Feb 8th 2014

Sarah Weber: Honor Your Poets

@ The Franklin

3522 W Franklin Blvd, Chicago IL

Opening Saturday, February 8th, from 6PM - 9PM

On view through Saturday, February 22nd

I really love Keith Richards, but I look more like Neil Young. Which is a stretch, I know, but we both appear angry when we’re thinking and have the same light brown, lanky hair. Both men are my poets. My fascination with their work and personas borders on obsessive and puts me, a young woman, in a defensive position when discussing my idol worship of two aging, male rockstars. When I look at photographs or watch videos of these artists, they seem at once familiar and impenetrable. I don’t know Neil Young or Keith Richards. What I know is what I have made: figures composed of myth and memories that have come from years of intimately experiencing their work. For me, Richards is Sway, the song I played every night the year I lived at 4 Sheffield Drive. Neil Young is my dad’s fringe jacket. Their work accompanies mine as I listen to their music and interviews in the studio. Through this artistic companionship, I have gained creative guides and reliable friends.

In her memoir Just Kids, Patti Smith recalls making a pilgrimage to Jim Morrison’s grave. While standing in the Paris cemetery, a woman yelled at her. “American! Why do you not honor your poets?” With this exhibition, I honor my poets but also assert my own presence. I began several of these pieces by appropriating photographs of Richards and Young. With aggressive actions, such as burning holes through fabric or ripping a Xerox transfer print, I am eager to make each found image or material my own. The physical presence of my hand fragments the male figures, and in some cases, obliterates them. Just as I manipulate the identities of both men, I distort their images to serve my needs.

Hero worship of rockstars, athletes, or actors should not be dismissed. The ability to intimately know and appreciate a stranger’s work is one of the greatest gifts of youth and art. I am young, and I have idols. My fixation with Richards and Young allows me to see enduring passion and lack of compromise. I claim creative lineage with my poets: two men who continue to make noise over the silence and look cool doing it.

SARAH WEBER (b. 1988) is an interdisciplinary artist currently living and working in Chicago. She received her M.F.A. from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 2011 and her B.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009. Her work has recently been exhibited at Rena Sternberg Gallery (Glencoe), Heaven Gallery (Chicago), Lloyd Dobler Gallery (Chicago), and Galerie Nord (Berlin). In 2013, Sarah was awarded the Ox-Bow Scholarship, funded by the Joan Mitchell Foundation. This solo exhibition will be Sarah’s second time showing at The Franklin.

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