The Chicago Artists Coalition is pleased to present The Strange Fields of This City, a HATCH Projects exhibition featuring new works by Alejandro Waskavich, Haerim Lee, and William Camargo.
Through objects, photography, printmaking and painting, these artists explore the triangulation of place, identity, and culture. Such a triad reinforces that the broad idea of “place” extends beyond mere geography, and instead is actively shaped by a multitude of social, political, and economic factors.
On a structural scale, we witness and endure the spatial hegemony produced through state power, capitalism, mass media, and architecture. Responding to how those mechanisms can mold the perception of a place, Waskavich’s works on paper interrogate the dissemination of visual tropes and archetypal imagery to reveal how some aspects of place-based identity are ideological constructs. On an adjacent trajectory, Lee’s paintings and photographs grapple with the consequences of how urban planning bureaucracies, real estate development, and speculative capital exercise control over space – particularly seen through residential segregation, the dissolution of public housing, and displacement of poor and working-class communities of color. Meanwhile, Camargo’s work shows that notions of place or culture are equally and simultaneously created from within a community itself, often through countervailing tactics of resistance, resilience, antagonism, and adaptation that persist on an everyday level. This is amplified in his practice through a dual enactment and documentation of rasquache aesthetic strategies which emphasize material resourcefulness and improvisation in the vein of hacer rendir las cosas (“making do”), while also serving as potent expressions of Chicanx identity in order to claim space and visibility in the face of gentrification, cultural erasure, or pressures of assimilation.
Threaded among these three projects, and embedded in the individual narratives of each artist, is a sense of transition between two places – a disconnect or rupture to contend with – which generates further queries about movement, (im)migration, dispossession, boundaries and edges, home and homeland, belonging and “dis-belonging”.
The Strange Fields of This City is organized by Greg Ruffing.
THIS IS THE LAST HATCH PROJECTS EXHIBITION AT 217 N. CARPENTER ST.
AT THE END OF JUNE 2018, CAC WILL MOVE TO ITS NEW HOME AT 2130 W. FULTON ST. WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU THERE!
William Camargo is a Chicanx/Latinx visual artist/educator and organizer raised in Anaheim, CA and resides in Chicago, IL. His work is inspired from his family’s immigration from Mexico and his working class upbringing in a Mexican/American barrio, touching issues of assimilation, identity, gentrification and immigration through photography. In his most recent work, he uses his rasquache aesthetics to bring awareness to issues of gentrification as a social justice issue that has plagued many communities of color across Chicago and the United States.
Camargo is currently an arts educator in various southwest side neighborhoods in Chicago, teaching photography and arts as cultural expression and preservation.His work has been published in Business Insider, TIME, The Guardian, The New York Times and others, his photographs have also been displayed at the Chicago Cultural Center (Chicago), Loisaida Center (NY), Mathis Gallery (Wisconsin), DNJ Gallery (Santa Monica), among others.
Haerim Lee’s artist practice is community-driven. Through photography, painting, and public mural, she attempts to create a dialogue with the community in a particular place. She researches the history of an architectural site—such as the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Chicago, Cabrini Green, and Gary Indiana— and uses it as a raw material in her studio practice.
She is a South Korean artist living and working in Chicago. She recently graduated from the MFA Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the Painting and Drawing Department. She had solo shows at Gallery Noone (2017) and Kasia Kay Art Project (2012) in Chicago, and Youngeun Museum of Contemporary Art (2012) in South Korea. She participated in group shows including The Body (2010) as a part of the Chicago Humanities Festival, Creature Comfort (2015), Compassion Show (2017), To Listen. To Speak. To Act. (2017), and the MFA Thesis Show (2017) at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She recently was awarded the Downtown Gary Public Art Competition from the Legacy Foundation (2017). She is currently a resident artist in Hatch Projects Residency at the Chicago Artist Coalition and a Center Program Artist at the Hyde Park Art Center.
Alejandro Waskavich is a Chicago-based, self-taught artist born and raised in Mexico City. His current work explores the rural American Midwest, constructed landmarks, and the reproduction of art. He has exhibited his work at NEXT Chicago, the International Print Center in New York, and Site:Brooklyn Gallery. He was awarded the Artist Development Initiative by the International Print Center in New York, a grant funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, to receive formal instruction in the field of printmaking. Waskavich is a 2018 CENTER Program Artist at the Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago.
Greg Ruffing is an artist, writer, organizer, and curator working on topics around the production of space at different scales – from the macro level of sociopolitical structures and architecture in the built environment, down to an emphasis on community, collaboration, and exchange on the interpersonal level.
Often looking critically or conceptually at the specifics of site and place, he has facilitated exhibitions and programming at venues such as The Perch, Public Access, SPACES (Ohio), and the Terrain Biennial. He recently completed a dual degree MFA in Photography and MA in Visual & Critical Studies from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.