New Work by The Chicago Project artist, Juan Fernandez!

Juan Fernandez’s series Facade is an ongoing body of work using architecture and structures of practicality to create feelings of isolation. Despite their functions, some of these buildings contain small decorative features such as curved walls or unique roofs. After photographing the architectural site, Juan “cleanses” each image by digitally removing distracting elements and leaving behind only small signs of reality, such as cement cracks or rust stains.

Take a look at a few of Juan’s newest pieces below:

Denial, 2015 © Juan Fernandez
Denial, 2015 © Juan Fernandez
Alter, 2015 © Juan Fernandez
Alter, 2015 © Juan Fernandez
Science, 2015 © Juan Fernandez
Science, 2015 © Juan Fernandez
Oranization, 2015 © Juan Fernandez
Organization, 2015 © Juan Fernandez

Facade

Facade addresses the collective memory of place. The work concentrates on vernacular architecture and spaces, i.e. schools, housing, industrial, and retail buildings. My interest lies in the oversimplification of perception concerning situations such as our built environment. Photographs of urban and suburban architecture operate with a sense of familiarity, illustrating seemingly banal moments. However, upon further inspection, certain oddities begin to rise to the surface complicating the viewer’s relationship to reality by creating a false impression of the truth.

This is accomplished by using the innate qualities of the photographic process, coupled with varying amounts of digital manipulation. Specifically, each image is “cleansed” of distracting elements. This introduces feelings of uneasiness, rejection, and isolation that exist as odd photographic moments within a landscape of form, structure, and order. I control these elements by only photographing in “neutral” overcast skies, and including small signs of reality, such as a piece of trash, dead leaves, cement cracks, or rust stains. This eliminates the direct relationship to the actual location or time, while still allowing an aspect of reality to remain.

 To see more work by Juan Fernandez please visit our website.

tumblr_nw8km0fjME1qbo4oso1_1280
Juan’s workshop at Northeastern Illinois University © Nate Mathews

Advertisements

Krista Svalbonas is added to The Chicago Project!

We are pleased to announce the newest addition to The Chicago Project, Krista Svalbonas!

Migrants 44, 2015 © Krista Svalbonas
Migrants 44, 2015 © Krista Svalbonas

Krista Svalbonas holds a BFA in photography and design from Syracuse University and an interdisciplinary MFA in photography, sculpture and design from SUNY New Paltz. She has exhibited at the Miller Yezerski Gallery, Massachusetts; Watchung Art Center and George Segal Gallery in New Jersey; Monterey Peninsula Art Gallery in California; Kenise Barnes Fine Art, Matteawan Gallery, The Painting Center, Trestle Gallery, and BWAC in New York; and Tubac Center For The Arts, Arizona. She recently completed large-scale site-specific installations at the ISE Cultural Foundation in New York and Wall Gallery in Oakland, California. She was part of a two-year traveling group exhibition in Latvia, where her work was acquired for the permanent collection of the Cesis Art Museum. She is a recipient of a Cooper Union artist residency as well as a New Arts Program residency and exhibition, and was awarded a Bemis fellowship for 2015. Svalbonas is currently a lecturer in photography at Columbia College.

Be sure to visit The Chicago Project website to see more of her work!

Migrants 35, 2015 © Krista Svalbonas

Migrants 35, 2015 © Krista Svalbonas

Artist Statement

Ideas of home and dislocation have always been compelling to me as the child of parents who arrived in the United States as refugees. Born in Latvia and Lithuania, my parents spent many years after the end of the Second World War in displaced-persons camps in Germany before they were allowed to emigrate to the United States. My family’s displacement is part of a long history of uprooted peoples for whom the idea of “home” is contingent, in flux, without permanent definition and undermined by political agendas beyond their control. Perhaps as a result, I am fascinated by the language of spatial relationships and by the impact of architectural form and structure on the psychology of the human environment.

Photography also plays a key role in this history of displacement: photographs were among the few possessions my family was able to take with them when they fled the Russian occupation. Photographs documented a home and a country that most Baltic refugees, including my parents, thought they would never see again. I was raised on these visual memories, and the accompanying stories of a “homeland” that remained distant and inaccessible — until the unimaginable happened in 1991, when the Baltic states regained their freedom.

Complicated by this family history, my definition of home constantly oscillates between past and present. “Migrants” began with photographs I took in the three locations I have called home in the past eight years: the New York metro area, rural Pennsylvania, and Chicago. Taken with digital camera, camera phone, and point and shoot, each image is a visual sketch of the genius loci of the landscape at a particular moment in my history. I cut and reassemble the images in sets of three, creating hybrid structures that reinterpret and reinvent architecture, disrupting space, light, and direction. At the same time, because the triangle is the simplest stable two-dimensional form, anchoring each piece in three geographical points creates a stability that acts as counterweight to the sense of dislocation. “Migrants” turns an analytical gaze on the architecture of my past and present while offering a personal reflection on the nature of home.

Migrants 51, 2015 © Krista Svalbonas
Migrants 51, 2015 © Krista Svalbonas

Take a peek at in progress photos from Krista’s recent artist in residency, as well as final pieces from her latest body of work, The New Deal.

Artist in residence studio shot
Residency studio
Paper template
Paper template
In progress gold leaf piece
In progress gold leaf
New Deal 13, 2015 © Krista Svalbonas
New Deal 13, 2015 ©
Krista Svalbonas
New Deal, 19, 2015 © Krista Svalbonas
New Deal, 19, 2015 ©
Krista Svalbonas

Visit The Chicago Project website to see more of Krista Svalbonas’s work!

Introducing The Chicago Project Artist, Jason Vaughn!

Introducing The Chicago Project Artist, Jason Vaughn!

Jason Vaughn is based in Wisconsin.  His first major series, hide, is a typological study using Wisconsin hunting stands as a reflection on legacies and family.

Mineral Point, WI, 2013 © Jason Vaughn
Mineral Point, WI, 2013 © Jason Vaughn

In 2011, while working on hide, he was diagnosed with leukemia at age 32. After a yearlong hiatus, he completed the series in 2014.  It has been met with great acclaim and featured in the New York Times, Slate Magazine, and Artforum, among others.  Photographs from hide were included in the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art Wisconsin Triennial and the State of the Art exhibition at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.  For this show, curators visited over 1,000 studios in a search for “the most compelling American art being created today.”  hide was recently published by Trema Förlag with a special edition by Paul Schiek.

hide

hide is a project that began as a commentary on Wisconsin’s hunting tradition, using deer stands as a metaphor for the changing values of the sport.  When my sudden cancer diagnosis interrupted the project, hide took on a much deeper, more personal meaning.

I was inspired on my drives through Wisconsin by deer stands, and began having conversations with hunters about the tradition of hunting in their families.  Some people described building the stands as something permanent that could be passed to the next generation, especially sons who would inherit the land.  I was anticipating the birth of my own son and thinking about my legacy to him, so this idea resonated strongly with me.  I also heard hunters emphasize that their pastime is not about violence, but more about oneness with nature and time spent with their children in the stands.  I wanted these photographs to capture the serenity of that sentiment, and to suggest the dignity that was associated with hunting when it was seen as a means of feeding large families.  Finally, I wanted to look at the issue from a historical standpoint, and the impermanent nature of some of the stands illustrates the fading hunting tradition in Wisconsin, which has declined in recent years.

When I was diagnosed with leukemia in 2011, my work on hide was put on hold.  I was 32 years old and had a 3-month-old baby at home.  Having to face mortality so unexpectedly made me come back to the project with a new perspective on the ideas of permanence and impermanence.  Ultimately, hide became my reflection on legacies and family, my homage to the state that has become my home, and a narrative about accepting change.

Columbus, WI, 2013 © Jason Vaughn
Columbus, WI, 2013 © Jason Vaughn

Select images from Jason Vaughn’s hide series are on view in our current exhibition, The Chicago Project VI: Selections from our Online Gallery running through August 29th.

Screen Shot 2015-08-22 at 2.38.09 PM We also want to congratulate Jason Vaughn on the recent release of his monograph, hide, along with a special boxset edition through TBW Books!

Born from a mutual appreciation for the publisher’s home-state of Wisconsin, the special edition boxset continues TBW Book’s tradition of crafting fine books from unique, and often, found, materials.  Items chosen for the special edition mimic the essence of the deer stands: weathered and rugged plywood, taking on the characteristics of their surroundings, meant to conceal the contents within; these rough elements are used in contrast to the edition’s finely milled and assembled framework… continue reading

– Sarah Stankey

Screen Shot 2015-08-22 at 3.29.46 PM
Two Creeks, WI , 2013 © Jason Vaughn

 

Introducing The Chicago Project Artist, Lauren Wilkins!

Introducing The Chicago Project Artist, Lauren Wilkins!

Lauren Wilkins is a collage artist, analog photographer and vintage collector. She adores chemical photobooths, collection cameras and listening to her father’s turntable. Lauren earned a BA in photography from Columbia College Chicago in 2013.

Couple, 2012 © Lauren Wilkins
Couple, 2012 © Lauren Wilkins

I collect found photography, with a focus on traditional family photographs. In gathering new material I consider a series of questions: Why pick up the camera to capture that moment? Are these people still with us today? How far did these images travel before coming into my possession?

-Lauren Wilkins

Untitled (mountain), 2012 © Lauren Wilkins
Untitled (mountain), 2012 © Lauren Wilkins

In this series of photographic collages I am trying to better understand anxiety as a meaningfully destructive psychological condition. Anxiety can make it difficult to have close, enduring relationships. Through these strangers’ snapshots I see both romanticized ideals which are ultimately unattainable, and life choices I both fear and desire: marriage and motherhood, as well as all the responsibilities that would come with them.

-Lauren Wilkins

World Traveler, 2011 © Lauren Wilkins
World Traveler, 2011 © Lauren Wilkins

Select images by Lauren Wilkins are on view in our current exhibition, The Chicago Project VI: Selections from our Online Gallery running through August 29th.

Introducing The Chicago Project Artist, Everett C. Williams!

Introducing The Chicago Project Artist, Everett C. Williams!

Everett C. Williams combines appropriated and original photographs with graphics to produce “OP/POP Art” images. He carefully layers these photographs through digital techniques to produce one of a kind chance combinations. Throughout his work Everett explores dimension, color and pattern that alter visual perceptions and playing with your senses.

Emmett, 2015 © Everett C. Williams
Emmett, 2015 © Everett C. Williams

Everett’s work has been influenced, and inspired by many painters including Paschke, Johns, Raushenberg, Rosenquist, Warhol and Carrie James Marshall.

My work is about using portraiture, language and symbols as devices for identity, political and social commentary.

-Everett C. Williams

Moments, 2014 © Everett C. Williams
Moments, 2014 © Everett C. Williams

Artist Statement

Photographic and graphic images are combined to produce “OP/POP Art” portraits and images. The visual effects of OpArt are exploited to entice the viewer into the image. Pattern repetition from graphic images and signs act as “codes” that engage the eye and invade the images. This invasion plays with spatial relationships in and around the art. The use of these graphic images with meanings we are predisposed to place us in a “control society” where these codes are used to produce a social exclusion for some groups. My art is about how forces in this hegemonic society are used to control our identities which affects our daily lives.

Yummy², 2013 © Everett C. Williams
Yummy², 2013 © Everett C. Williams

Select images by Everett C. Williams are on view in our current exhibition, The Chicago Project VI: Selections from our Online Gallery running through August 29th.

Introducing The Chicago Project Artist, Elaine Suzanne Miller!

Introducing The Chicago Project Artist, Elaine Suzanne Miller!

Elaine Suzanne Miller explores the themes of death, transience, memory, preservation, and both the frailty and resilience of the human spirit through challenging experiences. While much of her work is based on personal experience, it encompasses universal themes that are intended to incite conversation and encourage others to tell their story.

it comes in threes, 2011, © Elaine Suzanne Miller
it comes in threes, 2011, © Elaine Suzanne Miller

Elaine graduated with a B.F.A. from Indiana University in 2011.  Her project, “it would lose all purpose” has been curated into multiple group shows nationally, with a solo show in PhotoNOLA. She currently lives and works in Chicago, IL.

tell us what befell, 2012 © Elaine Suzanne Miller
tell us what befell, 2012 © Elaine Suzanne Miller

it would lose all purpose

it would lose all purpose is my reaction and processing of the expected passing of my father, which was quickly followed by the unexpected death of my sister. Immediately following their deaths in 2009, I began photographing the remainder of my family with significant objects symbolic of my dad and sister. I wanted to produce a means for the living to interact with the dead, thus keeping those departed alive. Photographing my nieces and nephews in places which hold our families’ roots helped me bridge the gap I saw forming between the relationship of then and now.

I also use my work to illustrate the alienation I have felt as well as the fight to recover from the disconnect I built within myself as a coping mechanism. As time has passed, I continue creating portraits of my family to represent the various stages of grief my own psyche has traversed throughout the mourning process. I especially find catharsis in photographing my nieces and nephews, as they themselves are now the symbolic objects my sister and father live through.

– Elaine Suzanne Miller

the truth, 2012 © Elaine Suzanne Miller
the truth, 2012 © Elaine Suzanne Miller

Introducing The Chicago Project Artist, Kevin Shick!

Introducing The Chicago Project Artist, Kevin Shick!

A lifelong Chicagoan, Kevin Shick has been photographing for over 40 years. His work explores themes of personal discovery and the current state of the human condition by observing, isolating and elevating quotidian aspects of everyday life.

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 3.24.58 PMMostly self-taught, he started in photography by helping his father light, develop and print family portraits in a wet darkroom, and later accompanying his intrepid aunt during her photographic treks in the Sierras. Kevin has a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois and an MBA from the University of Chicago. Following a career in technology and consulting, he now pursues a photographic life. His project The Commute has recently been featured in Chicago magazine and will be the subject of an upcoming solo exhibition at the Union League Club of Chicago.

Crossword, 2013 © Kevin Shick
Crossword, 2013 © Kevin Shick

The Commute

The Commute depicts the daily lives of commuters on the Rock Island train line in Chicago, just minutes from their arrival at the terminal. This train passes by my house every day, and for years I’ve tried to ignore it, but one day I found myself fascinated by the morning light on the passengers’ faces. I started photographing the riders, taking pictures almost every day for several months.Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 3.20.12 PM

I started out intending to capture only candid portraits, but quickly realized that I was seeing familiar faces day after day. So for four months on weekday mornings I would position myself and anticipate their arrival. My best friends became a cup of coffee, a tripod, a train schedule, and the people on the train I began to recognize.

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 3.28.04 PMI quickly got to the point where I knew when each train would be approaching that carried the commuters I had become familiar with. I knew when and where to look, but because the train moves quickly, there wasn’t time to evaluate each frame at the moment of capture: it was shoot first, edit later. Harvesting each day’s “catch” became a process of discovery, selection and categorization.

 

This series is about the power of habit in creating and expressing identity, so it is ironic that I had to develop my own habit of photographing every day in order to gather the images.

 “Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

Kevin Shick

Afro, 2013 © Kevin Shick
Afro, 2013 © Kevin Shick

Chicago’s rapid transit trains can maintain a top speed of 55 mph, with an average speed of about 30 mph. As you can imagine, it is extremely difficult to photograph individuals riding the “L” when it’s literally moving faster than a racehorse.

Kevin’s images are captured at the edge of what is possible with current photography equipment. He uses a fast telephoto lens combined with a shutter speed of about 1/2000th of a second. Beyond the difficult technical elements,  Kevin has to take into account lighting and the angle of the sun.

I found that spring and fall were the seasons that gave the best results; in summer the sun was too high and bright, and in winter it was too low and dim… But once I had my setup in place, capturing this series became a daily routine as comforting to me as I imagine the routines of these commuters are for them.- Kevin Shick

Select images from Kevin Shick’s The Commute series are on view in our current exhibition, The Chicago Project VI: Selections from our Online Gallery running through August 29th.