Maya Cartland, Franka Del Santo, Sofia Diaz, Elle Erickson, Kathryn Sara, Grace Kang, Soyoung Lee, Pingyu Ma, Bean McGourty, Corrie Merrill, Aletta Ren,
Heekyung, Josh Spelman-Hall, Martel Tinsley w/ Stevie Stevens, and Amy Wilson
In Specks of Earth, we have approached this exhibition with ideas of nature, organism, symbiosis and hierarchy in mind. It is our belief that, although humans have worked towards isolating ourselves from natural systems, we are inseparable from the cycles of growth, labor, and decay that exist in all organic forms of life. While human systems may seem complex and expertly designed, they pale in comparison to longstanding natural phenomena. One teaspoon of dirt alone holds millions of organisms– tiny unicellular structures that coordinate with the complexity of our largest cities. Through this lens, the exhibition is meant reflect the expansive intricacy that connects our constructed world with the unseen, organic systems that sustain life as we know it.
With both strange and traditional elements, installation and 2D artworks, Specks of Earth attempts to deconstruct the hierarchical view of nature that puts humanity at the top. It is not our objective to reduce the human experience to a teaspoon of dirt, but rather to draw parallels between the macro and micro in hopes of revealing something normally imperceptible. Pulling together a diverse body of work and a group of artists of many of identities and backgrounds, our mission is to distort the scale, multiply perspectives, and vex viewers into new, unfamiliar understandings. Playing on familiarity and discomfort, we work to expose the complexity of our environments big and small, physical and social, as well as answer the questions that are posed by such a task. Who and what make up an environment? How is a space defined by visibility/invisibility? Where does labor take place and whom does it benefit? Where are undetectable forces at play? How can we acknowledge, honor, and challenge such forces? In Specks of Earth we hope to ask and explore these difficult question and more.
Specks of Earth has been organized, curated, and produced by the Exploring Professional Social Practices class at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, with the generous assistance of instructor Jimmy Bulosan and the organizers of Hairpin Gallery.