This past week I took a walk over to Gallery 400, the UIC gallery space located on Peoria street, to see the latest exhibition of UIC student and guest art called Ghost Nature. You may have seen the flyers for this showcase posted all around campus, and let me assure you that this exhibition is not one to miss. The event runs until March 1, 2014.
The theme of the Ghost Nature exhibit, according to its curator, Carolina Picard, is to “investigate the borders and bounds between human and non-human experience, undermining vernacular strategies of landscape representation through which these sites have historically been examined.” In layman’s terms, it basically examines the ideas that humans are connected and influence their own environments just as much as their environment influences them. An example of this is a photograph by Xaviera Simmons called Index One, Composition One, which is on loan to UIC from the David Castillo Gallery in Miami. The piece examines how the things that we give sentimental value to are as capable of defining us an individuals, just as much as our words.
The exhibit is full of many strange and wonderful works produced by our student artists at UIC, which vary in mediums from film to watercolor to sculptor. One of my personal favorites is a large mural created by Sebastian Alvarez called The Chronosophical Society, Transection. The digital print was transferred to an enormous 8×24 foot vinyl stamp for the purpose of display. It is a cross-section of the city that shows all of our technological endeavors from drilling tunnels, to the creation of sewage systems and electrical systems. Satellites, ships, even our interactions with the natural world, like whales and birds, are also featured. The amazing aspect of this piece is that it is only a prototype for what will later become a three dimensional interactive piece, which I cannot wait to see.
Now I must warn some of you readers that much of the artwork is a bit abstract and requires some mulling over upon the first viewing. More specifically, I refer to pieces like Taking Care by Stephen Lapthisphons, which is often overlooked due to its strangeness, and smelliness, for that matter. But I assure you, in the context of the exhibit, it makes sense. Also I recommend not sneezing near Moon Dust unless you want the ashes of 103 different species of insects getting on your clothes. But there are many other great works on display. Because of this, I strongly recommend that you UIC art lovers, and students alike, go visit the exhibit and support the UIC art community.