Upcoming: Chicago Style - Dec. 6th @ DWP/The Coat Check
Please join us for our Opening Reception on December 6th from 5-8pm!
Exhibiting from December 6th- February 15th
Featured Artists Sampler
Our next show Chicago Style is fast approaching and features some immensely talented artists! This salon style group exhibition will feature 34 artists whose eclectic works reflects the nuanced and refined style of the stormy, husky and brawling city of big shoulders. Here’s a bite-sized sample of who’s hot on our list!
Jonothan Pivovar deals best with experiential subjects. Shooting in the vernacular, his projects capture contemporary views of a rambling sojourner, sequenced in poetic cadence between pages of visual narrative. He’s currently traveling the US by car, working on a number of projects and having a very nice time. Check out his blog to see where he is on his adventure, and (if you’re lucky) and meet up for coffee. He’ll be exhibiting 3 beautifully printed, hand bound zines for Chicago Style. Come get a copy at the opening reception, December 6th!
Clarissa Bonet photographs urban space with a lonely eye that’s akin to a Hopper painting. For Bonet, the city is the stage or the laboratory for exploring the physiological and emotional impact of the metropolis on the body. For this exhibition, Clarissa will be showing selections from her most recent project Dark City. These photographs examine the cityscape at night, where the twinkle of windows in the distance merge into a futuristic and celestial topography. Her project City Space was recently featured on CNN Photos.
Eileen Mueller and Jamie Steele first started collaborating on a curatorial project called GURL, DON’T BE DUMB in September of 2011. Their blog works to accumulate web based, feminine signifying images into the most playful of arenas commonly known as the Internet. They have since progressed to curating exhibitions in spaces all over the Chicago area. Their most recent show Weird Dude Energy mounted at Heaven Gallery in June of 2013 and offered a “survey of artist dudes who cultivate the intersection of elegance and Dudeliness.” (-GDBD) Alicia Eler for Hyperallergic wrote this spot-on essay about their blog back in May that we still keep reading. We’re really thrilled to see what they bring to the table at our next show. Don’t miss the hype on December 6th!
Stay tuned for more featured artists from Chicago Style next week!
Don’t Forget! Our Exhibitions End Saturday, November 30th!
Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to come out and see our current two exhibitions, Sonja Thomson: Glowing Wavelengths In-Between + David Weinberg: Canon County. You’re support has been tremendous and we are so grateful to have had such a wonderful turn out over the past month. A special thanks to Robin Dluzen and Pedro Vélez from Art F City for including our show in their most recent article! If you have not yet had the opportunity to see it, come on through and grab a newsprint! The work will be on exhibition until November 30th. We also have installation images and the beautifully written essay by Assistant Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Allison Grant up on our website.
Represented with style.
Everyone who can go and view this exhibition should— I am lucky to be shown among such amazing talent.
This is a nice sample of the emerging art and photography scene in Chicago, I wish I could be there.
Cheers everybody- have one on me.
I haven’t been gone very long, but I’ve covered a lot of ground.
It never ceases to amaze me that the world is very large and very small— consistently.
My trip started out around 2pm… I can’t even remember what day exactly… but leaving Chicago thinking I would go to Louisville, KY… which changed very quickly while on the highway. I had been receiving many invitations from friends across the east coast— so I started heading east through Indiana.
Along the way I pulled off near La Porte, IN to grab a cup of coffee to keep my brain motivated alongside my body. I was traveling on a highway, following the signs for the nearest Speedway when I struck a deer.
It happened so quickly, I never saw the deer coming.
I grew up in a small town about 52mi outside of chicago— far enough to be considered a farmers town. Deer were a part of culture out there, for both hunting and to be aware of while driving down rural roads. I’d been told for years how to react when you saw a deer in the road and it was too late to react. Hit it, never swerve.
In my situation there was no time to react. The deer had been traveling at what must have been its top speed completely perpendicular to my direction.
I was going about 30-35.
1 second earlier and the deer would have made it across safely.
1 second later and the deer would have been colliding with the side of my 1998 Oldsmobile Achieve.
At the moment we made contact, the deers’ rear legs were at the end of my car on the right side.
The collision broke the deers legs, sending it spinning into the ditch to the right of us, just shy of the woods it was desperately trying to reach.
I pulled over, started breathing again looked in my rear view mirror, saw the deer scrambling, put the car in park and stepped out.
I’ve never hit a deer before, I didn’t really know what to do. I leaned up against my rear bumper and just watched the deer struggle to get to its feet and collapse again. I knew what I had done and had no idea what to do.
I walked back around to the front of my car and investigated the damage: broken signal, broken headlight, front grill demolished, hood dented, horn broken. My problems were so insignificant in comparison, but I knew I would be putting myself in danger if I didn’t do something about my condition— as it was beginning to snow and also getting darker by the minute.
I called 311, reported the deer, got back in my car, bought a coffee and a pack of cigarettes, traveled a bit further to an auto-parts store and picked up lights. I knew I had to travel back to the deer to get back to the Interstate and I couldn’t help thinking about how I left the deer.
I still feel awful about it— but I didn’t know what to do.
What do you do?
Do you kill the deer? Do you not?
I’ve always seen myself as a humane individual— but whats the humane way to help a deer out its pain and peacefully help move it forward? I thought 311 would be the answer— police have guns…
When I returned to the deer it was still there. 311 had not come through yet— but the deer was already dead.
I was out of my car and taking a photo of it when the police showed up.
I filed a report and they called what was referred to as ‘the list’, which I can only assume is a contact list of people who would put the carcass of the deer to good use— food and hide.
I continued on my path— not exactly sure the full extent of the damage to my car— but it seemed like it was only structural and nothing internal.
Upon heading into Ohio, my good friend Rosie (whom I went to school with in Ireland), who lives just outside Cleveland was kind enough to allow me to crash for a few hours on her couch before continuing to Washington DC. Before I was within 2 hours of Cleveland she warned me of an incoming blizzard, “be careful”.
Blizzard driving is probably the most terrifying driving. It’s dark, your lights don’t penetrate the snow well and, in fact, reflect and intensify the snow. You’re best guide is the vehicle in front of you, if there is one. Then the tracks of the vehicle in front of you. Then, if they’re visible, the lines on the road.
I was lucky enough to be behind a small convoy of cars, keeping my distance and speed from them.
However— I forgot about black ice.
Or at least, figured that going 40 mph and tapping the breaks once wouldn’t send me into a spinout.
So I and my car found ourselves in a ditch, one in which we could not get out of.
I called roadside assistance of Ohio turnpike and found myself filling out my second report in 3 hours, and getting my car towed out by an awesome guy Mike.
We got my car out no sweat but having my flashers on for 30 minutes drained my battery and because of the condition of the interstate and the condition of the hood of my car it could not be jumped on the spot, so my car was towed to the nearest service area.
Mike, the tow truck guy, was extremely nice and forward.
"can I have a cigarette in here?"
"Hell Yea! you can smoke anything that grows out of the ground in this cab!"
He asked me about my trip, I told him about my trip. He asked my why Cleveland, I told him why Cleveland. That lead us to our conversation about Ireland to which he informed me that the Galway Bay is the true birthplace of the legend of the Lochness Monster.
"Those goddamned Scotts just wanted to be noticed so they stole that story, I guess they needed it— tourism and all."
I don’t know if I believe him, and although I could do a quick search on this computer right now, I’d prefer to leave it open ended.
Mike brought me to the service station, got me off the truck, popped my hood and got me jump-started.
"We’re not supposed to do this sort of thing without chargin’, but being that you’ve been to the motherland and all…"
That same last line would come again after he wrote me the bill.
Detoured about 3 hours at this point. I found myself getting to Rosies’ around 1:30am.
Needing to get to DC by 2pm— a 7.5 hr drive— leave at 6:30am.
5 hrs is enough rest to get to where you need to go, coffee never hurts either.
DC was a very nice visit— I stayed with Ella, another friend of mine who also was in the same program as me in Ireland. She kindly let me sleep on her couch bed and come and go as I please while she went to work and I explored.
In my time in DC I met some amazingly talented and working people, including:
Nate Grann who co-runs Empty Stretch a publication company which produces some real quality work.
Larissa LeClare who runs the Indie Photobook Library in Arligton, VA.
If you don’t know about the IPL and make photo books or photo zines, GET ON THIS.
Here is a brief summary of her mission:
”The iPL promotes and showcases the books in the collection through international pop-up and feature-length exhibitions, articles, conferences, guest lectures, and also preserves them as a non-circulating public library. Having a specific collection dedicated to this contemporary movement in publishing allows for the development of future discourse on trends in self-publishing, the ability to reflect on and compare books in the collection, and for scholarly research to be conducted years, decades, and centuries to come.”
We sat and chatted back and forth for a bit before I went through her library.
I left completely inspired by her and her library.
After an adventure around DC for a few days I decided to take a quick trip to NY. I was close enough that it was reasonable, but it seemed completely unreasonable to drive there and try to find parking— so I took the greyhound.
She was at Penn Station, only about 8 blocks from where the bus dropped me off. She boarded the train shortly after I got a few minutes to chat with her.
After which I hopped the NYC subway and successfully navigated my way to the Bowery where I would meet up with Zach, EJ, Priya and Leah.
If you don’t know
Zach and EJ had just gotten back from viewing the Chris Burden show at the New Museum, check it out.
Priya was coming from the apartment she was staying at.
We sat at a diner for an hour or so before moving on to the next stop.
I don’t remember the name of the gallery we were at, but the bar next door to it had $4 pints of good beer.
At some point a performance started up outside the gallery.
Instead of describing it I’ll let these photos summarize it.
After a few more beers and some good conversations, we found ourselves at a warehouse party in Bushwick.
Nothing to report about.
In the morning, I was woke up by the cries from a kitten somewhere in the building. I didn’t know if the girls house we were staying at had a cat, nor did I know anything about where I was— so I let it be.
Eventually a pair of women went apartment to apartment looking for the owner of the kitten. When no one claimed ownership of the kitten it was deemed a stray and put back outside.
On our way out, Priya and I were confronted by the little guy and he immediately became our BFF and we claimed ownership of him.
The little guy, we named him DJ Tummyscratch, toured with us around the subways and eventually to our brunch destination and a book store and all around lower Manhattan.
Soon, we all found ourselves saying our goodbyes.
EJ would be returning to LA, Zach would be going to Etheopia, Leah returned home in Brookyn, and Priya and I would be going back to Baltimore with plans to have DJ Tummyscratch reside there.
Upon arrival to the apartment we were staying at, we found out that the kitten belonged to the man on the first floor— he must have been out of his apt when they were walking around looking— and it seemed like the building was a tight community and the neighbors didn’t know he recently adopted a kitten.
So DJ and Priya and I said our goodbyes and continued to Baltimore.
We attended a poetry reading that she hosted, and went to a roller disco with Nicole Dyer.
Don’t know these 2 ladies? KNOW THEM.
Wake up. 9:30 train to DC. Picked up by Ella. Shower. Pack. Drive to Asheville, NC.
Asheville is a BEAUTIFUL town nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
I have been staying with JR Berry (link pending) and Ben Green (Link pending), both awesome homies, both talented artists, both outdoor enthusiasts.
Our first day, JR, Charley Brown (dog) and I hiked the Art Loeb Trail (5.5mi) to the top of Shining Rock.
Yesterday we went climbing and bouldering.
I did a bit of climbing this summer in a gym back in Chicago— all off belay.
So this was really my first experience trying it outside of my comfort zone.
Everything was calm until we scaled a 118 ft cliff face.
Gunboat, I think is its name.
These two guys are amazing for having no fear (or really great at hiding it) and are extremely talented climbers.
I rarely get scared, but this was an amazing experience— both in terms of fear, overcoming, scenery and ability.
And today. I’m sitting here catching up on writing— updating— emailing and organizing.
If you’re in Chicago, or traveling to Chicago around December 6th - Feb 15th, go check out Chicago Stylea show put on through The Coat Check by Matt Avignone . My work will be shown along 33 other local emerging artists in Chicago— I am EXTREMELY greatful to be shown among such amazing talent. For real. Check it out. Check out the Coat Check. Check out Matt Avignone.
This is only a brief synopsis of my trip thus far.
There is much going on in my head, in my projects and in my life.
There is also much further to go.
Eileen Mueller is an artist based in Chicago, she received her BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2011.
Is the history of the medium intrinsic to the contemporary making of pictures? If so, then why do you confront the history of photography so directly?
How could it not be? And so you knowingly ask why I choose to acknowledge this necessity in my own practice. There are a multitude of answers to this question, most of them obvious and all of them laden with art speak. Since what follows hereafter is an ode to my education I’ll offer you this anecdote to begin:
Nearly a decade ago I had the luck to take a seminar taught by Michael Rakowitz. Every morning the class would huddle in the front rows of the auditorium housed in an old train station. For the first hour we would catch up on news or research as Michael tended to an electric hot plate and a bronze carafe with a long, flat handle. Three times in conversation he would pause to take the carafe off the heat as it began to boil over. As the first boil came to pass we were all clutching small ceramic cups in our palms. Upon the second a small bag of cardamom seeds had been passed around. By the third boil we had all bitten into our seeds and placed them at the bottom of our cups as we queued up for the pour. The entire process took an hour and at the end of it we unremarkably transitioned into critique or presentations.
A semester’s worth of smaller research based projects prepared us for the final project which was to be an archive whose form would be determined by the content and method of our research. As with most work from that period of study I have no recollection of what I made. What I do recall is the resounding notion that content and form could not be separated but rather needed to have a clear and connected logic.
Ritual and an internal logic. Years later when I came to the practice of photography and began unpacking my relationship to the medium- its material poetics- the apparatus had been determined. So then I set out to to solve for x and piece together what source materials might have led me to choose the lens and how I might refine the operation of a lens in concert with specific research.
When making work about making work/artists/the medium do you ever worry about creating a loop, or collapsing in on yourself? Are there times in your life where you can push through, and shake the weight?
I have no anxieties about my work collapsing in on itself, on the contrary, I work to loop histories back upon themselves. There is an architectural strength to the curve of an arch and a seductive mythos to the spiral as a plot device. I believe that if I forced the gesture of molting the layers of previous works I would end up with a thin and disingenuous body of aesthetic slop.
Do you ever think about the end of the world when everything will burn and nothing will be left?
Everything is burned and lost already. What remains are fractured elements, vernacular objects whose keepers have long abandoned them. No anecdote remains, no histories recorded- only narratives (if that)- written by one mind about one poorly recalled viewpoint. The multi-dimensional histories held by many minds of varied references for a single moment existed only in that moment and then were instantly gone. I feel freedom to resurrect these elements without the droll sensibility of a well-cited historian but rather as a filament finding ground in some auratic heat that still resides among these texts and objects.
Can one truly appreciate your work without knowing the references you’re making?
Absolutely, we imbue images with our own mythology all the time- that’s what viewership is all about. I’ve spent years developing my own poetics within my practice. I feel that as viewers the most base nugget we’re looking for in a body of work is to see that the artist has achieved synthesis that somehow satisfies or that we can project ourselves into. My work is about this openness of viewership- it is about performative viewership- and so I really believe that not only can my work be appreciated without a lexicon, I believe that all texts or archival bodies can be appreciated without an accompanying lexicon.
On building a mythology about the creative woman, what did you find about the creative woman?
I feel that it might be unethical to say that I really found anything about the creative woman. You could ask me what of this woman I fictionalized; what I confabulated; what I bullshited from pure fantastical ether- but to say that I found anything would connote discovery. I intentionally seek out these certain theoretical landscapes and I come to archival imagery with a self that I actively project into my readings of these materials.
My project Where the Earth Rises consists of three discrete acts that function concurrently with one another: a travel-logue as source text, an inter-war cultural shift, and the insertion of personal history.
The first act, The Hikers, is a small-scale series of twelve images, silver-gelatin, that follow my great aunt and her group of girlfriends who would make excursions into the wilds of Wisconsin throughout the 1930s and 40s. They wore knee-high leather lace-ups and jodhpurs with total abandon and absolute butch realness while driving out to various vistas and state parks.
The second act is a direct citation to the polemics of a modernist ‘grand narrative,’ it follows a group of women based in Zurich and Berlin between the two world wars. The women, having the means of a newly independent generation of wealthy renaissance women, took their new automobiles to further reaches. In front of each other’s newly invented hand held cameras they waxed poetic and published literature about the vistas of the Alps; funded anti-fascist presses in Berlin; dabbled in what they termed archaeology; and published photo-essays all before the Europe’s swell of fascism effected the century’s first culture wars.
The third act is documentation of my own engagements with travel, intimacies, communities of making, mutually generative spaces of pedagogy, and emulsive landscapes. It is in this act where my gestures, though at times more subtle than that of any other act, fold this performed self onto preceding histories.
What does it mean to take a self portrait as another woman (using your family archive)? Why is this characteristic of your work?
In building a mythology in relationship to my own life and practice, I am mapping out connections between a multiplicity of histories and making them conversant with one another. I am interested in expanding the connective threads of geographies, practices, and kinship beyond what is logical or proximal.
I think it is important to note here that my choice to engage with the various histories that I research owes much to a decades old obsession I’ve had with mapping the origins of my own queerness. A disassociation from heteronormative society at an early age caused me to constantly interpret and reinterpret its structural narratives in a way that allowed me to project myself comfortably into its architecture. This constant awareness and interpretive action caused me to believe in a multiplicity of identities for a single body as well as a concurrent multi-dimensionality for any history or text.
Ask yourself a question and respond.
My neighbors and I have this unspoken little game wherein we’ll randomly send each other pictures of our viewpoint at that exact moment. When one of us decides to send out a dispatch, the other two obediently follow suit. These images are typically unremarkable but, at times, they are not:
A train is passing, my back aches and arches over my laptop. I am sitting atop a double mattress which sits across two single box springs within a guest room in Columbus, Ohio.