All posts tagged: New York City

Intimate Justice: Hyegyeong Choi

“Intimate Justice” looks at the intersection of art and sex and how these actions intertwine to serve as a form of resistance, activism, and dialogue in the Chicago community. For this installment, we talked to Hyegyeong Choi in the summer over the phone about friends with benefits, violence in sex, and to formality in painting.  This interview has been edited for length and clarity.  S. Nicole Lane: You’re new to New York, but can you maybe talk about the city and the community there and if it differs any way from what you experienced? Hyegyeong Choi: Sure. I had such a strong community in Chicago from grad school at SAIC in Chicago. It was like a family environment. I know or see a lot of people whenever I go to openings. When I moved to New York, I only knew a few people here. My best friend, Seth Stolbun, who is also my collector said “It’s the same thing. You will know everyone since it’s a small world like you had in Chicago.” I had a …

Home to Self: An Interview with Preetika Rajgariah

When talking to artist Preetika Rajgariah about how she arrived at her most recent body of work, I was struck by how a lexicon of movement naturally developed. She spoke about the strategies her family used to recreate the feel, warmth, and comfort of a home that was thousands of miles and oceans away after they settled in the city of Houston. She talked about how travel and relocation punctuated significant shifts in her work. She told me how one of her most commercially successful bodies of work addresses concepts of migration and accumulation but also whispers to how, aesthetically, macro perspectives mimic the micro and cellular. But while motion might be one of the most immediately legible themes that one can draw out of her work, it is stillness that has actually allowed her practice to move forward in substantial and  illuminating ways. Having discernment around what advice, suggestions, constructive criticisms are valid and useful and which ones counter her progression has allowed her work to bloom in ways that disrupt her original understandings of …

This is a photograph of three copies of the book “Brea,” against a light background. Two lie flat in the left side of the frame, front cover and spine visible, and the third is upright, with only the front cover showing. The front cover image is an ink illustration of a young boy in close-up, straight-on, showing his face, chest, and parts of his arms. He wears a long-sleeved shirt and his hands are flipped upside-down over his eyes to form goggles, of sorts, with each thumb and forefinger. Courtesy of the artist.

Beyond the Page: Carlos Matallana

“Beyond the Page” digs into the process and practice of writers and artists who work at the intersection of literary arts and other fields. In March, I was honored to interview artist and educator Carlos Matallana about the development of his ongoing Manual of Violence project, the process of creating its fictional comic installment “Brea,” and how games, childhood, dreams, and more shape his work. Follow @tropipunk on Instagram and check out his presentation about “Brea” at the Hyde Park Art Center on Saturday, May 26, 2-4pm. This interview has been edited for length and clarity, and includes some spoilers about the book “Brea.” Marya Spont-Lemus: I guess I’d love to start by just hearing how long you’ve been making work in Chicago and what brought you here. Carlos Matallana: Well, I ended up in Chicago because I have old friends here in the city. But initially I moved from Bogotá to New York. I spent a couple of months, not even four months, in New York. I spent all my savings, and I tried …

Welcome to Goonswood: Visualizing the Just Out of Sight, Part 2

CB: When did you start painting? Why? G: ..I wanted memories to be created from it, to many people, but that s only because each person is different… CB: How did goons come about? What does goons mean to you? G: It’s either a completely imperfect self, or completely perfected. Because its like, I feel that creation is a reflection of who you yourself [are], a reflection of me, and just trying to feel different things, to be different things, but it always goes back to the same, and I feel that every creation has the whole inside of it. And I just think [putting] a goon on it signifies that. That [the goon] is my thought. CB: Can you say a little more about the goons, why you are sort of obsessed with them? G: Just because it’s […]a new species. CB: Is it a human? Reptilian? G: I ‘d say that reptilian is just underdeveloped human, and humans are just humans, and this is the next step. Although it would have reptilian qualities …

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 …

People Don’t Like to Read Art || [and they’re missing out]

Honestly, people don’t like to read in general. Art, specifically? From Jenny Holzer’s aphorisms projected throughout New York City to Kay Rosen’s recent Go Do Good installations in Chicago’s Loop, text-based art tends to grab viewers’ attention due to its relatively brazen nature. Contemporary art that is purely image-based is often met with objections of “I don’t get it,” or “Well, maybe the artist statement will explain this.” For those in search of a quick answer, text can provide that instant gratification. The written word, however, doesn’t always make things simpler, as Western Exhibitions’ latest show illustrates. With pieces that extend beyond the short phrases pervasive in contemporary art—guests are invited to peruse full-length novels, among other items—People Don’t Like to Read Art stretches the function of the gallery space and explores ways in which one can establish a more intimate connection with art. After attending the exhibition’s opening reception on July 9, I spoke with gallery director Scott Speh about the show and asked the artists for further insight into their works. People Don’t Like to …

"Frontispiece // The Uncanny Imagination": An Interview with Becket Flannery and Grant Ray, PART II

After wandering through Pilsen, Becket Flannery and I returned to ACRE Projects, where Grant Ray had finished hanging his work for The Uncanny Imagination. As Becket installed his collages for Frontispiece, Grant explained to me his interest in using the photographic medium as a means of documentation, of using scientific processes to present seemingly mundane information and consequently create a social, cultural dialogue. The following conversation proceeds from that explanation and is the second part of my interview with the two artists as they prepared for their exhibition opening. Read PART I here. Jenny Lam: How and when did you first become interested in this kind of documentation? Grant Ray: About a year after my undergraduate studies at the School of Visual Arts in New York, I was really influenced by Gregory Crewdson and Jeff Wall. I came from a street photography background in which I took photographs of things as they existed, and I got not bored with it, but interested in how I could use photography to tell a story that didn’t necessarily …

Just Scratching the Surface: Lisa Goesling

Lisa Goesling, another artist in the Chicago Artist Coalition residency program, has managed to literally create new meaning pertaining to how art fits into her life and career. Her seemingly microscopic scratchboards illustrate a variety of flowers and plant life that contrast equally the negative and positive black and white space. She illustrates such fragile and delicate images with such an abrasive technique. We had a short conversation and Lisa mentioned to me how the residency opportunity has given her the opportunity to really explore her artistic talent in a new direction. After listening to what Lisa had to say I now realize that it truly is amazing how art affects individuals differently. “I am an artist here and I am one of the lucky people to get to walk up to the Merchandise Mart every day and walk to the art space and be able to create. I feel unbelievably grateful to have this opportunity it came on the heals of my having cancer. That is how I started with the medium I use, …