A Sag, Harbored
The work in this show utilizes, for lack of a better description, the image of fabric/textile sagging in the middle between two upraised points. The artists included use this specific formal gesture to reach different conceptual goals. This premise arose from seeing images of Michelle Grabner’s recent sculptures, bronze casts of hand-crocheted and knitted blankets, many of which were used as templates for her abstract paintings. Her draping forms of reconstituted textile are reminiscent of gallery artist Rachel Niffenegger‘s distressed fabric shrouds, painting/sculpture hybrids that function as clothing, skins and spirits, all referencing the residual imprint of the body. A Sag, Harbored is a celebration of this form as well as a subtle subversion of the art world “who wore it better” and “who’s____who” memes, websites and social media feeds that try to highlight artists whom have seemingly almost identical works. “I think the idea of highlighting/celebrating these similarities is fairly fresh since the instinct, especially from a gallery and sometimes artist’s point of view is to pretend like they don’t exist,” said Niffenegger about the possibility for this exhibition. Along this vein, the show will include a Nicholas Frank biography piece that references the snarky website “Who wore it better,” comparing a possibly fictional performance staged by Frank to Beyoncé’s video for her song “Ghost.” Also featured is a wall hanging by the fiber artist and designer Tanya Aguiñiga, a layered painted fabric installation that riffs on traditional Indian textiles by Preetika Rajgariah, Paul Mpagi Sepuya’s fragmented photographs of male bodies hidden and revealed by heavy draping, paintings by Gyan Shrosbree, and maybe more. A Sag, Harbored opens at Western Exhibitions’ new gallery space in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village on Friday, July 14 with a reception, free and open to the public, from 5 to 8pm. The show will run through August 19. Gallery hours are 11am to 6pm, Tuesday–Saturday. Please contact [email protected] or (312) 480-8390 for more information and/or images.