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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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Note:  This blog entry is dedicated to Keith Buchholz.  Without his invitation into this amazing group of creatives that is Fluxus, Sewing Forgiveness may never have been born.  With many thanks dear Keith.

Friday night September 5, will mark the next of many Social Practice performances titled Sewing Forgiveness.  Specifically, Sewing Forgiveness:  City of Chicago, will (and already has) entail a variety of sites and a variety of audiences, literally across the city of Chicago.

The piece was drawn from life; mine; fellow humans; as witness to the environment;  history;  @#$%&, even current events!  The struggle with forgiveness many of us have had, currently have, and inevitably will have again.  I consider the concepts and deep sentiment surrounding forgiveness, letting go, and moving on.    The utter bewilderment at the questions… If? How? When? Why? Who even!  Quite possibly, beginning with forgiving oneself.  If Nelson Mandela can forgive…

Sewing Forgiveness, a Social Practice work, unfolded firstly for the Fluxus Fest of 2013.  It was performed with a fellow human also struggling with forgiveness.  Together the conversation began.  I didn’t know that I would be performing the work outside of a couple of times throughout that four day festival of lovely absurdity.  Fluxus is like that.  Sometimes the works tickles your funny bone but more often the artist’s works enter your bones through your heart.  Fluxus makes us pay attention.

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Fluxus Fest 2013 Dorcester Projects

Fluxus Fest 2013
Dorcester Projects

I will aim to work backwards a bit, starting with this week to announce a performance of

Sewing Forgiveness:  City of Chicago at Wicker Park Lutheran Church  1500 N. Hoyne in conjunction with First Fridays of Wicker Park.  This announcement from our website:

“Arts Sanctuary (Friday, September 5th) – 7-10 p.m.

WPLC will be hosting a First Fridays series entitled “Arts Sanctuary” – a respite for the arts. September’s event is “Mercy, Unity, Restoration,” and features the social practice piece called “Sewing Forgiveness,” including art of various mediums, live jazz, and local beer. The event is free with donation proceeds funding Youth Futures, a local nonprofit cultivating restorative justice programs with young adults in Chicago.”

I would be honored to have you attend my church and our inaugural Arts Sanctuary event this Friday.  If you are unable, send some good energy our way and watch for further posts as they will relate directly with

Chicago Artists Month – Crossing Borders and this work

Sewing Forgiveness:  City of Chicago.

Thanks for reading and thanks for paying attention.

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Hi All.

I wanted to share with you an upcoming talk at Women Made Gallery in April.  Please consider coming by.  I will be talking of my work.  Things that are inspiring and we will be making seed bombs.  Would love to see your smile out there.

Invitation to upcoming talk at Women Made Gallery in conjunction with their 14th International Open

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Women in Grains, an exhibit of women responding to grains from coast to coast, is all packed up.  A bittersweet day with a lot of help from husband Paul.

We drove through Madison, WI, saw family and did up the acclaimed Farmer’s Market.  We then headed towards Reedsburg and The Woolen Mill Gallery for the show’s last hours of its last day.  We will be heading north eventually to the Twin Cities via Decorah, IA and the Seed Savers Exchange.

I would like to share my words written for the exhibition as it lays some groundwork for works and artists chosen.

*****************************************************

Women in Grains Curatorial Statement

As with anything of depth, Women in Grains has unfolded over time. Working with the theme of agriculture and corn specifically for over a decade, I have been attracted to artists of similar sensibilities. Since the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars I have witnessed and participated in a “back to the hand” movement of making.  I truly believe that the zeitgeist of war times causes people to use their hands more… a sort of collective hand wringing of sorts.

With the “back to the hand” movement also came the classic “back to the land” movement.  We humans, in this industrialized society,  long for connections to the land.  Some of that longing is exhibited with the explosion of growing our own food, community gardens, backyard poultry in urban areas, and a willingness to create connections to those who grow our food.  We are in need and dare I say thirst to be grounded in this crazy world.

In as much as artists mirror society, and at times lead society, and consider the making of art defined with a wider brush beyond the making of objects, many artists in Women in Grains have sought those deeper connections through the lens of the grain.  I recognized something big is happening at my pivotal discussions with Sarah Kavage of Seattle.  Her “Industrial Wheat Project” along with Ann Belden’s “Bushel” piece in Oregon, Il in 2008 sealed the concept for this show. When I approached Donna Nuewirth of Wormfarm Institute and Woolen Mill Gallery last summer during my Food Feed Fuel solo exhibition I was thrilled to have received a call over winter asking if I was still interested.

It is my great pleasure to introduce to you 16 artists reflecting a connection based on grains, from coast to coast.  We have an artist from Maine who is also a farmer, Abby Sadauckas.  A shared connection with performance artist Sarah Aubry and her alter ego and burlesque character “Maizy” who strips to call attention to genetically modified grains.  Now Sarah, as a mother, is looking towards sustaining her family in ways connecting to solar energy and baking.   We have several artists with deep agrarian roots one of whom has incorporated family ledgers and equipment from her childhood farm in Minnesota, Corinne Peterson.  Several artists included in the show I have met on my annual residency in Oregon, IL called The Fields Project including Ann Belden, Carole Hennessy, and Astra Price.  Several others are in my immediate surroundings here in Chicago whether I share studio space at Lillstreet Art Center with them, Jiyeon Yim, Abi Gonzales, Lisa Harris, Corrine Peterson, or share a wider Chicago area space with them such as Gina Hutchings,  Stephanie Samuels, Marj Woodruff, or Barbara Koenen.

This is a formidable group of artists, agitators, and connectors with a shared passion of grains, the Midwest landscape, and food systems.

Please put your grain lenses on to embrace corn, wheat, rice and life.

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Corrine Peterson

In alphabetical order below you will find works or links to websites of the participating artists.  Before I share works, I would like to thank a bunch of amazing people.  Firstly to Donna Neuwirth and Jay Salinas for lending the space at Woolen Mill Gallery.  Thanks for the faith.  Thanks to Katie Schofield artist liaison for Wormfarm for your assistance with a 1,000 things.   Thanks to all of the individuals that took works from here to there and sometimes back including beautiful, freshly milled flour in 50 lb bags for Sarah Kavage’s piece.   Thanks for sharing relics or “curiosities” from the Brinkmeier farm.  Thanks to husband Paul for the wonderful beer to celebrate Women in Grains.

Thanks finally to an amazing group of talented artists that made this show something special in content, thought, and execution.  The lasting relationships formed have been a joy to watch unfold.

Sarah Aubry Ann Belden Abi Gonzales

Lisa Harris Carole Hennessy Gina Hutchings

Sarah Kavage Barbara Koenen

Anne Lueck Feldhaus Corinne Peterson Astra Price Abby Sadaukas

Stephanie Samuels Catherine Schwalbe-Bouzide Marjorie Woodruff Jiyeon Yim

Sarah Aubry

Ann Belden

Ann Belden


Abi Gonzales

Agri Puzzle

Carole Hennessy

Gina Hutchings

Sarah Kavage Industrial Harvest

Barbara Koenen (detail)

Barbara Koenen

Anne Lueck Feldhaus

Lisa Harris

Corinne Peterson

Corinne Peterson Demeter's Winter

Astra Price

Abby Sadauckas

Abby Sadauckas Elllen

Stephanie Samuels

Stephanie Samuels

C. Schwalbe Bouzide (detail)

(more…)

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