Chicago's next art stars
These three artists are among the most promising recent M.F.A. grads at HPAC's new show.
WHAT Check out M.F.A. grads’ works in “Ground Floor”
WHEN Aug 29–Oct 31
WHERE Hyde Park Art Center (5020 S Cornell Ave, 773-324-5520, hydeparkart.org)
Local M.F.A. shows are a great way to discover up-and-coming Chicago artists, but it’s impossible to see them all, says Hyde Park Art Center exhibitions director Allison Peters Quinn. So, why not put on one big show with some of the best grads from schools all over the city? “Ground Floor” highlights work by 20 recent graduates of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago and at Urbana-Champaign, Columbia College, Northwestern and the University of Chicago. Quinn hopes the show will become biennial—and that it will persuade people to stop asking her who the next Chicago Imagists will be. Here are three of my predictions:
Maria Gaspar, 30
M.F.A. UIC 2009
Kudos Gaspar had a UBS 12 x 12 show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in October 2009.
Plans Gaspar will teach sculpture at SAIC this fall. In September, her work will appear in group shows at Woman Made Gallery, Columbia College’s Center for Book & Paper Arts and Illinois State University.
Most unusual material she’s used Papel picado (pictured), a traditional Mexican hand-cut paper—today, more often a mass-produced plastic—used to make party banners
“Ground Floor” piece A monumental installation inspired by papel picado. “It’s based on the detritus of a cultural celebration. I’m interested in the notion of ‘authenticity’ [and] the issues with that term,” Gaspar says.
Emily Hermant, 30
M.F.A. SAIC 2010
Kudos Hermant’s Lies, Lies, Lies—an installation featuring dozens of embroidered fibs—appeared in “Pricked: Extreme Embroidery” at New York’s Museum of Arts and Design. It’s also been shown in Canada, Italy and Turkey.
Plans Hermant’s looking forward to a September solo show at Montreal’s Articule Gallery and a fall residency at the Vermont Studio Center.
“Ground Floor” piece An untitled, mostly wooden sculpture that Hermant relates to her SAIC thesis project (pictured, above). “It’s this play on material that’s supposed to be very hard and structural, rendered as something soft and pliable,” she says.
How Chicago influences her “It’s hard for me to imagine making this work that’s so architectural and so inspired by architecture without being in this city.”
Michael Sirianni, 27
Hometown Utica, New York
M.F.A. UIC 2010
Kudos Sirianni just won a prestigious Joan Mitchell Foundation M.F.A. Grant. In 2009, his video art was shown at Vancouver’s Antimatter Film Festival and the Onion City Film Festival in Chicago.
Plans Sirianni hopes to travel to Scandinavia, where he’d make work responding to the region’s unusual cycle of light and darkness. He’s also developing a video and performance project inspired by smoke signals (pictured, right).
Influences Félix González-Torres, Wolfgang Tillmans and UIC prof Doug Ischar. “I look at my work as continuing a lineage of queer identity art,” Sirianni says.
“Ground Floor” piece Almost Over the Rainbow (pictured, above), which reflects his disillusionment with the gay community. Inspired by “the adolescent act of putting stickers on a mirror,” according to the artist, it suggests an unachievable “utopian state of being queer.”