Ari Norris and Ryan Burns Artist Talk with curator Esau McGhee
Artist Talk: Saturday, June 3, 2023, 2:00 pm
Exhibition Dates: May 18 – June 24, 2023
Gallery hours: Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays 1:00 – 5:00 pm
The Riverside Arts Center’s Freeark Gallery is pleased to present Introspective Dream Assembly, an exhibition of paintings and mixed media art by Ryan Burns and Ari Norris, guest curated by Esau McGhee.
It is fair to speculate that Ari Norris has been listening to a lot of Drake. Quite possibly too much Drake. Drake is now, whether or not Drake is Pop or Hip Hop is debatable. For he is also an Actor, and with every album he deserves an Oscar. Ari is now and the future. Ari will influence. At the same time, he may be overlooked and taken for granted. Ari will not be appreciated. Ari is . . . Doom. Ari creates with a humor and simplicity that approaches…dare I say it? Nah, I’m good, there’s no need to say it. Just know that Ari will freak sh#t. Ari will make fun of you. Heck, Ari will make fun of himself! You will question whether to take him seriously. But don’t sleep! Ari’s on the rise. The real question is whether he’ll rise in front of your eyes or behind the scenes. Ari is masterful. But again, you may not see this. But this isn’t about you it’s about Ari’s work.
At this very moment, I have exactly zero idea as to what Ryan is listening to these days. I’ve asked . . . no answer. I can only speculate that it’s powerful, motivational and to some degree on the fringe. Because the fringe is where the soft spoken, yet direct and super talented Ryan Burns holds court. This is where Ryan has made a niche for himself and Cleaner Gallery. He has consistently provided space for those of us who are on the fringe, the margins, the outside. Ryan will show what he likes and who he likes. Those artists you may know and some you do not know. Ryan creates the same way he operates Cleaner. A bare bones approach that’s efficient and inclusive with zero regard for trends. Operating a gallery can become repetitive. Hang it, open, sell it (if you’re lucky), take it down, patch, paint and repeat. If you’re fortunate, you’ll notice nuanced repetition in Ryan’s artwork. Yes, Ryan makes work. Ryan’s work has a “method” to it. It’s punks, it’s folk rock and it will more than likely always be f###ing independent!
Reciprocity: In a social psychology is a social norm of responding to a positive action with another equally positive action. Reciprocity makes it possible to build continuing relationships and exchanges. With all that being said, reciprocity lubricates the wheels that move our artworld(s). For instance, in my artworld reciprocity is devoid of capitalism. This show does not exist because of works sold, acquired or even the potential of such. It is more about the experience of working with one artist and the desire to experience working with the other. Experiencing their individual and collective thought process and development. Being able to actually “drop a dime” or “an assist.” But where does the Reciprocity actually begin? Seriously though, this is an important Curatorial Question. But then again, I’m not an actual Curator. But we all know the game. “In order to be taken seriously as an artist in Chicago one must teach, write, curate and finally make work.” However, Ryan and I go back. 2013 or maybe 2014 at the now defunct Peanut Gallery. And he’s been providing opportunity for others ever since. But so does Ari and let’s not forget Joanne, a true pass first point guard if there ever was one. The origin story as to why I choose to delve out this assist to Ryan and Ari is quite simple . . . I know good work when I see it. But even above that it’s about the experience.
– Esau McGhee, guest curator
Ryan Burns is an Illinois based artist who received a BFA from the University of Louisville and an MFA from Northern Illinois University. His paintings have been exhibited in numerous group shows at Hyde Park Art Center, Heaven Gallery, and bars and party spots in Chicago. Burns is Director and Founder of Cleaner Gallery + Projects located in Chicago, IL. Since 2016 Cleaner Gallery has hosted 35+ shows and has been reviewed in New City, Visual Arts Source, and Sixty Inches From Center.
Originally from Muskegon, MI, Ari Norris is an artist primarily working in sculpture, utilizing a variety of processes and materials. Norris received an MA from Northern Illinois University in 2021, and has exhibited solo shows in Chicago at David Salkin Creative, and the PLAN. Norris has been included in exhibitions West, Wester, Westest 4 at Left Field, Los Osos, CA, Shooting Pool with a Rope, at Baby Blue Gallery, Chicago, IL, the Midwest Sculpture Exhibition in Kokomo, IN, and other locations including Michigan, New York, Florida, Texas, and Gyeonggi-do, South Korea. In both 2021 & 2022, Norris served as Artist-in-Residence at Art Casting of Illinois, in Oregon, IL.
Esau McGhee is a well-exhibited yet reclusive artist/creator who has curated numerous exhibitions. As a former member of Tiger Strikes Asteroid-Chicago, Esau curated solo exhibitions featuring Garry Noland, Allison Reimus and Caroline Kent. His artwork has been reviewed by Newcity Art, Sixty Inches From Center, and Inside Within. He presently resides in Chicago, Illinois.
Riverside Arts Center
Freeark Gallery + Sculpture Garden
32 East Quincy Street
Riverside, Illinois 60546
Gallery Hours: Thursday – Saturday, 1-5pm, Closed Sundays – Wednesdays and major holidays.
All of our exhibitions are free and open to the public.
For press inquiries and high-resolution images or for additional information contact Gallery Director, Joanne Aono at firstname.lastname@example.org