August 31 - September 23
Opening Reception: Friday August 31 6-9 p.m.
“Of silver the slender knives, the delicate forks; of silver the salvers with silver trees chased in the silver of the hollows for collecting the gravy of roasts; of silver the triple-tiered fruit trays of three round dishes crowned by silver pomegranates; of silver the wine flagons hammered by craftsmen in silver; of silver the fish platters, a porgy of silver lying plumply on a seaweed lattice; of silver the saltcellars, of silver the nutcrackers, of silver the goblets, of silver the teaspoons engraved with initials...All these were being borne gradually, without haste -- carefully, so that silver should not bump against silver -- toward the glum, waiting penumbras of wooden cases, of slatted crates, of chest with stout locks, overseen by the master in his dressing gown, who made the silver ring from time to time when he urinated with stately stream, copious and percussive, well aimed into a silver chamber pot, the bottom decorated with a roguish silver eye soon blind by the foam which, reflecting the silver so intensely, ultimately seemed silvered itself...”
-- Concert Baroque, Alejo Carpentier
Alejo Carpentier, one of the most influential writers in Latin American literature, frames the opening passage of his well-known 1974 novel Concert Baroque in silver. The caricaturist description of excessive silverware not only conducted a cacophony of silver sound, but also alluded to the wealth of the New World – in particular, Mexico – due to silver mining. Mexico remains to be one of the world’s largest silver producers.
Borrowing the title of the novel, this solo exhibition features Mexican artist and filmmaker Adela Goldbard (b. 1979) and centers around her video that shares the same name. Concert Baroque is a two-channel video that documents mining activities at the Thornton Quarry, an aggregate quarry in South Illinois that used to supply limestone in the early 20th century for some of Chicago’s iconic architectures. Haunted by the ghostly cavity caused by sand mining in the mountain behind her childhood house in Mexico, Goldbard’s interest in issues related to mining is not only a visceral one but also deeply rooted in her belief that art is a form of resistance.
In this exhibition, Goldbard measures the ecological impact of mining and its kinship to capitalism through visual and auditory analogies. The incredible resemblance between the shape of the abandoned trading pit at the Chicago Board of Trade Building and that of the open-pit copper mine [NN: where?] led the artist to reflect the connection between extraction and transaction. Chicago as one of the largest and most diverse market for commodity trading is constantly converting back-and-forth resources and numbers, putting a price tag on every single ounce of mineral excavated from the ground. But how much does a gargantuan scar left on the surface of the earth cost? As the earth sinks, profits rise. The groans of heavy machinery, the clatters of rocks and stones, the rattling of gravels, the pounding at the wrecking yards...all these sounds unite and start to compose a very different baroque concert.
a video installation by Sophie Leddick
With a performance featuring Kyra Lehman and sound artist Ken Urbina July 13-29, 2018 Opening Reception: Friday, July 13, 6-9PM
If we remain at the heart of the image under consideration, we have the impression that, by staying in the motionlessness of its shell, the creature is preparing temporal explosions, not to say whirlwinds, of being.
––Gaston Bachelard, “Shells,” from The Poetics of Space
I started collecting shell memorabilia this last year, without knowing why. Maybe I am fascinated by their geometrical patterns. Golden mean, spirals, repetition, symmetry...the process of their formation is a phenomenon of nature, one that is beyond my imagination. Shells are found in burial grounds. There is an allegory of ground up shells on the beaches of Sicily giving birth to new shellfish – the ocean counterpart of the Phoenix rising from the ashes. They are blueprints for living beings. The vulnerable soul residing in the body is like the squishy animal living inside the shell.
The shell is a symbol of sound. I have feared the sound of my voice since childhood. Retreating into my body and being quiet is how I reacted to the intensity of the world. I still feel safe in silence. In silence I contemplate death, endings, the structure of love and how it is related to your heart. Your actual, physical heart. Like hearts, shells have chambers. Bachelard speaks about the Lithocardites dreamed up by J. B. Robinet. Lithocardites are heart shells, “rough drafts of a heart that will one day beat.”
9 years ago, my doctor discovered that I have a benign heart murmur through echocardiogram. Echo-cardio-gram. Echo of the heartbeat. In Greek mythology Echo gets punished by a jealous wife and loses her ability to speak; she can only repeat the last phrase of what she hears. Echo falls in love with Narcissus but is rejected by him, and she lives out the rest of her life in the solitude of the hilly earth contemplating her mortality. I imagine Echo laying in the dimple of a glen. She might have brought her hand to her heart and felt its beat under her skin and her rib bones, which sometimes feels paper thin. Perhaps the body should start to evolve so that the heart is protected a bit more. Perhaps I needed a dress of armor, one that allowed the heart to be placed into the body, covered, locked in place, and protected.
There is violence in emergence. The act of leaving a shell is painful and courageous. The act of utterance is imperative. So, why must we speak?
We must speak on behalf of our heart.
Sophie Leddick is a multi-media artist working in performance, film/video, and writing. The origins of her practice are rooted in classical ballet. Framed by the human condition, through language (writing) and movement (choreography) her work formally explores relationships between people, the inner self (the profundity of being and becoming), sound and the inadequacy of language for conditions like, loss, love, and grief, inner and exterior space (confinement, liminality), and physicalized metaphor. She earned her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
June 8 - 24, 2018
Bobby Gonzales | Lauren Steinberg
Possible time, unending liminality, an anxious lisp, potent moments, a retired self, former angst, age appropriate, weakened knees, a hanging gasp.
There is a moment where we begin to know time in a bodily sense. It is not an immediate shift, but a slow drip that leaks in. This plodding corporeal change sets off an awareness of our mortality and the slipperiness of permanence–we begin to know youth only as it has left us. While youth may have come and gone, there is always unfinished business. Our attempts to close the loop on unrequited love, endeavors incomplete, or trials never to be passed, pull us back to “what-ifs” and questions of potential time spent elsewhere, no matter the limits of our bodily capacity.
Famished Youth is a reverb; a crooked glance that returns to the pleasures and tropes of naive dreams. Through the reorientation time, distance, and age allow, Bobby Gonzales and Lauren Steinberg grapple with their younger efforts at forming identities. Attempts at capturing a self are tilted and focused. Somatic archives saturated with affect, desire, and longing are revisited, often with the same feelings that incited their creation. Fragments of earlier projects from their practices are reconsidered and expanded, either by tangent, reversal, or re-performance. These works provide a temporal fulcrum for understanding past selves, their residual presence, and how feelings often linger past youth’s supple bodily contours.
– Jameson Paige, Curator
Bobby Gonzales (b. Delran, NJ) is a multidisciplinary artist based in Chicago, IL, whose work explores the intersection of painting, performance, and photography. He received his BFA in painting from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and recently completed his MFA in photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Most recent exhibitions and performances include participation in Merce Cunningham’s “Field Dances” at the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN), group exhibitions at Das Institut für Alles Mögliche (Berlin, Germany), The Milwaukee Institute for Art and Design (Milwaukee, WI), The Galleries at Columbia University (New York, NY), Zurcher Studios (New York, NY) and solo exhibitions at Vox Populi artist collective, where he was an artist member from 2012-2014 (Philadelphia, PA). Bobby is currently a HATCH resident at the Chicago Artist Coalition.
Lauren Steinberg (b. New York, NY) is an interdisciplinary artist based in Chicago who graduated with an MFA in Performance from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She creates queer uncanny spaces by borrowing from her vocabulary of: endurance performance, clowning, stunt work, muscle memory, drag-king routines, inflation and deflation to question our set environments and expectations. She has performed at multiple locations including HEREarts Center New York, Mimosa House London and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.