Brent Fogt and Stacia Yeapanis: Resist the Urge to Press Forward

March 5 – April 15, 2017
Opening Reception: Sunday, March 5, 3 – 6pm
Closing Reception, Artist’s Talk and Sculpture Garden Installation Unveiling: Saturday, April 15, 3-6pm

Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, Design for Riverside, Illinois

“As the ordinary directness of line in town-streets, with its resultant regularity of plan, would suggest eagerness to press forward, without looking to the right hand or the left, we should recommend the general adoption in the design of your roads, of gracefully curved lines, generous spaces, and the absence of sharp corners, the idea being to suggest and imply leisure, contemplativeness and happy tranquility.”

–Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, Preliminary Report on a Proposed Design for Riverside, Illinois

The precise balance of Brent Fogt’s assemblage sculptures and the repeated tangles and scribbles in Stacia Yeapanis’ floor-based installation echo the ideas foregrounded in Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmstead’s curvilinear landscape design for Riverside, Illinois—a design that invites locals and visitors alike to slow down and contemplate their surroundings. Fogt creates objects that interact precariously with the wall and ceiling, while Yeapanis explores groundedness by arranging tangled thickets of material that blanket the floor. For both artists, making art is a way to escape the clock and pursue an alternate system of time, where discrete, repeated actions in the present take precedence over the looming expanse of the future. Each uses discarded, undervalued materials and meditative processes to encourage viewers to become more aware of their bodies and of the present moment. Rather than pressing forward, they ask us to be still for a while and attend to what’s right in front of us.

Yeapanis’ materially dense installations self-consciously echo the anxiety of “constant doing” that defines contemporary life, while simultaneously offering us an antidote to this pervasive busyness. They are improvised arrangements of thousands of distinct parts—byproducts of non-goal-oriented, repetitive gestures—that will be reconfigured in future installations. For this exhibition, Yeapanis has reduced her material choices and palette to colors found in three, regularly discarded types of material: tan-colored cardboard boxes and shipping tubes, multi-colored plastic dog waste bags, and the ivory tones of raw hand-spun wool. Her work’s ephemerality is pivotal to its content, which speaks to the presence of impermanence in everyday life and the possibility of responding to it with a sense of wonder and play rather than unease.

Fogt’s research and artwork focus on how small, discrete actions—additions, subtractions, divisions—accumulate over time. He creates slender, off-kilter sculptures by assembling fallen tree branches, discarded furniture, worn-out clothing, and other cast-off materials he has rescued from the streets and dumpsters of his Chicago neighborhood. Fogt sutures the branches and prefabricated furniture by screwing, wrapping, or crocheting them together with cotton yarn or jute. The resulting sculptures may hang from ceilings, lean against walls, or rest precariously on floors. By placing humble, weathered materials into predefined architectural spaces, his artwork points to daily activities like standing, sitting and walking that require us to physically balance ourselves and our surroundings.

Alongside sculpture and installation, both Fogt and Yeapanis will present two-dimensional works. Fogt’s collaged images from a 1960 Sears catalog hover in fields of empty space, the pieces appearing to float on the page, while the swirling cacophony of Yeapanis’s colorful ink drawings echo the unpredictably organic forms of her 3-dimensional installations. The artists will also collaborate on an installation for the outdoor sculpture garden, which combines materials Fogt collects while taking long walks along Riverside’s winding streets and parks with “tangles” cut by Yeapanis from packing boxes collected from her neighbor’s recycling bins.

About the Artists:

The son of a Lutheran pastor and a psychotherapist, Brent Fogt was born in Ohio and raised in Texas. Fogt’s sculpture, collage and drawings have been featured in solo exhibitions at Austin College, Emory University, Indiana University and the Lawndale Art Center, and in publications such as New American Paintings, Art in America and hyperallergic.com. He has completed artist residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, I-Park Foundation and Yaddo. He holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Michigan and a Master of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. Fogt lives and works in Chicago.

Stacia Yeapanis is a Chicago-based, interdisciplinary artist, educator and writer, and is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Fiber and Material Studies at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she received her MFA in 2006. Yeapanis conducts weekly interviews with artists for the OtherPeoplesPixels blog. She was a 2011-2012 Artist-in-Residence and a 2012-2013 Mentor-in-Residence at Chicago Artists’ Coalition’s BOLT Residency. Her site-responsive installations have been featured in solo exhibitions at Siena Heights University, Heaven Gallery and Lillstreet Art Center and in two-person shows at Dominican University and Design Cloud. In August 2017, Yeapanis will have a solo exhibition of her work titled Sacred Secular at Indianapolis Arts Center.

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This exhibition is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation; and sponsorship from the Riverside Township.

The Riverside Arts Center Freeark Gallery + Sculpture Garden
32 East Quincy Street, Riverside, IL 60546

708-442-6400

www.riversideartscenter.com
PLEASE NOTE OUR NEW WINTER GALLERY HOURS:  Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, & Saturday 1 – 5pm, Friday 1-4pm. Closed Sundays, Mondays and major holidays.

All of our exhibitions are free and open to the public.

For additional information and high-res press images contact Freeark Gallery Director Claudine Ise at cise[at]riversideartscenter.com.

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.