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Elastic Arts is pleased to present Gesamt, a retrospective exhibition showcasing the multi-faceted, collaborative project by Chicago-based artist Takashi Shallow, which will be on view January 10 – March 1, 2020.
Takashi Shallow identifies imagined and real hierarchies that he presents through found objects and social engagement. His practice takes shape in part as a “music-ish” label called Gesamt, a body of work that pursues collaborative, interdisciplinary art.
On view in the gallery will be a series of collaborative projects by Shallow and other practitioners that showcases Gesamt’s synergetic and transmedium processes. Self-described as “medium translations,” Gesamt is the result of a system in which ideas are transmitted through a series of exchanges (think exquisite corpse) to achieve mutual elevation. It emphasizes process and product equally, stressing that there is no hierarchy between mediums, authorship, or outcome, but rather a synthesis of ideas that create a Gesamtkunstwerk, or a total work of art.
As an artist and music producer, Shallow’s creative process functions transmedium and is steadfastly collaborative. Works on view will span the realms of 2-D, 3-D, sound, text, and installation. Shallow will also present a series of moving image works alongside a special DJ set for the opening party ST(ART UP) on January 10, 2020. Local DJ’s Hiroko Yamamura, Duane Powell and Jillian x will be on deck as well, contributing a variety of sounds from house music to techno that will further blur the relationship between producer and consumer.
Gesamt is a fascinating look at the practice of conceptual sharing, where the lines of authorship are obscured. In a similar way in which DJ’s remix music, Gesamt incites a process of call and response, in which both the makers and viewers are implicated into the work. The desire to shift ownership away from the artist allows us to rethink the separation between social roles and artistic mediums, towards a more egalitarian way of interacting with and thinking about artistic practice.
Gesamt is presented by Elastic Arts and curated by Alyssa Brubaker, Visual Arts Curatorial Resident.
About Takashi Shallow
Takashi Shallow’s work identifies imagined and real hierarchies that he presents through found objects and social engagement. Cultural signifiers with distinctly separate signifieds coexist in his installations. Professional and amateur contexts come together as the unacknowledged confronts the prestigious. Taking after artists and theorists like Tania Bruguera and Edward Said, Shallow works towards blurring polarities and creating new orientations. Shallow completed a BA in Fashion Design at Dominican University then an MFA at the University of Chicago where his experience as a teaching assistant for Theaster Gates inspired a new trajectory for his material gathering process. Shallow’s tenure working as a tailor and his experience coaching acrobatics also inform his practice. He teaches art and music at Purdue Northwest University and is a board member of the Chicago Japanese American Historical Society. Dazed Digital includes Shallow in the article “10 of the best Chicago artists right now” and The Arts Club of Chicago has named him a Visual Arts Fellow.
About Alyssa Brubaker, Elastic Arts Visual Arts Curatorial Resident
Alyssa Brubaker is an independent curator, graphic designer and DJ based out of Chicago, IL whose interests explore the intersections of art and music. She is the co-founder of the art and DJ collective Stylin’ Out Network. Recent curatorial projects include Jan Brugger: Devices to Stay Afloat at Elastic Arts, Keeping in Mind, a group show at Expo Chicago, and Design is a Verb at the Evanston Art Center. Brubaker holds a B.F.A. in Sculpture from Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA.
Event title: Gesamt
Opening Party: Friday, January 10, 2020, 10pm-4am
Closing Reception: Sunday, March 1, 2020, 2-5pm
Elastic Arts: elasticarts.org
Elastic Arts is a 501c(3) non-profit organization fostering artistic exploration from a versatile Chicago venue by programming and presenting multifaceted performance and exhibition.
Please join us in celebrating the opening of Jan Brugger‘s “Devices to Stay Afloat,” on view from October 5th to December 8th.
Chicago-based artist Jan Brugger’s work encompasses digital and sculptural compositions that speak to the screen’s influence on the human body and mind. Brugger’s immersive installations, collages and videos stimulate bodily interactions with screens and serve as a wry commentary on the oversaturation of social media, the internet and post-truth narratives that are present in our everyday lives.
Devices to Stay Afloat presents a series of new work that visualizes our collective angst and makes literal the sensation of a shared psychological weight. Using water as both a visual and thematic backdrop, the works on view speak to the therapeutic and catastrophic qualities of the element and are punctuated by a series of metaphorical prompts: sinking, floating, rising, drowning, melting and crashing.
Brugger’s Dadaesque collages–layered and complex–utilize visual media culture to suggest the structures of the unconscious mind. In a Jungian sense, perhaps they express a collective unconscious that is influenced by a psychic-gravitational pull by screens. Like a weight sinking, our eyes are glued, bouncing from one digital platform to the next as we tread water in this half-real/half-fantasy realm. If water is a symbol of our emotions, screens are our symbolic energy. In her series Treading Water, Brugger evokes the social and psychological disruption induced by the assimilation of new technology, where significant societal shifts occur when one world disintegrates as another takes its place, keeping us afloat, so-to-speak. In Egg Beaters, a body is seen suspended in water whilst remnants of an office environment populate the subterranean. In this dream-like collage, might we again consider the symbolism of water as it relates to Jung’s theory of the unconscious. As with bodies of water, we often only see the surface (which Jung states is a dimension that receives energy from the unconscious) but cannot easily see into its depths. By choosing to reveal what lies beneath, Brugger is suggesting that our collective experience should not be read simply at face value.
Other objects on view include sculptural ruins and a structure reminiscent of a glacier or a crashing wave, referencing the aftermath of some kind of downfall. Perhaps Brugger’s scenery suggests that of a “floating culture,” reminiscent of the post-apocalyptic Kevin Costner box office failure Waterworld, where devices to stay afloat are essential to sustaining life. Visual Waste (working title), a new series by Brugger, presents documentation of a floating sculptural installation on Chicago’s Lake Michigan. As of June 2019, Lake Michigan’s water level has reached an all-time high–a growing potential for destruction and erosion as a result of one of the wettest springs on record, shorter winters and snow caps melting earlier than usual due to rising global temperatures. On the adjacent wall, the exaggerated sculptural glacier protrudes, amassed by remnants of technology. Glaciers, often a symbol for climate change, hold powerful emotional, spiritual and psychological interpretations attributed to changing conditions. Here, Brugger is calling attention to a global feeling of ambivalence, a technologically-induced haze that is the byproduct of the overuse of devices and the oversharing of media. Where we are simultaneously frozen and hypnotized by the weight of information technology, its spreading power and our collective compulsion to communicate our angst through the sharing of memes.
Woven throughout the exhibition, Brugger employs a necessary amount of humor. What might appear to reference memes or that of “shitposting,” the works on view call attention to the ways in which millennials have developed an absurdist internet culture, a neo-Dadaist movement where memes are used as a cultural gage, holding symbolic value which allows us to process the world around us because according to the artist, “the world is absurd and things don’t make sense.” By connecting to this satirical approach to viewing life, the artist lifts the weight, if only temporarily, to lighten our sense of hopelessness in a time of nationalistic attitudes, political anxiety and the various forms of “isms” and “phobias” that are running rampant.
As we continue to grapple with the daily reminders of social, political and climatic destruction, Brugger dives deep to gather our shared angst and floats it, bringing our collective unconscious to the surface. By looking to nature, the artist reflects on the ways we endure as a society and how those actions have a global effect on our comprehension of the world. Whether your coping mechanisms include internet memes or bad dystopian 90’s movies, Devices to Stay Afloat is a timely reminder to keep our heads above water and to try to see the humor amidst the shifting tides of our millennial anxiety.
– Alyssa Brubaker, Elastic Visual Arts Curatorial Resident
Elastic Arts would like to welcome aboard Alyssa Brubaker, our new Visual Arts Curatorial Resident. Please join us in welcoming Alyssa to the Elastic community!
We would also like to thank our first Visual Arts Curatorial Resident, Kim Alpert, for lending her unique vision and talents to the space over the past year. Kim will remain actively involved with the space, with a focus on bringing more intermedia programming to our stage.
Alyssa Brubaker is an independent curator, graphic designer and DJ based out of Chicago, IL whose interests explore the intersections of art and music. She recently curated Design is a Verb at the Evanston Art Center in 2018 and what do rituals do? at Expo Chicago in 2018.
Brubaker is a co-founder of Stylin’ Out Network, a talent collective and community platform that supports and engages with emerging DJ’s, artists and dancers throughout the city. She is currently the Exhibitions Manager at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago and the Director of Design at the Evanston Art Center. Brubaker received a BFA in Sculpture from Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA.
Please stay tuned for more information about the first exhibition of Alyssa’s tenure, Jan Brugger’s Devices to Stay Afloat, opening October 6th!
Elastic Arts is pleased to announce “Lost Effect Cause Found”, an exhibition of solo work by Marine Tempels opening on Saturday, March 2. The opening will be part of Zoetic: A celebration of visual, aural, and botanic art, a collaborative event with Black Diamond and Ebimera Vines.
“Lost Effect Cause Found” explores the role of manmade environments in a world with rapidly changing weather and landscapes. The work is driven by questions such as, Do manmade landscapes and the conservation of natural environments work against each other as solutions to changing climates? and What options are available for maintaining beautiful landscapes and growing enough food as we race against the clock? These questions were inspired by two sources of information. First, a National Geographic article titled, “This Tiny Country Feeds the World”, which discusses how the Netherlands has become an agricultural giant through the use of large scale climate controlled farming and technology. This type of farming, despite using sustainable practices, appears to be in conflict with the think local, eat slow, small farms ideology, leaving one perplexed about the best way forward. The second source of information is the Garden By The Bay in Singapore. This magical garden, although joyous and wonderful, poses the question, Do manmade landscapes that inspire awe and beauty make it more difficult to preserve our natural landscapes? The complexity of our relationship to the natural world, and the unknowable effects of our actions, inspired this work.
The intent of the artwork is to evoke a sense of awe and exploration similarly to manmade parks and farms, but also to inspire inquiry and reflection. The paintings are meant to feel familiar, but they do not reflect specific places in our world; rather, they explore ideologies and emotions evoked by certain kinds of places.
Marine Tempels is a Belgian-American artist living in Chicago, IL. Marine believes art is a powerful tool for learning and healing, and approaches painting as a meditative practice to explore ideas and questions. Her most recent body of work, Lost Effect Cause Found, explores the role of manmade environments in a world with rapidly changing weather and landscapes. Marine’s paintings feel familiar, but do not portray specific places. Rather, they explore ideologies and emotions evoked by certain kinds of places.
Reception: SATURDAY, MARCH 2nd | 6 PM
Artist Highlight (Marine Tempels & Nyabweza Itaagi): WEDNESDAY, APRIL 3rd | 5:30 PM
Elastic Arts is pleased to announce “Intellectual Property”, an exhibition of solo work by Julia Dratel opening on Wednesday, September 19.
“Intellectual Property” is a collection of photographs (film and digital), moving images, and words by Julia Dratel that are caught in the ongoing negotiation of internal and external worlds. The assembled works together form ruminations and queries into trauma and memory, capitalism and social control, kinds of information and kinds of taking up space, family, and portraits of the living and nonliving. She is interested in blurring still life, the intimacy of documentary, and performance through imagery that is both casual and surreal.
Species among us understand
the buoyancy: not
rising but a refusal
to sink, a long
Julia Dratel grew up in New York City and lives in Chicago. She studied Cinema & Media Studies at the University of Chicago. She is a photographer, filmmaker, writer, producer/organizer, DJ, drinker of iced coffee year-round, and bug-lover.
Her work has appeared in/at The Wire, The Chicago Reader, Jezebel, Denver Quarterly, Tone Glow, the Ann Arbor Film Festival, Render International Music Video Festival (Vancouver, BC), Fridman Gallery (NYC), Sol Koffler Gallery (Rhode Island School of Design), Elastic Arts (where she also produces experimental performance & community programming), the Hideout, and elsewhere. She also regularly collaborates with musicians and visual artists, with recent projects including a video installation with The Weaving Mill, a music video with Mind Over Mirrors, and album art for Devouring the Guilt, Ken Vandermark’s Marker, and Circuit Des Yeux. She has also made a feature-length experimental documentary/oral history film, Battery Park City, about her neighbors’ first-hand experiences of September 11th, 2001 and the nature of communicating traumatic experience.
Dratel is also currently the in-house video producer at Thrill Jockey Records. She DJs a weekly radio show “Souled & New” on WHPK and co-produces a monthly comedy-and-leftist-organizing showcase Monkey Wrench with Arish Singh. She has also done video/multimedia work on behalf of defense for people fighting incarceration.
Reception: SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22nd | 4 PM
Elastic Arts is pleased to announce Protection, an exhibition by Jacquelyn Carmen Guerrero opening on Saturday, March 10.
Protection is a solo exhibition by artist Jacquelyn Carmen Guerrero that will recontextualize and reimagine protective talismans, symbols, and practices from the Caribbean diaspora. The artist will simultaneously explore the connections between Caribbean and global themes in protective symbolism and practices. The exhibition will open March 10 at Elastic Arts with an educational performance and sound piece by Guerrero.
Jacquelyn Carmen Guerrero, aka CQQCHIFRUIT, is an artist, DJ, performer, and reiki practitioner originally from Miami, FL. Their practice centers on rediscovering and reclaiming the cultural, spiritual, and artistic legacies of her queer, AfroCuban, and Puerto-Rican intersection. They are a cofounder of TRQPITECA.
Reception: SATURDAY, MARCH 10th | 7 PM
Elastic Arts is pleased to announce PAZ: Piñatas & Zines, an exhibition by Oscar Arriola, opening on Saturday, December 9.
In PAZ: Piñatas & Zines, Oscar Arriola uncovers latent potentialities in a conceptual congruence between seemingly unrelated uses of paper. He shows us that there are more connections between piñatas and zines than we might see at first glance. Both are vernacular forms that are emblematic of the communities who use them. Both are inert and unfulfilled without people to activate them. Each object functions – gathering and circulating people in its own way – and becomes an anchor point for the social cohesion by which a community constitutes itself. If zines have often been used to connect communities with esoteric interests and musings dispersed across wide geographies, piñatas perform the blunt task of punctuating a space and marking those gathered there, however briefly, as a community of celebrants. Between these two traditions we see paper used as a surface to encode information and as a cheap material to be dyed and layered to generate expressive forms. Arriola challenges us to envision zines as objects to be exploded open ecstatically, with kids scurrying around to gather up the treats hidden within them; to ask what genealogies of craft and deft economies of material can be made legible in piñatas if we examine them as a sprawling archive of forms passed down through families and local customs. PAZ: Piñatas & Zines will include photos by Adam Jason Cohen and Leo Godoy; piñatas by Oscar Arriola, Celina Rivera, Julia Banderas, and Pau Venadito; paintings by The Viking, Brooks Golden, J. Otto Seibold; prints by CHema Skandal!; and images from zines by Andrew Shirley, Keith Herzik, Tom Guenther, Desilu Muñoz, Joe Alone, Edie Fake; and others.
Oscar Arriola, in many ways, typifies Chicago’s characteristic collaborative and trans-displinary modality of -making, not only in the way his feet are planted in a variety of disciplines (photography, DIY culture, library science) but also in the way he aggregates people within those scenes and amplifies the visibility of their efforts. His ZINEmercado festival (organized with CHema Skandal) brings together DIY publishers from a variety of styles and backgrounds, showing both the breadth of the zine genre and the way it is refracted and interpreted through different sub-genres and sub-cultures. The sticker-drawing events he has programmed at various spaces (from DIY spots, to the MCA) emphasize the simple pleasure of people gathered in a space drawing together. Even his social media activity on demonstrates an unbelievably rigorous, real-time documentation of a wide gamut of Chicago art culture: museum shows, vernacular sign painters, commercial gallery openings, agitprop at political rallies, Virgin Mary murals inside mechanic shops, dance parties, skateboard designs, experimental electronic music concerts, graffiti-tag language fragments, interior shots of commercial printing presses, and more. Ariola’s work emphasizes the need to question how some cultural products garner serious consideration from art gatekeepers and others don’t.
Reception: SATURDAY, DECEMBER 9th | 7 PM
Elastic Arts is pleased to announce Vesseling, an exhibition by Chris Zain & Daniel Hojnacki, with an opening reception on Saturday, September 23rd.
Zain and Hojnacki explore the nature of vessels—their affordances but also their limitations—whether they be architectural, corporeal, or even conceptual. Of special interest is the process of corruption, decay and degradation that takes place when ideas are reproduced or transferred from one vessel or medium to another. This interrelationship between reproduction and transmutation offers fertile ground for thinking through the artists’ unique cross-media collaboration. Zain and Hojnacki’s exhibition will navigate the interstitial space between their respective mediums of sculpture and photography, exploring how light and other qualities might be used to sculpt images and how sculpture might in turn function imagistically.
Zain and Hojnacki’s exhibition will navigate the interstitial space between their respective mediums of sculpture and photography, exploring how light and other qualities might be used to sculpt images and how sculpture might in turn function imagistically. Each artist provided pieces from their process to the other to be manipulated or re-used somehow: Zain’s ceramic pieces were employed by Hojnacki in his darkroom photographic practice, which is based on a complex photogram process shifting 3D forms into 2D abstractions. Zain, in turn, has used Hojnacki’s prints in a variety of ways to re-constitute them in her ceramic sculptures through tearing, transferring, and other methods. By improvising with one another’s raw material, their collaboration creates a distinct body of work that locates new pathways out of their individual practices.
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. Zain holds a BA in Art History and Journalism from Loyola University Chicago, and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Daniel Hojnacki’s use of photography is driven by material experimentation embodying the investigation into the elusive act of memory. His main source is the archived image and the domestic forgotten landscape. Hojnacki uses found photographs to re-interpret one’s memories into abstracted imagery to convey the confusing and often difficult processes of remembering. Hojnacki uses antiquated techniques and technology of slide projection and exploration of the conventional darkroom. Hojnacki’s practice is persistent on creating works that speak to the inherent role photography plays in how our memories are collected and remembered.
Hojnacki is an educator for youth in the Chicago area at After School Matters and Marwen Foundation.
Artist: Chris Zain & Daniel Hojnacki
Exhibition title: Vesseling
Opening Reception: SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 23RD | 7 PM
Elastic’s visual arts program is curated by Jordan Martins.
Elastic Arts is pleased to announce Containers, an exhibition and residency by The Weaving Mill, showing June 1st – August 25th.
The Weaving Mill’s exhibition will consist of drawings, paintings, fabric, and text exploring subjects like permutation, animation, and sequence, gradation versus constants, and the visibility of process.
Over the course of the exhibition, The Weaving Mill will host a series of events centered around the exhibition’s central questions: Where do you start? Where do you stop? When does scale begin to matter? What are your tools and what are the terms? Who’s looking for what? Events include short film screenings, open studios, and artist talks.
The Weaving Mill is the collaborative studio of Matti Sloman and Emily Winter. Matti Sloman (b. 1985) received her MFA in Textiles and a BFA in Painting from Rhode Island School of Design. Emily Winter (b. 1987) received her MFA in Textiles from Rhode Island School of Design and a BA in History from University of Chicago. Working with people of diverse textile experience, The Weaving Mill aims to fill the space between the hand and industrially made and bring the mechanics of textile production into wider view.
Artist: The Weaving Mill
Exhibition title: Containers
Exhibition Dates: on view at all events beginning June 1st through August 25th and by appointment
Reception & Performance:
FRIDAY, JUNE 9TH
7 PM Exhibition/Residency Reception for the Weaving Mill’s “Containers”
9 PM Elastro Electro/Acoustic Series: MT Coast, Martin Freeman, Patrick Cain
Artist in Residence Events:
TUESDAY, JUNE 20TH | 9 PM
The Weaving Mill presents Short Films on Systems
TUESDAY, JULY 18TH | 7 PM
Open Studio Annex with The Weaving Mill
TUESDAY, JULY 25TH | 9 PM
The Weaving Mill presents Floorplan by Julia Dratel, Andrew Clinkman, Peter Damm
TUESDAY, AUGUST 8TH | 9 PM
The Weaving Mill presents a film screening by MT Coast
TUESDAY, AUGUST 22ND | 8 PM
Artist Talk with The Weaving Mill
Artist Website: http://www.theweavingmill.com/
Elastic’s visual arts program is curated by Jordan Martins.
Elastic Arts is pleased to announce Coffee Grounds and Consequences, an exhibition by Selina Trepp.
Trepp’s exhibition will revolve around an installation and a projection, both of which will change continually over the duration of the show’s 3 months.
Over the course of the exhibition, Trepp will create new animations that are projected in the space as well as distributed online. These animations are short loops, they take up little bandwidth, and are made for web distribution. They are public service announcements that speak to our present political moment, pondering the question of what artistic communities can do and should be doing in the context of the backdrop of recent swings in the country’s socio-political pendulum, while offering positive feedback and encouragement. The videos are an antidote. The installation, meanwhile, reconstitutes a personal experience the artist had over 15 years ago involving fortune-telling via coffee grounds:
In 2001 I spent the night Arielle’s house in London. At the time she lived with Banu, who is a pro coffee grounds reader. Banu offered to read my cup, but when she saw the cup she said that she couldn’t read it after all. She was obviously a bit freaked out, and so was I. After some prodding she said that she could tell me some things, but that it was difficult because my cup was entirely covered by a dense pattern. There were no distinctive zones in that cup. Reading cups is based on zones, their contents and relationships. My cup refused this mode of reading. She had three things to say:
1. I would be successful in my art career by the time I’m 38.
2. My success wouldn’t be about money or glory.
3. I am incapable of compartmentalization in any area of my life. Everything is connected.
Together, the animation and the installation act as mapping out of the interconnections between Trepp’s studio practice, conceptual provocations, and political impetus. As both are altered over the next three months, the artist will re-calibrate in real time how each piece relates to the other.
Exhibition Dates: on view at all events and Thursdays 1-4pm from March 13th through May 27th (and by appointment during this time)
Reception: Sunday April 2nd 3-6pm
Artist Website: www.selinatrepp.info
Elastic’s visual arts program is curated by Jordan Martins.