Jan 14th 2011

Heads on Poles and Terrence Hannum: Negative Litanies

@ Western Exhibitions

119 N Peoria St, 2A, Chicago, IL 60607

Opening Friday, January 14th, from 5PM - 8PM

On view through Saturday, February 19th

The iconic display of a head, severed and mounted on a stick, is ubiquitous as a representation of ominous primordial savagery. Cliché in its references to cannibalistic ritual, human sacrifice or cautionary symbolism, its general structure also contains rich connotations to formal art- a 3-dimensional image-object, laden with material and conceptual possibility.

For the purposes of this project, curators Paul Nudd and Scott Wolniak have adopted the concept of Heads on Poles as an open guideline to direct broad responses from a large group of artists. Over four dozen artists, ranging widely in discipline and style, were invited to produce sculptures loosely based on the formula of Head On Pole, in any material. These totem-objects will be simply placed, as casually clustered bodies, throughout the main gallery space of Western Exhibitions.

Additional artists have been asked to respond to the same theme with graphic works for a concurrent print project.

Through collective effort and the idea that creative freedom can occur within structural uniformity, Nudd and Wolniak hope to achieve a complex and immersive spectacle. Diverse interpretations are anticipated, with possible outcomes such as conceptual objects, portraiture, obscenity, abstraction, political gestures, humor and horror. With no attempt on the part of the curators to control submissions after the initial call for participation, the final group of works will be a surprise for all.

Terence Hannum‘s drawings, paintings and video installations cull the periphery of heavy metal and hardcore music subcultures to analyze the nexus of music, myth, audience and ritual. In addition to the above work, Hannum is a prolific zine maker and for his show in Western Exhibitions’ Gallery 2, Hannum will present a box set of 12 zines, all made in 2010, as well as drawings, paintings and other work that inspired the publications.

Exemplifying the DIY spirit inherent in the scenes he’s documenting, his use of the zine relates to the format’s origin, that of the self-produced fanzine. Hannum recontextualizes elements of his drawings, paintings, installations and even sound work in his zines, at times documenting the above works, but also casting new narratives intrinsic to the multi-page format.

Every month in 2010 Hannum produced a new zine, each one taking a different format, maximizing the possibilities of the cheaply printed page. He achieves remarkable textures, surfaces and images through seemingly simple combinations of toner on white, black and gray papers. Every subsequent zine ups the ambition from the prior one, as Hannum experiments with color xeroxes, collaborations (with New York artist Scott Treleaven and Chicagoan Elijah Burgher), vellum, sealed wax covers, obi bands and mini-CDs. Hannum pushes the zine to its extremes, much like the extreme sonic scenes he’s documenting and influenced by.

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