The artists featured in HATCH Projects exhibition, Reference Rot all share a penchant toward the informational, the didactic, and the moralizing – traits normally spurned in the mainstream contemporary art world.
Like Hansel and Gretel attempting to re-trace their steps only to find their bread crumbs gobbled up, artists Rachel E. Foster, Maya Mackrandilal, and Ryan Thompson have done exhaustive research in the process of their projects, but their sources may not be evident in the final product. While audiences often times implore artists to reveal more information about their sources, the artists in Reference Rot embrace the fractured, disconnected relationship between the originating information and the mutated product.
Rachel E. Foster shows a suite of archival prints drawn from her personal collection of items that together compose an idiosyncratic treatise on the difficulties of communication. Maya Mackrandilal presents large photographic collages that document herself performing as incarnated Hindu goddesses, who, in an attempt to navigate the monstrosity of the modern world, challenge white supremacy through the emasculation of white male bodies. Ryan Thompson uses several media to investigate the curious character of Marcel Vogel, a successful IBM research scientist who turned his attention from magnetic disks to another type of storage system – quartz crystals.
The title, Reference Rot, refers to a situation online when a cited link exists but content on that page has changed or the information referenced is no longer present. The three exhibiting artists are all engaged in practices that play with history and attribution. Their work maintains a strong connection to their researched sources but specifics of the information have been drawn out, stretched, and transformed through their artistic interventions.
Reference Rot is curated by Jaxon Pallas.
Rachel E. Foster is an artist, writer, and printmaker living in Chicago. She has an MFA from the California College of the Arts and a BFA from Columbia College Chicago. Her work has been shown at the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Southern Exposure, and Western Exhibitions, amongst others.
Maya Mackrandilal creates trans-disciplinary work that reclaims and retells history, that treats storytelling (whether as a narrative or visual form) as a radical political action, one that embraces ambiguity, and imagines a more empathetic culture. She received her BA in Studio Art with a concentration in sculpture from the University of Virginia and her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is the recipient of an Aunspaugh Fellowship from the University of Virginia and a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship from the US Department of Education.
Ryan Thompson lives and works in Chicago, IL where he is an artist and Associate Professor of Art & Design at Trinity Christian College. His ongoing 'Department of Natural History’ engages a series of complex and often strange relationships produced when human forces collide with natural phenomena. Recent projects have been featured in Cabinet Magazine, ’Making the Geologic Now’ (Punctum Books, 2013), Format P Magazine, 'Reframing Photography' (Routledge, 2010), Esquire Magazine (Russia), and his recently published book, 'Bad Luck, Hot Rocks’ (The Ice Plant, 2014). His work has been exhibited at places such as: EYEBEAM (New York), Gallery Analix Forever (Geneva), Links Hall (Chicago), Evanston Art Center (Chicago), Root Division (San Francisco), Mila Kunstgalerie (Berlin), and Lease Agreement (Baltimore, MD).
Jaxon Pallas is an artist, archivist, curator, and educator primarily concerned with projects at the intersection of the personal, the popular, and the political.
He organizes shows as curator for the City Colleges of Chicago under the name Pedestrian Project. His other projects include the Teen Creative Agency at MCA Chicago and the Institute for Encyclopedic Amalgamation. He earned a MFA from the University of Chicago and BA degrees from Rice University.