Quasi-Choreography at HATCH Projects

Quasi-Choreography, curated by Alexandria Eregbu, is a color-coded revelation of errors in process, flaws in actions, and the shared predicament of being human. Eregbu, a resident curator at HATCH Projects, boldly transforms the gallery space into a restrained pastel palette, just the right temperament to relay the core message of Quasi-Choreography–despite the obvious dysfunction of living, it may just work out.

A large, white, bodice-shaped form mounted onto a cart welcomes the viewer into the exhibition space. Titled Well-Thumbed (2014), artist Delaney DeMott confided during an interview that she enjoys creating things that “skip beats.” She continues, “I am interested in a continuation that happens after errors and mistakes, like the act of stumbling–perhaps the stumbling eventually becomes the continuation.” Indeed, DeMott’s produced a strange object; on first look, albeit odd, the organic-looking white form appears approachable, as it is in similar size and shape to our bodies. It’s an object that insists on its own livelihood and stands tall, impervious to the critical detail of the sculpture–a carefully crafted bum foot.

Across the room, passing the counter-part Well-Thumbed (A Glissando, a leg-shaped creature tied to a column, also by DeMott), is Hope Esser’s tiny stage set Tripping on a Hole in a Paper Heart (Red), 2014. A cardboard box is painted white and acts as a podium with a microphone. Via an artist interview, Esser, performance artist, confessed that making sculptural work involves a large component of anxiety. To wit, a stage set with a hole cut out by the microphone stand deliberately evokes self-sabotage or stage fright. Yet the most fascinating part is what the hole leads to–kitchen floor tiles sprinkled with red pepper flakes. It is a temporary moment of failure that privileges access to the fantastical. The microphone stand finds its voice echoed in Esser’s other piece, laying in close proximity, Untitled, 2014. A floor mat composed of spongy particles, it is uniquely noisy for such an everyday object. An almost invisible fish hook with a transparent fishing line that lifts up the mat gives away yet another element of fantasy; spilled aquarium rocks are scattered on top of the mat, which re-enforces the “noise-on-noise” doubling.

Circling the room back towards the entrance, we encounter Megan Stroech’s Clasp, 2014. A bright pink pastel wall grounds the quirky layering of Stroech’s flat pieces. Made from shelf-liners, Stroech is interested in transforming the otherwise ordinary, unimpressive material into something valuable. The last interviewee of the group, Stroech relayed to me, “the sublime is often hidden in mundane affairs,” and indeed, two tiny patches of brightly glittery pink sparkles perform for the eyes. They activate not only Clasp, but also the entire wall. Stroech makes use of discarded paints, fabrics, and materials frequently in her work, and their transformation under her hands seems to argue a kind of manifesto–that even the most modest substances can be a critical component to something visually exquisite.

Eregbu’s qualifying prefix ‘quasi’ underscores the entire exhibition; the work is choreographed with a breezy effect, which strategically belies the invisible rigor and unspoken trauma of repetition hidden among the artists’ gestures. Eregbu employs the literal and metaphorical definition of “unbalance” to a revelatory end. Viewers who navigate this quasi-choreography become privy to a particular kind of humanity that has a significant lingering effect–well choreographed indeed.

This review has been published in partnership with Chicago Artist Writers and was edited by Jason Lazarus. All images courtesy of Bryan Volta. 

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