CSI Presents “Invoking the Absence”
Temporary Exhibition: May 17 to October 26, 2014
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 17, 2014
Location: Elks National Veterans Memorial
Curated by Lucas Cowan
A group exhibition of 22 artists: Terry Karpowicz, Steve Luecking, Toby Zallman, Carol Hammerman, Christine Perry, Christina Murphy, Chris Newman, Peter Gray, Suzanne Cohan-Lange, Dominic Sansone, Glenn & Deborah Doering, Ron Gard, Corinne Peterson, Steve Klassen, Sharon Gilmore, Mike Grucza, Sharon Bladholm, Fisher Stolz, Peter Dallos, Dusty Folwarczny and Eric W. Stephenson.
When I first heard that CSI is having an exhibition at Elks Memorial, my initial reaction was of disbelief. How could they have an exhibition at a place which is already filled with high class art!?! Elks Memorial is a Beaux Art masterpiece. A place where it is difficult to distinguish between art and architecture. Every corner of the place is filled with ornate art. There are monumental bronze statues, elaborate allegorical murals, coffered ceiling, stained glass windows, marble walls and floors, it has it all! It was difficult to conceive of a group sculpture exhibition at this location. One or two sculptures, I could image. But a group show! I was extremely curious! The other equally important factor is that Elks Memorial, as the name suggests, is a memorial. So the artwork had to be contemplative and respectful. Yet another consideration is that Elks Memorial is made in Classical Revival Beaux Arts style, while most of the sculptors at CSI produce more of contemporary art. Finally, I bet, it was understood that the exhibition was not meant to take away or clash with interiors or be loud and overbearing screaming for attention, but was meant to blend in and enhance the experience of visiting this wonderful monument. How to bring together all these various elements would have been a challenge for anyone!
The CSI rose to the challenge!
The exhibition is Beautiful, Contemplative and Respectful!
This is the first ever art exhibition at Elks National Veterans Memorial.
The Elks Memorial was designated a Chicago Landmark on October 1, 2003. Its official website is click here..
Its the first time that CSI is exhibiting in a designated “Chicago Landmark” building.
I have covered this place earlier.. click here..
There is artwork by 22 CSI sculptors. Terry Karpowicz, Steve Luecking, Toby Zallman, Carol Hammerman, Christine Perri, Christina Murphy, Chris Newman, Peter Gray, Suzanne Cohan-Lange, Dominic Sansone, Glenn & Deborah Doering, Ron Gard, Corinne Peterson, Steve Klassen, Sharon Gilmore, Mike Grucza, Sharon Bladholm, Fisher Stolz, Peter Dallos, Dusty Folwarczny and Eric W. Stephenson.
The exhibition is curated by Lucas Cowan. More about the curator, later I the post.
So far I have assumed that my readers know what CSI is. For anyone who does not know about CSI.. Established in the year 2004, the Chicago Sculpture International [CSI], a non-profit organization, is an affiliate of the International Sculpture Center [ISC]. Its Mission Statement is.. The Chicago Sculpture International advances the understanding and creation of sculpture as a unique and vital contribution to society. The CSI seeks to expand public understanding and appreciation of Chicago sculpture through exhibits and public forums on sculpture. To engage artists and art professionals in a dialogue to advance the art form, and promote a supportive environment for sculpture and sculptors For more on CSI, check out its website.. click here..
In the image above.. Stephen Klessen, Michael Grucza, Corinne D. Peterson, Terrence Karpowicz, Eric W. Stephenson, Dusty Folwarczny, Dominic Sansone, Suzanne Cohan-Lange, Peter Gray, Laurie LeBreton, Sharon Bladholm, and to the extreme right is curator of the show Lucas Cowan.
Curator of the exhibition is Lucas Cowan. Currently, he is the Director of Public Art at Maryland State Arts Council. Earlier he was Curator of Exhibits at Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Lucas has also been the curator of all the sculptural exhibits at the Millennium Park [which includes exhibitions by Jun Kaneko, Yvonne Domenge, Contemporary Sculpture From China and sculptures by Mark di Suvero] click here..
Invoking the Absence.. “plays with the notion of void and its existence in place, time, order, abstraction and conflict”. – Curator Lucas Cowan
A very fitting theme of artwork at a memorial. The sculptures selected delve into the notion of void and absence and are commemorating, exalting, honoring the values we cherish. There is Pieta by Christine Perry, Angels by Laurie Le Breton, Children of God by Suzanne Cohan Lange, Aspiration by Sharon Bladholm.. all work together enhancing the experience at the beautiful memorial.
The biggest puzzle I have not been able to put together is that how was an exhibition at this monument conceived. Who are behind the idea of putting an exhibition here. I am aware of bits and pieces… and heard that Alderman Vi Daley is also involved in this process. Maybe when I know the complete story, I will update this post.
Some images from the day..
While there don’t miss out on the Grand Reception Hall.. click here..
The exhibition is in the Rotunda, not in this Reception Hall. But do check it out!
Request for a Guided Tour. The staff at Elks is very courteous and well informed.
Earlier exhibitions by CSI.. click here..