Spectrum of Touch

Friday, October 26, 2018 - 7:00pm to 11:00pm

A Text For My Friends Marisa and Alex
Written by Shai-Lee Horodi

My friends both use the word ‘relationship’ while talking about their works. That’s not to say that relationship is some theme or a sort of ‘aboutness’ that makes for a connection between their works to account for putting them side by side in the same exhibition. It is their relationship itself, them being a loving couple, that brought this exhibition to be. Hopefully this kind of connection could give account of no lesser strength then the symbolic/thematic commonality that is usually used to excuse the putting side by side of art works. Marissa and Alex put their bodies of work side by side and similarly put their bodies themselves side by side, sharing their apartment. 
Without submitting to the conventional abuse of theory for the explanation of art practice; that is a reversal that refers to theory as if it precedes practice; we might find thought emerging from the works in a way other then the awkward positioning of an artist as the translator of ideas to things. Both Alex and Marissa suggest a triangle of mutual dependence between thought, body and the other. Alex would possibly oppose this articulation and say I should replace the word ‘other’ with ‘another,’ so to imply the multiplicity of centers that he holds dear.
Thought and body are dependent on one another because a body without thought is no more then an object in the narrowest use of the term, and thought with no body remains an ideal that is forever outside experience. ‘Another’ separates the body from the whole, gives it its measures as a particular. It creates the inner, the self that could be alone and therefore could be together. The negotiated space of internal and external that allows for thought.
If one were to ask Alex’s drawings ‘how does thought flow?’, one might answer “in the form of a speech-bubble-eye-tit-cum-tear.” If another asks Marissa’s sculptures ‘where is the conversation about the body located?’, they might answer ‘there is a conversation about the body outside it and there is a conversation about the body inside it. But there is also a conversation OF the body, and of the language it does speak, we know very little. If we were fluent in that language we might ask something other than ‘what would you like to eat?’, ‘where would you like shit?’, where can you lay your head to rest?’.

Alex Bradley Cohen (b. 1989) lives and works in Chicago, IL. His work has been included in solo and two-person exhibitions at The Luggage Store, San Francisco, CA; Mana Contemporary, Chicago, IL; and Carrie Secrist Gallery, Chicago, IL, among others. Cohen has shown in group exhibitions at The Studio Museum of Harlem, New York, NY; The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; Elmhurst Art Museum, Elmhurst, IL; Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, NY; and The Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, CA. He is a 2014 alumni of the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture.

Chris Zain is an interdisciplinary artist with an insatiable curiosity in the boundary of the body in all of its physical and spiritual permutations. Her work circulates through the inability of the body to escape its edges, destined to be a self-contained sack of flesh holding mind, body and soul. Her work tethers memory to the body (as place). Containers for all sentience, our physical bodies are home to a history of touches. Her architectural references slump with gravity on shape and texture, harkening anti-form artworks. Through installation she play with the poetic and gestalt relationship of objects crafted in ceramics, fiber, paper, tar and more. These organic materials reveal the physical qualities of the body in all its mental and emotional states. Her work posits that re-activating sensorial awareness (to the body) simultaneously triggers a sense of empathy towards the fragility of being contained.

Zain received her BA in Art History and Journalism from Loyola University Chicago after completing her thesis on feminist co-operatives in the late 20th century. She received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she embraced a post-medium studio practice. She has shown her work most recently at Chicago Artists Coalition, Roman Susan, For the Thundercloud Generation, Links Hall, the Luggage Store Gallery, and Brown University’s David Winton Bell Gallery. Zain is an art educator and has ardently pursued alternative educational spaces through participating in residencies at MassMoCa, Chicago Artists Coalition, Ox-bow School of Art and Anderson Ranch Art Center to name a few.