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Archive for the ‘Social Practice’ Category

On view now at SouthShore Arts, through August 27, 2022, is a stellar array of works centered on the theme “Nature Lovers.” So many respected artists and such wonderful works in conversation with each other, curated by the creative force of Linda Dorman and Tom Torluemke, curators, writer, photographer, and organizer and artist and stellar gardener, respectively. Featured artists include: Featured artists: , Zbigniew Bzdak, Peggy Macnamara, Casey Roberts, William Nichols, Corey Hagelberg, Joanne Aono, Tony Fitzpatrick, Catherine Schwalbe, and Em’rynn Artunian. See some of show below in this slide show and better yet, if able, check out the show in person!

I have four new works from 2022, three specifically for this show. I wanted to share a rare political act I have taken with my work, Mending a Nation. I originally created the work for Earth Abundance, curated by Pauline Kochanski for Oliva Gallery, for a show that opened on Earth Day in 2022. I collected moss, soil, rocks, sand, worn drift wood, on my own in places across the US, or had friends in those places send it to me or gifted directly to me. Thank you for your contributions: Danny Mansmith Stephanie Samuels N. Masani Landfair Dr. Geoffrey and Andrea Bove.

Most who follow my work know that I have been facilitating a Social Practice work called Before and After: Mending a Life after a pandemic or some other catastrophic event in your life. Mending a Nation is a continuation of that theme. This statement below was shared for an artist talk I was unable to attend:

“Hello fellow earth lovers.  Thank you to Pauline (Kochanski) and Kimberly (Oliva) for including my work in this important show.   I firmly believe that how we treat each other is how we treat our Mother Earth. We need to do better. Things fall apart. We mend.  They fall apart. We mend again.  My Mending a Nation piece, made of soils and other material things from coast to coast, represents the actions we are taking to mend our lands, our relationships, our systems, and even our thoughts and ways of treading more mindfully – with each other, during this amazing and awful life we are given.  Thank you for your interest in my work and all the works in Earth Abundance.” May 2022

The original work, shown below right before the action, including soil, water, rocks and plant life from Washington, Maine, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois and the Great Lakes along with hand-built stoneware brick clay, a pit-fired needle from a spring workshop at Stirling Hall with Patty Kochavar, and cording for stitches. As spring moved towards summer, political actions continued to shift, especially as they related to decisions by the ever more conservative Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).

I felt called to act based on some of the eroding of so much SCOTUS precedence. Below is my statement, near the work currently on view at Southshore Arts.

“It is with a heavy heart that I spread the parts of this work, Mending a Nation, apart.  The photo above shows the work in its original intention, conceived in thought, earlier in 2022.  The opening for this exhibit showed the work intact.  This political action is taken by me for the following reasons:  The multitude of decisions made by our current Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) will have ripples for years to come impacting judgements regarding guns, women’s right to choose, ensuring solid voting rights for the most vulnerable, religious schools and federal funding,  the power of EPA to regulate, and even our beloved and most fundamental Miranda Rights.  I genuinely feel the decisions made have gone towards further unraveling and division for a nation and its people already frayed.  Going forward, if this work is exhibited elsewhere, it will be shown having fallen apart and without making sense, as you see right now.  This piece, in wild array, correlates with the highest court in the land not adhering to the will and the consensus of those they serve – you, me, and the most vulnerable citizens.  I am not sure when I will feel comfortable showing Mending a Nation as it was originally intended.  May it be sooner than later.”

Most action images of Mending a Nation – in Protest were taken by friend and fellow artist, Nancy Pirri. Thank you for them! Thank you, too, to the curators Tom and Linda, and the gallery director Brandon Johnson, for supporting this action.

I covet your response to this work, this action, and the call for mending and repair (the root word of reparations) needed. Rumblings of a civil war, a deepening cultural divide, extremism and insurrection, learning to live with an endemic vs a pandemic, and more, call us into the act of mending again and again. Works such as Jenny Kendler’s Mending Wall give me hope. Watch for a Mending a Life event at the wall, later this summer.

What gives you hope?

What do you do when in despair?

How do you maintain relationships with those with whom you disagree?

What are your questions these days?

If you got this far, drop a note to me privately or via this blog post. I will send you a little something for your time. Not kidding. In a world of distractions your attention matters to me and I am grateful.

In art, falling apart, and mending

Cathi

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Art in the time of awfulness.

Greetings to you.

I wanted to share with you a social practice work title #FreeListening, that launched over Memorial Day Weekend with the annual Chicago Fluxfest.

I have been taking notes on listening for awhile and I came across notes from 4-5 years ago.  I have been wanting to do a piece about listening and wasn’t sure if there was a enough meat about my concept.  I have taken the leap while not knowing where it may lead, which is exciting and terrifying.

Below is the body of my proclamation, available to anyone who has been heard, by receiving a Certificate of Being Heard.  Each will be hand lettered by me, along with an embossed medallion for complete authenticity.  Each certificate includes the Proclamation along with tips to enhance your own listening skills.

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#FreeListening – A proclamation for listening from the studio of

Catherine Schwalbe of Chicago, IL

#FreeListening – a social practice work

Proclamation

Whereas, widespread social media and technology have set us up to make ourselves loud and necessarily heard

Whereas, this artist has been told she is a great listener

Whereas, People of Color, our Elders, our Children, Free Thinkers, those who are non-binary thinking, those who are urban, those who are rural, those who are fill in the blank here, are in need of the dominant culture to sit down and listen

Whereas, all people could benefit from being heard and learning tips about being a good listener

Whereas, we speak of the fine art of speaking and we need to consider the fine art of listening

Whereas, this artist makes opportunities to engage fellow humans in her art and recreation therapy practice

Whereas, the role of older adults can be sounding boards for younger generations

Whereas, this artist has a history of social practice works

Whereas, there is value in the simple act of being heard

NOW THEREFORE, I, Catherine Schwalbe of Chicago, Illinois, do hereby proclaim Fluxfest 2018 Chicago and beyond as an opportunity to engage in #FreeListening, in Chicago and beyond, and urge all citizens to become familiar with the services and benefits of the fine art of listening, offered by the artist herself, and to support and participate in Schwalbe’s art practice whenever and wherever you come upon her.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the Great Seal for #FreeListening, from the studio of Catherine Schwalbe, Chicago, IL, on this day____________________

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Some images taken at 6018North during Chicago Fluxfest last month.  Thank you Pate Conway, for the lovely documentation.

A person being heard at 6018North.

My sign is out at 6018North during Chicago Fluxfest 2018

Side note:  Following a post on my Instagram using the hashtag #freelistening, I received a couple of very supportive messages from this amazing group.  I decided to move forward with my piece, even though there might be some overlap with intent.

 

If you are interested in hosting or have any skills listed below such as

  • Wanting to be heard
  • Wanting to be a guest listener
  • Offering a location for #FreeListening
  • Wanting more information about #FreeListening
  • You speak a foreign language or use ASL and want to participate

kindly contact me at casbah3d@gmail.com or comment on this blog.

As always, thank you for paying attention.

 

 

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Sewing Forgiveness Postcard copyHi there!

A realization:  It has dawned on me, in recent weeks, from where the social practice works (in my art practice) have derived.  I have been working as a recreation therapist in long term care most of my adult life.  My role has been to engage people.  Either with each other, their environment/heart/mind, or those that visit (care partners, family, and friends).  It seems more natural than ever to have an overlap with that passion into my more art practice.  Sometimes it takes a creative a few years (some call it distance) to see their works and analyze, if ever!  This blog post is dedicated to the recreation therapists of Quality Care Consulting Services, and especially Dr. Susan Quattrochi-Tubin, with whom I have the pleasure of working.  They are amazing and inspiring women.

so this…
CAM_logo
Featured Artist

Featured Artist
A fun thing this month:  I am honored to be one of 20 featured artists with the DCASE (Dept of Cultural Affairs and Special Events) in honor of their 19th Annual Chicago Artists Month.  Every 50 years or so this should happen to an artist!  Check out the lovely write up here and the link here for the other amazing creatives.  Thanks too, for this thoughtful perspective on a conversation with  Lillstreet intern Peyton Rack.

 

and finally this updated schedule for Sewing Forgiveness:  City of Chicago

 

October

I will be Sewing Forgiveness from 12-2 in front of Lillstreet Art Center andLillstreet Studios
4401 N. Ravenswood… then back in my studio to enjoy your company until about 6pm both days.

Updated Schedule: 

October

Lillstreet Art Center – 4401 N. Ravenswood – Ravenswood Art Walk…….Sat and Sun October 4 & 5 12-2pm
Wilson Care – 4544 N. Hazel  – An Intermediate Care Facility…….Thursday October 9 2pm
Koinonia House – 6925 N Ashland Blvd – Rogers Park an Intentional Faith-Based Community…….October 19th 4-7pm

Arcade Park – Pullman Park CPD – 11132 S. St. Lawrence Ave…….Saturday Oct 11 11-1
Back of the Yards Park  – CPD  4922 S. Throop St…….Sunday Oct 12 1-4

Garfield Park Conservatory – CPD – 300 N Central Park Ave…….Wednesday Oct 15,  5-8 pm Hort Hall
Marquette Park – Ashburn Prairie CPD   6734 S. Kedzie Avenue…….Saturday Oct 18 11-1
Indian Boundary Cultural Center    2500 W. Lunt Ave…….Saturday Oct 25 11-1

November

Blossom Boys – 9911 S. Walden Parkway  A floral shop and so much more!…….Saturday November 1

If you are reading this and would like to be connected via social media, please connect here…

  • FB:  Cathi Schwalbe
  • Twitter:  @casbah3d
  • Instagram:  casbah3d
  • Carrier Pigeon:  Please message privately for my address or either studio.  Smile.

Thanks so much for you continued interest in my art practice.

Enjoy the most beautiful time of the year in the midwest!
In art, falling leaves, and the inevitability of change,
Cathi

 

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