Posts Tagged ‘Art Institute of Chicago’

Konstantin Grcic at the AIC

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Picture 5

This winter, the Art Institute of Chicago presents German designer Konstantin Grcic‘s first US solo show. Grcic has made a career of subverting and reinterpreting familiar social and cultural references in such a way as to make them strangely, fascinatingly, unfamiliar. His minimalistic work sharpens the senses, making us question common objects we so often take for granted, and how they define the spaces in which we move. Chairs, desks, lamps, kitchen equipment, you name it: all just different enough to raise our antennae, but still recognizably approachable.

I had the opportunity to preview the exhibit for Clear Magazine‘s December issue, and the full story is available by clicking here.

Points of Reference: Artist Mark Joshua Epstein

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009
"Seasick Yet Still Docked" by Mark Joshua Epstein

"Seasick Yet Still Docked" by Mark Joshua Epstein

"Untitled" work on paper by Mark Joshua Epstein

"Untitled" work on paper by Mark Joshua Epstein

"Untitled" work on paper by Mark Joshua Epstein

"Untitled" work on paper by Mark Joshua Epstein

Describing his work, architecturally-inspired, Brooklyn-based artist Mark Joshua Epstein says: “I am interested in the binary of authentic and artificial. The distinction between the two presents itself most interestingly in the built environment. In my work I look to what can broadly be called recreations; period rooms, hobbyist models, architectural drawings. References are a starting point, but I am as interested in art-making materials as I am in conceptual investigation. I am an intuitive image-maker; once visual material is collected, making work becomes an improvisational act. My work swings between the poles of representation and abstraction, and in constantly changing camps, I try and stay loyal to both.”

According to Epstein, his newest painting, called Seasick Yet Still Docked (top), presents a significant shift in his work, one moving towards a looser pictorial construction that references models he has built. The painting uses fictional structures as a starting point (including a children’s book illustration of an imagined cathedral and models Epstein constructed himself – with alterations – from various hobby kits). It marks a departure from referencing actual buildings, which, he says, “has allowed me the freedom to reinvent my visual language and to experiment with the idea of narrative in a new way.”

For the works on paper, the setting was inspired by the Thorne Miniature Rooms at The Art Institute of Chicago. Small, unrelated structures float through the rooms, “posing questions about authenticity and scale.” An inorganic ivy invades the period rooms, and “the addition of this geometric element brings the pieces further toward the realm of surrealism. The works are larger then the referents on which they are based, presenting an interesting inversion—rooms have been miniaturized and subsequently blown up again.”

For more information on Mark Joshua Epstein, visit:
Drawing Center:

“Drawing the Line” review:

Uncommon Ground” group show at Vane Gallery, Newcastle, UK, February 2009: