Love Songs for the Club. Two-Person exhibition by Marina Ross and Luis Sahagun
August 21 to September 12, 2015
Opening Reception: Friday, August 21 from 7 to 10 pm
Love Songs for the Club is a two-person exhibition featuring over 30 paintings, sculptures, installations and wall paintings by emerging artists Marina Ross and Luis Sahagun. The exhibition explores how empathy is activated through romanticized objects and images that the artists have created individually and collaboratively, inspired by their personal histories.
The title Love Songs for the Club is an appropriation of a Brooklyn dance party theme that asks the DJs to play romantic R&B/rap songs. This title was appropriated to talk about ideas of romanticism, mood and an immersive environment through a contemporary metaphor. While individual works depict romanticized motifs such as sunsets, figurative painting and hand-painted wall patterns, the curatorial installation reveals a whimsical, child-like mood.
Luis Sahagun explores seemingly kitsch images of sunsets that his father appreciates and re-creates them to simulate an empathetic reaction to his father’s point of view. He diligently paints the sunsets in a small format and later frames them using cement. In his cardboard painting series, he uses built up, glued-together cardboard that he manipulates with power tools to relate with blue collar work that made up much of his family’s history. Working with the same materials that his family worked in, Sahagun establishes an empathetic connection through the tactility of concrete and cardboard.
Marina Ross uses painting and the ready-made to talk about varying levels of reality through the representation of various physical planes. Her paintings, which employ illusionistic space in various genres, refers to how convincing a certain position may be at one point but unconvincing, later on. Ross’ ready-made installations further blur the line between the abstract and the real when abstract paintings are used as the backdrop of the scene, hung on graphically-painted walls. Seemingly unrelated objects are arranged in front of the paintings reminiscent of both a shrine and a pile of garbage. These installations suggest the unconscious compositions, created through the accumulation of raw materials that may be found in a hoarder’s apartment or in a landfill, for instance.
While the subjects of the individual works are personally inspired, the mood of the exhibition is between a celebration and a diary. The exhibition imitates a stream of consciousness with materials and labor at every juncture of the space. Audiences are invited to explore the artists’ train of thought rather than focus exclusively on the art objects. Departing from the typically austere conditions of a gallery setting, the exhibition suggests new ways for artists to work within the confines, as well as new ways for audiences to engage with the work.
Marina Ross (b. 1990 Chisinau, Moldova) earned her BFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her work has been shown at Cheryl Hazan Contemporary Gallery in New York, ArtHelix Gallery and Friday Studio Gallery in Brooklyn, and the Zhou B. Art Center in Chicago, among others. She is the co-founder of the NYC Creative Salon, a discussion-based platform based in Brooklyn that gives artists the chance to talk about issues related to creative labor and practice in curated small-group settings. She will begin her MFA at the University of Iowa this Fall.
Luis Sahagun (b. 1982 Guadalajara, Mexico) earned his BFA from Southern Illinois University in Industrial Design in 2006 and his MFA from Northern Illinois University in 2015. His work has been shown at The Zhou B. Art Center and the Fulton Street Collective in Chicago, Jonathan Ferrera Gallery in New Orleans, and Chikatana Gallery in Oaxaca, among others. His work has been included in publications such as New American Paintings and Chicago Magazine. Awards include the Jack & Eleanor Olson Art Painting Scholarship, the Jeffrey Lunsford Fellowship Alternate Award, and The Jurors Choice Award at The Visual Arts Gallery by Juror Jason Foumberg.
Zhou B. Art Center