I started my day—yesterday—meeting with Heather Claborn, a Producer and Reporter for WKCC Public Radio in Kankakee, Illinois. Claborn is doing a story on Christopher Shoup—one of the ten Artists participating in photo '11, the National Juried Exhibition which will open at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago on the 21st. The exhibition presents a snapshot of the imagery currently being produced with—or through—the photographic process. The show is produced in conjunction with the annual Art of Human Rights® event to benefit Heartland Alliance. Commissions from work sold will be donated directly to Heartland Alliance to help with their work in supporting human rights. Proceeds will help Heartland Alliance provide housing, healthcare, economic security, and legal services to more than 200,000 people whose lives are threatened by poverty and danger, including those living with HIV/AIDS.
Claborn is a beautiful and charming woman with a very large portable microphone. We sat down in a room, adjacent to Gallery 180, to discussed the importance of the Heartland Alliance, the photo '11 Exhibition—and specifically—the inclusion of a piece by local Artist, Christopher Shoup. The interview was an interesting experience. I rarely explain how exhibitions are created and why specific works are selected. In the case of Shoup's "Rock Pile, Purple Asters...", I was drawn to the peaceful repetitive qualities of the abstracted imagery.
Shoup photographically isolates details found in nature then repeats the image—altering, flipping as well as adding new imagery modules to a grid—creating a geometric pattern similar to that of a kaleidoscope. The final image is a culmination of complex segments resulting in an intriguing and approachable visual experience.
An exhibition catalog for the "photo '11" exhibition was produced to help in the promotion of this benefit show. Included is Shoup's statement and it reads as follows:
A drive through my native Salina Township in rural Illinois reveals blocks of farm fields interspersed with fragments of nature and remnant farmsteads. But a stop, followed by a closer exploration, reveals a complex ecology thriving within man’s landscape. There is rich soil, composed of thousands of year’s worth of prairie flora’s decomposition; there is sand, blown from the bottoms of past sloughs; farm rock piles contain granite boulders that were carried from Canada on the backs of the last glaciers, and creek beds cut through submerged limestone formations—records of ancient coral reefs.
Rock Pile/Purple Asters is one piece in a growing body of work that captures the vestige beauty of Salina Township. Its hand-tiled construction, select points of focus and impressionistic background highlight my use of the camera as a painter’s brush more than a fine arts instrument.
The Christopher Shoup interview is scheduled to air on WKCC 91.1FM, on Thursday January 20th.
Please join me for the opening reception of "photo '11" on Friday, January 21st from 5:30-7:30. Gallery 180 is located at 180 N. Wabash—at the corner of Lake and Wabash—in Chicago’s Loop. The exhibition is free and open to the public. All works are available for purchase and commissions will be donated to Heartland Alliance. The entire exhibition can also be found at: gallery180.com
Image: Christopher Shoup
Rock Pile, Purple Asters, Salina Township, 24 hand-tiled 35mm photographs; perfect mounted on MDS; sealed with polyurethane, 24" x 24", 2010, $700