Oct 9th 2014

Gallery talk with artist Sabina Ott, Daniel Schulman, Program Director for Visual Art. At the Chicago Cultural Center, and Shannon Stratton, Executive Director of Threewalls Gallery.

Sabina Ott’s site-specific installation of new works at the Chicago Cultural Center, “here and there and pink melon joy”, is a transformative psychic journey, turning the Cultural Center’s Chicago Rooms, three enormously windowed spaces overlooking Millennium Park, into a mysterious and mystical hybrid environment. Suffering, fear, pleasure and transformation is evoked via the interaction with objects, sound and video play with material interpretations of text that describe transformational journeys, such as The World is Round, by Gertrude Stein and Dante’s The Divine Comedy.

Ott contrasts the austere formalism of minimalist sculpture that emphasizes brut materials and perceptual space with the complex forms, bold ornamentation, and juxtaposition of elements that characterize the Baroque. Her objects and video make the viewer hyper aware of their own bodily movement through each room in this exhibition, experiencing aspects of Dante’s journey through the inferno, purgatory and paradise.

Practical materials such as mirrors, Styrofoam, spray paint, lamps, plants and clocks are rendered impractical and evolve beyond their function, resisting rational interpretations with a wild aesthetic, including a collaborative audio component with sound artist Joe Jeffers. Becoming paintings, sculptures, planters, screens, speakers and fountains, Ott’s work plays with the relationships between nature and artifice, function and form, beauty and the grotesque.

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