Project Space
April 30th, 2010

frequently the woods are pink

frequently the woods are pink

frequently the woods are pink
Sabina Ott
Michelle Wasson

Opening reception Sunday May 2nd, 3-8pm
Exhibition continues through June 5th

What It Is is pleased to announce two new installations by Sabina Ott and Michelle Wasson.

“Frequently the woods are pink” by Sabina Ott is an imaginative sculptural landscape that comes to life when an animation is projected onto it.  Plateaus, plains and mountains are punctuated by outgrowths of roses, mirrors, glitter, flocking and inkjet prints of eyes, making this terrain a place where we become aware of our perceptual consciousness.

This quote from “Eye and Mind” by Maurice Merleau Ponty describes the sensation Ott is trying to evoke in her piece:

“Inevitably the roles between the painter and the visible switch. That is why so many painters have said that things look at them. As Andre Marchand says, after Klee: “In a forest, I have felt many times over that it was not I who looked at the forest. Some days I  felt that the trees were looking at me, were speaking to me…. I was there, listening….  I think that the painter must be penetrated by the universe and not want to penetrate it…. I expect to be inwardly submerged, buried. Perhaps I paint to break out. ”

Michelle Wasson also draws upon the landscape as her muse in her new installation at What It Is, “I’ll Cavern You.” In 1818 John Keats—in a kind parody of Ann Radcliffe—writes the following to J.H Reynolds.

I’ll cavern you, and grotto you, and waterfall you, and wood you, and water you, and immense-rock you, and tremendous sound you, and solitude you. I’ll make a lodgment on your glacis by a row of Pines, and storm your covered way with bramble Bushes.

This is the starting point of Wasson’s installation that explores Victorian themes including romantic poetry and lighthearted pranks.  Wasson uses a combination of sensory elements to create a contemplative piece referring to the grandeur of nature in an ordinary surrounding.

Sabina Ott is an artist and educator living in Oak Park, IL. Her work merges painting, sculpture, digital media and installation to explore cultural tropes, maps, text and abstract geometries creating a kind of virtual world. Like Alice through the looking glass, the viewer tumbles through an array of images that assemble into new forms and relationships. Strongly influenced by the literary projects of Gertrude Stein, Ott’s work engages us through the use of repetition and play.

Michelle Wasson is an artist based in Chicago.   Since receiving her MFA from Washington University in 2001, she has investigated the intersection of architecture, landscape and history.  She currently teaches in the Art +Design Department at Columbia College Chicago and exhibits her artwork internationally.

February 5th, 2010

FREE copies of newspaper Art Work available for pickup at What It Is

Art Work

Art Work, image courtesy Temporary Services /

We have copies of Art Work available at What It Is.

Art Work is a newspaper that consists of writings and images from artists, activists, writers, critics, and others on the topic of working within depressed economies and how that impacts artistic process, compensation and artistic property.

The newspaper is distributed for free at sites and from people throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. It is also available by mail order from Half Letter Press for the cost of postage.

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