Chicago Artists Coalition is pleased to present A Rainbow in Curved Air, featuring HATCH Artist Residents Lesley Jackson, Meg Leary, and Matt Mancini.
“And then all wars ended / Arms of every kind were outlawed and the masses gladly contributed them to giant foundries in which they were melted down and the metal poured back into the earth / The Pentagon was turned on its side and painted purple, yellow & green / All boundaries were dissolved / The slaughter of animals was forbidden / The whole of lower Manhattan became a meadow in which unfortunates from the Bowery were allowed to live out their fantasies in the sunshine and were cured ...”
This is excerpted from the liner notes of composer Terry Riley's groundbreaking 1969 album A Rainbow in Curved Air, a masterpiece of both keyboard virtuosity and improvisation. Somewhere in the mix of technical mastery and the free-wheeling, hippy spirit emerges a utopian vision not only of peace but of personal happiness and pleasure. We often find improvisation steeped in utopian idealism. Sun Ra's revolutionary free jazz, for instance, spawned the Afro-futurist ethos of intergalactic emancipation, but it's important to remember that Sun Ra valued "precision and discipline” over total freedom. Matt Mancini, Lesley Jackson, and Meg Leary harness the extemporaneity of lived experience and channel it through carefully structured forms to evoke an alternative to the bleak political quagmires of this era.
A Rainbow in Curved Air is curated by Danny Floyd.
Lesley Jackson was born in Louisville, KY and earned her BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013. Her work has been shown recently at Efrain Lopez Gallery, Triumph, Heaven Gallery, Beautiful Gallery, and Cornerstore with solo exhibitions at 4th Ward Project Space and Born Nude Gallery. She participated in NADA New York in 2016 with SPF15 Exhibitions, and recently completed residencies at Haystack in Maine and Vermont Studio Center.
Meg Leary (b. 1978) is a Chicago-based performance, sound and visual artist. She began her career as an opera singer, which has since become the foundation for the visual and performative works she creates. Over the past decade, she has been developing a series of performances, videos, sculptures and compositions based on the public perception of the “diva.” These pieces examine issues of femininity, queerness, fatness and the human voice.
Leary has an MA degree in Performance Studies from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and an MFA degree in Performance Art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She received her BA from Smith College and vocal training at the Boston Conservatory. Additionally, she studied performance at the Moscow Art Theatre School in Russia. Her work has been shown at a variety of venues including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Gallery 400, EXPO Chicago, ACRE Gallery, SOHO House, Chicago Artists Coalition, Subterranean, NADA, Elastic Arts, The Hideout, The Whistler, Mana Contemporary, Kendall College of Art & Design, The Peanut Gallery, Links Hall, Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, and more.
Matt Mancini was born in Philadelphia, PA and currently lives and works in Chicago. His work is a a hodge-podge of fragmented language which ruminates somewhere between some good ole magical mystery ‘shit’ and dystopian certainty. He recently completed his MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2014 and holds a BFA from Rutgers University. He has recently shown at Little Berlin in Philadelphia, Julius Caesar, Fernway Gallery, LVL3, Ballroom Projects, Heaven Gallery, and Roots and Culture in Chicago.
Danny Floyd is a curator, artist, researcher, and educator based out of Chicago. He holds a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design, an MA in Visual & Critical Studies, and an MFA in Sculpture both from School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). His written and studio work deals with the social aspects of perceptual realms like weather, music, architecture, and mediated cultures. Danny currently teaches in the Visual & Critical Studies and Sculpture Departments at SAIC. In 2013, he founded Ballroom Projects and now co-directs Adler & Floyd, both artist-run initiatives on Chicago's South Side. He is also a curatorial fellow with ACRE Residency.