Dates: Oct 1 2004 - Dec 3 2004
Opening Reception: Oct 1 2004
Walsh Gallery is pleased to host "For Your Eyes Only" in honor of Chicago Artists Month. This group show features Indira Johnson, Lucy Kim, Christopher Meerdo, Von Kommanivanh, and Rodney Swanstrom. The exhibit includes sculpture, photography, painting, and installation. The show opens October 1st with an opening reception on Friday, October 22 from 5-8pm.
Indira Freitas Johnson uses discarded objects from nature and industrialized society. She examines the passage of time as we proceed on life's path of birth, growth, dissolution, and rebirth. Ms. Johnson is fascinated by the sense of survival and stoicism in these found objects. She considers discarded tree trunks as well as rusty and mangled "junk" to be worthy objects themselves. She painstakingly reinvents these objects and re-introduces them into society so that their energy is recycled and the idea of the sacredness of everyday life is affirmed.
Ms. Johnson has recently exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), as well as at the Chicago Cultural Center, New Museum of Art (New York), the Museum of Contemporary Art (New Orleans), and Prince of Whales Museum (Bombay).
Laura Kina will debut two paintings from her "Hapa Soap Opera Series". Hapa is a Hawaiian word meaning: 1. portion, fragment part. 2. of mixed blood, person of mixed blood with partial roots in Asian or Pacific Islander ancestry. This series challenges the use of multiracial icons as a solution to national harmony. The two paintings in this exhibit show a world where only Hapas inhabit movie poster-type fantasy realms. The paintings are based on actual people Ms. Kina has photographed from around the Unites States.
As she says, "I am interested in the slipperiness of identity and the variety of experiences that mixed-race individuals have based on age, class, gender, race, location and family history." Her paintings and works draw inspiration from Asian film posters, historical European portrait genres, and American pulp art. Ms. Kina's work explores the "changing face" of America.
Von Kommanivanh's figurative narratives tell biographical stories about growing up in an urban street environment. There are few painters today that are able to create an uncensored recollection of urban street stories as successfully as this former graffiti artist. Mr. Kommanivanh's paintings manage to have a raw emotional quality about them, while still maintaining a playfulness with text and palindromes. Mr. Kommanivanh's figures and narrative are never to be taken at face value. Myriads of meanings and symbols exist for the viewer to find.
Two outstandingly talented artists Chris Meerdo and Rodney Swanstrom will also be displaying works in the show. Both preparators at the gallery, their work has drawn inspiration from their constant exposure to Asian art.
Using his grandfathers' vintage Rolleiflex camera and expired film from the 1970's and 1980's, photographer Chris Meerdo creates glimpses of ethereal floating landscapes. This series is a continuous exploration of the artist's interactions with his constantly changing surroundings. Mr. Meerdo moved around many times during his adolescence and eventually settled in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for college. After spending a summer in Chicago, he began his documentation of living in and interacting with extremely different environments. This created a plethora of dichotomies the artist has since been developing in his photographs.
Now living again in Chicago, Mr. Meerdo uses the camera to return to studies of natural environments, deconstructing familiar scenes into basic elements. By premeditating chance encounters with color, shape and composition, the abstracted photographs become familiar and foreign at the same time. The photographs evoke nostalgia, leaving the viewer with a feeling similar to how one experiences memories: recognizable yet displaced in time and space.
Rodney Swanstrom will create a skylight installation, which explores the dynamics of colliding energies, whether they are the inherent contrasts between intimacy and the urbane, or light and dark as it is transferred into architectural form. His skylight construction also plays with the ideas of public and private space. The structures can be viewed simultaneously inside and outside of the gallery space. The structure's angles of convergence are illuminated with contrasting images of landscape and cityscape. These projections are reflections from Mr. Swanstrom's past, such as growing up on a ranch in Wyoming, which are then juxtaposed with images of crowds and an urban architectural environment.
There are two skylight structures with a portal connection plane. Within this portal site, the viewer can see raw energy fields, which are coming from each separated skylight structure. These exposed energy fields collide in a central beam of high intensity light, which forms the portal point where both plane connect. Within this portal is also the omnipotent glow from a T.V. monitor; an echo of contemporary culture.
As Mr. Swanstrom says, "My work is about passage. Passage of light and body. The skylight is a catalyst for viewing where light becomes my medium. My work explores the dichotomies of energy fields as they collide into feelings of belonging and displacement."