Artists in transition

While Chicago visual-arts MFA grads were crossing the stage at this past weekend’s convocation, their work was hanging on the walls at Hyde Park’s Del Prado Building. Titled The Space Between, the eight-person, free exhibition opened last Thursday with a broad offering of painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, and performance art.

Reflecting on her immigrant family’s American assimilation, Maria Perkovic, MFA’06, created black-and-white landscapes meant to seem simultaneously “familiar and alien,” she wrote in her artist’s statement. The skyscrapers, ladders, and beams in her spare, almost surreal canvases look more like models than real objects. Perkovic’s work, she wrote, examines the “Western ideological umbrella” that equates “placeness” with identity and defines groups by locale. Photographer Rachel Herman, MFA’06, sought to generate “new stories” by skewing commonplace images: two painted doors, one cracked open to reveal a flood of light; a face obscured—all but a grinning row of teeth—by a parka hood. Meanwhile, Joe Cory’s (MFA’06) deceptively simple drawings made use of absurdity and humor. In Untitled (They never saw it coming), red clouds look down on houses blithely huddled around nuclear cooling towers squirting a bright green liquid. Grant Schexnider’s (MFA’06) paintings drew on pornography as a metaphor for everyday social and political interaction. “There is, above all, a brutal honesty” about pornography, Schexnider’s artist’s statement read. “It illustrates our need for power, control, and release. It exposes our weakness.”

Capping off a two-year program that combines artistic practice with critical theory and art history, the exhibition marks a transition from student life to professional career. Cocurated by art-history doctoral student Dawna Schuld and Smart Museum contemporary-art curator Stephanie Smith, The Space Between—open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 5307 S. Hyde Park Boulevard from noon to 6 p.m.—runs through June 18.


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Photos (left to right): Untitled paintings by Grant Schexnider; visitors view Joe Cory's drawings; Untitled #1, Normandie (left) and Untitled #2, Normandie by Rachel Herman.

June 12, 2006