Come see the MFA Exhibition while you still can!

Posted in Public on Thursday, May 19th, 2011

The exhibition will be open to the public for just one more day. Spend some time with all the wonderful artwork before it comes down. Both Wabash and Sullivan Galleries will be open until tomorrow evening at 6pm. Come while you still can!

Wang Ye-fang Opening Night Performance

Posted in From the Guest Curators, Public on Thursday, May 12th, 2011

At the opening of the MFA Show on April 29, Wang Ye-fang (also known as Frank) put on an impromptu performance with a live llama on State Street in front of the Sullivan Galleries. He drew quite a crowd during rush hour. You can see a virtual reality piece by Frank in the North Sullivan Gallery as part of the Grand Bazaar.

IMPACT Performance Festival

Posted in From the Guest Curators on Friday, May 6th, 2011

Seven of the artists in this year’s Thesis Exhibition will be performing this weekend as part of the IMPACT Performance Festival. All of the performances bear some connection to the artists’ works as they exist in the gallery space. I’ve always been interested in performers decisions to manifest their work in ways that avoid traditional documentation, and I’m especially curious to see the relationships between the objects in the show and the live performers play out over the course of the night. Don’t miss it! More information is below.

-Bryce Dwyer, curator

IMPACT: Performance Festival
SAIC Performance Space and remote sites
280 S. Columbus Drive
May 7 and 8, 7:00 p.m.

Witness the next wave of performance art as SAIC graduate and undergraduate students completing their degrees in Performance present their thesis works, which cross the borders of theater, movement, and the visual arts. IMPACT brings together a dynamic selection of contemporary performance that is visceral, conceptual and embodied. The work on view pushes the hybrid boundaries of ephemeral practices and creates a unique experiential environment in constant flux. For two exuberant evenings, the artists will engage multiple sites within the building and within the audience as they explore architecture, myth, memory and process.

Featuring work by: Sebastian Alvarez, Lee Blalock, Vicki Fowler, Rae Langes, Jennifer Mills, Anthony Romero, Stuart Schmidt, Jillian Soto, and Georgia Wall.

Distinguished Alumni Guest MC: Joseph Ravens
Producers: Marissa Perel and Michael Fleming

TOUR: Both/And

Posted in From the Guest Curators, Public on Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Join artists Kate Hampel, Nancy Tien, Matthew Schlagbaum, Kristin Nason, and Gwynne Johnson at 5:00pm today (May 4) in the Sullivan Galleries for a tour of Both/And. The Sullivan Galleries are located on the 7th floor of 33 S. State Street.

Matthew Schlagbaum, "If Recollecting Were Forgetting," 2010, Frames, personal objects and plastic wrap

By questioning notions of stability, authenticity, value (both personal and social), and communication and its failure, the artists in Both/And explore the tenuous nature of our ability to lend concrete and stable meanings to people, objects, the environment and personal identity. They address our own fragile attempts to carveout places for ourselves within society’s limitations and boundaries.


Posted in Public on Saturday, April 30th, 2011

Conversation with BUNDLED A•PART

Posted in From the Curatorial Fellows, Interviews on Friday, April 29th, 2011

Curatorial fellow Jeannette Tremblay sat down with collaborative pairs Marissa Benedict and Luis Palacios (aka GRAFT) and Nicole Seisler and Liene Bosquê — who, as a foursome, make up the MFA exhibition group BUNDLED A•PART — to talk about their projects, their practices, and what happens when their time at SAIC comes to an end.

Here’s a snippet of the conversation:

JT: Nicole and Liene, you collaborate with publics and with spaces, and Marissa and Luis, you collaborate with environments and your environments collaborate, as well, with other mechanisms or structures. Can you talk about how that type of collaboration functions in your work?

MB: We’ve definitely come to a joint collaboration between ourselves but we force these living organisms or plants to collaborate with us — whether they choose to or not [laughs]. They seem to grow quite well so I don’t think they’re necessarily unhappy in this collaborative venture.

LP: It’s a dialogue. It’s an exchange. Both with each other and with these biological beings. They’re forced to collaborate, but at the same time, afterwards they engage — they engage the public and they engage us. So it becomes a collaboration, and in the end a very fruitful collaboration, in my mind.

"BRRGS Generation 1.2" by (GRAFT), Marissa Benedict and Luis Palacios, on view at 22 S. Wabash

MB: There is this interesting element too where with the major pieces that we’ve developed there’s maintenance or care necessary, so there’s this dialogue that we’ve been trying to develop — a kind of Mierle Laderman Ukeles way of ongoing manual maintenance. In this piece for the MFA show, we’ll be there everyday. When we’re there, we’re there to discuss with the public but when we’re not, it’s the plant that interfaces with the public. So there’s these different levels of us working with the plant, [us] working with the public, the plant working with the public and with us. And so it’s quite an interesting layered collaborative.

"City Souvenirs" by Nicole Seisler and Liene Bosquê

LB: I think for us it’s dealing with the public space. Part of the project is going to the streets and having this encounter with the pedestrians, so I think it’s also a way to invite people to collaborate with us and to participate.

NS: For us, I’m not sure if collaboration is the right word because I think it probably is more participation.

MB: With the public? The public participation?

NS: Yeah, exactly. I think there’s definitely a difference between how you guys [Luis and Marissa] collaborate and how we [Liene and I] collaborate. The way the public interfaces with us is very much for a moment. They are very much a part of the work, but I think more as a participant in that moment. And for us, that element developed with the project. As we did more walks, and people were approaching us and showing their curiosity, we really had to figure out what that element was for us. And it has become one of the most important parts of it.

Full recording coming soon.

Follow these projects here:

Exhibitions Staff T-Shirts

Posted in Public on Friday, April 29th, 2011

Sketches and Preparatory Drawings

Posted in From the Curatorial Fellows, Studio Visits on Friday, April 29th, 2011

In the months leading up to the MFA exhibition, the Curators and Curatorial Fellows conducted hundreds of studio visits (literally – there are 133 artists exhibiting this year and we visited most of them two or three times, more in some cases). Sometimes we were shown finished pieces, sometimes we were given a vague description, sometimes were shown a sketch. Below are some the sketches and preparatory drawings that Curatorial Fellow Rebecca Schlossberg rounded up.

Jonas Sebura with Alex Gartlemann

Alex Valentine

Samantha Topol

Monica Panzarino

Kang Joo Lee

Kim Walker

Joshua Sampson

Jae Young Kim

(GRAFT), Marissa Benedict and Luis Palacios

Emilie Crewe

Mitchell Chan

...and one from the Curatorial Team

Subject as Moving Target

Posted in From the Guest Curators on Friday, April 29th, 2011

The curated section Or Just After features artists who explore their subject matter tactically: some use myriad material approaches; others experiment with scale.  For all, subject is a moving target, and their works in the exhibition are framed as inquiries rather than finite statements.

Curious about the artists’ other works– the ones that didn’t make it into the MFA exhibition?  Here are some additional works by artists in Or Just After that didn’t make it into the exhibition:

Collage, by Ashley Thomas

Collage, by Ashley Thomas


Wintervention by Ellen Nielson

artists book by heather mcshane

Artist's Book by Heather McShane

bobbie meier

A sculpture by Bobbie Meier

Interview with Bobbi Meier

Posted in From the Guest Curators, Interviews on Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Interview with Bobbi Meier (MFA, Fiber & Material Studies)
by Jessica Cochran, guest curator

Bobbi Meier Installation View

Orbs and Cavities, Bobbi Meier

JC: You study in the Fiber & Materials department, but you are showing photography.  Can you describe the role of medium in your process? (ie, how/why do you move between sculpture and photography— could you do one with out the other?)

BM: Experimentation with materials as a means to involve my hand in the work and create meaning is an important aspect of my process. My initial interest in sculpture was as a meditative practice, making small objects out of polymer clay while riding the “L”. The sculptures are embedded with personal struggle, as I manipulate them into shapes and forms through tying, binding, stabbing, and using a variety of hard and soft materials.

The move to photography came out of a desire to entice the viewer into an invented world that is suggestive and provocative. With the camera I am able to control areas of investigation in my sculptures, offering images that are ambiguous and open to interpretation. The process between sculpture and photography in this body of work is intertwined to the point where one could not exist without the other.

JC: Your work in the MFA show is very corporeal but a couple works pull me out of that bodily realm, as they seem to point to ambiguous macro-landscapes.  Can you talk about what subject matter serves as your point of inquiry?  Are you most interested in representation or more of a sensorial experience?

BM: When I am in the studio creating these works I have noticed that so much of the imagery comes from a process of turning and moving my objects around, while analyzing them through the macro lens of the camera. The material used to make the sculptural source, scale, and composition, tend to dictate the reference to body or landscape. My intention is primarily sensorial even when the work is representational. I want the viewer to wonder and question the origin of the images. It is the engagement of sensibilities involving seduction, mystery and discomfort that I find interesting.

Bobbi Meier Installation View

Installation View, Bobbi Meier "Obs and Cavities"

Strangulated Orb by Bobbi Meier

Strangulated Orb (Bobbi Meier)

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