Mar 10th 2011

Shaila Christofferson: Ligniform

@ President’s Gallery HWC

30 E Lake St, 1105, Chicago, IL 60601

Opening Thursday, March 10th, from 4:30PM - 7PM

On view through Friday, April 15th

Reminiscent of the functional utility of furniture as well as hermetically preserved remnants of crumbled architecture, Christofferson’s formally sleek objects comment, in her own words, “on the tenuous nature of the constructed environment.” In this exhibition, her sculptural works will be on display supported by selected collages that contain sketches and ideas for her three dimensional pieces.

“Ligniform” means “like wood,” a signifier of the material similes that Christofferson engages in her works. They point to the things they are not or once were before going through intensive industrial processing, such as an engineered wood product that regularly appears in her pieces, called MDF or medium density fiberboard. Cloaked in a screen printed wood grain pattern, the works either long to be the real deal or are satisfied in their reference.

The negative and positive relationship of the real versus artificial material dialogue also translates to the forms of her pieces. In a recent body of work, she re-purposes disposable plastic packaging, finding a second life for the rigid forms that wrap products for transparent display on store shelves. Continuing this push and pull of material and space, sheets of MDF are carved at, sections cut away to create entrance into and movement around an otherwise rigid surface. The negative space is positive space unfilled, or positive space removed. To this as a beginning point to consider the environment we are living in, Christofferson’s works gracefully synthesize what is there as well as what is missing.

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