Michelle Grabner: Remain in Light
January 26 - April 13, 2008
Remain in Light is the first museum survey exhibition for Chicago-based artist Michelle Grabner. Grabners artistic outputpainter, installation artist, gallery director, art critic, School of the Art Institute of Chicago professorreveals a creative restlessness that seeks expression in varied media and outlets. Grabners work is committed to domesticity, simple gestures, manual labor, and the everyday vernacular. Such themes are addressed in paintings, weavings, photographs, videos, and more.
Two areas of interest come through strongly in the exhibition. Domesticity is first; Grabner builds references to household life and the garden in her detailed, labor-intensive art. Abstract paintings take their patterns from the average kitchen dishcloth, for example. In other paintings, Grabner maps the banality of much household labor through her painstaking repetition of simple motifs. Light is a second concept Grabner explores, and a curious displacement occurs in the artists evocation of rainbows and illumination.
Grabner transformed the tiny concrete-block building on her property in Oak Park, Illinoisa former office for the neighborhood gas stationinto a gallery of changing shows. Following this part of her artistic practice, the Ulrich will present a rotating display of artists she selected in our own version of The Suburban, the name of this innovative exhibition space. Grabner is an associate professor of painting and drawing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Michelle Grabner: Remain in Light is organized by the University Galleries at Illinois State University-Normal.
Ulrich Project Series: Josephine Durkin
January 12 - April 27, 2008
Sculptor Josephine Durkin repurposes all variety of commonplace objects in her interactive and kinetic installations. Paring down intimate human activity by way of animating materials invites the viewer to focus on their own memories, communicative behavior, and sensual ability, noted the artist. The Ulrich presents a growing and significant new mode of artmakingmultimedia and viewer-activated workby presenting this important emerging artist in Wichita.
For the Ulrich Project Series, Durkin is creating three new sculpture/installation pieces. Each uniquely combines found objects and time-based multimedia elements. For example, Bloom (I knew I loved you when) serves as a social laboratory where two people sit together in an environment with a reconstructed settee, suitcases, and umbrellas. The figures activate an electro-mechanical system to evoke a quasi-romantic undercurrent. Speed Shift (I thought you were with me) is a set of 19 wall- and floor-mounted embroidery and quilting hoops with stands. Each hoop frames white vinyl that mimics gessoed canvas and also serves as a projection screen for a multichannel video. The videoassembled from three different animationsfades in and out every few minutes as the hoops shift from functioning as screens to objects.
Durkin's third untitled work addresses the overlapping nature of human bodies and machines while cleverly comparing office-supply equipment to biological systems and product advertisement. Durkin graduated with an MFA from Yale University in 2005 and has been part of the art faculty at Texas A&M University ever since. While she has exhibited internationally, this Ulrich Project Series will be the artists first show in the Midwest.