Chicago Artists Coalition is pleased to present Form Without Plan, a HATCH Projects exhibition featuring Colleen Keihm, Jacqueline Surdell, Kioto Aoki, Óscar I. González Díaz, Whit Forrester, and Yasmin Spiro. Through photography, performance, sculpture, installation, and fiber art, these artists examine relationships between the body and space, oscillating from physical to psychological registers.
As Elizabeth Grosz details in her book Architecture from the Outside, notions of the body often imply and produce notions of spatiality. To the extent that it is socially produced by human activity, space takes on a certain duality with the body, for example by representing projected images of corporeality or being measured spatiotemporally by parameters of the human form. Utilizing everyday gestures and unstylized performativity, Kioto Aoki creates an improvisational series of body movements to activate the space in front of her camera. The contorted structures and shapes in Jacqueline Surdell’s macramé hybrids of weaving, painting, and knotted rope emanate a rigorous physicality, while also referencing organic forms and a lineage of landscape painting. Conceptualizing the car as a camera within the filmic trance of driving, Whit Forrester’s photo sequences ponder our place within the natural realm and the webs of connection between all living things human and non-human – with highways themselves being both networking arteries and violent tools of imperialist expansion.
In a different direction, spaces may also produce and regulate human bodies in various ways, based on race, gender, class, and more. Discourses in neuro-architecture and psychogeography have pointed to affective spatial qualities and how they influence our experience – evident for example in our mental and cognitive sense of location and navigation. Continuing on a long-term research trajectory about systems of migration, Óscar I. González Díaz’s work plots localized patterns of mobility tied to socioeconomic factors, while also grappling with how mapping practices have historically been instruments for controlling bodies and spaces. Through a set of immersive installations, Yasmin Spiro explores how our understanding of place is channeled through sensory experience and memory, with particular emphasis on non-visual modes of developing familiarity and orientation. Meanwhile, Colleen Keihm’s pieces conjure a defamiliarization of space through gestures of layering, blending and interposing that rupture the perceived continuity of two-dimensional and three-dimensional planes.
Across these six artists’ works, the human figure is not always imaged or signified in a literal way, but is nonetheless undeniably present: Aoki’s fragments become a synecdoche for body and scene; Surdell’s painted forms evoke tendons, ligaments, and other aspects of bodily exertion; passing or pausing at Forrester’s panoramas is either mimicked by motion blur or a halted moment to potentially encounter the Divine in nature; González Díaz and Spiro both directly implicate the gallery viewer’s body in a multisensory experience; and Keihm’s spatial collages balance stark abstraction against a subtle tactility which perhaps helps ground the accompanying disorientation.
Form Without Plan is organized by Greg Ruffing.
Thursday, February 21, 2019, 5-8 pm
Colleen Keihm uses photography to generate spatially unclear constructions. If fabricated landscapes can become cultural artifacts, then her documents are attempting to shape an understanding of our present reality.
Jacqueline Surdell is an interdisciplinary artist and recovering athlete, having participated in competitive sport for over 10 years.
Surdell mobilizes her experiences as an athlete to interrogate coordinated uses of the body. Through performance, video, sculpture, and photography, Surdell questions the boundary between artist and athlete, challenging the internalized and gendered rules that give each meaning.
Surdell received her MFA in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and her BFA, cum laude, from Occidental College in Los Angeles. Surdell has shown internationally including Cleve Carney Art Gallery, Glen Ellyn, IL; Sullivan Gallery, Chicago, IL; and Galerie LeRoyer in Montreal, QC (upcoming). Surdell was juried for the Cleve Carney Art Gallery's ONE: Juried Emerging Artist Exhibit, and selected by curator Miranda Lash to participate in South Bend Museum of Art’s Biennial 29. Surdell is preparing for a solo show at Galerie LeRoyer in 2018.
Kioto Aoki is an analogue photographer and experimental filmmaker exploring different modes of perception via the nuances time, space, form, light and movement.
Her recent work investigates the space between the still and the moving image.
Óscar I. González Díaz was born in El Paso, TX. He grew up on the other side of the border in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, and because of this he has moved around a lot during his developmental years.
His artwork evokes the fleeting sense of relationships, it's senseless sentimentality and the relationships between self and environment. He is currently on residency in Berlin from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago where he is creating woodcut prints in Kurrent (a german script) for his show at the end of September.
Oscar has an MFA (2017) in Fiber and Material Studies from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. He holds a BA in Philosophy and Linguistics from The University of Texas at El Paso. He has exhibited in the USA, Mexico, Germany and S. Korea. He lives in Chicago, enjoys discussions about wallpapers and occasional displays of human kindness.
Whit Forrester lives in Chicago, grew up in Louisville, KY and received degrees from Oberlin and Columbia College.
They've exhibited widely, in both national and international contexts, and have a range of aesthetic interests that include: practices of accumulation, manifestations of power, human discourses around the transcendent and the material relationship between self and world. Forrester’s attention to the natural world and its agential capacity for queer subjects unites these diverse investments and provides the means with which to interrogate the implications of queering as a spiritual practice which is ultimately connected to ideas of new materialisms, hypothetical prematerialist paradigms and decolonization.
Yasmin Spiro (b. Kingston, Jamaica) is a 2014 transplant to Chicago from New York.
Working in installation, sculpture, film, drawing and mixed media, her work explores issues of cultural identity and socio-economic issues within the framework of urban development and social politics – often through the lens of Caribbean culture.
According to the late art historian Petrine Archer Shaw her work uses, “performative body parts and delicate drawings, tethered with umbilical-cord-like ropes as a way of charting personal journeys between different geographies and urban locations.” Recent work considers the city as organism and the urban environment – integrating personal issues of safety and cultural identity. Spiro’s work has been shown at galleries in the US and Jamaica and she is a founding member of the tART womens collective in NY (F2004). Her work has been covered in Art News, Washington Times, Miami Herald and others. She attended Pratt Institute for BFA and MFA studies.
Greg Ruffing is an artist, writer, organizer, and curator working on topics around the production of space at different scales – from the macro level of sociopolitical structures and architecture in the built environment, down to an emphasis on community, collaboration, and exchange on the interpersonal level.
Often looking critically or conceptually at the specifics of site and place, he has facilitated exhibitions and programming at venues such as The Perch, Public Access, SPACES (Ohio), and the upcoming Terrain Biennial. He recently completed a dual degree MFA in Photography and MA in Visual & Critical Studies from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.