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Improvised Identity at Dulcenea

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Improvised Identity
February 1-February 28, 2007
Dulcenea, 1431 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL

Chicago's Around the Coyote Arts Organization is pleased to present Improvised Identity, a group exhibition on display at Dulcenea exploring identity in contemporary culture.  Curated by Amy Gadola and Tracey Drobot, featured artists include Tim Lane, Travis Pickard, Philip Hartigan, Jennifer Schuberth, and Tewz One.  

‘Identity’ refers to complex, contingent categories of physical, mental, social, or mathematical relationships.  Identity in art is perhaps even more convoluted than this definition.  Artists must negotiate the complexities of commonly held assumptions about stereotypes, self-awareness, portraiture, and what it means to be an artist.  The success of an artwork is contingent of the reception of the artist's desired or illusioned identity.

But as the world becomes increasingly globalized, issues of identity grow evermore complex.  In a global society, identity is difficult to negotiate and demands constant improvisation as the faces of nationalism and world politics evolve.

The artists included in Improvised Identity explore notions of identity and improvisation in very disparate ways and through the use of various media.  

Tim Lane’s work explores the idea of fear on a subconscious level – the notion that he is affected by a climate of war and violence although he’s not directly involved. When fear is "in the air" everyone's identity is affected and reshaped; everyone's emotional and mental well being is eroded.  The result is a heightened sense of fear and paranoia, a prevailing sense of insecurity, and a questioning of beliefs.

Philip Hartigan draws upon the contradictions of his childhood to inform his exploration of memory.  Born in England, living in different countries, and now a resident of the USA, Hartigan is the product of an Irish Catholic father, an English Protestant mother, an impoverished childhood in a mining village, and a college education that removed him from that world. Hartigan has trained as a painter, and now works in painting, printmaking, video, and installation.

Jennifer Schuberth’s work explores our sense of self through loss—loss of people, of ideals, and of ourselves. She explores how contemporary secular culture provides very few means by which to engage with absence and to recognize the place of it in our lives.  Her work stands as an expression of an individual, but one that reveals, rather than obliterates, the communal origins of that individuality. 

Tewz One’s work is a byproduct of the sights and sounds of everyday life on the streets in Chicago.  Trains in the distance, police, the homeless, traffic, concrete, steel, broken glass, restaurants, people, bars, liquor stores, old buildings, and street musicians all inform his practice.

Travis Pickard has produced over fifty paintings for his Redemption series.  Pickard takes a pornographic image from the web and transforms it from a disembodied image of private fantasy to one of deeply engaging humanness while retaining its beauty. By taking the portrait out of its native environs, Pickard veers the focus off objectification of the body and recontextualizes the individual into more psychological, emotional, and perhaps spiritual terms for the viewer.  

Improvised Identity is exhibited in conjunction with the Around the Coyote Winter 2007 Arts Festival, February 9-11.  Each year, hundreds of painters, photographers, sculptors, actors, performance artists, poets, and filmmakers participate in this unique opportunity to exhibit and sell their work to visitors from the United States and abroad. Our festival brings together neighborhood galleries, schools and non-profit arts organizations under one umbrella with private art studios and local businesses which, for the weekend, transform themselves into public galleries. In addition to the visual art exhibitions, neighborhood theaters and bars host performances both impromptu and scheduled throughout the weekend.

Around the Coyote, a 501(c)3 non-profit, supports, promotes and makes accessible Chicago's multidisciplinary arts community. Year-round programming includes multi-media arts festivals featuring visual art, theater, dance, video and poetry in the winter and fall; art exhibitions in the Around the Coyote gallery; an artist-in-residence program; membership opportunities for artists and art aficionados; and educational outreach for all ages. This programming is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, and the CityArts Program 2 grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.