Walking in a Surrealist Painting

Colossal Gap grasps the onto a layman's understating of the spacetime distortion, and finding that tumbling through these found voids can be generative. Elana Adler, Wen Liu, and Michael D. Moore investigate what it means to begin to understand how and why we perceive information the way we do and what it means to lose yourself int he process of understanding.

When we find ourselves moving through a vacuum, we try to make sense of the natural distortion and the shifts in the universe. These shifts are real to us and our need to understand them is essential to our existence. It is in our nature to seek out the distortion while desperately trying to break it apart or imitate it.

This past weekend I went to the Chicago Artists Coalition to view their current exhibition, Colossal Gap. The exhibition features three artists from the CAC HATCH residency who explore the idea of empty space, what it is, and how we try to reconstruct it either in reality, our senses, or our memories. I was in luck on this particular day because the artist, Wen Liu, was working the reception desk, something I did not expect of an artist showing at a gallery. She took the time to explain the inspiration behind her piece, Everywhere & Nowhere, and we had a conversation about being newcomers to Chicago and the symptoms of anxiety juxatapositioned with the feelings of excitement of moving to a new city.

I was instantly taken by this mat like piece draped over a table that read, "This must be the place." I know that feeling all too well when trying to navigate around Chicago looking for my destination. Liu told me about her fears of moving from China to Chicago and the struggle of trying to find places using google map. She uses the the small tile like pieces to quilt together all the places she's been and how easy they would have been to find had there been a clear sign outside each location that read this is the place you're looking for.

As we rotated around the piece, she continued to tell me how she used different wooden items to construct the hybrid structure. Its an accumulation of her old memories that start from home combined with the new memories she's made in Chicago and are all apparent or hidden in the objects that she's pieced together. The piece lies on a platform of bricks that are carefully laid out in a pattern and represent the connectivity of the path she has walked on that led her to where she is now. I told her I feel as if I'm walking around a physical manifestation of objects from one of Dali's paintings, where the empty spaces of our memories are recorded from the information we collect throughout the day and are then relived in our subconscious, weaving together a correlation of a narrative that only makes sense to us. Through the adjacency of these objects, we question their relation and how the empty space brought them together. I was inspired by this piece to revisit the study I did on Rene Magritte and was reminded why he is my favorite artist.

The exchange that happens between an artist telling you the inspiration or story behind their work and you giving them your personal interpretation of it is the dialogue that I love most about speaking the language of art. We find our own stories in that of other's works.

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