A Certain Slant of Light

January 15 – February 25, 2017
Opening Reception: Sunday, January 15, 3 – 6pm

Guest Curated by Bill Conger and Shona Macdonald

“There’s a certain slant of light On winter afternoons,
That oppresses like the weight Of cathedral tunes”
– Emily Dickinson

The work of this group of artists hopes to encapsulate the lyricism, fragility, and foreboding inherent in Dickinson’s poem. Memory too, captured in Dickinson’s vivid imagery, is present in much of this work: particularly the way memories unearth and dislodge, becoming different with age. Also, stillness and boredom where the imagination runs free, on days such as dreary, rain-soaked Sunday afternoons, as evoked in Dickinson’s poem.

The poem’s undercurrent of affliction illuminates something within the narrator herself. A supernatural heft within the four slight passages swells as the arbitrary and enigmatic slant of light transforms into a malevolent force of nature. The artists represented here amplify common visages and familiar objects while expounding on the implications. These artists similarly excavate content from the slightest stimuli either pictorially or through gesture. Their works yield psychically charged moments, which reference Dickinson’s unequalled ability to exact underlying drama from arrested observation. — Shona Macdonald, Guest Curator

Artists in the Exhibition: Bill Conger, Natalie Jacobson, Shona Macdonald, Melissa Randall, Dawn Roe, Pete Schulte, Buzz Spector, and Dustin Young.

Luis Sahagun: An Old God Renewed

Opens October 23, 2016 in the RAC Sculpture Garden
Opening Reception: Sunday, October 23 from 3-6pm

“In the beginning there was only darkness.
The atmosphere had no taste.
Anonymous ancestors magically appeared,
Alvaro’s History was erased.

Angels came to hear him sing,
For it was the rise of a new king.”
-Creation Story

Luis Sahagun An Old God Renewed, 2016 wood, drywall, cement, screws, spray paint, acrylic, oil, resin, & metal Courtesy the artist

Luis Sahagun
An Old God Renewed, 2016
wood, drywall, cement, screws, spray paint, acrylic, oil, resin, & metal
Courtesy the artist

Luis Sahagun creates paintings, sculptures and objects that serve as icons of an invented personal mythology. He is interested in the overlap of memory, imagination, and his own ancestral legacy and art, and describes himself as as “a quixotic artist who channels the working ethics of a construction worker on a romantic quest to use art to empower working class sensibilities.”

Sahagun’s practice is deeply informed by his experience as a laborer, construction worker and product designer. Instead of the painter’s traditional brush, palette knife and canvas, Sahagun employs saws, knives, and engineered wood particle board as his primary tools and media. These modes of production have led Sahagun to develop an idiosyncratic personal vernacular that remains proudly embedded within the everyday realities of his blue-collar upbringing. He describes his outdoor sculpture An Old God Renewed as “an anthropomorphic panther that serves as a portal for human souls to exit our realm and enter the mythology that I have constructed.” Within the Panther’s eye is a depiction of the moon, which provides the symbolic source of energy for the portal’s ability to function.

Importantly for Sahagun, the moon also represents a world where “the fallen…friends and family members that have been murdered due to the violence found within my own Chicago Southland community” now reside. The sculpture is Sahagun’s offering to this familiar yet strange, distant yet ever-present “old god,” the moon. Through symbol, metaphor, and mythic storytelling, Sahagun’s works construct a viscerally powerful alternative vision of Chicago community history, through which we may ponder the minute alongside the infinite, the mundane in concert with the divine.

Luis Sahagun An Old God Revisited, 2016 (detail)

Luis Sahagun
An Old God Renewed, 2016
(detail)

This exhibition is free and open to the public.
Gallery hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 1 ‐ 5pm.

This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, and sponsorship from the Riverside Township.