Apr 3rd 2016


@ South of the Tracks

4223 W. Lake St #430, Chicago IL

Opening Sunday, April 3rd, from 2PM - 6PM

On view through Sunday, May 8th

It is with great pleasure for South of the Tracks to present, HOZHO, a group exhibition featuring recent works by Niki Johnson, Wendy Red Star, Zoe Berg, and Luis Francisco. This is Chicago-based curator, Emma Robbins’ first project with South of the Tracks.

The word hozho, defined as harmony, completeness, and balance, sits as a cornerstone within the Navajo language and yet its translation is anything but concrete. As a result of the fluidity of meaning ascribed to hozho, Robbins’ aim to achieve a holistic equilibrium from the asymmetry of human experience, weaves together photographs, video, and installations spanning from the state of Oaxaca to the Apsaalooke Nation, and everywhere else in these lands of the Americas. Through material transformation, the artists and Robbins investigate disparate portrayals of migration, cultural and familial histories, and the political identities of the artists, which speaks to the lack of uniformity of hozho while presenting the exacting beauty found at such a precarious moment in the US. In all, there is a commonality represented by the artists, that of bodies or figures moving forward as components within sets or communities.

The opening reception for HOZHO will take place April 3rd, 2 – 6pm at 4223 W. Lake St #430.

Emma Robbins is a Chicago-based artist, activist, educator and arts professional. Originally from the Navajo Nation, her main focus in her own research and curatorial work is a combination of both historical and contemporary issues that face Indigenous peoples both off and on the reservation. Her work, a mix of photography, textiles and costumes, combines humor with representations of First Peoples in pop culture, more particularly women.

She has curated several exhibitions at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Clutch Gallery, and supported exhibitions at This Is Not A Gallery in Buenos Aires and the Andrew Rafacz Gallery where she served as director for two years. She has been featured in Native Peoples Magazine and has lectured at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Harold Washington College, Lake Forest College and the Comfort Station.

Robbins completed her BFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a concentration in Fibers and Materials in 2013 and studied Contemporary and Modern Latin American Art in Argentina from 2007 – 2011. She is currently the director of the Monique Meloche Gallery.

Niki Johnson is an artist, curator and organizer. Raised in New Mexico, Johnson has spent her adult life living across the United States, including five-year stints in San Francisco, California, and Memphis, Tennessee. She received her BFA from the University of Memphis and MA/MFA degrees from the University of Wisconsin- Madison in Studio Art. In Wisconsin, Johnson has taught at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, curated local and national exhibitions, as well as founded MarKEt: Where MKE meets Art, an arts-based organization in the city. Her artwork is in the permanent collections of Madison Central Public Library, UW-Health’s American Center Hospital and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Reviews of Johnson’s artwork have been featured in The New York Times, The Guardian, Hyperallergic, and Vice Magazine, amongst other national and international media sources

Wendy Red Star is an artist living and working in Portland, Oregon. Red Star received her B.F.A. from Montana State University-Bozeman and her M.F.A from UCLA in 2006. She has exhibited both nationally and internationally. Her exhibitions include shows at the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Hallie Ford Museum, The Eiteljorg Museum, Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Domaine de Kerguéhennec, Portland Art Museum, Hood Art Museum, Missoula Art Museum, St. Louis Art Museum, National Museum of the American Indian-New York, Minneapolis Institute of Arts,Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Haw Gallery. She has been a visiting lecturer at a range of respected institutions, including the Figge Art Museum, The Banff Centre, National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne), Dartmouth College, CalArts, Oregon College of Art & Craft, Flagler College, Fairhaven College, and I.D.E.A. Space-Colorado College.

Over the course of her practice, Red Star has worked within and between the mediums of photography, sculpture, installation, and performance. Red Star’s work layers influences drawn from her background Apsáalooke (Crow), daily surroundings, aesthetic experiences, and collected ephemera.

Zoe Berg currently lives and works in Denton, Texas. Formative experiences include participating in an immersive semester-long field program, Land Arts of the American West (2012); taking a summer class at the Ox-Bow School of Art (2012); and attending ACRE, an artist residency located in the inspiring Driftless Area of Wisconsin (2014). Berg received a BFA from The University of Texas at Austin and was granted both the Roy Crane Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement in the Visual Arts and the UT System Regents’ Outstanding Arts and Humanities Award in 2013. In 2015, she received the Clare Hart DeGolyer Memorial Fund from the Dallas Museum of Art for performative practice.

Luis Francisco is a Chicago-based artist whose work extends from photography, sculpture, and installation. Earning a BFA from the School of the Art institute of Chicago in 2015, Francisco’s practice combines traditional materials and processes with contemporary methods of recording and fabrication. Francisco began to make and exhibit photographs in Mexico where he explored self-representation and personal history. Upon moving to Chicago, Francisco began to employ different methods of documentation and representation in order to address issues of identity, socio-economic status, and cultural change that occur during periods of migration.

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