Autoethnography

Friday March 12th, 2021

Autoethnography 

March 12 – May 2, 2021

Click here to watch a recording of the virtual artist talk 

Curated by Adina Jade Cosden Artists: Haerim Lee and Yasmin Spiro

Autoethnography ​is the result of a collaborative effort between Yasmin Spiro and Haerim Lee. The exhibition features new works from both of the artists’ ongoing series. Drawing on frameworks of social politics, urban planning, and ethnographic research, Autoethnography​ is an exploration of both intimate and societal senses of identity, belonging, and memory. Lee is originally from Korea, and Spiro from Jamaica—both artists explore notions of self, sense of place, belonging and liminality, through these bodies of work.

Yasmin Spiro’s sculptures and multisensory installations in her ​Safety​ ​Series ​and ​Edge of Time​ evoke intimate remembrances of place and being, and explore notions of safety both on a personal, intimate level as well as in a larger societal sense. Throughout her Safety​ ​Series​, Yasmin Spiro explores weaving as a visual and conceptual link between vernacular architecture and the history of Jamaican craft. Zugalum, seen in the show is inspired specifically by domed structures in Harran, Turkey—a Mesopotamian trading outpost—that date back over 3,000 years. They were often created in multiples and served essential needs for shelter and safety—here the felt is woven into large repeating forms that provide a sense of shelter and security. The series considers the physical feeling of the felt material and its transformation from soft and dense to a malleable architectural structure—shifting its use from wrapping and/or containment to a ‘soft’ barrier or structure for protection. ​Edge of Time ​is an ongoing study of femininity in architecture and postcolonial utopian ideals through cast porcelain sculptures.

In the series​ Whitewashed: All of Mankind a​nd ​Object and Subjective painting, Haerim Lee investigates the past and the present of the Strangers Home Missionary Baptist Church in Cabrini Green. In 1972, Chicago-based muralist William Walker painted ​All of Mankind​ on the façade of the church. Walker is known for creating the ​Wall of Respect (1967), which started the community mural movement in the US. The mural ​All of Mankind​ reflects the national movement for human and civil rights during the sixties and seventies and symbolizes the unity of the human race with four intertwined figures: Jesus, Dr. King, Malcolm X, and Anne Frank. The building was sold to a new private owner in 2015 and on December 10th, 2015, the previous owner whitewashed the mural while a small group was trying to raise funding in order to preserve it. ​Lee’s new abstract paintings and photographs archive and re-archive through her personal experiences by collecting photo archives, sand, scrapes from the mural site. ​Through this body of work, Haerim Lee poses the questions: What is the socio-political implication and impact of whitewashing? What is the meaning of erasing a symbol (landmark) of the community? What is revealed and what is concealed on the walls of the church?

Adina Jade Cosden​ is an emerging curator and artist, with a background in exhibition-making and programming for non-profits. Their current research in the Dual Degree: Arts Administration & Policy/Art History program at SAIC is broadly focused on narrative art and post-critical museology. Their most recent curatorial projects include collaboratively designing the public art exhibition ​New Monuments for New Cities​ on the 606 in Chicago, the 2019 Logan Square Arts Festival as an Arts Board Member, and the ​2020 MFA Show a​ t SAIC as a Graduate Curatorial Fellow.

Yasmin Spiro ​was born and grew up in Kingston, Jamaica and currently lives and works in Chicago. Spiro’s work is multi-disciplinary, primarily based in sculpture and immersive installations, with video, drawing and performance - exploring issues of cultural identity and socio-economic issues within the framework of urban development and social politics – often through the lens of Caribbean culture.

Spiro’s work explores concepts related to architecture and urbanism, socio-economics, futuristic cities, and craft and culture. Research is often layered with personal narratives connected to both the landscape and culture of Jamaica. Much of the work is textile-based, connecting directly to personal history and reconstructed memories. The work also utilizes casting – plaster, ceramic, and cement - creating architectural elements that reference futurism and femininity in our built environments. Her studio practice pulls in various aspects of personal and cultural history to build stories within the work – layered with conceptual research, and material experimentation.

Spiro’s work has been shown at galleries in the US and Caribbean and she was a founding member of the tART women’s collective in NY (F2004). Her work has been covered in NewCity, Art News, Washington Times, Miami Herald and others. She attended Pratt Institute for her BFA, and MFA studies. She has held residences at the Kohler Arts and Industry program in Wisconsin, Vermont Studio Center, Chicago Artist Coalition and an upcoming residency as a Dora Maar Brown Foundation Fellow in Menerbes, France

Haerim Lee = Rim Lee's​ art stimulates dialogue with communities through painting, public murals, artist books, and photography. Her practice is rooted in ethnographical research. Her practice critiques of institutionalized demarcations of power. Lee graduated from the MFA Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the Painting and Drawing Department as well as MA Program at the Visual and Critical Studies. She has had solo shows at Gallery Noone (2017) and Kasia Kay Art Project (2012) in Chicago, and Youngeun Museum of Contemporary Art (2012) in South Korea. She participated in group shows including The Body (2010) as a part of the Chicago Humanities Festival, Out of Context (2019) at Chicago Artist Coalition, Korean Eye: 2020 (2019), Artists Run Chicago 2.0 (2020) at Hyde Park Art Center, and Young Eunji Keeps Memories: Consistently (2020) at Youngun Museum of Contemporary Art in S. Korea. She was awarded the Downtown Gary Public Art Competition from the Legacy Foundation (2017), Make Together (2020) from the Hyde Park Art Center, and Ox-bow fellowship (2021). She was a resident artist in Hatch Projects Residency at the Chicago Artist Coalition (2018), a Center Program Artist at the Hyde Park Art Center (2018), and Ox-bow: Conversation in Practice (2021) fellowship resident artist. She is currently a resident artist at Parlour and Ramp (2021).