Skip to content

Events

Art & Art History

Ghost Nature

Friday, January 17, 2014–Saturday, March 01, 2014

View times

Artists: Sebastian Alvarez, Art Orienté objet (Marion Laval-Jeantet and Benoît Mangin), Jeremy Bolen, Irina Botea, Agnes Meyer-Brandis, Robert Burnier, Marcus Coates, Assaf Evron, Carrie Gundersdorf, Institute of Critical Zoologists, Jenny Kendler, Devin King, Stephen Lapthisophon, Milan Metthey, Rebecca Mir, Heidi Norton, Akosua Adoma Owusu, Tessa Siddle, and Xaviera Simmons. 

The Northwest Passage—an historic golden fleece of shipping routes—has opened up in the Arctic, and scientists continue to predict dramatic rising seas. Bee populations have fallen rapidly, raising questions about food production. Mice grow human ears on their backs in laboratories and rabbits glow in the dark. In this new age of ecological awareness, “Nature” as a Romantic ideal—a pristine mountainside beyond the scope of human influence—is but a dithering spirit. Rather than succumbing to the pang of this loss, Ghost Nature exposes the limits of human perspective in the emergent landscape that remains: a slippery network of sometimes monstrous creatures, plants, and technological advances.

Picard 150x150 Caroline Picard is a Chicago-based artist, writer, and curator who investigates interspecies borders, how the human relates to its environment, and what possibilities might emerge when upending an anthropocentric worldview. In 2005, she founded the slow-media paperback press, The Green Lantern, releasing debut novels by emerging writers, poetry collections, and art theory publications. In 2009, she published a multidisciplinary reprint of The North Georgia Gazette, an 1821 Arctic humor newspaper written by ice-bound sailors in search of the Northwest Passage. Picard’s recent short stories, essays, and comics can be seen, or are forthcoming, in Paper Monument, Rattapallax, Artslant, Art ltd., The Coming Envelope, MAKE Magazine, and Diner Journal; she has contributed multiple graphic adaptations to the The Graphic Canon project (Seven Stories Press, 2012-15). Other books include Psycho Dream Factory (Holon Press, 2011) and The Chronicles of Fortune (Holon Press, 2011). She is the 2014 Curatorial Resident at La Box in Bourges, France.

Image: Caroline Picard

Ghost Nature is supported by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; the College of Architecture and the Arts, University of Illinois at Chicago; and a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. Howard and Donna Stone and Jeff Stokols and Daryl Gerber Stokols provide general support to Gallery 400 programs.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Stephen Gropp-Hess
Graduate Assistant
312 996 6114
gallery400@uic.edu

Ghost Nature

Gallery 400
January 17-March 1, 2014

Xaviera Simmons, Index One, Composition One, 2011, Color photograph, 50 x 40 in.

Artists: Sebastian Alvarez, Art Orienté objet (Marion Laval-Jeantet and Benoît Mangin), Jeremy Bolen, Irina Botea, Agnes Meyer-Brandis, Robert Burnier, Marcus Coates, Assaf Evron, Carrie Gundersdorf, Institute of Critical Zoologists, Jenny Kendler, Devin King, Stephen Lapthisophon, Milan Metthey, Rebecca Mir, Heidi Norton, Akosua Adoma Owusu, Tessa Siddle, and Xaviera Simmons.

November 21, 2013—Chicago, IL— Curated by Caroline Picard, Ghost Nature is a group exhibition based around the strangeness of the natural world. As Timothy Morton posits in The Ecological Thought (Harvard University Press, 2010), “nature qua nature” no longer exists as an “over there” place. Humankind is wholly integrated within its “mesh” and, as such, the Romantic desire to commune with a landscape beyond the scope of humanity is impossible. Nevertheless, there remains an inherited desire to so. It is a glitch. The tickle of a phantom limb. A desire forever unfulfilled but nonetheless maddening. Working in sculpture, photography, drawing, and video, artists in Ghost Nature investigate the borders and bounds between human and nonhuman experience.

Jeremy Bolen documents multiple facets of the landscape, juxtaposing subterranean traces of radioactivity with images of scenery above ground; a material layer of dirt is scattered on the surface of the prints. Heidi Norton embeds living plants in her work, creating new and abstract frames with glass and wax. Irina Botea frames landscape in another way, filming a tour guide on his quixotic search for the perfect, “picturesque” view. Works in the show periodically bump into limited capacities: for instance Carrie Gundersdorf ’s translations of planetary bodies into the motifs of abstract, colorist painting, or Assaf Evron’s wooden interpretation of an algorithmic color model, the form of which is determined by the systemic limitations of the computer from which it originated. Milan Metthey courts ducks and Art Orienté object exhibits documentation of a horse-to-human blood transfusion. Attempting to connect with non-human beings, Metthey and AOo vie to transcend anthropocentric life. Inherently fraught and prone to failure, these efforts test deep-seated assumptions about what is, and what is not, natural. Rebecca Mir writes love letters to the ocean. Marcus Coates installs a white cube, calling it the “Platonic Spirit” of a wolf, its wildness stripped blank, not unlike a tombstone. Robert Burnier folds aluminum into crumpled abstraction, and the Institute of Critical Zoologists installs a bee trap using blue paint as bait—a minimalist gesture that may or may not work. Xaviera Simmons’ photographs question the fixity of personal identity by way of material assemblages. There are fanciful movements too, as with Agnes Meyer-Brandis’ moon goose colony, or Akosua Adoma Owusu ’s fabled man-spider, Kwaku Ananse. The show, which features nineteen artists, creates an eclectic aesthetic ecology within Gallery 400.

In 2007, the Northwest Passage opened up in the Arctic. Scientists continue to predict dramatically rising seas. Bee populations have fallen rapidly, raising questions about food production. Mice grow human ears on their backs in laboratories and rabbits glow in the dark. In this new age of ecological awareness, “Nature”—what was once an ideological retreat for Thoreau and Emerson—is but a dithering spirit. Rather than succumb to the pang of this loss, Ghost Nature exposes the limits of human perspective in the emergent landscape that remains: a slippery network of sometimes monstrous creatures, plants, and technological advancements. Perhaps that Romantic site never existed in the first place—and yet without it, how are we to reframe our concept of the natural world? How do we incorporate and integrate human participation?

Related Programs:

Opening Reception, Friday, January 17, 5-8pm
Other programs to be announced

Tours:

Gallery 400 offers guided tours for groups of all ages. Tours are free of charge but require reservation. Please complete our online form (accessible at gallery400.uic.edu/visit/tours) to schedule a tour of Ghost Nature. For more information, or to discuss the specific needs and interests of your group, please contact us at 312 996 6114 or gallery400@uic.edu.

Ghost Nature is supported by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; the School of Art & Art History, the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts, University of Illinois at Chicago; and a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. Howard and Donna Stone and Jeff Stokols and Daryl Gerber Stokols provide general support to Gallery 400 programs.

Founded in 1983, Gallery 400 is one of the nation’s most vibrant university galleries, showcasing work at the leading edge of contemporary art, architecture, and design. The Gallery’s program of exhibitions, lectures, film and video screenings, and performances features interdisciplinary and experimental practices. Operating within the School of Art and Art History in the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Gallery 400 endeavors to make the arts and its practitioners accessible to a broad spectrum of the public and to cultivate a variety of cultural and intellectual perspectives. Gallery 400 is recognized for its support of the creation of new work, the diversity of its programs and participants, and the development of experimental models for multidisciplinary exhibition.

EXHIBITION CHECKLIST

Art Orienté Objet, Marion Laval-Jeantet, and Benoît Mangin)

May the Horse Live in Me, 2011
HD video, 24:00 min.
Courtesy the artists

Sebastian Alvarez

The Chronosophical Society, Transection 01, 2014
Digital print on vinyl, 8 x 24 ft.
Courtesy the artist

Jeremy Bolen

“Film exposed at Cern that I accidentally buried at Plot M, where it was unearthed by an anonymous force sometime between April 24th and May 22nd 2013”
, 2012-2013
Archival pigment print, flora from CERN, dirt, and erosion blanket pieces from Plot M, 24 x 28 in.
Courtesy the artist and Andrew Rafacz Gallery

Irina Botea
(in collaboration with Nicu Ilfoveanu and Toni Cartu)

Picturesque, 2013
Video, 30:00 min.
Courtesy the artists

Agnes Meyer-Brandeis

Moon Goose Colony, 2011
Video, 20:56 min.
Courtesy the artist

“THE MOON GOOSE ANALOGUE: Lunar Migration Bird Facility” was commissioned by The Arts Catalyst and FACT, in partnership with Pollinaria and in coproduction with Z33

Robert Burnier
Iota, 2013
Aluminum, 24 x 31 in.
Courtesy the artist and Andrew Rafacz Gallery

Marcus Coates

Platonic Spirit: Grey Running Wolf, 2012
MDF, paint, 80 1/3 x 38 1/2 x 13 in.
Courtesy the artist and Kate MacGarry Gallery

Assaf Evron

Untitled, (sRGB 1996), 2012
MDF and epoxy, 32 x 35 x 18 in.
Courtesy the artist

Carrie Gundersdorf

Four Sections of Saturn ’s Rings, 2013
Colored pencil and watercolor on paper, 40 x 60 in.
Courtesy the artist

Institute of Critical Zoologists

Bee Trap, 2013
House paint, 8 x 8 in.
Courtesy the artists

Moon Dust, 2013
Ash belonging to 103 species of insects collected from a lamp cover, 2 x 2 x 1 in.
Courtesy the artists

Jenny Kendler

Camouflage V (Ultra-deflector for endangered Bird of Paradise), 2013
Vintage porcelain bird, glue, paperclay, acrylic, gold leaf, 10 x 6 x 6 in.
Courtesy the artist

Companion for Utopians, 2013
Stag beetle (Hexarthrius Mandibularis), mylar, acrylic ink, silver thread, 3 x 1 1/2 x 1 in.
Courtesy the artist

Devin King

The Moon, s/t, 2010
Cassette tape boxes, ink, cardstock, slide film, LED, batteries, 4 1/4 x 2 3/4 x 3/4 in.
Courtesy the artist

The Moon on the Knock
, 2010
Cassette tape box, ink, cardstock, slide film, led, battery, 4 1/4 x 2 3/4 x 3/4 in.
Courtesy the artist

Stephen Lapthisophon

Taking Care, 2013
Installation (root vegetables, container, ice), dimensions variable
Courtesy the artist

Milan Metthey

Love Ducking Experiment: Duck Mating Ritual, 2011
Video, 6:49 min.
Courtesy the artist

Rebecca Mir Grady

Long Distance Relationship with the Ocean, 2013
Table, letters, photographs, rocks
Courtesy of the artist

Heidi Norton

Anaphase Mutated, 2014
Glass, resin, plants, paint, wood, 61 1/2 x 52 in.
Courtesy the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery

Akosua Adoma Owusu

Anancy, 2012
Video and slides, 2:00 min.
Courtesy the artist

Kwaku Ananse, 2013
2 channel video, 25:00 min.
Courtesy the artist

Tessa Siddle

The Green Dreams of Wolves, 2013
Video, 9:18 min.
Courtesy the artist

Xaviera Simmons

Index One, Composition One, 2011
Color photograph, 50 x 40 in.
Courtesy the artist and David Castillo Gallery

Brochure: Ghost Nature

Postcard: Ghost Nature

Poster: Ghost Nature

Stagaman, Chloe. “SeePlus: Ghost Nature at Gallery 400.” February 23, 2014. http://www.heavemedia.com