Sep 17th 2022

Christine Wuenschel / Molly Blumberg

@ Ignition project space

3839 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60651

Opening Saturday, September 17th, at 6PM

On view through Saturday, September 24th

Christine Wuenschel
Body Contact

Notions of the nude female figure often are influenced by and filtered through cultural conventions. My artwork challenges a puritanical anxiety and fear of the body. I use the human figure in a confrontational manner to emphasize tensions between awkwardness and comfort; pleasure and discomfort. This encourages an internal dialogue within the viewer to explore and question previous experiences with the body, whether they be through historical or
contemporary imagery, or with his/her/their own physical form. The intent is to expose repressed experiences that have influenced the often visceral and resistant reaction to nudity, touch, and assumptions about our own bodies. While body image is an age-old issue, it is an ever present one in our society filled with images of “ideals”, as well as the evolution of our understanding of the gendered body. To encourage this conversation of ideals, I have often used myself as a subject to stretch my own comfort levels with my body, but I am ultimately in control of the images presented in those works. In reaction, I created works that include other people, pushing comfort levels of those who are not in control of their fellow models nor the manner in which the artist depicts them. However, even when using other models, these works remain highly personal, and I see them as stand-ins for my own body. I treat them with the same scrupulous inspection as when representing myself with the ultimate goal being to create works that stretch far beyond figure studies into stimulating, sensual, powerful objects.

Christine Wuenschel (born 1980 in Akron, Ohio) is a figurative artist. Her work explores the gestural expressive nature of drawing media usually on a large scale. Wuenschel is most recognized for her drawings dealing with identity and body image. Her work has won several exhibition awards and continues to appear in both national and international exhibitions including Body Politics at ARC Gallery in Chicago; Nude Notions virtual solo exhibition with Proyecto Galleria in Mexico City; and 3 rd Annual National Juried Exhibition at Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art in Wausau, Wisconsin. Wuenschel received her BFA in painting and drawing from the University of Akron in 2004 and her MFA in drawing and painting from
Arizona State University in 2008. Currently, she is an Associate Professor of Fine Art in the Patti and Rusty Rueff School of Design, Art, and Performance at Purdue University.
Gallery hours: Saturdays 12-5 and by appointment. Please email to make an appointment outside of business hours

Molly Blumberg
Molly Blumberg is an artist based in Chicago, IL and Boston, MA. She earned her MFA at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in fiber & material studies in 2020 and her BFA from the Washington University in St. Louis Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts in sculpture in 2012. Trained as a sculptor and a papermaker, her work is grounded in an extreme engagement with materiality. Through a playfully physical studio practice and a dedication to process based exploration, she explores how it feels to be a body. Pulling from art-historical depictions of the female body and employing feminist practices of fragmentation and reassembling, she focuses on the phenomenology of a fleshy body that is a site of constant state change.

My sculptural practice explores how it feels to be a body. I play with the sensations of bodies and the mechanics of bodies: how skin stretches across muscle and bone; how fat and flesh can pucker and bulge; how bodies can fold and slump and stretch with and against gravity. I engage with the postures of bodies, how we bend to and blend with environments as we navigate them. My work wrestles with figuration and abstraction – moments of specificity dissolve into formlessness. Fragmentation disrupts an understanding of a complete body, and positions the human body as a precarious material being that is uncontrollable and unpredictable. As elements of the work pucker, tear, and bulge, they express the failures of our own bodies that are at once frightening and funny. Pulling from art-historical depictions of the female body and employing feminist practices of fragmentation and reassembly, I focus on the phenomenology of a fleshy body that is a site of constant state change. We are porous and open and vulnerable but we are also incredibly adaptable and flexible and innovative.

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