Gallery Y: Paula Henderson, “…Looking for You in the Mirror…”
Gallery X: Megan Euker, “The Richard Project: Beginning to End”
December 19, 2014 – February 14, 2015
Opening Reception: Friday, December 19, 2014, 6-9pm
Linda Warren Projects is pleased to present our winter solo exhibitions: Paula Henderson’s “…Looking for You in the Mirror…” and Megan Euker’s “The Richard Project: Beginning to End.” For both of these gallery artists, the figure provides primary artistic motivation, but in vastly differing ways. Henderson examines the idealized female form to generate dialogue about desire, beauty and our social landscape. For Euker, a single male subject has inspired an extensive, two-year investigation into the figure, the discipline of studio practice and the integration of old and new media.
In her fifth solo show at the gallery, Chicago artist Paula Henderson exhibits a 43-foot custom wallpaper installation and a series of two-dimensional works addressing multiple issues that are intertwined in our social fabric. Looking for You in the Mirror, the series that prompted the exhibition’s title, is centered on fashion media, and the troubling influence it wields over female self-image. In works like Appearances I, Henderson traces her central figure from fashion magazine ads, then manipulates and mirrors the forms, exaggerating their symmetry and creating multiple limbs – also a reference to Eastern deities and Bodhisattvas charged with guiding souls to perfection. Seemingly nude (as clothing fuses with form) and seemingly faceless (save for her pouty lips), Henderson’s “goddess” speaks to a commercialized female representation, and the power it has to distract from and distort human potential.
An offshoot of Looking for You in the Mirror, Henderson’s Traffic Pattern series takes formal cues from the symmetrical leg schemes of her “goddesses.” Isolated and repeated, the legs featured in works like Traffic I are transformed into what the artist refers to as “a map or codex of a sexualized site.” Here, Henderson renders the legs removed from the body, and the male figures flattened, stylized and anonymous, reinforcing the removal of humanity in this complex pattern of sexual exploitation. In Henderson’s series Groundwork, the artist delves into her longtime pursuits of formalist abstraction. In these works, Henderson’s predilection for pattern is manifested in all-over compositions, intermingling ambiguous forms with recognizable markings, like the tread of a shoe, to create complex schematics that encourage reflection beyond the ordinary function of such social signifiers.
While Henderson’s practice leans toward multitudinous contents and narratives, Chicago-based artist Megan Euker undertakes a singular thesis, examined and reexamined to an ultimate degree. Euker, who also trains in the sport of boxing, looks to a quote by Bruce Lee, often referenced by her coach: “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” Applied to her art practice, Euker has set forth to master a single, three-dimensional, figurative subject: a man named Richard. Neither a close friend nor a complete stranger, Euker’s colleague is invariably depicted in the same, slouching, anti-heroic pose.
The artist first 3D scanned Richard in January of 2013, and has since repeatedly recreated his form, primarily in CNC milled wood. Despite the technology’s potential for absolute precision, in actuality, glitches and inconsistencies regularly occur. For Euker, the flaws of this continually evolving technique provide a wealth of artistic inspiration. Euker’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery, “The Richard Project: Beginning to End” features “Richard” in large scale and in miniature, as a bust, as a cross section, milled from butcher block, and carved into hardwood. Not only an intensive illustration of studio rigor, Euker’s oeuvre is also a contemporary take on the history of figurative realism, and a masterful example of the vernacular and the ordinary made elegant and sublime.
Veteran Chicago-based artist Paula Henderson’s work has been exhibited extensively throughout the country, including venues such as Boston Center for the Arts; Crystal Britton Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia; Long Island University, Brooklyn, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (where Henderson’s work was exhibited in a 12 x 12 solo exhibition, multiple group shows, and was acquired for the permanent collection); Rockford Art Museum, Illinois; and the Union League Club of Chicago, amongst many others. Henderson has been the recipient of such honors as multiple Illinois Art Council Grants, a regional fellowship from the NEA, and in 2014 was chosen to create a permanent public art commission for the CTA White Sox/35th Red Line Station. Henderson received a BFA from the University of Massachusetts and an MFA from the University of Chicago. She currently teaches in the Liberal Arts Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Chicago-based multimedia artist Megan Euker has been featured in such exhibition venues as Savannah College of Art and Design; Chautauqua School of Art, New York; Prince Street Gallery, New York; Togonon Gallery, San Francisco; College of DuPage, Illinois; Beverly Arts Center, Chicago; and Western Exhibitions, Chicago, amongst many others. Euker has been the recipient of such honors as a Fulbright Fellowship to Italy; the Illinois Art Council Grant; the Artists’ Fellowship, Inc. Grant; Change, Inc. Artist Assistance Grant; and two CAAP (Community Arts Assistance Program) grants from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the Illinois Arts Council. Euker has studied at Savannah College of Art and Design, and the International School of Painting, Drawing and Sculpture in Umbria, Italy. She received her BFA and MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Currently, Euker is an instructor in the departments of Contemporary Practices and Continuing Education at SAIC, and Columbia College’s Art and Design Department.
Megan Euker would like to say a special thanks to Richard Blackwell. Thanks also to School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Columbia College Chicago.