Archives for category: Artists

For Immediate Release

Curator/Contact: Ross Jordan, rjorda@saic.edu

In/Visible

A group exhibition at Co-Prosperity Sphere featuring:
Patrick Lichty
Wang Ye-Feng
Xie Jiankun
Jihoon Yoo

Opening reception:
Friday, July 13,  8:30 (sunset)

Co-Prosperity Sphere, Bridgeport
3219-21 South Morgan Street Chicago Illinois, 60608

Chicago-July 2012. What you don’t see, you get anyway.  An exhibition that reveals the paradoxes and uses of vision In/Visible opens at sunset (8:30pm) on Friday July 13 at Co-Prosperity Sphere,  The exhibition brings together artists Patrick Lichty, Wang Ye-Feng, Xie Jiankun, and Jihoon Yoo. Consisting of interactive animation, virtual “happenings,” augmented reality installation,and  haunting photography the exhibition presents artworks that crisscross the line between the virtual and the real and challenges the notion of what it means to see in the digital age.

Patrick Lichty, known for his work as the 3D animator member of the activist group, The Yes Men, uses technology (Augmented Reality) that allows him to install sculpture anywhere. A project that is in collaboration with Mark Skawarek, the installation augments the exhibition space and reveals the invisible information universe in the surrounding neighborhood, changing the reality we see through our own eyes. www.voyd.com/invisible

Wang Ye-Feng confronts the political propaganda in a multi-screen installation that mixes babies and military weapons. Delightfully disturbing, the projected images respond to viewers movements illustrating how our bodies, via our eyes, are implicated in nationalistic images. www.wangyefeng.com

Xie Jiankun’s quiet photographs of landscapes are barely visible.  Each image is punctuated by a bead of white light in a shadowy darkness that is zipping by. Viewing the photographs is a slow process of letting your eyes adjust to reveal the layered images. www.xiejiankun.com

Jihoon Yoo melts metallic digital bodies into each other. An intimate closeness and cold isolation is revealed all at once as one body conflates into another on a digital stage space. The video images are a theater of impossible bodies that speak to human relationships in a digital landscape that is all around us. www.jihoonyoo.com

This project is supported by a Community Arts Assistance Program grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and Illinois Art Council, a state agency.

RSVP Free
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In/Visible opens at sunset (8:30pm) on Friday, July 13 at Co-Prosperity Sphere and will be on view from July 13th through July 25.  In/Visible is curated by Ross Jordan. Co-Prosperity is located in Bridgeport at 3219-21 South Morgan Street Chicago Illinois, 60608.  The Co-Prosperity Sphere (C-PS) is an experimental cultural center presenting a public platform for art and ideas and an advocate for emerging art in all its forms.  Visit www.coprosperity.org to find out more.

 

Raquel Mendoza – A Space of Her Own

Linlin Chen

My first encounter with Raquel Mendoza was in the woodshop at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where we both worked as teaching assistants at the First Year Program’s Core Studio class. I was drawn to her bright smile and warm, outgoing personality immediately. She was a graduate student, one year my junior, majoring in sculpture. From then on, more laughter and works were produced by Mendoza in the shop, and our friendship simultaneously grew.

Mendoza’s works reveal her experience and experiments with physical and natural space and her curiosity and cognition of psychological and spiritual space. Brought up in a Mexican immigrant family in Southern California, Mendoza is from the same town as artist John Baldessari: National City, California. As she recalled in her statement, a private, personal space was a luxury rather than a matter of necessity in her household, where she is the youngest of eight children. Meanwhile, Mendoza said that she is fascinated by American culture’s obsession with largeness: “massive SUV cars, multi-story houses, and supersized meals.”[1] The fascination with cultural massiveness and her own childhood experience encouraged her to explore the size of physical spaces and the impact it takes on people’s inner world.

In her early works, with a witty and humorous approach, Mendoza transferred multiple spaces into a condensed space that looks reasonable than ridiculous. In Home (2006), she built a single narrow room that functions as kitchen, bathroom, living room, dining room, and bedroom. This may be inspired by her own household’s multi-functional living room, which was a public space for the family during the day and transferred to a bedroom for her brothers at night. In Mini Bar (2007), she built a tiny yet fully-functional bar in her father’s tool shed. Three to four people could squeeze in it and entertain themselves with a karaoke machine, television, and all kinds of drinks. These works are bright and cheerful, as well as honest and straightforward. Mendoza pays great attention to detail and these installations are well crafted with authentic small articles. They showed us the artist’s perception of using spaces in an efficient way.

The same concepts and approaches can also be found in Bomb Shelter (2006), an old refrigerator that has been built into a shelter to protect the imaginary nuclear bombs from North Korea; Fishing Boat (2007), a 17-foot boat that provides an entire fishing experience; as well as in Skate Park (2006) and Bedroom (2007).

Mendoza’s interest in and inquiry into personal and physical spaces later expanded to public and psychological spaces that often are associated with social and political events. This idea can be traced back to some of her earlier works, such as Sandinista (2006) and Bomb Shelter (2007). It was tested in her Entrance Exam (2008), which responded to a school shooting in Northern Illinois University. Yet it was not fully developed until her MFA graduation work, Leak (2009), which was “(i)nspired by the 2002 Moscow theater hostage crisis in which Chechen rebels held over-900 theater spectators during the second half of the celebration production Nord-Ost .”[2] Mendoza used white Plexiglas to build a structural model of the Dubrovka Theater, the venue of the tragedy. Then with the help of a water pump, plastic tubes and PVC pipes, she created a pumping system that would let oil leak from the entrance of the theater. It differs from Mendoza’s previous works, which are enriched by details and provide audience an experience. Leak features geometric structure and minimalism aesthetics. In an abstract and austere style, with contrast color, it signifies the dramatic and traumatic event. It offers the audience a spectator’s perspective, instead of inviting the latter to experience in the spaces created by the artist in her earlier works.

 

Looking closer into Mendoza’s works, we can find there is a hidden layer containing her special interest of using small mechanical devices. This sometimes encounters and parallels her inquiry of spaces, such as in Leak (2009). It is intensified in her recent works: Dump(ed) (2010) and Waitlisted (2010). These works show the shift and expansion of her interest to kinetic sculpture, environmental issues, and other related subject matters.

I am also mesmerized by the witty use and interpretation of ordinary objects in Mendoza’s works: in Park Bench (2007), she hid gums, potato chip bags, pens, notebooks and other small items in the arms of a park bench; in Boot Alarm (2009), she attached an LED light and wires on a pair of boots left outside an apartment; in unaired (2010), she painted a tape cassette with acrylic and altered the shape of the reel. These small daily objects are telling; they are themselves and metaphors. Mendoza’s sharpness and sensitivity let her capture these transient moments and beauty in our everyday life.

 

Mendoza is a prolific and diligent artist, which is proved by her tireless artistic pursuit after graduating from the School of the Art Institute. The works made after her MFA program bring us an earnest, serious artist’s portfolio, which is created in a space of the her own, yet can be experienced by a broader audience.



[1]  Artist Statement, Raquel Mendoza.

[2] Ibid.

www.raquelmendoza.com