Project Space
November 23rd, 2009

Michelle Welzen Collazo Anderson & Bernard Williams

Please join us at What It Is on Sat. Dec 5th for an exhibition of painting and sculpture by Michelle Welzen Collazo Anderson
and Bernard Williams.

Michelle Welzen Collazo Anderson is fascinated with the underlying structure or often called, “natural order” of the universe and how that relates to patterns in our human experience. Her series entitled the “Blum Jerro Series” is a spin-off on a pair of 1950’s bedroom slippers that were manufactured in New York by the Jerro Brothers and sold in Department Stores across the country. Though Michelle’s work is not primarily concerned with the true history of the object, it certainly references its origin and infuses it with new meaning. The stripes and appendages of these shoes are a dominant textile design element. Her aesthetic incorporates geometric design that embodies some of the natural patterns in nature, i.e., the Fibonacci sequence in a manner expressed by the Arte Povera and Op artists. Pattern communicates harmony, discord, error, perfection, cyclic change, small or large aberrations, destruction, renewal, love, wave undulations, etc.

…”The work I am is generating is a response to dynamic elements of design and serves as a discourse between the pervasive aesthetic of our habitual environment and its influence that resounds and changes when combined with the experience of our culture”…

For Bernard Williams his small sculptures function like sketches for him. Often they are produced from fragments of interest which fall to the floor while cutting parts for larger sculptures. They remind him somewhat of the small robots which peel off of the monster robot in the opening scenes of the 2007 Transformers movie. In more intimate spaces, the smaller machine-like jumbles of wood may carry on the business of the mother sculpture, or may take on an unexpected mission.

Bernard writes…”A geometry forms from seemingly random pieces, a house of cards stands firm because of screws, and maybe the next large build is suggesting itself. The large sculptures are everywhere in Chicago… in the buildings, next to buildings, the skeletons of buildings. The frantic construction and evolution of the urban space I drive through every day is inescapable. The urge to stack, screw, glue, and lean parts together seems like the natural way.”

“Michelle Welzen Collazo Anderson and Bernard Williams” continues through Sunday Dec. 20th. 2009. WHAT IT IS is open by appointment only. Please email for further information. A reception for the artists will be held on Sat Dec 5th from 3pm – 8pm. What It Is is located at 1155 Lyman Ave., Oak Park, IL, 60304.

July 18th, 2009

Andrew Rigsby: Post_ installation images + text

Hearts and Fireworks / Burning the Many, Installation view, 2009

Our first exhibition features three new pieces by Andrew Rigsby. Hearts and Fireworks a digital video is projected on one wall of the space, Burning the Many a painted dyptych frames the video and Purple Heart sits on the wall (not shown). The installation is a reflection on mortality and age. These pieces are part of a series Rigsby has produced about reflections and memories. Each video is a marker for a specific time or place in life. Burning the Many is as much a light box as painting. Installed in an interior window it uses the existing light from the adjacent room to illuminate the panels. This piece is a response to the video installation. The final element of the exhibition, Purple Heart, is a cut out mdf painting mounted on the wall in the space, it’s dark hues blend in with the subdued light of the exhibition space. This piece is a meditation on the pain that comes after a wound has been inflicted.

Exhibition continues through Aug 15th. Please email to schedule an appointment.

post_fireworks and hearts from andrew rigsby on Vimeo.

It’s all about the after. And the before. It’s about the future, as well as the past.
It’s almost never about the now.
It’s about standing still. And it’s about moving. About looking back. But pushing forward. It’s about not knowing what comes next, having no clue, but still acting, doing something, anything.
If you ask the artist, he’ll talk about highway driving, chasing the sun with a car. Long distance. He’ll talk about things on the horizon getting closer, growing to where you recognize them and then them passing and fading behind you.
It’s about the other thing that then comes into view.
There is a word for all this: Longing. I like the length implied with this word. The actual distance imparted by it. It’s appropriate.
In Oak Park, Illinois in the front room of a house turned gallery Andrew Rigsby’s latest video plays on a wall. It’s large, projected, and has no sound. There is a barbeque in the backyard, the inaugural show for a new gallery, and the gathering of people in attendance go through the room with the video to get to the food and beer. This is a model of showing that has worked well for Chicago, the apartment gallery. It’s an intimate, work-horse ready atmosphere. No pretension. Practical. Honest and genuine. An ideal setting for Rigsby’s work. This is not a wine and cheese event. It is the beginning of summer and there is still a chill to the air. No one really trusts it, but everyone is comfortable with it, accepts it as the way things are. Chicago weather. Chicago work. People linger with the video, beer in hand, usually alone, before they head out back for air and conversation.
One would think the art stops at the door. That it doesn’t travel outside. But that would be naive. This is sticky work.
On the surface, the video appears simple. A silhouetted image of a human heart frames a frenetic slideshow of colorful fireworks, both moving, forward and back in space, pulling and pushing at each other at different speeds. The firework slideshow is fast and frantic. The outlined heart is slow and plodding. The combination is brutal.
Have no doubt, this is sad work. It is melancholy. Bitter sweat. Even a little depressing. But along with the sadness, there is hope. There is the idea of potential, anticipation, a crowd of prospective happiness, talking, gathering together and meeting each other, having a drink or two or three or more, making your way through new and old faces, smelling backyard smoke for the first time after a hard winter. This is where the work lives. This is how the work lives.
I feel the summer in Rigsby’s work. Not the meaty middle firework time. But the end-nearing, can’t-hold-on-to-it, wish-there-was-more-of-it time. And there’s a secret. It’s a secret which the artist has figured out and is attempting to let us in on. There is more. This work is an Indian Summer. It’s a gift.
Stand still and watch explosions in the sky. Kinetic movement above you. Underneath, looking up, you are powerless compared. You are static, still, and quiet. But keep in mind that you will not burst. You will not spontaneously catch on fire. You will not sputter and spit and quickly burn off into the night. You will be small and subtle and dark next to the fire but you will remain. It will pass before you.

Text by Alain Douglas Park, July 2009

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