Mar 5th 2023

Artist Talk: Concentrate and Ask Again

@ Heaven Gallery

1550 N Milwaukee Ave, Second Floor

Opening Sunday, March 5th, from 12PM - 1PM

On view through Sunday, April 16th

Artist Talk: Concentrate and Ask Again

Sunday, March 5th 12-1PM in-person at Heaven Gallery

Join artists Aya Nakamura, Alexandra Schutz, and Megan Diddie for a walk through and conversation about their current exhibition, Concentrate and Ask Again.

​​Forget the message: the muse is the media. And what comes in the middle, between the hand and the form, are materials. Materials have their own intelligences, offerings, demands—paths of opening and points of resistance. To make is to go through, to improvise a winding path from the smallest of material units to a layered sum, like a sparrow building a nest around a void.

Concentrate and Ask Again convenes three artists whose work measures the fine, discrete grains of physical materials through meditative task repetition. Each quietly divulges a fabricated affinity between the evanescent rhythms of labor and the figures that emerge as the body’s inscape converses with the world’s plasticity. One interval, whether temporal or spatial, deposits another—a direction is mapped as they go, an instrument is tuned as they play. For Aya Nakamura, drawing is a playful and calming way to process encounters with the uncontainable, ineffable aspects of everyday life—her drawings diffract natural phenomena through Zen Buddhist methodology. Megan Diddie uses drawing and painting as a means to tap into subliminal perceptions of the natural world. These works layer imagery and shapes, discovered through drawing, in an attempt to translate inhabited landscapes. And Alexandra Schutz plays with modular materials found on hardware store shelves to make works that challenge the utility of the former’s conventional applications.

Each artifact articulates without naming or fully conceptualizing that artist’s meditative process. Each work ends as a surprise, but an apt one, leading from one member of a series to the next. The materials form the towpath of a distributed process that might be called cognitive, but in an expanded, embodied form—figures, lines, and sums traced through an oscillation between reflective and pre-reflective states : directions freely taken until the material goads the hand, joint, or tool to contrary purpose. Each artist presents their work as a revised and still revisable answer to an open-ended question: how does the thought relate to the thinking, the made to the making?

Text written with Zachary Tavlin

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