Apr 1st 2016

Material Bodies

@ ACRE Projects

1345 W 19th St Chicago, IL

Opening Friday, April 1st, from 5PM - 9PM

On view through Friday, April 29th

ACRE is pleased to present Material Bodies, a group exhibition of four artists who create formally rigorous works related to a human, lived experience. Rana Siegel, Joshua Wade Smith, Laura Splan, and Zipporah Thompson discerningly employ organic materials and new media to embody a physical human action, render scientific readings of expressions of emotion, or to create a metamorphic, visually enticing sculptural composition.

In his performance-based practice, Joshua Wade Smith has used his body in durational running, climbing, or cycling through constructed barriers. For Material Bodies Smith removes himself and presents the shell of a performance, inviting his audience to enact the action. His kinetic sculpture and video installation challenges the viewer to confront comfortable confines of passive observation and enter the work mentally and physically. Also representing human gesture, Laura Splan’s Manifest works translate electromyogram readings of Swallow, Frown, Furrow, Blink, Smile, and Squint. Clinically pristine and intimately scaled 3D-printed sculptures translate these prosaic expressions of human emotion as energetically dense, purely visual forms. Manifest is an on going project for Laura Splan, and in this iteration she realizes the data as a jacquard loom woven tapestry and a giclée print for the first time. Despite its scientific root and visual symmetry, Manifest depicts personal, human, emotions, thus questioning constructed perceptions of order and societal desire to systemize.

Fiber-based artists Zipporah Thompson and Rana Siegel respond to the physical properties of their chosen natural materials to create metamorphic, visually compelling installations. Zipporah Thompson’s practice addresses ritual and alchemical transformations. In Material Bodies she presents Illumined, a new wall piece spun from reclaimed ropes. Tied, bound, and woven fiber elements are combined with ceramic pieces to create an enigmatic, self-contained form. Inspired by petrification and organic metamorphic processes, Illumined suggests an ambiguous moment from a life cycle, whether shed skin or being about to emerge. Rana Siegel creates complex, visually engrossing sculptural installations by combining hard, resistant natural materials like wood and stone with graceful interventions of pliant yarn or ribbon. In the ACRE gallery, Siegel presents a human scale, site-specific piece as well as a group of three-dimensional studies in space titled Minimonumentals. Presented together, the four artists in Material Bodies evoke a physical or conceptual force through artistic approaches free from medium specificity.

RANA SIEGEL is a Chicago-based artist whose visual art practice is rooted in a tactile language of form making, a responsive process that is accumulative and gestural. The output are material orchestrations, formal configurations linked to time and place. Her work has been exhibited in and around the Chicago area as well as in Beirut. Rana holds an MFA in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BFA in Crafts from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

LAURA SPLAN is an artist whose work explores intersections of art, science, technology and craft. Her conceptually based projects examine the material manifestations of our cultural ambivalence towards the human body with a range of traditional and new media techniques. Splan’s work has been included in solo and group exhibitions at Museum of Art & Design (New York, NY), New York Hall of Science (New York, NY), Museum of Contemporary Craft (Portland, OR), Los Angeles Center for Digital Art (CA), Neuberger Museum of Art (Purchase, NY), Beall Center for Art + Technology (Irvine, CA), as well as internationally in Iceland, South Korea, England, Germany, Sweden, France, and beyond. Commissioned projects have included soap residue paintings for the Center for Disease Control, computerized lace doilies for the Gen Art New Media Art Exhibition, and 3D printed sculptures for Davidson College.

JOSHUA WADE SMITH is a Baltimore based performance artist and sculptor; in 2010, he completed his MFA from the Mt. Royal School at Maryland Institute College of Art. Smith’s recent exhibitions make reference to forms of the artist’s labor and endurance sports, highlighting their reliance on manual repetition, symbolic flexibility, and athletic spectacle. Smith has exhibited at the American University Art Museum, Washington, DC, Arlington Arts Center, Arlington, VA Co-Lab Space, Austin, TX, Gallery Four, Maryland Art Place, and the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore, MD, among others. Honors include selection for the Maryland Art Place’s ‘30 under 30’ artist lectures series (2013), a two-year fellowship at the Hamiltonian Artists Gallery in Washington D.C. (2011-13) and Finalist for the 2012 Trawick Awards (2012).

ZIPPORAH CAMILLE THOMPSON is a visual artist and sculptor based in Athens, Georgia. Thompson explores ritual and alchemical transformations through the unknown and through universals, including death, catastrophe, chaos, and the cosmos. Metamorphosed, geologic forms reflect various archaeological, psychological, and ecological perspectives, as well as a
personal investigation of self. She holds a BFA in Fiber from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and MFA from the University of Georgia. Thompson has exhibited at the Zuckerman Museum of Art, Rogue Space in Chelsea, the Georgia Museum of Art, the Madison Museum of Fine Art, and Whitespace Gallery in Atlanta, among other venues. She is a 2015 Hambidge Fellow, 2015 ACRE Projects Resident, and a 2014 Resident of Elsewhere Museum.

2015-16 ACRE curatorial resident ANASTASIA KARPOVA TINARI is a Chicago-based curator, writer, and arts administrator. She received a MA in Art History from American University and BA in Classics and Art History from Washington & Lee University. Anastasia currently works as Associate Director at Rhona Hoffman Gallery and previously worked at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, National Gallery of Art and Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy.

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