September 1 - January 31, 2018
Coinciding with the 2017 Chicago Architectural Biennial, and conceived for our street-level, public viewing space this September through January, artist Karen Reimer will create a site-specific installation that explores the architectural history of our Wicker Park Bucktown neighborhood in relation to the changing climate of the Midwest.
For nearly 20 years, the artist has constructed architectural interventions that reconsider modernist ideals and minimalist embodiment through the handmade and everyday. Reimer’s “on the wall” project at moniquemeloche is inspired by the damaged foundation of the nearby Holy Trinity Cathedral, designed by Louis Sullivan in 1903. One of only two churches ever realized by the architect, the building’s stucco facade is presently marred by cracks, caused by settling due to the major Midwest drought of the 2000s. Reimer will duplicate the cracks located on the north-facing wall of the cathedral onto the south-facing front windows of the gallery, which were also broken in 2009 (due to settling caused by the same drought) resulting in a mirror image crafted in gold leaf that is evocative of the church’s dome. Metaphorically, Reimer’s installation is a meditation on the larger collapse of cultural foundations and our capacity to live on the earth at all, let alone in buildings, in the climate of the future. Furthermore, the project continues her investigation of the Japanese art Kintsukuroi or “golden repair”, a tradition used to restore precious broken pottery with gold leaf, treating the breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.
In addition to her “on the wall” project, Reimer will be exhibiting a new quilted work as part of EXPO Projects this September at EXPO Chicago, comprised of adapted fabric elements from her 2016 Hyde Park Art Center installation Shoretime Spaceline.
Karen Reimer (American, b. 1958, lives Chicago, IL) is a recipient of the Artadia Individual Artist Grant, the Richard A. Driehaus Individual Artist Award, and the Women’s Caucus for the Arts President’s Award. Recent solo exhibitions include Shoretime Spaceline, Hyde Park Art Center (2016); Geometry in Outer Space or Heaven, moniquemeloche, Chicago (2015); and Endless Set, Gallery 400 (2012). Reimer’s work will be included in the upcoming group exhibition Infinite Games, curated by John Preus, Open House Contemporary, Chicago (2017). She has previously shown in group exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Contemporary Craft Museum, Portland; Beirut Art Center; Logan Center Exhibitions at the University of Chicago; and Wallspace Gallery, New York, among others. Reimer’s works have been featured in the edited volumes Contemporary Textiles: The Fabric of Fine Art (Black Dog Publishing, 2008); The Object of Labor: Art, Cloth, and Cultural Production (MIT Press, 2007); By Hand: The Use of Craft in Contemporary Art (Princeton Architectural Press, 2010); and Limited Language—Rewriting Design: Responding to a Feedback Culture (Birkhauser Architecture, 2009). Endless,—the first major publication on Reimer’s pioneer craft aesthetic, was published by Gallery 400 and WhiteWalls in 2015. She is an adjunct instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
“on the wall” is a rotating public art project, comprised of site-specific installations on the gallery’s 10 x 25 foot front wall. It is viewable from Division Street 7 days a week, 365 days a year, through floor to ceiling windows. Past “on the wall” artists include Rashid Johnson, Kerry James Marshall, assume vivid astro focus, Pedro Vélez, Diane Simpson, Kay Rosen, Nina Chanel Abney, Abigail Deville, Sanford Biggers, Nnenna Okore, Carlos Rolón/Dzine, Michelle Grabner, and Caroline Wells Chandler.