MFA students share art here in Hyde Park, there in West LoopJosh Schonwald
For the first time, the soon-to-be graduates of the Department of Visual Arts MFA program will present their final group showing in two different venues simultaneously. A Hyde Park show will run from Saturday, April 28 to Sunday, June 10, at the Hyde Park Art Center, Second Floor, 5020 S. Cornell Ave., while a West Loop showing will take place at ThreeWallsSOLO, 119 N. Peoria St., from Friday, April 27 through Sunday, May 27.
This year’s show is titled “THERE.” The title brings with it the proposition that “HERE” inheres in “THERE.” “Here” being in Hyde Park, and “there” being the heart of Chicago’s contemporary art scene. “Or vice versa for the viewer who encounters the work downtown,” explained Dawna Schuld, an art history Ph.D. student who is working closely with the artists.
The show has two locations, in part, because the artists wanted to make a statement: “Putting our feet firmly down in both the West Loop and Hyde Park is a statement about the manifestation of an art practice that unfolds in relation to the demands of ‘the life of the mind’ in conjunction with the demands of the contemporary art scene and the gallery system.”
Leigh-Ann Pahapill describes her art as “using sculpture and video to create platforms for investigations where meaning making is continually excavated through looking.” Using devices of mediation to call attention to the arrested dimension of assembly, these ‘staging areas’ materialize the interstitial space between a base and a destination, where the unmaking and re-stabilization of the processes of metaphor are unceasing.
HL is a student exhibiting her work under the fictitious and generic pseudonym Ms. VB in order, she said, “to emphasize her interest in self-conscious constructions of subjectivity through information and aesthetic ideals in media.” As part of her exhibit, she will display a projected image of text, which, she explained, is a “personification of an authorial voice which embodies the approach to art” that she is taking in her exhibited work. She also will be exhibiting several “propped objects,” which will function as supports to display collections of source information related to her research about gender and media.
Much of Brian McNearney’s current art centers on the excavation of blues songs. He makes variable painting installations rooted in the idea of musical “versions.” McNearney describes his accumulated works as functioning “fragments of an impossible historical totality reinterpreted into the present.”
One of Carey Lin’s most recent pieces is a book constructed out of over three years of e-mails she has sent. She works through paintings and text-based works to investigate documents generated through everyday consumption and communication. Through her work, she examines a longing to ascribe meaning to the ordinary, while attempting to reframe this desire alongside the doubtfulness of such impulses. Negotiating between urges to memorialize the momentary and acknowledgments of certain obsolescence, Lin reconsiders what is cast out and what is taken in. Lin also will feature life-size, panel paintings of household garbage bags that she has been documenting for the last three months.
Neither monument nor memento, Zachary Cahill’s work draws on the movement between the two in the larger domain of memory. One of his most recent works was described by Schuld as something like “entering an urban snow globe.” Through claustrophobic sculptural installations, Cahill challenges the viewer to confront his or her own position in a current political climate that is fraught with contradiction.
Meredith Haggerty is a performance artist who seeks to explain the way the body works. She explores conscious movement within urban structures, where “willing participants” are provided with ephemeral tools for re-routing routine. Haggerty likes to revisit work that has been inspired by everyday life and somatic therapy.
The University’s Master of Fine Arts degree is a two-year interdisciplinary program that focuses on intensive critical dialogue. For more information, please visit the Department of Visual Arts Web site at http://dova.uchicago.edu/.
The ThreeWallsSOLO gallery is open from 1 to 5 p.m., Friday, and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The Hyde Park Art Center is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m., Sunday.