Chicago Artists Coalition is pleased to present Halfway to Equilibrium, featuring work by HATCH Projects Residents Stevie Hanley, Esau McGhee, and Hui-min Tsen.
Tugging away from restraint in search of resolve from the unknown, Halfway to Equilibrium tests the capacity of human limitation. Yielding to a force field where vulnerability surpasses the anxiety of vast terrain, the artists’ works in this exhibition have a suggested meditative quality and reiterative process, situated in blurry perspectives, longing, and the power of resilience. Stevie Hanley’s work plays against the senses through a contradictory relationship of sight and sound, and probes its viewer to reimagine the functionality of familiar objects. Esau McGhee’s use of layering in both in his collages and video montage work to contrast exteriority with access. The collages through racial and political structures, and the video through movement and the presence of intimacy, are interconnected. Hui-min Tsen uses the nineteenth century love affair – of an Arctic explorer who “discovers” an ocean near the North Pole and a young medium who invented the séance – as a point of departure into twenty-first-century clairvoyance. Photography and ephemeral material aid Tsen’s exploration of the spaces where visibility ceases above and below the Earth's surface. The exhibition title reflects the immense scale on which balance is contingent and offers us a moment to consider our boundaries and the height and depth of possibility.
Halfway to Equilibrium is curated by HATCH Projects Curatorial Resident, La Keisha Leek.
Stevie Hanley If height is power, what is baseness? What happens when the base is elevated or venerated? Architecture’s relation to affect has been a deep concern of my practice. The peripheral, yet structurally necessary space of the corner has served as a key site for working through overlapping concerns with punishment/ shame (standing in the corner) and religious ritual. I regard my studio as 'The Pervert Kitchen', taking permission and pleasure in a practice of sculptural and material investigations in concert with the task of representation, aiming to harness the experiences of shame as an energy of revolt, reclaiming sites previously associated with a sense of violation or misuse as new forms of veneration.
Stevie Hanley has exhibited extensively in Berlin where he lived for six years, notably at September Gallery, Kunsthaus Bethanien, The Center for Endless Progress, and the Schwules Museum. Hanley has also exhibited in Istanbul (Artist Fair Tüyup, 2009 and 2010), Jerusalem (Artist House Jerusalem 2012), New York City (La Mama Galeria, 2013), and Chicago (Flat Space 2014), with recent shows in Mexico City (Lodos Contemporary) and Chicago (Julius Caesar).
Esau McGhee Much of my research and artist practice concentrates on a critique of image construction through strategies of image making. Beginning with a photographic investigation of urban space in my native Philadelphia I have increasingly honed in on topics of class and race construction. My most recent work has shifted from conventional strategies of representation, be it the use of the camera lens or traditional collage, to sculptural practice and large-scale installation of grid based printed works. In both cases I have deployed the found object as a strategy to further investigate the constructed image, focusing on the “image” of urban racial construction and the site of its consumption.
Hui-min Tsen Through a series of projects ranging from boat-building to walking tours, Hui-min Tsen explores the act of exploration itself with an emphasis on the individual's everyday relationship with place, wonder, and the unknown. Exhibitions and publications include the Hyde Park Art Center, Gallery 400, MDW Fair, and Proximity Magazine. Her book, “The Pedway of Today,” was published by Green Lantern Press in 2013. She received a BFA in photography from Tisch School of the Arts, an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and currently teaches photography and video in Chicago.
La Keisha Leek is a writer, arts administrator and curator who graduated with a BA in Art History from Columbia College Chicago.
Her interests are architecture, race, performance, and site-specific projects that investigate the ways bodies and objects offer up themselves, adapt to and negotiate their presence within spaces. She has used exhibitions as a way to negotiate the presence of language in space contributing texts to The Fifth Dimension at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, and groun(d) at the Arts Incubator in Washington Park, and recently curated the exhibition How to Make A Hood at the Arts Incubator, with concurrent documentation of the show in the 2014 Albert P. Weisman Award exhibition at Columbia College Chicago's Arcade Gallery.