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Yelling at the Sky

Yelling at the Sky

The Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation in partnership with Chicago Artists Coalition are proud to present the second exhibition of their joint Curatorial Fellowship program, Yelling at the Sky curated by La Keisha Leek with work by Robert Burnier, Zakkiyyah Najeebah, Lise Haller Baggesen Ross, Michiko Itatani, Darian Longmire, Victoria Martinez, Nicole Mauser, Cristiane Mohallem and Johana Moscoso.

Curator's Statement

Yelling at the Sky is an exhibition that explores the artistic practice of working through a void into resolve. The title is inspired by a 2011 independent film directed by Victoria Mahoney, which leads the audience through a young girl’s coming of age, discovering herself and the world around her through trial and error. When I began visiting the twenty-two grantees of the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, I found myself wanting to create an exhibition that was as inclusive and representative of as many visual art practices and artists as possible. There was no one answer. In talking with the artists, the common thread between my curatorial process and their practices was allowing the work to lead. In other words, finding meaning through process and experience.

Artist Robert Burnier is interested in beauty and manipulating structures through the act of repetition. The three works featured in the exhibition are representative of Burnier’s own manipulation of material and the outcome of its form when pushed to its limit. Cristiane Mohallem, also interested in beauty, uses the lens of environmental consciousness to investigate the relationship between people and the natural world. The sky, animals, and trees are recurring subjects in Mohallem’s work. The image of the tree in Violets Appear in a Pleasant Season is a layered embroidery of repetitive stitches, tracing a tree as it blooms from Winter to Spring. Environment also plays a significant role in Victoria Martinez’s work. Her sculpture, Sunday, embeds the story of her travels to the tops of the Sun and Moon Pyramids in Teotihuacan, Mexico. Here, the artist felt a spiritual solace with a higher power, creating a metaphysical connection between the self and the void. In pushing themselves and their practices, these artists have figuratively flung themselves to the universe with no more than the faith that it will yell back.

About the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation Curatorial Fellowship

Launched in 2016, the Curatorial Fellowship program offers an emerging curator who has completed Chicago Artist Coalition’s yearlong HATCH Projects a next-step in their professional development. The Curatorial Fellowship program charges the chosen curator to create a show with work selected from nonprofit visual arts galleries and organizations supported by the Foundation in the Chicago metropolitan area.

Visual Arts Organizations Represented

Chicago Artists Coalition, Heaven Gallery, High Concept Labs, Spudnik Press, Ragdale Foundation, Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, ACRE Residency, Roots & Culture, Woman Made Gallery, Elastic Arts Foundation, 6018North

Viewing is by appointment only.


La Keisha Leek is a writer, arts administrator and curator who graduated with a BA in Art History from Columbia College Chicago. Her interests are architecture, race, performance, and site-specific projects that investigate the ways bodies and objects offer up themselves, adapt to and negotiate their presence within spaces. She has used exhibitions as a way to negotiate the presence of language in space contributing texts to The Fifth Dimension at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, and groun(d) at the Arts Incubator in Washington Park, and recently curated the exhibition How to Make A Hood at the Arts Incubator, with concurrent documentation of the show in the 2014 Albert P. Weisman Award exhibition at Columbia College Chicago's Arcade Gallery.

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