Artist Talk: THIRST

Sunday, Nov 10, 2019 2 – 4 pm

5036 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625

Exhibition on view November 1- December 7th

Opening Reception November 1, 6-9pm

A conversation with Lea Basile-Lazarus, Tamara Wasserman, and Cynthia Weiss. Moderated by Chicago artist and arts writer Bruce Thorn with a reading by poet Susan Gundlach

THIRST is a group exhibition of work by Lea Basile-Lazarus, Cynthia Weiss, and Tamara Wasserman. The artists address themes of climate insecurity, social justice, and the role of the artist as an activist for change. On view at Eat Paint Studio, 5036 N Lincoln Ave, through December 7, an opening reception will take place on Friday, November 1, 6-9PM.

Thirst is ragged and unslakable. To thirst is to hope. To hope is to seek, to make anew, to live. Basile-Lazarus, Wasserman, and Weiss address the human need for hope and meaning through their work. They seek to find form and content that can create space for a common ground and a shared cultural experience, inviting us to imagine the possibilities of the world we want to live in.  

Lea Basile-Lazarus works with an expressive blend of pulp pigments that emphasizes her sense of interconnectedness between the individual in relation to society, and the artist in relation to her art. Themes of social justice, community action, and empowerment are apparent in the repeating motif of house-like symbols and the stoic figures which emerge as various printing processes are applied to her handmade paper monoprints. “Overcast,” has the feeling of coiled protest. House shapes clamor for the surface, layered with and agitated by the passage of a cacophonous, silvery white line. The strength and fluidity of the paper medium become representative of the strength of people acting in solidarity.

Tamara Wasserman rejects labels for her work. Her paintings, which walk a loosely sketched line between abstraction and figuration, are inspired by memories, dreams, and respond to the world around her. Wasserman’s exploration of internal and external experience is approached with a mixture of confidence and whimsy. In “Drunk by Midnight,” the time and space of the evening are re-imagined within the two-dimensional plane, progressing from effervescence to chaos and self-doubt. Figures in time overlap and redefine each other; intense explosions of color appear only to be subsumed by the next stroke of paint. 

Cynthia Weiss creates a physical and philosophical world is in the process of becoming. The natural world takes center stage in these often large-scale cut and painted paper collages. Saturated washes of color are the backdrop for Weiss’ detailed X-acto blade depictions of plants and landscapes. In “Circadian,” a close-up of a plant or flower sways against a darkening phthalo blue sky. Looking closer, we see that the paper creating the plant form contains a record of seasonal planetary revolutions. Beyond the plant form, another cut paper piece emerges, its black lacy form both macro and micro-cosmic. This form seems to have arrived with the purpose of telling us something, like an actor who turns to face her audience to illuminate the unseen.

“New islands of self-awareness and self-liberation are appearing, and the connections between them, which were once so brutally disrupted, are multiplying… Something is happening in the social awareness, though it is still an undercurrent as yet, rather than something visible… And all of this brings subtle pressure to bear on the powers that govern society.” 

– Václav Havel, Czech Playwright Turned Dissident Turned President, on “hope”

 

Image: Cynthia Weiss