Conrad Freiburg: The Blind Light, the Pyre of Night
Project Space: Jason Peot: Addendum
Exhibit Runs July 8 – Sept 3, 2011
Following on the heels of his wonderfully sublime, pseudo-scientific solo exhibition at the Hyde Park Art Center, “It Is What It Isn’t”, we proudly announce the summer opening of Conrad Freiburg’s – “The Blind Light, the Pyre of Night”. In this exhibit, Freiburg continues to expand on his investigation of what he terms, “the void” – the vast and complex subject matter that for him will likely be an on-going, and perhaps life-long inspiration and pursuit. Freiburg’s creative output manifests as a reflection of his interests in Science, Astronomy, Outer Space, Mathematics, Metaphysics, Geometry, Philosophy, Music and Poetry. These subjects guide, organize and influence, both structurally and conceptually, the finely crafted objects and sounds that connect the dots of his essence and the formal objects he makes for this exhibit. Themes of loss, absence and the unknown: the three interconnected, though distinct categories Freiburg has determined make up the void, will pervade in the work on display. Expressed through his fascination with astronomy, the stars, the universe, the heroic astronaut who ventures out into the magnificent unknown with an insatiable curiosity for discovery, as well as Freiburg’s never-abating concern with temporality and the life cycle of creation and destruction – all of these elements are central to this exhibits’ focus. In the artist’s words -“if all of my shows have been songs, this one is a dirge”.
Whereas the seven sided heptagon reigned supreme as the dominant shape in the work in the Hyde Park Art Center, the 11 sided undecagon takes center stage in this body of work, starting with the centerpiece of the exhibit, the piece he titles “The Blind Light”, which is an acoustical sculpture with eleven sides. Visually, it is meant to reference a space capsule bobbing in the ocean after its landing on earth. Inscribed inside it is the slogan “Like an astronaut dispossessed of her ship.” In essence and in practice, it is a performance chamber for musicians to play inside, concealed from the audience who remain outside to circumnavigate the object to look and listen. As each are disconnected from the other, they must rely more heavily on a different set of senses to understand. Sound becomes a new way to see and understand, blindness inside the capsule a new way to hear and relate. In the artist’s words “I am thinking about negation of senses or translation from one sense to another.”
Loss is a form of absence, which is a form of death, or simply a certain change in the state of matter moving from one form of energy to another, which therefore means existence, just in a different state. Freiburg gets at these ideas in such pieces as “The Pyre of Night” (which directly connects to “The Blind Light” in that it is a sculptural representation in wood, using mathematical ratios and equivalents to reflect the amount of fuel required for a spaceship to get to the moon) and “Burning Stars”, which are sculptural incense burners, based on the undecagon for shape, that will be peppered throughout the gallery. Smoke will emanate from the holes drilled into their aluminum covers in varying shapes of constellations. Looking directly into the stars, or down at the stars, remembering our place within the universe both in life and in death are themes throughout the exhibit as well. But creation, or the translation of these ideas into matter – beautiful art – is both the homage to these ideas and their reason.
“Addendum”, Jason Peot’s show that opens in the Project Space, continues to explore the ideas he introduced in his show at the Chicago Cultural Center last fall in “Coterminous”. Information garnered from the map of the United States, including, proportions, ratios, longitude and latitude coordinates, population numbers of America’s largest cities, from the top 5 to the top 25, are the conceptual themes that structure and guide the beautifully crafted forms that he makes. As usual, shadow and light, the hallmarks of Peot’s artistic practice are central to the experience of his work. The unique ephemeral quality of these elements (shadow and light) create a physical experience for the viewer and instill a sense of drama to otherwise very minimal work, each piece resonating both individually and as an installation, as he would want them. In addition, Peot also reincarnates here his past ideas by literally recycling them into new forms and aspects. The black and white photograph collages exhibited in “Coterminous” which themselves were reworked from documentation he shot from the prior exhibition before that one are here reworked again, almost exactly as before, only completely handled digitally. By forming this continuum from one body of work to the next, Peot links his past to his present as well as to his future, giving expression to the interplay of the known with the unknown and a self-devised pattern that becomes a metaphor for creating order out of what seemingly could be chaos, and visual poetry out of systematic research and discovery. Cycles of life, destruction, creation, temporality and eternity, are ideas at the forefront of both Poet and Freiburg’s art and form a unique relationship to each other as the audience investigates and interacts with their work.
Conrad Freiburg, raised in Quincy, Illinois, received his BFA from The School of the Art Institute in 2000. He has shown his work or performed his music in venues throughout the United States and abroad. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including being named “Chicagoan of the Year” by the Chicago Tribune in 2007. His work has been reviewed numerous times in Time Out, New City, Artnews, Chicago Tribune, Bad at Sports, Chicago Public Radio and others. This marks Freiburg’s third solo exhibition at the gallery. He currently works and lives in Chicago. Jason Peot was born and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He received an MFA in sculpture from Northern Illinois University in 1997. His installations and objects have been exhibited nationally and are included in such public and private collections as the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and the Elmhurst Art Museum. He too has garnered much critical acclaim in such publications as the Chicago Tribune, the Reader and Sculpture Magazine. He currently lives in Chicago and is an Assistant Professor of Art at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois. This marks his first time showing with the gallery.