Carla Steppan: Half Past the Blue of Noon

Decision-making is hard—aspire for making rules to eliminate all future choices? But alas, ones meant to be broken (freedom is a virtue, you know). I am in love with rules but the question remains: feet or inches? As an extension, I wonder, when will SI units come into vogue in the United States? Bring that one up in the court of public opinion, please. Arete! Arete, aristos, aristocracy, nobility, class, taste. Aristotle purportedly said that contemplation is the highest human ability. Have you met him? I thought he was just a rat, but he was a super-rat all along. And all this time, Henry had a birthmark the shape of Barcelona. Spain, however, is not Mexico, despite their best efforts. Have you been there? The arches are lovely.

Carla Steppan was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Steppan likes to makes rules about making and rarely deviates. While she thinks about many things while she works, her work thinks about the proliferation of western architecture in contemporary urban/private space as a method of imparting class, signifying virtue, and spreading colonial influences. With regard to this show, the artist performed her preferred thought exercise of imagining the narrative of a book she’s never read (in this case The Blue of Noon by Georges Bataille) and what illustrative content might accompany it.

Rachel Youn: Palais de Plastique

The Millitzer Studio & Gallery presents Palais de Plastique, an exhibition of new works by Rachel Youn. Inspired by “duplitecture,” the trend in China of copying Western architecture and cities, the works of Palais de Plastique complicate the determination of authenticity versus artifice. Appropriating European canonical motifs such as classical columns, marble, and genre painting, the stage is set for a lavish domestic setting. But—like copycat cities—the works reveal themselves to be earnest fakery, covered with a glossy skin. Utilizing kitschy décor, a Google image search for “western civilization,” and a research trip to HomeGoods, Palais de Plastique critiques the value placed on the original and how, when intersected with the formation of identity, it metaphorically—and literally—falls flat.

Rachel Youn is an emerging artist living and working in St. Louis. They received their BFA from Washington University in 2017. Youn works with sculpture and video to deconstruct hierarchal narratives associated with material, domestic spaces and architectural design. In queering such forms and recreating them as soft, structureless objects, they point to the fluid, unstable nature of race, gender and culture. Their work has been exhibited at the Des Lee Gallery, Art Saint Louis and the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis.

Black Brief & Spirited

“Many of the themes I deal with in my current work stem from my personal history and my love for literature. Reading, in my opinion, is the best way to enhance one’s imagination. The relationship between reality and imagination is crucial in my current studio practice. I am interested in creating a pictorial environment for black men that embraces imagination and accepts vulnerability as a part of manhood. As man of color, I create my works as a means to negotiate my relationship with my heritage, American history, background, and masculinity.”
-Dominic Chambers

Dominic Chambers is an African-American emerging artist from St.Louis, MO. Chambers received his BFA from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in 2016 and is an MFA candidate at the Yale University School of Art. Chambers creates large scale paintings and drawings that references his personal biography, African-American history, literature, and his relationship to the black body. His works demonstrates the black figure within ordinary settings juxtaposed with unnatural and exaggerated visual elements. He has exhibited his work in both solo and group exhibitions regionally. He has participated in a number of residencies, including- The Yale Norfolk summer residency and the New York Studio residency Program in Brooklyn, NY.

Remembering: Works by Jen McKnight

Jen McKnight:

“This year I tasked myself with creating a collection of memory palaces: work designed to help my family remember my father, who passed away in November of 2015. It’s an interesting challenge to try to distill all the complexity of an oddball, craftsman, chemist, academic, writer, southerner, and charismatic into a few images. Some posters reference cabinets of wonder, and the act of excavating my parents’ house. Each work was developed through short essay work, and chronicles a midwestern family’s foibles, my father’s decline, and a family’s work to make sense of loss.”

Cole Lu: Pacific Rose

“O’er the sea that have no beaches
To end their waves upon,
I floated with twelve peaches,
A sofa and a swan.”

– Mervyn Peake, A Book of Nonsense

It’s late already, five or five-thirty. She is sitting at her laptop but not typing. She picks up her cup of tea
and takes two small sips because it’s still hot. She puts it down. She’s supposed to make a video today.
She woke up late this morning and has been futzing around ever since. She had some coffee. She read
the newsletter in her inbox. She dipped into a couple books: Derrida’s Postcard that she bought two years
ago and never finished reading, a new novel by Ingo Niermann that she ordered from Amazon because
no bookstores in town carry it – she’s not a systematic reader. She flipped on the smart TV and watched
half of something dumb. She didn’t feel up to leaving the apartment – it was muggy out even for St. Louis
in the spring. She was aware of a low-level but continuous feeling of anxiety attached with the fact that
she hadn’t started making yet and didn’t have ideas. Her mind flitted about. She thought about an Amy
Yao painting that she’d seen last summer in a show. She considered whether she should order a dinner
from a Asian restaurant that resides in a repurposed Taco Bell. (She can’t go out, she was in severe close
watch of her health condition. She doesn’t often go out these days either way.) On a trip to the bathroom
she noticed she needed a trim of her undercut– it has grown out to a state that it no longer looks queer.
She talked on the phone with an artist friend who had just moved to the countryside. By five o’clock,
though, there was no avoiding the fact that she had only an hour or so left before the working day would
be over, so she played her studio playlist titled Pacific Rose on her Spotify and sit down at her working
station made by a hollow core door and two trestles. She sees that there’s tiny spot on the wall that she’s
never noticed before. It’s only going to take her half an hour or forty minutes to whip out something short
once she gets going, but getting going– that’s the hard part.

– Cole Lu, Daily Activity Diary (on going)

The Millitzer gallery presents Pacific Rose, an exhibition of new works by Cole Lu on view April 22
through May 28, 2017.

The story has two interpretations of its beginnings, one is the story culled from personal memory, and the
other is a fictional landscape. Both contain the dual functionality as queer evidence and gesture. Drawing
on Gertrude Stein’s imperative to “act so that there is no use in a centre”; the sculptural works
determinedly avoid conventional narrative, and de-center the art in the contemporary age of display.
Pacific Rose act as nonsense literature, which creates meaning out of form with an anarchic potential by
making fun of language, presents a challenge to the power visual language has to name, know, and own
the world. It is a parody of sense, and that is the sense of it. The installation presents a space that does
not distinguish between an ocean, a shore, a pool, or a gallery. Rather, it is a borderland that is outside or
beyond language and definition–a space of creative potential. The sculptural works detail an alien’s
identity–as both queer and migrant–with a significant geographical feature: water in the dryland. The
objects we identify within the sculptures: an old book, snow skis, plants, a neon light, concrete, metal,
plastic, faux suede and a rock do not directly reference the ocean or a pool. They speak to loss and
belonging, and they abstractly elaborate on water’s wetness and the vastness of the sea.

~~

Cole Lu is an artist and curator. Her work has been featured in solo and group including Contemporary
Art Museum St. Louis, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts (Omaha, NE), Pulitzer Arts Foundation (St.
Louis, MO), Art Basel Miami Satellite Art Show (Miami Beach, FL), Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts
(Grand Rapids, MI), The Wassaic Project (Wassaic, NY), The Luminary (St. Louis, MO), Los Angeles
Contemporary Exhibitions (Los Angeles, CA), AHHA Tulsa (Tulsa, OK), Roman Susan (Chicago, IL),
CENTRAL BOOKING ARTSPACE (New York, NY), fort gondo compound for the arts (St. Louis, MO),
K-Gold Temporary Gallery (Lesvois Island, Greece) and Invisible Space (Taipei, Taiwan). She has been
awarded residencies at The Wassaic Project (Wassaic, NY), Endless Editions (New York, NY), Vermont
Studio Center Fellowship (Johnson,VT) (forthcoming) and LPP+ Residency at Minnesota Street Project
(San Francisco, CA)(forthcoming). Her Risograph publication, “SMELLS LIKE CONTENT” is in the Artist
book collection of the MoMA Museum of Modern Art Library (New York, NY).

This is a Soft Place for my Hard Black Body

Where do you place me when I cause distress to your symmetry?
Either in the middle or not at all.

This is an intimate and personal exhibition, showing my Body that I grow in and out of comfort with daily. Maneuvering between grounds of offering and receiving. I realized I was too busy with output that I could not offer anything to my Body. I couldn’t offer time, space, or care; because there was none. I didn’t think my body was deserving, since it was so hard to place in space for others. My body was only as good as it’s output, and was not capable of finding a soft place.

Adorning myself in red flowers, for passion, love, beauty, and war. With a blue crown for confidence and loyalty.

Knowing that my Body can be loved while full of hurt. I can offer it healing.

An Elegy for Marco: Catalina Ouyang

The Millitzer Studio & Gallery presents an elegy for Marco, an exhibition of new works by Catalina Ouyang. Through the lens of a second-generation Chinese-American woman, Ouyang navigates identity, desire and the legacy of imperialism. The notion of fetish is central as both spiritual object (talisman, amulet, relic) and sexual proclivity, evoking questions of representation, sanctity, artificiality and objectification. Loaded positionalities interrogate the duality of resistance and self-subjugation: the dilemma of trying to contradict power dynamics in white heteropatriarchy without reinforcing those very tenets. Whiteness is aspiration, fetish, hand of oppression, tool of erasure; an elegy for Marco contends with this violent history by underscoring empathy, consent and the necessity of vulnerability.

 

TheBirdsAtThisHour Pt. 2

Inspired by police in helicopters, speeding sirens, alley cat fights, romantic transitions, brick crumbs, dawn, disgust, the illusion of love, the actual marriage of delicate and rugged, hermits, smoke and mold.

The intimate Millitzer Gallery is a homecoming of sorts. It will be Chisholm’s first solo art show on the South Side since 2013.

Free to the public – showing til Nov 27
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He’s a pillar.
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Stemming from late night improv sessions and sonic experiments, TheBirdsAtThisHour is a brooding, paranoia induced, sultry, culmination of tracks collaged from collaborative and isolated recordings at Chisholm’s home studio. Built from the mutated moments of analog gear, acoustic instruments, drum machines, electronic tinged vocals, guest players and ghosts in the air.

Driven by session with Sarah Vie, Patrick Boland, Barret Crosby, Dolor, Biggie Stardust, Mike Herr, Kullus, Loose Screwz, Brennan England, Blk Bdy Heat and Ice

Not an album, just a chunk 2016’s activity and experiments.

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Pt.1 / Live Premiere / The Luminary / Oct 8th
Pt.2 / Illustration Exhibit / The Millitzer / Nov 4th
Pt. 3 / Release Party / Screwed Studio / Dec 9th