Christopher Art Gallery, Prairie State College
Gallery Guide, InterAction
The exhibition, InterAction, highlights work from the Chicago Sculpture International membership, chosen from those works submitted for this exhibition. As a curator, I must admit having a difficult time with choosing for this exhibition because there was so much fine work to consider. There were a number of works that could not be included due to our spatial constraints, and had we a larger space, the show would have included even more artists! I carefully chose a range of works in terms of style, media, and subject matter. In addition, I also considered a balance of works for the wall, for pedestals and as floor installations.
My main criteria in choosing works were to find compelling images, that encouraged audience “interaction” on an emotional, aesthetic, and intellectual basis. These are works that draw us in as viewers, and as all good sculpture does, encourages us to consider the works from multiple vantage points in order to understand the relationship of the art to its space. We as viewers are not passive onlookers but are asked to engage with these works. They beckon us to come closer, to walk around them when they are free-standing, and to see them as whole and in details. Our response is based on the draw to interact with each piece.
Works such as Yvette Kaiser Smith’s Pi in Pascal’s Triangle Square combine our engagement in an intellectual understanding of the mathematical basis for the work and yet our emotional response to the beauty inherent in order with detailed crocheted geometric forms. We are challenged with feelings of memory as we encounter Suzanne Cohan-Lange’s Glass Houses with Stones, as if we are being asked to think about ethical considerations. Works such as Shelley Gilchrist’s Rabbit Proof provides pure visual delight and humor while we enjoy deep color relationships. The wide variety of our responses are possible because of the rich variety presented in the exhibition.
Another criteria always present for me in choosing works is a love of craftsmanship. Many works here demonstrate a deep love of craftsmanship in their making. The artists also use a wide creative range of materials in their work, from plastic fiber, wood, paper, ceramics, and metal, to natural materials. Each media presents its own challenge and the Chicago Sculpture International sculptors seem to welcome that challenge. We find elegance and movement in Terry Karpowicz’s Lean on Me with Knobs and Richard Shipp’s Crossing Streams, all made particularly seductive because of the innate craftsmanship in the work. Whatever the material used, these artists have great command of their media, and these strengthen the works shown here.
As a curator, I surely hope that these works “speak” to you. Whether the works refer to the beauty of nature (Karen Gubitz’s onepointsixoneeight referring to the form of a nautilus), or to the tension of the human condition, such as Ann Rosen’s Shredded Moments, or to the dichotomy of threat vs gentleness, as found in Celia Greiner’s Prick,these works call to us and ask us to think, to enjoy and to interact.
(Image: Terry Karpowicz’s Lean on Me)