press release

Resonant Objects showcases the breadth of production by Chicago-based artists Greg Bray, Aquil Charlton, and Nazafarin Lotfi during their participation in the University of Chicago's Arts + Public Life and Center for the Study of Race, Politics & Culture Artists-in-Residence Program. Over the course of ten months, Bray, Charlton, and Lotfi worked in close proximity to each other in studios at the Arts Incubator in Washington Park, generating research, artworks, and happenings that fostered interactive relationships with diverse publics and spaces on Chicago's South Side.

On view from July 8 until August 28, 2016 at the Logan Center Gallery and at the Arts Incubator in Washington Park (301 E Garfield Blvd.), Resonant Objects features works that examine the artists' shared interest in the social and spatial conditions of their surroundings.

Working across painting and sculpture, Greg Bray blends collage and assemblage with an exploration of random structures. For Resonant Objects, Bray presents abstract sculptures informed by his research into the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear purge that occurred in eastern Japan in 2011. Fashioned from discarded chairs, Bray's works are uncanny contortions of wood, plastic, metal and electrical cords. At once acquiring anthropomorphic guises and suggesting new forms, Bray's sculptures speak to humanity's resilience and capacity to create anew following moments of rupture.

As the resident musician in this year's cohort, Aquil Charlton's work focuses on music education, sound design, and songwriting practices; as well as his research into the life and work of influential American singer/songwriter Eugene "Gene" McDaniels. McDaniel's politically motivated recordings garnered success in the late 1960s and in recent times various hip-hop producers including Prince Paul and Q-Tip of Native Tongues have sampled his work. Following this lineage, Charlton's presentation infuses music creation with a deep social consciousness and pedagogical intent. Culling elements from McDaniel's music and lyrics, as well as from his own repertoire, Charlton presents a series of sound installations that interpolate the unique acoustic and spatial qualities of the presenting galleries. Also on view is Charlton's The Mobile Music Box, an interactive vehicle made in partnership with Ava Grey Designs and West Town Bikes that features instructions and recycled materials for making musical instruments.

Nazafarin Lotfi's sculpture- and performance-based practice explores the relationship between object, body, and space. Lotfi engages in daily rituals of walking between her home and several spaces across Chicago's Hyde Park and Washington Park neighborhoods, accompanied by large-scale, boulder-like sculptures crafted from papier-mâché. These mundane experiences—often reserved solely for the artist and without a prescribed audience—are recorded in physical impressions on the objects' delicate surfaces as they are rolled on the ground, as well as through the artist's own body as she negotiates holding and carrying them aloft. For the exhibition, Lotfi presents a series of sculptures with distressed and painted surfaces alongside video and photographs documenting her actions in the public sphere.

Resonant Objects is organized by Yesomi Umolu, Logan Center Exhibitions Curator; Alyssa Brubaker, Logan Center Exhibitions Coordinator; Nadia Sulayman, Associate Director for Community Arts and Programs, Arts and Public Life; Lauren Basing, Interim Program Manager, Arts + Public Life; and Dara Epison, Program Coordinator, the Center for the Study of Race, Politics & Culture.

Resonant Objects is presented by the University of Chicago's Arts + Public Life Initiative; the Center for the Study of Race, Politics & Culture; and Logan Center Exhibitions.

Logan Center Exhibitions
Logan Center Exhibitions presents contemporary art programming at the Logan Center Gallery and throughout the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago. The aim of the program is to advance the inquisitive spirit of the university and the cultural vitality surrounding it through an open, collaborative and critical approach.