Mar 4th 2023

Tiger Strikes Asteroid Chicago is proud to present Make sure I’m there when you open your eyes, featuring work by the three newest members of TSA CHI: Karen Dana Cohen, Jaclyn Jacunski, and Cydney Lewis. The exhibition is organized by fellow TSA CHI member, Teresa Silva, and will be on view from March 4–April 15, 2023. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, March 4, 1–4pm.

Make sure I’m there when you open your eyes is a group exhibition conceived in tandem between the artists and curator. As members of a cooperative, they share an incisive and affirming relationship that embraces affinities and differences in the thinking and creating processes.

This exhibition presents new works in sculpture, drawing, and assemblage by Dana, Jacunski, and Lewis respectively. The pieces build upon and ripple out from previous works in the artists’ ongoing practices, which are rooted in concerns with material and affect. Make sure I’m there when you open your eyes is an offering to the viewer, an exhibition that is a container for energy, actively holding synergies to effect a greater aesthetic charge.

Above image: Jaclyn Jacunski, Another Place Another Way, 2023, Later-cut acrylic, canvas, silicon, wax thread

About the artists

Karen Dana Cohen b. 1982 in Mexico City is an artist, educator and independent curator based in Chicago, IL. She received a BFA from The National Institute of Fine Arts in Mexico City (2005) and earned her MFA degree at Hunter College, New York (2011). Her practice acts as process-based research where she shows her complex identity as a Syrian Jew growing up in Mexico and more recently, as an immigrant mother. She has participated in national and international exhibitions, showing her own work as well as been a curator and organizer. Her must recent curatorial project Circularities showed the work of two contemporary female artist mothers that build paintings in a process that requires destruction and reconstruction. She is an active member of Tiger Strikes Asteroid Chicago and
teaches Studio Courses at Lillstreet Art Center. For the last five years she has been a leading mentor in a critique group of artists who are also caregivers.

I paint as a performative practice; to explore how we inhabit our bodies in a foreign context while making bridges to meet the viewer halfway. I aim to reclaim the meaning of home and place, and the consistent looming threats of erasure, removal and cultural legacies imposed on immigrants like me. The gestures on the pieces explore displacement, belonging, translation, and power dynamics. I treat painting as an expression beyond language, confronting a rhetoric of exclusion. Work that embodies and gives voice to the lived immigrant experience as
testimony of longing, migration, and shaping new identity. As Gloria Anzaldúa said: “To survive the Borderlands, you must live sin fronteras, be a crossroads.”

Jaclyn Jacunski is an interdisciplinary artist who exhibits both locally and nationally. She earned her MFA from SAIC and BFA from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and she has taught at SAIC and Harrington College of Design. Jacunski’s practice stems from involvement in social and political causes, and she seeks to find understanding in political controversies that surround the land and community acts of resistance. Jacunski was a BOLT artist-in-residence at the Chicago Artists Coalition, and she has exhibited at ICAs in both Portland and Baltimore. Her work has been featured in the Chicago Tribune and Hyperallergic.

Cydney Lewis is a Chicago-based multimedia artist with a distinguished multidisciplinary background. She began in architecture at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, where she received a BS in Architectural Studies; she also attended the L’École D’architecture de Versailles, France. The fluidity of her ability to transform materials reflects her mastery of ballet as well as her endeavors in film. Her art is held in private collections around the world and has been exhibited widely, at venues including the Union League Chicago, Hyde Park Art Center and The Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art. She has received various honors, among them residencies with Chicago Public Schools and Lyseloth Musikerwohnhaus Basel, Switzerland, as well as awards including 3Arts Make A Wave, Best in Show at Governor State University and the Black Creativity/Green Art Award from the Museum of Science and Industry. Currently, she is a member of Tiger Strikes Asteroid of Chicago.

Walking through my community inspires me to imagine multidimensional landscapes created from everyday objects. These unconventional artifacts reflect the world we live in, consume, and fill with things. Printed material and imagery document our existence. Discarded objects reveal what (and who) our society values, and what gets thrown away. Through drawing, sculpture, and installation assembled around these materials, I discover their stories, their beauty, and endless adaptation. They create worlds that seem familiar and surreal.

About the curator

Teresa Silva is a writer, curator, and member of Tiger Strikes Asteroid, a non-profit network of artist-run spaces, since 2016.

Her writings have appeared in Obsidian and Left Coast Press Inc. Recent exhibitions have been presented at Mana Contemporary, Chicago Cultural Center, and 6018North, and were featured in Art Papers, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, Newcity Chicago and WBEZ 91.5.

In 2017, Silva was a Diversity + Leadership Fellow with the Artist Communities Alliance; in 2018, an artist-in-residence at The Rauschenberg Residency on Captiva; and, in 2020, a visual arts panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2022, she was listed at #5 in Newcity’s Art 50: Chicago’s Visual Vanguard for her contributions to making the city’s arts ecosystem more sustainable and equitable. Currently, Silva sits on the board of directors for Heaven Gallery.

Prior to 2023, Silva was the executive and artistic director at the Chicago Artists Coalition, where she created supportive spaces for artists to advance their creativity and career by connecting them with leading art professionals and audiences through presentation and dialogue.

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