Territories at Marwen | Art review
Anne Elizabeth Moore, Suzanne Caporael, Austin Eddy and Kevin Reiswig are among the artists in this show about space and place.
Visiting “Territories” feels like invading someone’s turf. Marwen’s Untitled Gallery takes up just a few walls surrounding the educational nonprofit’s main staircase. Chatter from nearby classrooms, and curious students, are impossible to avoid. But refusing us the comfort of viewing art in a familiar white cube is appropriate for a show about “cultural and emotional terrain.”
Some of the 15 artists assembled by guest curator Julia V. Hendrickson only recently graduated from art school—and in a few cases, it shows. Most have exhibited their work in Chicago many times, however. Anne Elizabeth Moore shares zines made by young women whom she taught in Cambodia—an initiative that she first presented at threewalls in 2009. Their tiny, photocopied publications sit alongside New Girl Law, the students’ beautifully produced, collaborative revision of a 19th-century Cambodian text dictating female decorum.
While Moore’s students explore a geographic location, few of the show’s artists interpret space and place so specifically. The titles of Suzanne Caporael’s three prints refer to real sites, but these subtle abstractions could represent states of mind as easily as remembered landscapes. Austin Eddy’s Night Time Seat (2011) continues his series of imaginary domestic interiors. The painting’s combination of discordant patterns, unwholesome colors and off-kilter perspective is remarkably unsettling.
Kevin Reiswig uses steam to bend and twist oak into curvaceous abstract sculptures. Though his pieces strain to fit the show’s theme, propped against columns and placed carefully on the floor, they make the most of an unusual venue.