SOFT SYNTH + BIGHT BOUND

 

softsynth

 

SOFT SYNTH + BIGHT BOUND | AN EXHIBITION BY HEATHER RAQUEL PHILLIPS

Works by Angela Lopez, Emma Oslé & José Santiago-Pérez

 

12.7 – 12.21, 2018

Opening Reception: First Friday, December 7th, 6 PM – 10PM

 

The somatosensory system is a network of nerve endings within the dermis & epidermis of the skin.
SOFT SYNTH + BIGHT BOUND address touch.

Natural fibers restrict with geometric bounds.

Organic movement of knotty, inorganic material.

Physical connection to synthetic life.

The body is removed, the body is emulated, the body reappears.

The viewer is left to visibly perceive what may reflect a sense of softness, rigidity and even pleasure but more so, what may be felt beyond sense.

 

Angela Lopez

www.Lopezangela.com 
Artist Statement:

A bone in my foot has died. Often when a bone dies the rest of the body feels no symptoms. Pain only arises after the death progresses to the point that the bone is near collapsing. Sheep’s horns often grow back into their skull.

The body senses and interprets information beyond what the mind is conscious of. It operates beyond our will and awareness to both internal and external events, assuming control past the boundaries of our senses.

My work is an investigation into understanding the self through corporeal experiences. I explore touch as a way to try to physically grapple with what cannot be seen or touched such as, the murky parts of ourselves that we repress or that are difficult to cope with. These explorations are a way of trying to understand the visceral, the uncanny, and the self. The works play with what is possible, they loop in on themselves and fluidly change between seemingly oppositional states, such as violence and affection, good and bad, conscious and unconscious.

Touching is a way of thinking and understanding. It grounds us in our bodies and helps us relate ourselves to our surroundings. Even when not touching, through seeing, the mind calculates what a texture or curve might feel like. Motor systems in the brain are active when performing an action, as well as when observing someone else perform that action. Subconsciously, without moving, the mind responds to the physical gestures that it sees as though it were performing the gesture itself. This is how seeing is not only a way of feeling but also a form of empathy, as your body unconsciously feels what it sees. Viewing a repeated gesture gives time for the unconscious processing to move to the conscious, causing the viewer to feel and understand what it sees.

Feel what it sees. Deep in their underground colonies ants keep their dead in organized piles. They arrange them in various patterns, such as rows, or triangle shaped mounds. They maintain them by reorganizing them almost constantly. An ant walks between the rows of organized dead piles and touches the head of every corpse it passes. The process of making and viewing repetitive images and repetitive acts creates a slowing down of cognitive processing and an investigation into the content of the act.

Aristotle, in Poetics, saw Katharsis as a readjustment of feelings. The viewer is not left with an answer or clarification, but a new way of looking at complex emotions. I hope that my work achieves this readjustment, helping to better understand the self and our relationship with others.
Bio:

Angela Lopez’s watercolor paintings, animations, and sculptures investigate the human condition as a magical state of generation and decay. Her work gives tangible form to the primal animal instincts, deep-rooted desires and crystalline fears that drive human behavior. Lopez subverts traditional media, rendering it sweetly uncanny. Her forms, movements, and surfaces highlight a movement or limb in isolation – like a natural science specimen – frozen in a moment of metamorphosis. In Lopez’s work, our bodies and humanity are presented as unknowable, yet inescapable, forces in our lives.

She has exhibited her work in solo exhibitions across the Midwest including at Charlotte Street Foundation (KS) and Demo Projects (IL). In addition, she has taken part many group exhibitions, including the Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art (MO), Hyde Park Art Center (IL), and Centro de Produccion y Edicion Grafica de Buenos Aires in Argentina. She was recently awarded an Individual Artist Program Cultural Grant from the city of Chicago and received a full scholarship to participate in the Center Program at Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago. She holds a BFA from Kansas City Art Institute and an MFA from Northwestern University.

 

Emma Oslé

www.emmaosle.com
Artist Statement:

Many times, my imagery brings about a certain uncomfortable spirituality, derived from the simplicity of forms and a minimal – if not non-existent – color palette in combination with an emphasis on the action of binding. I utilize androgynous forms and a pared down color orchestration to challenge the systematic presupposition of thoughts within the human psyche. I actively choose to dis-gender my images, opting for simpler objects and parts of the body that can be viewed as androgynously as possible. By doing so, I strive to enable the viewer to reconsider subconscious prejudices that they bring to an artwork.  I want to bring attention to the subconscious and preconceived ideas which all of us hold within our minds, particularly in reference to gender, submission, and more taboo and hedonistic pursuits.

I place specific pieces of furniture in compromised situations and combine them with the absence of the physical human body in an effort to challenge the viewer to place themselves, or a personal subject of desire, into an empty chair. This propels additional inquiries with regard to the gender of objects that are related to the body. What is the sexual nature of a chair? The gender of a shelf, or a pair of hands, setting stereotypes aside? I choose to refine the objects and parts of the body included in my sculpture, stripping away traditional clues of gender, to allow the work to be viewed as androgynously as possible.

Formally, the sculptures I create are rooted in bondage and geometry, while many objects are based on human figures. The abstraction of these elements allows for a formal relationship to emerge between the object and the space in which it resides. By focusing on binding and stillness, the materials within the sculptures bring forth their own contextual meaning. The act of binding and bondage allows for the reference of sexual subversions to be imprinted onto a human-like form or figure. I create sculptures that reference the body without necessarily being a physical representation of one, though some pieces inhabit a physical figural space, as well. Ideas surrounding the psychology of human sexuality, absence versus presence, and the spirituality found in stillness and minimalism are prominent areas of my personal research.

 

Bio:

Emma Oslé is an artist currently working in sculpture and mixed media. Based out of Reading, PA, and New Brunswick, NJ, she is a teacher of dance and performance and regularly instructs at the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts. While outside of the studio, she finds interest in studying the critical theory and history of Latin American art, and has presented research on the topic across the country and internationally. Oslé holds a BFA in Sculpture and a BFA in Printmaking from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania (2017).

 

José Santiago-Perez

www.josesantiagoperez.com
Artist Statement:

My current work attends to the intimate complexities of touch and time, with plastic as the primary material for this inquiry.

Plastic is a matter of time – it predates us and will outlive us. Plastic, in its infinite forms also operates in my work in relation to the pliability of memory and flexibility of desire. It’s repurposing. Recycling. It’s elusiveness and loss. It’s many transformations over a lifetime. Memories and fantasies, like plastic commodities, can perform as surrogates for desired or lost objects. They are like knockoffs of the real thing. Placeholders. Approximate containers for the thing itself. In my work, I’m trying to bring together objects of memory and desire. To touch them. To hold them for a time. To re/place them.

The haptic choreographies in my work – knotting, wrapping, and coiling – bring the temporality of the body, the duration of making, the labor of re/membering, and the accumulative pleasures and anxieties of repetition into intimate proximity. I’m interested in the naughty potential of knotting and in drawing out the queer content in the language of coiled basketry: the continuous negotiation and fleshy re/arrangements between “passive core” and “active element”; the giving and receiving of sensation; their absolute interdependence in order to form a form. Like feminist and fiber artists since the 1960s, I’m interested in reevaluating the value of craft. I also make in proximity to queer articulations of craft in the US and artesanias of the Americas.

Brown hands with limp wrists touched and made this work. It took time.

 

Bio:

Jose Santiago Perez (he/him) is a Chicago based artist and occasional curator from Los Angeles. He works between the languages and methodologies of craft, sculpture, and performance. His first solo show Flirting with Infinitudes at Wedge Projects was reviewed in Newcity Art this fall. He has participated in group exhibitions at the International Museum of Surgical Science and at Roman Susan Art Foundation in Chicago. Jose has also presented performances at the Graham Foundation, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Defibrillator Gallery, Links Hall, Zhou B. Art Center, Mana Contemporary, and Comfort Station. In addition, he has presented work at performance art festivals in Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Jose has been interviewed about his practice in Sixty Inches From Center and Art Intercepts. His curatorial projects have included Materialkink and The Gathering: Photography and Ephemera from the IML Collection were presented at the Leather Archives & Museum in 2017 and he served as guest curator for Moving_Image 00:03 at Lithium Gallery in 2018. In Spring 2019, he will be presenting solo work at Ignition Projects (Chicago). Jose received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

 

 
Gallery Hours: Saturday and Sunday  2 pm – 6 pm or by appointment

NAPOLEON is an artist-run exhibition space that strives to provide a platform for new work and new ideas.

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