an escape.  The scene is made all the more unsettling by the fact that it is not fully enclosed–when attempting to walk deeper into the gallery the figures spill out of one open side, threatening to follow your path. The show is perhaps not one for the squeamish, but the depths of juvenile anxiety make for a fascinating journey. Caleb …

Black To The Future Series: An Interview with Cauleen Smith

Using a title borrowed from an essay by cultural critic Mark Dery, the Black To The Future Series is a sequence of interviews with artists whose practice has started to define a new generation of work in the realm of afrofuturism and afrosurrealism. Using a pointed series of questions, these interviews have been conducted to spark conversation, to hear various points of view on something that is constantly changing and transforming, and with the hopes of allowing the practitioners to be at the center of determining what these movements are. This week we get some insight from artist and filmmaker Cauleen Smith.  Cauleen has spent the past two years in Chicago researching and digging through the Alton Abraham Papers at the University of Chicago and music archives at the Experimental Sound Studio to find gems from the life of musician and philosopher Sun Ra, a key figure in the conversation around afrofuturism.  The results of her investigation can be seen in A Star Is A Seed, an installation and series of short films at the …

And Then She’s Like/And He Goes—And I Asked: An Interview with Chris Campe

And The She’s Like/And He Goes, an exhibition at A+D Gallery,that juxtaposes text-based and sound-based art to expose the rich layers of the media and content. Chris Campe, artist and curator of the exhibition, recently returned to Germany after completing her Master of Art in Visual and Critical Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In this interview Campe sheds light on curating from abroad, the unique combination of artworks, German compound nouns, and the relationship of letterforms, text and sound in art. Kate Korroch: First and foremost congratulations on the exhibition! Can you tell me a bit about your process in selecting the artists and their specific works? Chris Campe: Thanks! I am very excited about the show – all the more because I moved back to Hamburg before it opened and I haven’t actually seen it yet! The initial selection of the visual artists came about quite naturally – they are all my friends. I love their work and because we all use hand-rendered text in our images I felt …