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Elastic Arts is proud to present Triangulating Distances, a group show in conjunction with ACRE’s summer residency program. The exhibition features Alejandro Jimenez-Flores, Johana Moscoso, Mary Tremonte, Sharmyn Cruz Rivera + nibia pastrana santiago, curated by Jordan Martins. It runs from September 10th through November 13th, viewable during all of Elastic’s events and by appointment.
Artists Cooperative Residency and Exhibitions (ACRE) was founded in 2010 as a summer artist-residency program seeking to create a fertile territory for artists to not only experiment freely with their practice but also to cross-pollinate among one another. The artists in Triangulating Distances illustrate the ACRE program’s full gamut of creative practice, collaborative strategy, and geographical variety, with artists based in Chicago, Toronto, and Puerto Rico making work that is, at times, personal, political, ephemeral, formal, and practical. While the work here does not hover around a fixed theme, it invokes the complex network of exchange that its participants are engaged in, both in the context of the ACRE residency and outside of it.
Alejandro Jimenez-Flores arrives at his painted abstractions by circulating through physical and digital terrains, collecting various visual-semiotic fragments, and transcoding them onto his canvases. While his compositions are indebted to the more purely formalist traditions of modern painting, Jimenez-Flores constantly takes such painterly experimentation out of his studio to absorb fresh linguistic fragments. He states that “this process started as an impulse to slow down the persistent sign exchange happening around me and my personal involvement with it as a maker and consumer of signs.”
Colombian-born/Chicago-based performance/dance artist Johana Moscoso reinterprets personal and cultural rituals, heightening the communicative potential of bodies in motion. For the opening of Triangulating Distances, Moscoso will present a work developed at ACRE entitled “Lohs see-Eh-teh coh-LOH-rehs,” channeling memories of the Colombian island from where her mother’s family comes. She remembers that her grandmother had a ritual to “cool her off on hot days in San Andrés. On her vanity she had a box that contained a cotton applicator in which she used to put powder over her body. As she touched her skin with the cotton ball, white smoke emerged from her skin like magic. It was a powder as thin and volatile as baby powder. Thinking of this ritual reminded me of the impeccable white sand of San Andrés. When the waves roll over the sand on the beach you can begin to see one of the seven colors.”
Toronto-based Mary Tremonte uses various printmaking techniques to create large-scale and visually playful installations directed at political issues such as water rights, often as a member of the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative. Her installation of sculptural objects and silk-screened imagery “is a meditation on the simultaneous soft power and vulnerability of freshwater, looking to three of the Great Lakes as sites…. These freshwater reserves are arguably the greatest natural resources in North America, and are increasingly vulnerable to extraction by private corporations, such as Nestle and Coca-Cola, invasive species such as the zebra mussel, and pollution from industrial and fossil fuel extractive processes.”
Chicago-based curator Sharmyn Cruz Rivera and dancer/choreographer nibia pastrana santiago have been collaborating since 2006, when they met as undergraduates at the University of Puerto Rico in San Juan, where pastrana santiago is now based. At ACRE, they developed a project called “WATERSHED,” which they describe as “a collaborative practice using found objects, failed memories of archetypal Tropical and Americana imagery, and our bodies as conduit to negotiate the disparities of being Puerto Ricans in the Midwest.” For this exhibition, they will be reapproaching this collaborative practice in an event on November 11th, transforming Elastic’s space into a zone of mutated symbolism, improvised gestures, and participatory action. The sculptural “score” that their practice follows is on display for the full duration of the exhibition.
The eclectic modes of inquiry represented in this show reflect the plurality of practices at play in the contemporary art discourse, and the immediate synchronicities between the works are intriguing. Water is addressed as a passageway, as a body surrounding islands in two oceans, as a natural resource, as a sense memory poetically reinvoked through movement. Objects in Cruz Rivera’s and pastrana santiago’s “WATERSHED” operate as hypertextual talismans that allude both to specific cultural iconography and interpersonal experiences, echoing Jimenez-Flores’s process of refracting found marks into abstraction. Moscoso and Tremonte present individual dance and print projects, respectively, in this exhibition, but through their ACRE residency, they also explored the space between their practices to question what can emerge at the intersection of bodily movement and political movement. If the climate at ACRE allows for the thinking and activity of individual artists to spill over into one another’s territory, such cross-disciplinary promiscuity is on full display in Triangulating Distances.
Triangulating Distances is curated by Jordan Martins, visual arts programmer at Elastic.
Exhibition title: Triangulating Distances (an ACRE group show)
Artists: Alejandro Jimenez-Flores, Johana Moscoso (featured image), Mary Tremonte, Sharmyn Cruz Rivera + nibia pastrana santiago
September 10th–November 13th 2016
September 10th, 7-10pm
“WATERSHED” event with Sharmyn Cruz Rivera and nibia pastrana santiago: November 11th 8m