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Exhibition & Discussion: Second City Psychasthenia at Andrea Meislin Gallery

Posted By Administration, Thursday, January 12, 2012
Updated: Monday, January 06, 2014

Exhibition Dates: January 12 – February 18, 2012


Opening Reception
Thursday, January 12
6:00 – 8:00 pm

Conversation with the Artists
January 20
6:00 pm
rsvp requested


Exhibition curator, Daniel Bauer, brings together the work of eight Chicago artists. The group met at a "City Within a City: The School of the Art Institute of Chicago." Bauer is Assistant Professor in the Institutes' Photography Department. Exhibiting artists include Steve Daly, Jose Ferreira, Gwynne Johnson, Susan Morelock, Kristin Nason, Anna Shteynshleyger, Rob Swainston and Learning Ross.

The exhibition comes invested with questions of place and time that parallel the Art Institute's mission of exploration: ". . . they will teach us that Eternity is the standing still of the present time, anunc stans(as the schools call it); which neither they, nor any else understand, no more than they would ahic stansfor an infinite greatness of Place."

Sentiments of loss, longing, and preservation; desire for monument; and identification of the self and other emerge through the work of the eight artists in different ways as they circle questions, as stated above, on Time- moment and eternity, and Place- its defining components.

Steve Daily and Susan Morelock engage preservation, question existence and passage. With his image of a moth Daily is curious about unknowns that the sample inspires- in the journey of the unknown species and its path. Capturing the moth in an image preserves its life and questions that surround it. So too does the work of Morelock seek to preserve; for her the inability to capture a moment can haunt, so the camera has become almost a necessity.

In similar but different tone is Gwynne Johnson who deals with loss and longing by a fulfilling and emptying accumulation of images of men who resemble her deceased father. Taken from behind in fleeting moments between the starting bell and photo finish at the racetrack the anonymous figures work as armatures of almost, but not quite substitutes that seem to open not close the gap of disappointment. Regarding doubt and teetering between states of belief and disbelief is the work of Jose Ferreira. Through a range of media contradictory positions are engaged and in Ferreira, as with Johnson, our sense of loss is felt by our inability to achieve, reach, attain desires.

Kristin Nason and Rob Swainston's work speaks to the lack of concreteness in contemporary culture and our ever changing place holders. Nason createsDecoysthat represent shifting figures, the individual is referenced through form but contradicted. "Sigularity is a

liability" and construction (assemblage of a range of cast off materials) reflects the schizophrenic attitudes of contemporary life. So too does the work of Swainston engage continuous shift through environmental renovation. Images of blue construction fence prove that the only permanent state is the state of change.

Self and other are identified and catalogued in the work of Learing Ross and Anna Shteynshleyger. With different intent and approach the two reflect sentiments of place through portraiture. Ross is more interested in defining "Other" in the difference between the artistic bohemian and middle management. Though different, Ross acknowledges that each strata was drawn to opportunities offered by place, the city of Chicago. Shteynshleygers work from the seriesEscalatorare shots of strangers, mere "pops" of proof taken in a location of transit - the Port Authority bus Terminal in New York. Here too layers of humanity are revealed as they relate to location. With Shteynshleyger the emphasis is not placed on "The Other," rather engages a pluralistic view.

Each artist's work is fascinating and critical alone; seen together however the interconnectedness of subjects and entangling of themes reveal a unique look at the greater language and concerns of school of artists.

For more information on this exhibition please visit Andrea Meislin Gallery

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