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Last year was an eventful one for Team CG. We started up the year with awesome shows like Present Standard at the Chicago Cultural Center curated by the wonderful artists, Josue Pellot and Edra Soto. This show served as a contemporary survey of Chicago Latinx artists and was also one of the best curated shows of 2016. The images below were taken in front of Diana’s piece, Fleco.
See the following links for more press, images, and info on the show:
The Annual at Chicago Artist Coalition, also curated by Edra Soto ran at the same time as Chicago Art Expo. It was a big weekend in Chicago with lots of art to see and artists to meet! See images of both events here:
The StArt Up Art Fair was another very interesting event happening at the same time as Expo and The Annual. Artist and art guru, Paul Klein talks to artists, Edra Soto, Magalie Guerin, Juan Angel Chavez, Jenny Lam, and Tom Torluemke about What Matters. What are some of the core concepts that matter to this diverse group of relevant Chicago artists, and how money, professionalism, and community impact their practices.
Lastly, we wanted to dedicate this post to Diana’s aunt, Emmita. She was a mother to those of us who who needed one. Always there and up for anything. She was a friend, art supporter, and a late blooming artist, herself. Her parting was devastating but the void in our hearts will overflow with all of the beautiful memories and love she left for us. Rest in Peace.
A couple of weeks ago we released the first installment of Germinate. Karen Azarnia graciously let us into her studio and gave us an insight on curating Radiance at Woman Made Gallery and her own artwork. She mentioned the upcoming show for the artist in-residence, Paola Cabal at Riverside Art Center, where, like in Radiance, light would be the muse. Here is a little conversation with Paola about Crescent, the culmination of her residence at RAC.
A native of Bogotá, Colombia, Paola Cabal has lived in Chicago since 2001. Trained in observational realism, Cabal continues to implement responsive looking in her increasingly diverse practice, which includes site-specific installation, collaborative work, and more recently curating and writing in addition to her ongoing engagement with more traditional drawing media. Alongside her own art-making, Paola Cabal is an active member of the three-person collaborative (ƒ)utility projects and an educator at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and DePaul University.
Paola normally creates site specific installations tracking the transitions of daylight. For Crescent, at RAC , Cabal spent the night of 7.31 to 8.1 tracking the passing of the “blue moon” light through the gallery windows as it played with the architecture of the gallery. The end result: a series of shapes on both walls and floors that trick you into believing there is light coming into the room from multiple light sources. In actuality, all you are seeing are lightly painted ghosts of the light that used to be, making us think about the passage of time and fleeting moments.
“The not knowing and then the coming to an idea (the moonlight was a gift, I had no idea it would come into the space that way), and then working like mad to make that happen.”
DG: Is there anything you’d like to share about your process?
PC: Sure, there’s something that’s been on my mind since I had a conversation with Diane Simpson, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since: I had no idea what I was going to do at the Freeark Gallery before beginning my residency there. I had no idea. And lest that should sound cavalier or overconfident, let me also say that it stressed me out. I completed a residency at Ragdale in which I was thinking about this show; I got as far as building a scale model of the gallery space, but I *still* didn’t know what I was making.
So, I’m talking about the show with Diane Simpson and she is asking me what I plan to do, and I confess to her that I don’t know. Diane being Diane, and brilliant and sweet, she says “Oh, I’m sure you’ll come up with something great. I have total confidence in you… The thing about the way you work,” she remarked, “Is that you’re kind of inventing it from scratch each time. I don’t know how you do it.,” she said. “It would stress me out so much.”
DG: Yup. Site specific work is terrifying but super rewarding.
PC: I don’t know if it had occurred to me until that conversation though, that most people don’t work that way, that for most artists artistic production involves the creation of a series of discrete objects which are then placed in conversation with one another for a show, rather than dauntingly improvised and immediately responsive reactions to a specific place.
DG: Most site specific work is very responsive. You can plan up to a certain point but most of the time you have to get familiar with the space, listen to what it needs, and embrace whatever happens as you’re working. And when you are done, you feel like a rockstar.
PC: Rock star though, I mean, I wish! Something I think I do share with more traditional makers is the feeling of profound ambivalence that follows after I’ve made anything. As a site specific artist whose work only gets manifest, as such, in the form of a public exhibition, my work can almost be considered a series of public experiments. So I finish, usually sleep deprived, and I mean, I *hope* it’s ok? I think it’s good? Your friends who show up to your exhibition opening are not going to be like “Damn P, Y U make such crappy crap?” I mean, I do thankfully have one or two friends who would give me the straight dope, but for the most part everyone is going to smile and be gracious and wonderful, you know? So that’s little indication whether I’ve made something worth looking at.
Instead, I have to overcome my ambivalence by going back to my own show again and again, kind of making peace with what I would have liked to get to but didn’t, what I did get to but would have liked to do better, until the whole thing either holds up, finally, or collapses under the weight of my continued scrutiny.
I’m marginally better now but what this used to mean is that I would be the worlds’ worst self promoter. My ambivalence would run so deep and continuous and daunting that I wouldn’t even tell people I had a show up. And then like maybe a week before it would close, having finally wrestled myself into a position of affinity or agreement with what I’d made, *then* I’d tell some people that it was there.
In the Sculpture Garden, (ƒ)utility projects (a collaborative comprised of Paola Cabal, Michael Genge, and Chris Grieshaber), have a site specific installation where they merged the garden with the gallery, by incorporating walls, the surrounding trees, and natural night.
Crescent runs through October 3rd.
32 E Quincy St, Riverside, Illinois 60546
I’ve managed my online portfolio through OPP for quite a few years now. I love it because it’s easy to manage and it has quite a variety of templates and other cool features, but it wasn’t until a few months ago I found out they have a pretty legit blog full of wonderful interviews with some of the artists they host. I was approached by the talented, Stacia Yeapanis, who writes the interviews, to do one for the end of summer. It finally came out today. So here it is:
If you like to see the site, here is mine:
Dual World comes from W.E.B. DuBois’ concept of Double Consciousness. The title of the series is a play on the gaming term, dual wielding, for fighting with a weapon in each hand. The double exposure photos were made in-camera by shooting twice before advancing the film.
Templo Girasol, or Sunflower Temple, was shot last winter on Sunflower Lane in Hoffman Estates. The first exposure is my shadow over a temple that we carved out of a snow pile. The second is the reverse view of a sunset between the houses across the street. After developing, I liked the way the sky in the first shot came out as a rich and dark blue, making the orange of the sunset pop, as if it completes the sky in the second frame. I was also happy about the way the rooftops in the second frame broke up the color of the snow in a geometric way.
I get my color film developed at CSW Film Systems; the best kept secret in town.
We met Tempestt on a whime. She gave our friend, Angela Bryant, a platform to write about her studio practice so we reached out to her blog for possible collaborations. Our relationship with Sixty Inches from Center has since been a source of inspiration and growth. The last time we wrote about our work with them was leading up to Pay It Forward but we’ve stayed in contact since. Last month, Tempestt wrote an open letter to those of us that call Chicago home.
“This place, with all of its beauty and its faults. Embracing all of its messes that I willingly inherit. I love this city with a kind of love that is unexpected, constantly nurtured, frequently tested, and feverishly cultivated. One that embraces the complicated, unapologetic, stubborn, and enduring tangle of it.” T.Hazel – Sixty Inches from Center
It hasn’t been the easiest of times here but we stay to build something better. That’s not to say that displaced Chicagoans aren’t fighting the good fight, or that there aren’t circumstances that could pull us away from home. However, the unapologetic stubbornness Tempestt speaks of is etched deeper in our bones with each passing winter that we survive together. The lists that she lays out for reasons to stay and go are both heart wrenching and empowering. She’s a leader and an ally in the journey that we started 3 years ago. The nurturing space and social goldmine that she created in SIFC reciprocates the courage and opportunity that she gets from the community. We’ve been juggling a lot of different hats lately so there hasn’t been enough time to write about some of the victories we’ve had through our work with Sixty, so here’a a recap.
Finding Truth from the Inside by Mario Contreras
Two victories for me with this one. I graduated from Southern Illinois with to motivation to get published. The CG Project offered a chance to self-publish for some time before eventually making content for the Sixty Inches for Center blog. This piece in first issue of a digital magazine gave me a real sense of accomplishment which was amplified by the fact that they paid me to write it.
The second victory is that the first episode of my next documentary project was published as part of the post. The significance of this is two-fold: First, it shows that someone else believes in my project enough to stand behind it. Second, my documentary was published as a piece of contemporary art. To use her own words, I’m grateful that Tempestt is “…reaching out, pushing through, and breaking the limits I place on myself, and [giving] me the courage and opportunities to do so.”
Experiencing the Moment by Diana Gabriel
The second issue of the SIFC Magazine is called Ephemeral and it was a great chance to preserve a step in the relationship between Diana and Rita Grendze. A residency that they collaborated on through Water Street Studios was coming to an end and they both work in non-permanent art so they recorded a conversation while sorting through material for the piece that they’ll assemble next year.
The topics they cover are relevant to artists, audiences and curators. Ranging from how to take part in the process, why to program non-permanent art and what it is like to know your work won’t last forever. It’s also an important piece to anyone that’s interested in the ethics of consumption within art.
Contribute to Sixty Inches from Center
There’s an open call for submissions to the next issue of the SIFC Magazine. The theme for this quarter is Gatekeepers, Tempestt, Jenny and Reuben are very kind and supportive Gatekeepers but you might want to pitch them some experiences you’ve had with not-so-sympathetic Gatekeepers. Maybe you have a story about a time that you were charged with deciding who gets into a show… Whatever your story may be, they’ll pay you $50 if they publish your story.
“In February we’ll be launching an issue focused on the entities that facilitate the arts by publishing, teaching, funding, and promoting new works or stand between artists and access to these resources. Who decides what is created, and how? Is the power in the appropriate hands? If not, what can be done to rectify that? We want to explore the topic through one-on-one interviews with the gatekeepers themselves, through firsthand accounts from those who’ve been affected either positively or negatively by these issues, and through alternative routes around the gates being kept.
If you’ve got an idea for GATEKEEPERS, send us a clear and concise pitch by Monday, December 15. The more specific, the better. We’ll let you know if your pitch has been accepted by Friday, December 19, and your first draft will be due on Sunday, January 25. The issue will go live on Friday, February 20. Contributors will be paid $50 for a completed article.” – R.Westmaas – Sixty Inches from Center