Sculpture Catalog 2017/2018

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SCULPTURE 2017 2018

2017 2018

SCULPTURE Department Catalog

INTRODUCTION LETTER It is with pride and pleasure that I introduce this catalog of student work from the class of 2017 and 2018 in the Sculpture Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. This catalog showcases work from our annual MFA thesis exhibition and work produced in the first year of graduate study. Evident in the catalog is the amount of support and exhibition exposure our students receive during their study and we are proud of our 2017 graduates who are practitioners and practicing artists, lecturers and assistant professors. Students study at SAIC because of our 150 year tradition of education excellence and select the Sculpture Department as a disciplinary home to keep pace with contemporary discourse. The Sculpture Department espouses an expanded definition of sculpture, making it the disciplinary home of sculptors, filmmakers, painters, and performance artists alike. Students decide to pursue an MFA for two more years of studio work, advance their analog craft with digital technologies, gain critical feedback on their professional practice and belong to a peer and professional network. Masters in Fine Arts Studio thesis study begins with exposure to fundamental discourses on the history of sculpture, acquisition of sculptural skills and production, and leads students to other departments for the thematic research and technical training necessary for each student’s own creative practice. Students graduate with versatile artistic strategies, adaptive methodologies, and the intellectual acuity for professional practice. We welcome the local and global cultural perspectives of our students with a commitment to a politics of difference that fosters an intimate collective community. This creates a stimulating environment in the Sculpture Department every year. The Sculpture Department is a place where we not only make things, but make things happen. Lan Tuazon

Assistant Professor and Sculpture Graduate Coordinator



MARINA CAVADINI Marina Cavadini responds to sites moved by an urgency to animate the nocturnal side of things. Biology informs her practice and creeps into the sphere of the sculptural as an unpredicted logic. She incorporates processes of decadence, of reproduction, of mimicry, and of symbiosis.



I want to lick you. I want to peel you. My work stimulates a sensory experience. Intense details generate visual pleasure. Delicacy. Holes. Small offerings and the possibility of noticing or not noticing. You might or might not see. I respond to sites (floors, bodies). I have an urgency to animate the nocturnal side of things (behind the ears, the back of a fern’s leaf). These liminal places are proliferating, sprinkled with shiny spores. Wearable sugar balls. Fantasy accessories which draw the attention to the boundary between the inside and outside, between back and front. Above and underneath. The operations (hiding, revealing, and choreographing) to which I subject things invite awareness, suspicion and sharpness of the senses. Biology informs my practice and creeps into the sphere of the sculptural as an unpredicted logic. My work incorporates processes of decadence, of reproduction, of mimicry, and of symbiosis.

Counterclockwise from top: The Horseshoe Crab, performance in collaboration with Caroline Dahlberg, 2017. Sori (Underneath), sugar balls, plastic skin 6 feet diameter, 2016. Odessa, performance with sugar balls, 2016. Overlaps, Correspondences, Contradictions, Wooden structure, Nepenthes, chains, dissection kit, beakers, hot plate, eggs, flies, milk, water, poem, ongoing performance, 2017. 3

RYAN COMPTON Ryan Compton graduated with a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2003 and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2017. He mixes cultural experiments with drawing, installation, and new media tools to explore context and conditioning within contemporary society. Compton’s public collections include the Getty Museum Research Institute and Maryland Institute College of Art Decker Library. He has participated in group exhibits and projects at the Tate Modern (London), X Initiative, John Connelly Presents, Foxy Production, and White Box, and has been published in Charley Independent, K48, and Time Out New York.



A network of halls, doorways, or public transit systems frames a way of moving through space that is already assigned a value and content. What does it mean to build on top of what is already established? An architectural system moves beyond our consensus of space, consuming a building, filling up a space, connecting multiple volumes, and interweaving systems through an established order. The independent modular systems of Space Frame Trusses have been part of the infrastructure of many buildings for several decades and are still being used today. The Space Frame Trusses make up a system that distributes stress and weight horizontally throughout the structure. Additionally, this system vanishes into plain sight by how commonly it is used. Using this system, an expression of engineering and history, to push back on the consensus raises the question: What does it mean to turn a system that is already integrated in modern architecture, stable and strong, against itself?

From top: Vertical Skyscraper, paper and marker, 8”x11”, 2017. Pavillion Model, 3D print and bass wood, 17”8”9”, 2017.


CAROLINE DAHLBERG Caroline Joy Dahlberg is a performer and sensory choreographer. She received her BFA in Sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2014, and is an MFA Candidate in Sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has exhibited work in Richmond, VA, Boston, MA, and Chicago, IL.



My objects have lumpy bodies. They are endearing and ham-fisted, soft and fleshy, and empathetically pathetic. Their textures have the quality of something wet and internal, emphasizing the skin that holds in the organs that holds in the fluids. Our social selves act as a metaphoric skin to our embodied selves; with sagging or bulging areas that call attention to the fact that our physical selves are consistently in flux. Falling apart and back together, with tension that works its way in and out. We catch ourselves in the act of becoming, act of decomposing, feeling several levels of containment shifting. Struggling to catch pieces before they can fall out. With this lack of structure, intimacy becomes a comfort. By dissolving the barriers set up by the social skin, we can imagine ourselves entangled with other bodies and environments. Using visceral materials and kinaesthetic engagement, my work is asking for closeness separated by a thin membrane or the fabric of a costume. Meandering though the binaries to make new pathways for bodies to merge and lose themselves in one another. It is comfort and terror, simultaneous closeness and loss.

Counterclockwise from top: Therianthropy, durational performance, 2016. Appendages, photo montage, 2017. De/Composition, video projection, shoes, decomposing banana in a vacuum-sealed bag, 2017.


ASHLEY FREEBY Ashley M. Freeby grew up in a small rural town in Pennsylvania. An interdisciplinary artist, she is a MFA candidate (2018) and received a BA degree in Studio Arts from Bucknell University (2015). Solo exhibition: Palimpsest, GalleryX, Chicago (2017). Group exhibitions: EXPO Chicago, Sullivan Galleries (Chicago), and Samek Art Museum (PA).


Racial injustice has shaped our nation-under a shadow lies the destructive violence that has traumatized people of color and diluted our commitment to equal justice. With an interdisciplinary practice, my investigations tell a collective and more inclusive story about humans by letting the work take on multiple forms of findings. By reframing preexisting documentation and objects, the work that is produced becomes conceptualized formations in various installation based work. As an artist, I often come back to the skin I live in. It is a site of complexity, a conjunction of emotions and contradictions of someone who is both white and black. Raised by two white parents in a small predominantly white rural town made me aware that my outward appearance situates me within society as a person of color. With the curiosity to learn, my art practice begins with an acute exploration of American history. The discoveries are used to build a critical examination of social constructs of identity and culture. The work, in the end, reveals how the injustices against people of color throughout history inform our understanding of American society.


Counterclockwise from top: Stand By Us, nylon blue lives matter flags, nylon American flag, and wooden display case, varies, November 2017. Many Thousands Gone, sourced manipulated images, archival prints, 30”x 22” (each 12 in series), August 2017. How to Get Away with Murder, letterpress printed on BFK Rives, 4”x 6”, October 2016.


ZOË GREENHAM Zoë Greenham received her MFA in Sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2017 and her BA in English from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut in 2011. She has shown in Chicago, New York, Connecticut, and Hamburg.



My work explores the cultural practices, representations and mythologies that inform our relationships to land, material resources and by extension, each other. I am interested in questioning the values embedded in these practices, representations and perpetuated narratives. I examine representations including painting, photography, maps, advertisements, logos and text created to inform us about materials. I also explore cultural practices that mediate our relationships with these materials such as hunting, cooking, eating, making, disposing and recycling. My work includes sculptural objects, installations and performance. I am interested in challenging the motivations of consumption, exploitation and private ownership that dominate our understanding and interactions with the material and natural world.

Counterclockwise from top: Caution Do Not Play In or Around: performance, photograph, orange tape, paper, flour, water, glass, plastic, metal, ceramic, dimensions variable, 2017. Caution Do Not Play In or Around Installation, photograph, orange tape, paper, flour, water, glass, plastic, metal, ceramic, dimensions variable, 2017. Closed Loop City Installation, sewer pipe, metal, paper, oil paint, dry wall, dried bananas, chewed gum, fabric, dimensions variable, 2017. 11

ADELA GOLDBARD Adela Goldbard is an interdisciplinary artist and educator. Goldbard is a member of the National System of Artistic Creators of Mexico, and Assistant Professor at RISD. She received an MFA in studio art from SAIC and a BA in Hispanic Language and Literature from National Autonomous University of Mexico. She is the 2017 School of the Art Institute of Chicago Awardee of the Edes Foundation Prize.



Art is for me a mode of research and a form of resistance. My dissent take the form of visible events that have been forgotten or erased, creating fictions deeply anchored in reality and by ritually and allegorically destroying social evil. Re-enacting and parodying history by collectively building, staging and destroying has, for me, the potential to generate critical thinking and social transformation. My work melds sculpture, video, sound, photography, text, and performance. It centers on the politics of memory and remembering. With it, I dig into the power relations and social constructs behind official history, archaeological preservation, patriotism, state-sanctioned celebrations, and mass media. I’m especially interested in how destruction can become a ritual, a statement, a metaphor, a way of remembering and a form of resistance. With subtle dark humor, I explore the dialectical relations amongst actual events and their representation, re-enactment, simulacrum and replication, and how these strategies have an effect on collective memory. My search and research of popular culture, traditions and artisan techniques has brought me to collaborate with many different groups and communities of laborers, craft makers, pyrotechnicians, brick-makers, and migrant construction workers, mainly in Mexico and in the US.

Counterclockwise from top: Hall of the Lost Steps (Salón de los pasos perdidos), Enrique Guerrero Gallery, Mexico City, wood, reeds, plastic flags, and 2-channel audio inside of structure (audio in collaboration with Matias Barberis) 90” x 90” x 138”, 2017. A World of Laughter, a World of Fears, Pomona College, Claremont, CA, steel, wood, reeds, newspaper, paste, paint and fireworks, 2017. Checkmate or The Politics of Illusion, Chalton Gallery, London, wood, rope, and metal barrels with 6-channel audio installation inside (audio in collaboration with Masato Kakinoki) 94” x 94” x 110”, 2017.


KELSEY HARRISON Kelsey Harrison is a Salt Lake City based sculptor. Her work has been shown in institutions nationally including The Jewish Museum, Abrons Art Center, and The Knockdown Center, SOMArts, The Sullivan Galleries, and The College of William and Mary. She is an Assistant Professor (Lecturer) of Sculpture and Intermedia at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.


Things materialize concepts. Material gives concepts body and authority. Furniture and architecture are the subjects of my work because they are the most embedded of “things” of daily living, and therefore subtly naturalize ideas. I make fragments of the built world and abstract them to challenge the “naturalness” of the world as it is presented. These abstracted fragments make architecture expressive like the body, troubling the boundary between subject and environment, invoking the analogous boundary between concepts and things. To do this, I exaggerate, enlarge, warp, alter, and abstract recognizable elements like balconies, balustrades, and thresholds. I warp architecture to point to other ways the world could be built. If architecture forms me just as I decide about the form that architecture takes, what is the result? In the first case, architecture haunted with figurative forms, and forms haunted with language and legend. In the second, an understanding that forms must be contested and re-imagined. Re-imagining is possible because the form of the world is produced, not given. If the form is not given, then it is not permanent, natural, or even necessarily logical. That the world is made also means that I, or anyone, can build it. What we build, however contingent, matters. Form and material “speak.” We understand our social roles from architecture, from clothing, from systems of transportation. Forms matter, and matter forms and informs us at levels material, symbolic, metaphorical, and psychological. Acknowledging the power of objects on subjects necessarily troubles the boundary between “us” and “stuff.”


Counterclockwise from top: Harrison 1: Nude, Ascending Staircase II, poplar wood, 12’9”x11”x2.5”, 2016. Harrison 2: Pied-a-ciel II, cast urethane foam, 34”x44”44”, 2017. Harrison 3: Pied-a-ciel III, carved polystyrene foam and latex paint, 48”x 48”x 56”, 2017.


JOO YOUNG LEE Joo Young Lee is a multimedia artist investigating contemporary issues in feminism, art and technology. Her works have been exhibited in New York, Chicago, London and Seoul. Lee is a recipient of the Arts, Culture and Science Grant from the University of Chicago where she collaborates with two microbiologists.


The world is thin. The body is a glitched map, a deforming mesh, and accumulating particles. I practice a feminist, research-based, media technology investigation that dissects dynamics between safety and fear; control and desire; simulation and survival. Through web-based archive, high-definition video and multi-channel installation, I challenge binary relationships between subject/object, surface/substance and the virtual/physical. My recent practice adopts Computer Generated Imagery as a means to reconfigure proposed reality and security in the post representational era. Call me when you get back home explores sensory stimuli of safety and fear through the rendering of water. Built from facade images, Citescape depicts an empty city under police control. .bin_Garden reflects on a life-cycle of digital and physical substance. Particle simulation, virtual physics, and UV mapping are my tools. I make digital and physical platforms that are political and allegorical. By collecting, processing, and materializing digital models, photographic images, and 3D scan data, I produce an interconnectivity within each work that activates fictional-documentary scenarios. Digital simulation calls attention back to the fragility of body. Where do we locate our body in the time of virtuality, Second Life, 3D scan, motion capture and biodata registration? Where do we place ourselves in a thin world?


Counterclockwise from top: Citescape, 3D animation with sound, 04:05 mins, 2017. Call me when you get back home, two-channel video installation with sound, 05:20 mins, 2017. .bin_Garden, 3D animation with sound, 04:56 mins, 2017.


GALEN ODELL-SMEDLEY Galen Odell-Smedley challenges organizational conventions of knowledge through craft and robotics. A recent recipient of an International Sculpture Center award, he has shown work in Chicago, Kansas City, New York, and Florence. He holds a BS in Studio Art from Skidmore College and is a current MFA candidate.


My practice engages making through longstanding craft histories, often in conjunction with software and robotics. I care how an edge feels to touch, how a material’s sound confirms or subverts what we think we understand about it. My work interrogates notions of progress and re-imagines ways of housing and interfacing with information. An improvised melody emerges as an industrial shelf methodically taps its contents over a precipice. A clay vessel marks the intimate conversation that led to its making, recalls when it was gifted to its keeper. My projects attempt to reclassify materials as unorthodox knowledge containers. To this end, I establish platforms for learning in under-explored ways. We live in a peculiar moment, where the acceleration of technological revolutions compresses perceptibly to fit within a single human lifetime. If I took a person from the recent past for a joy ride into the future, I would not have to travel far to blow their mind. I seek ways to exist within this space, carving out room for moving slowly and being sensitive to wisdom from sources for whom communication does not come easily.


Counterclockwise from top: Revolutions, Interchanges, Markers, performance, 2017. Artificial Unintelligence: Creature 1, wood, steel, color-changing acrylic, LEDs, enamel, custom software and electronics, 2016. Untitled (Knowledge Containers), cast porcelain, steel, aluminum, CNC fixturing, motors, custom software and electronics, 2017.


BARBARA POLSTER Barbara Polster has had recent solo exhibitions at Cape Disappointment, Forum Artspace (Cleveland); High Noon_1 (Summit), GLASSBOX (Seattle); and a [super]symmetry, William Busta Gallery (Cleveland). Recent group exhibitions have been held at Field Projects (NYC), AIR Gallery (Brooklyn), and the Cleveland Museum of Art. In 2016, she received a King County 4Culture Grant. She is an INTERLINK Visiting Artist Program Coordinator and Writing Fellow.



Through this multidisciplinary practice, my project is to trace methods of language, literature, and cognition through to a poetics of theoretical space. Ultimately, I seek to comprehend how the fixity with which we approach and construct our understanding of everyday spatial experience affects and reflects our approach to cultural situations at large. Contextually speaking, the work extends the conceptualist project of image and language into a consideration of space. A poetic relationship to space proves particularly valuable as it makes way for theoretical and speculative constructions of space. Thus, theoretical physics, for example, poses an ability through reason to quantify the improbable-including the possibility that the poetic could be the actual, the numbers grasping firmly to tether the poetic to the ground. Perhaps, ultimately, this is the kind of speculative thinking needed to confront Western colonialist empirical epistemologies. And (in the spirit of Cuban visionary José Marti), I believe that poetry isn’t all that far from revolution.

Counterclockwise from top: BPolster_02, the curvature of the earth is approximately 8� over the course of a mile, both square and linear. Ramps built to raise the tide 8� so that those at sea can be reassured that the water, in fact, reaches the shore. BPolster_01, a means devised to cut holes in the waves of Lake Michigan. At the precise moment that the water presses onto the warmth of one’s face, the scope cuts a hole clearly through it and the sky remains visible. BPolster_03, documentation as material. Grating system to determine an imagistic vibration. 21

MIGUEL SBASTIDA Sbastida earned his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2017 after his BFA studies in The Netherlands, Spain and Canada. He was the recipient of La Caixa Foundation Fellowship, BilbaoArte Foundation Grant, Circuitos de Artes Plásticas Prize, SAIC Professional Development Award and a Dedalus Foundation Nominee. He lives and works on Planet Earth.


Miguel Sbastida (1989, Spain) is a visual artist working across sculpture, video installation and sitespecific performance, in an investigation around geological time, material cycles, cultural ecologies and climate breakdown. Over the last years, he has extensively researched his kinship with the geological world through material, epistemological, geopoetic, and vital-materialist perspectives. Stones that murmur memories, displaced glacial ice, trying to become a rock, scars in geological time, joining forces with the ocean in the erosion of a cliff… In his works, Sbastida explores connections between the biologic and geologic, cultural and natural; emphasizing and urging to look at the world through perspectives that reject the anthropocentric hierarchies we impose on nature, and divisions between the lively and the inert. Through on-site research, durational performance, specimen study (drawing, reproduction, examination, displacement), and object making (map-making, rock-making, casting, video), Sbastida challenges traditional boundaries between the human/non-human spheres, activating spaces for critical thinking, eco-feminism, and a possible re-evaluation of our relationship with the Earth Organism.


Counterclockwise from top: At the pace of the rocks, durational performance, 2017. Walk like a glacier (Skin/Ice), inkjet print on satin paper. 16� x 48� 2016. New Land, concrete, 11.5 x 5 feet, 2017.


AYESHA SINGH Ayesha Singh works with photography, drawing, installation and video to investigate hybrid architectures and constructs of appropriation in cities where she resides. She has exhibited her work in India, Brazil, UK and USA. In collaboration with political scientists, she is currently working on an Arts, Science & Culture Initiative Grant project on connotations of the façade in state architecture in Chicago, New Delhi and Eastman, Georgia.



My interests lie in the potential for twodimensional processes to be expressed and experienced three-dimensionally. I use scale to investigate the malleability of space in both its physical and illusory presentations. The works create new spaces in pre-existing architecture and draw attention to the way viewers occupy and traverse the area that the works construct. My inquiries into post-colonial architecture have revealed an interest in buildings that are constructed using appropriated features and fragments from structures in various countries and cultures. The content of the work is informed by the historical significance of architecture in the cities where I reside, their forms are influenced by the transformative and physical evidences of their past alongside their present. Through my work, I question how far architecture attempts to define an area, its people and their identities.

Counterclockwise from top: Woven Geographies, metal and found fabric, 12 x 8 feet, 2017. Columns, New Delhi, digital photo-prints, 12 x 2.5 feet, 2016. Hybrid Drawings, wrought iron, 9 feet height with varied widths, 2017.



Class of 2017 & 2018 at the abandoned Ore Docks in Chicago.

This publication, like so many of the projects we undertake in the Sculpture Department, has been a group effort. Without the collaboration and guidance of Nicole Hall, SAIC Graduate Admissions Director, this catalogue would still be an idea. The catalog itself was designed and produced by SAIC’s Admissions Marketing and Communication Department; I extend special thanks to Mary-Jo Mostowy for her can-do attitude and design expertise. We recognize with gratitude the leadership of our Chair, Dan Price for thinking ahead and setting long term goals. I’d also like to thank our staff, students and faculty for being open to new idea with a readiness for plans to become deadlines and finally for results that are worth the effort and energy.

Designed by Hayan Song (BFA 2019). Images courtesy of the artists. Edited by Lan Tuazon, Assistant Professor of Sculpture and Sculpture Graduate Coordinator.


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