Jun 2nd 2023

Galen Odell-Smedley: PEACH PEACH and Cain Baum: Warbling

@ Ignition project space

3839 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60651

Opening Friday, June 2nd, from 6PM - 9PM

On view through Saturday, June 24th

Galen Odell-Smedley

This exhibition is a gathering of objects, all of which live in close proximity to one another in my life and studio. They are physical evidence of my attempts to cultivate sensory perception. As humans we act with powerful agency as interpreters and manipulators of the environments we inhabit (and the objects therein). No two peaches taste alike. The space between them contains critical information that indicates the type of climate in which they formed, the distance traveled from where they grew, the olfactory molecules present in the flesh, the potential energy in the pits. Perception on this level takes years, often generations, to develop. Proficiency begets chance encounters. The way I structure my processes is about designing situations that open up the possibility for serendipitous learning. This exhibition is the result of carefully studying the soft resonances between things.
You couldn’t recognize the flavor of a peach without ever having tasted one. And a peach’s peachness only comes into focus when we can agree that it is not, say, a plum. Discerning the complexity of a peach requires accessing embodied knowledge that takes slow attentiveness to build. How to experience a peach on its own timescale?
Galen Odell-Smedley (b. 1988, Berkeley, CA) asserts a craft ethos in his multithreaded practice. Slow, considered processes reflect a desire for material intimacy. His sculptural systems, speculative objects, installations, and performative exchanges envision platforms for unlikely ways of knowing.
Galen holds an MFA in Sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Bachelor of Science in Studio Art from Skidmore College. Recent recognition includes the International Sculpture Center Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award, the John W. Kurtich Foundation Travel Scholarship, and the Saratoga Arts Council Community Arts Grant. He has exhibited at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Lithium Gallery, Belger Crane Yard Studios, Hyde Park Art Center, Tang Teaching Museum, (e)merge Fair, Schacht Gallery, Cooley Gallery, Schick Gallery, SACI Gallery, Buttondown Gallery, and House of Creative Soul, among others. Galen currently lives and works in Chicago.

Cain Baum

Cain Baum is an artist of many modes, cabinet maker, educator and researcher from Chicago’s
Southside. He consistently pursues the making of surreal and abstract objects, while educating and collecting to make place for his work and the work of his many students and colleagues. Cain is also a Research Fellow for the Terra Foundation of American Art, Art Design Chicago 2024 where he is working to develop a comprehensive archive of the artists Don Baum and Alice Shaddle. Paternal grandparents and Chicago artists who demonstrate the ideals that Cain tries to embody in his own career. He is also the owner of Encore Fabrication and Design, a woodworking enterprise delivering elegant and custom millwork, cabinets and furniture. In the spare moments between these ventures he participates in the maintenance of the Oakland Museum of Contemporary Art as community member and board member. The space is a public garden in his neighborhood of Oakland. Here Cain is able to combine and make use of his skill set to beautify and maintain the history of his community while also working to collaborate with other Southside entities. When not making, observing, or researching he likes to canoe the many beautiful waterways of Chicago and spend time with his partner, family and many strange animals around his home that provide ample inspiration for the next project.
I am interested in the basic principles and elements of art and design and how they can be employed to make the eye move, make the viewer think about their perspective, and make the viewing process a process that can be a learning strategy. Intuitively I make and I compose my sculpture based off the improvisation of textures, tone and its associated feelings in certain color schemes. Of great interest to me is the story that can be pieced together to demonstrate the presence of time passing, human interaction, and its adaptation in the built environment. Non linear movement is good, movement that can allow a feedback loop is most desired – I am creating a scene, a surreal image collaged together from a routine in life. My materials are varied and collected from my personal landscape and I demonstrate the fraught tension seen in advertisements, the strange irregularities in building techniques, and the imaginative potential of architectural features among our landscape and how they might become sites for sculpture. Using abstract forms I build with earthen and synthetic materials compiling a landscape that’s not so far away from our own.
Image: Cain Baum

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