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Free Play


09.14.2018 - 11.01.2018

This show brings together works from five painters whose works visualize the figure through the lens of abstraction and the developing Chicago tradition of the figure under pressure. These artists find their compositions neithernot through pure abstraction nor through literal description of human form.

Free Play refers to the Kantian notion that we describe art as “production through freedom, i.e. through a will that places reason at the basis of its actions”, this freedom being humanity’s capacity for the transformation of what is and what ought to be. The title also takes inspiration from Also from James P. Carse’s notion of the infinite game, where “…the only purpose of the game is to prevent it from coming to an end, to keep everyone in play.” In order to do this “…the rules of an infinite game must change in the course of play.”

This is how these painters proceed with their works: they start with an idea and let the image evolve and change as play would dictate. For example, an arm doesn’t need to stay where it makes anatomical sense for it to be, or even look anything like an arm if that seems less restricting. These artists use what was to inform what could be.

GRACE BROMLEY is a visual artist born and raised in Chicago, Il. Characterized by pairs of ardent figures in the heat of conflict or compassion with one another; her work explores relationships, religion, femininity, and the explosive and histrionic behavior of humanity. Bromley recieved her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2018, she is currently living and working in Chicago.

DARIUS AIRO was born in Chicago, where he studied at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and currently works. Airo’s work is largely environmental, binding image based painting to the artist’s landscape to form an introverted and responsive narrative. Formally the work considers American cartoon imagery, alternative commercial imagery that saturates low-income Chicago neighborhoods, and a lineage of image based painting that glorifies a vast canon. These ideas about image making paired with the artist’s idientity in Chicago mold an abject body that bares an eclectic dialogue with landscape, object, and the figures that sift through both.

LEXIE CICALE is a painter and sculptor from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, currently working in Chicago, where she is pursuing a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Whether shes working in oil paint, steel, or cast bronze, her highly chromatic works are often interactive, and heavily influenced by collective memory, her background in dance, and her desire to play.

DANIEL CHAMPION is a Chicago based artist originally from Oakland. His figurative work takes multiple forms including ink drawing, painting, screenprints and most recently, sculptural wood cut-outs. Through his cartoonish figures’ expressive poses, Champion investigates normalized forms of human interaction and archetypal roles acted out in media and life.

JESSE PACE is an artist and maker born in Niagara Falls, NY currently working in Chicago, IL where they received a BFA from SAIC. Pace’s work runs the gamut from pure abstraction to portraiture. Their work references anime, the cannon of western painting, and graffiti removal. Painted with a roller and industrial grade enamels in order to call into question the agency of the individual in and around modern institutions.

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