on the wall: Artist Karen Reimer's Architectural Intervention in Wicker Park
September 1, 2017 - January 31, 2018
Opening Reception September 9
Coinciding with the 2017 Chicago Architectural Biennial, and conceived for the gallery’s street-level public viewing space, local artist Karen Reimer will create a site-specific installation that explores the architectural history of Wicker Park and Bucktown in relation to the changing climate of the Midwest.
For nearly 20 years, Reimer has constructed architectural interventions that reconsider modernist ideals and minimalist embodiment through the handmade and everyday. A recent example is her 2016 installation "Shoretime Spaceline" at Hyde Park Art Center– inspired by the fabled Chicago Beach Hotel that was built for the 1893 Columbian Exposition, and stood in roughly the same location as the art center until its demolition in the 1970s. For that project, Reimer constructed a site-specific large-scale installation of fabric and sand, intended to distort viewers' perception of the horizon, and reversing the disappearance of lake into land over a century ago.
Likewise, Reimer's "on the wall" project at Monique Meloche is inspired by the damaged foundation of the nearby Holy Trinity Cathedral, designed by Louis Sullivan in 1903. One of only two churches realized by the architect, the building’s stucco facade is currently marred by cracks caused by settling due to the major Midwest drought of the 2000s. Reimer will duplicate the cracks located on the north-facing wall of the cathedral onto the south-facing front windows of the gallery, which were also broken in 2009 due to settling caused by the same drought, resulting in a mirror image crafted in gold leaf that is evocative of the church’s dome. Metaphorically, Reimer’s installation is a meditation on the larger collapse of cultural foundations and our capacity to live on the earth at all, let alone in buildings, in the climate of the future.
off the wall: Amanda Williams Confronts Urban Renewal on Public Bus Benches
September 1 - November 30, 2017
For its fourth iteration, the gallery has invited Chicago-based artist and previous participant of the first Architecture Biennial, Amanda Williams, to showcase a new series of works that continue her investigations of urban development in Chicago and nationwide. Trained as an architect, Williams is interested in how combining the disciplines of art and architecture might help make all the parts of a city thrive. This project will be influenced by the expansion of the northwest side of the Chicago, including the gallery's surrounding neighborhoods of Wicker Park, Humboldt Park, and West Town. Williams' artworks will be displayed on public bus benches in these areas, which have seen major socioeconomic change in the last decade. By targeting specific benches that are near architectural points of interest, her project will invite dialogue with the multi-cultural community, asking questions about privilege and gentrification.
Williams' "off the wall" project coincides with her Chicago Works exhibition at the MCA (her first solo museum exhibition), as well as her garden project "Uppity Negress" at The Arts Club of Chicago.