The 2012 Core Exhibition — the annual show for the Glassell School of Art's artists-in-residence — has been a surprisingly tidy affair this year, according to Core program associate director Mary Leclère.
"This show usually spreads out into the foyers," she laughs. "With this group of artists, though, we have a lot of singular pieces which has made laying out the show a bit easier."
When Leclère says "singular pieces," however, she doesn't necessarily mean small . . . especially considering the eight-foot cinder block wall jutting out of the drywall in the central gallery of the Glassell's first floor exhibition space.
In many ways, this notion of technology — and all its pro and cons — emerges as a central theme among this year's Core artists.
Titled Ironclad, the piece by artist Lourdes Correa-Carlo is a simple vertical stack of blocks, neatly arranged without any grout. A door-like open space, covered by a digital paper print of roofing material, has been in the wall as it reaches the center of the room.
"Correa-Carlo's work divides the space in a very particular manner," Leclère notes, pointing out the manner in which viewers are drawn towards the small area created behind the 10-foot-long wall. "The piece is intended to engage with the architecture of the gallery."
The artist even sliced into the gallery wall, making a nice reference to Gordon Matta-Clark's "building cuts" of the 1970s.
In addition to engaging ideas of architecture, Correa-Carlo's piece seems to comment on how a simple and non-technologically-advanced gesture, like stacking blocks, can yield such a bold effect in art. Across the room, Fatima Haider's graphite rubbings of the space beneath her bed tackles similar terrain.
In many ways, this notion of technology — and all its pro and cons — emerges as a central theme among this year's Core artists. Miguel Amat employs giant satellite surveillance images to explore the military industrial complex. Clarissa Tossin takes on globalism by reworking Google Maps and street views to examine factory towns found throughout both North and South America.
Other Glassell artists simply use technology to observe and manipulate the world around them. Nicole Miller's art videos capture the sexually-charged Caribbean dance phenomena known as daggering, while Anthea Behm films actors walking through the Art Institute of Chicago while they recite lines from cultural theorist Theodor Adorno and Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
Like Jang Soon Im — who digitally manipulates images of ancient warriors to feature his own face — artist Gabriel Martinez attempts to recast the annals of history through photographic projections of altered roadside signs he's created to celebrate under-recognized social figures like Angela Davis and Upton Sinclair.
The 2012 Core Exhibitition runs through Sunday at the Glassell School of Art. The gallery is open Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Fridays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.