Art & Art History
The third in a series of five UIC MFA Thesis Exhibitions in Studio Arts, Photography, Moving Image, and New Media Arts.
Artists: Alejandro T. Acierto, Erik Allen, Timothy P. McMullen, Courtney Prokopas
Midway between definition and darkness there exists a liminal space — it is this precise space that is visually and sonically explored in Midway. How can one intuit what is language and what is babble? What is the edge and what is the beyond? Visual demarcations of the physical and psychological landscape cauterize the liminal as an alternative definitive and an in-between moment caught in time.
As an artist and musician focused on examining other modes of representation outside of the purely ocular, Alejandro T. Acierto’s work in time-based mediums of performance, video, music, and sound seek to articulate multiple modalities of mixed race subjectivities. Drawing on the historical legacies of race that provide a lens for framing mixed race subjectivities and experiences, he uses voice, text, and language as ways to navigate the complexities of mixed race subjects and their identifications. Using these expressions as formal and conceptual frameworks from which my project emerges, he is interested in notions of passing and (racialized) performativity for people with mixed race identities to open up a larger discussion of the complications of race and its experiences.
Erik Allen: The gesture of writing is a form of mark-making. When the marks are stripped of content, the gesture of writing can be seen as a new language, a language that is tied to the physicality of the mark. A flicker occurs between the mental interpretation of the image and the physical object. One influences the other in a way that complicates the image and expresses both the mental and the physical as a convergence of language.
Timothy P. McMullen: I produce abstract paintings and site-specific installations that investigate location in its relation to the body as a means to develop a deeper understanding of the spaces that I inhabit. I take on the role of an erratic cartographer in order to create temporal moments through my art that encourage time to slow down and the mind to engage with enigmatic forms.
Courtney Prokopas: In my work, elements of the natural order serve as allegories for social and political constructs. Liminal spaces are examined via visual strike-slip faults — boundaries abut, overlap, crush and clash. Nature and the living are employed materially and metonymically in ways that show ways that such constructs ultimately succumb back to the natural order.
The 2014 MFA Thesis Exhibitions are supported by Gallery 400 and the School of Art & Art History at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Alejandro T. Acierto is an artist and musician working in text, sound, music, and performance. His recent performance works have been presented at Counterpath in Denver, Brooklyn International Performance Art Festival (BIPAF), the Center for Performance Research, and at the Slingshot Festival for Music, Art, & Technology. He has also shown in LA, San Francisco, Detroit, and Chicago. He is a member of contemporary chamber orchestra Ensemble Dal Niente, and can be heard on Carrier, Albany, Avant Media, and Parlour Tapes+ Records, and will be releasing a solo album of works for voice and contrabass clarinet on Prom Night Records.
Erik Allen was born in scenic southern Idaho and graduated for the University of Idaho. He emigrated to Chicago with his wife and cat, where he continued his pursuit of unraveling the complexities of art.
Timothy McMullen was born in Bethlehem, PA; raised in San Antonio, TX; and studied and exhibited work for some time in Long Beach and Los Angeles, CA. Currently, he lives in Chicago with no plans to move any time soon. Alongside his work in primarily painting and sculpture, McMullen is also a collaborator with the J.T. Baker Chemical Company, acting as the current C.E.O.
Courtney Prokopas hails from Montague, MA. She works across mediums and across states, geographically speaking; she’s always solid. Past screenings and exhibitions include High Desert Test Sites, Echo Park Film Center, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Maryland Film Festival, Revelation: Perth International Film Festival, South Arts Southern Circuit Film Tour, Sheffield Doc/Fest, and Citizen Jane Film Festival. She is an awardee of the Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Arts scholarship.