Feb 5th 2016

Batten Down the Hatches

@ Chicago Artists Coalition

217 North Carpenter Street, Chicago IL

Opening Friday, February 5th, from 6PM - 9PM

On view through Thursday, February 25th

The Chicago Artists Coalition is pleased to present the HATCH Projects exhibition Batten Down the Hatches.

Though the wind may wail and the seas may shake and the waves may burst against your bow and the spume may spew upon your sloop, you can take refuge and remain safe, sound, and sere inside your shell. You may feel the pitch while hunkered down in your hull, but you need not worry about passing through the storm unscathed. You have prepared yourself well, girding yourself and your vessel against the impending storm. You have taken precautions in the calm before the tempest arrived. You ensured that everything is properly stowed. You rigged the storm trysail and replaced the staysail with a storm jib, and you battened down all the hatches. Who knows how long you’ll stay protected and confined below deck, but you know you’ll make it through and continue on course.

Looking back through our passage logs, this crew has persevered through several gales, enjoyed calm seas and friendly winds, and journeyed far from where it started. When these six artists decided to embark for ports unknown, they knew little about what path they would take. Over the course of this residency at the Chicago Artists Coalition, Rachel E. Foster, Maya Mackrandilal, Ryan Thompson, Stephanie Graham, Casey Smallwood, and Danny Volk have produced brilliant projects in a variety of conceptual capacities and material manifestations — and have only encountered a modicum of seasickness. They have their sea legs planted firmly beneath them and look toward the horizon for what journeys lay ahead. For Batten Down the Hatches, they will show work that spans video, print, sculpture, photography, and more as they move beyond the HATCH residency to fully realize the arcs of their careers.

Batten Down the Hatches is curated by Jaxon Pallas.

Rachel E. Foster is an artist, writer, and printmaker living in Chicago. She has an MFA from the California College of the Arts and a BFA from Columbia College Chicago. Her work has been shown at the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Southern Exposure, and Western Exhibitions, amongst others.

Maya Mackrandilal creates trans-disciplinary work that reclaims and retells history, that treats storytelling (whether as a narrative or visual form) as a radical political action, one that embraces ambiguity, and imagines a more empathetic culture.

She received her BA in Studio Art with a concentration in sculpture from the University of Virginia and her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is the recipient of an Aunspaugh Fellowship from the University of Virginia and a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship from the US Department of Education.

Ryan Thompson lives and works in Chicago, IL where he is an artist and Associate Professor of Art & Design at Trinity Christian College. His ongoing ‘Department of Natural History’ engages a series of complex and often strange relationships produced when human forces collide with natural phenomena. Recent projects have been featured in Cabinet Magazine, ’Making the Geologic Now’ (Punctum Books, 2013), Format P Magazine, ‘Reframing Photography’ (Routledge, 2010), Esquire Magazine (Russia), and his recently published book, ‘Bad Luck, Hot Rocks’ (The Ice Plant, 2014). His work has been exhibited at places such as: EYEBEAM (New York), Gallery Analix Forever (Geneva), Links Hall (Chicago), Evanston Art Center (Chicago), Root Division (San Francisco), Mila Kunstgalerie (Berlin), and Lease Agreement (Baltimore, MD).

Stephanie Graham makes photos and films drawing from her fascination with relationships, subcultures, social class, and suburbia. Stephanie recreates situations from her personal experience and the experiences of others often times using herself as the subject. In this way, Stephanie’s images are a performance, retelling stories to the viewer. Stephanie studied Film and Photography at Columbia College Chicago and currently works in film and television production.

Casey Smallwood creates lens-based performances in order to study and articulate an as-yet inarticulate space navigated by the performer. The viewer’s relationship with the performer relies heavily on cinematography, carrying its own wavering perspectives between viewer and narrator that give and take away the idea of viewer agency. Casey Smallwood received an MFA from the University of Chicago in Visual Arts and a BFA from Missouri State University in Photography.

Danny Volk got his BA in Theater Studies at Kent State University in 2006 and his MFA from the University of Chicago in 2014. Volk’s work assumes that superficiality is the essential truth of objects and actions and uses theatrical semiotics to explore the social world.

Jaxon Pallas is an artist, archivist, curator, and educator primarily concerned with projects at the intersection of the personal, the popular, and the political.

In addition to his work with Community Engagement and Arts Learning at the Smart Museum of Art, his other projects include the Teen Creative Agency at MCA Chicago and the Institute for Encyclopedic Amalgamation. He earned a MFA from the University of Chicago and BA degrees from Rice University.


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