Light Matters

Friday, Apr 13 – 27, 2018 6 – 10 pm

Artists in Conversation: April 14th 5pm-7pm 

Closing Reception: April 27th 6pm-10pm

Galina Shevchenko. Valerie Xanos. Margarita Fainshtein

Fainshtein, Shevchenko, and Xanos work with light projection installation focusing on personal narratives of body, memory and perceptual shifts light as media. The artists explore light as mediated through a spectrum of materials, including printmaking, animation, and digital processing. For the Light Matters exhibition Fainshtein, Shevchenko, and Xanos would use various iterations of projected and reflected light to investigate synthetic relationships within their constructed image/space immersions. Each site specific interactive installation would create an immersive environment for the viewer to experience within a particularly composed architectural space.

For questions about this exhibition please contact Galina Shevchenko at


Margarita Fainshtein

My name is Margarita and I struggle to say where I am from. I am from many places, and I have always wanted to belong. I was born in Ukraine, repatriated to Israel and then immigrated to Canada. I am Nova Scotian, however, I have other cultural identities, which interact with each other and make me who I am.

I collect my multi-generational family identification documents from around the world, and reproduce them by layering them down using printmaking techniques. I think about language as an object and a representational tool of culture and memory. I wonder if the memories, layered one upon another, become buried in the past or are their remains left from the former layer, life, and identity. I talk about mutual history and re-enact it.

Margarita Fainshtein was born in Ukraine and studied Fine Arts for nine years. She moved with her family to Israel where she obtained her BFA at the University of Haifa. Currently, Margarita is enrolled in MFA program at the Art Institute of Chicago. Fainshtein’s Art background is international and culturally complicated. Her works have been exhibited in USA, Canada, England, Israel and the Ukraine. Margarita is currently living and working in Halifax, Canada.

Valerie Xanos 

Valerie’s artistic practice is interdisciplinary as well as multi-faceted. As an artist, she works in analog and digital media to create site specific, immersive installation art. Valerie also creates in the media of paint, collage, and photography.

Her current work, Exiled in Light :|: Never(W)here uses light projection and LCD installation to focus on psychological narratives of body, memory, and perceptual light shifts.  She explores light as mediated through a spectrum of materials, including fiber/acrylic constructions, animation, and digital processing. This phenomenological installation provides metaphoric portals to sublime light and dark visions based on an experience of being exiled in an alternate universe which is both tragic and sensual, sinister and soothing.  Slow, mesmerizing animations play in seamless loops, meant to evoke an alien, viscous world of vascular tides.

Valerie earned a BFA (1991) from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago and The Glasgow School of Art. She later became faculty in SAIC’s Young Artist’s Studios and Adult Programs. She is currently pursuing her MFA through SAIC’s Low Residency program.  A 22 year veteran of CPS, her work as a practicing artist informs her practice as a teacher. She teaches a Guerrilla Art Collective class at Curie Metro High School that focuses on creating civically engaged artworks. Her artist/teacher practice was recently spotlighted in SAIC’s biannual magazine, which “tells the stories of faculty and alumni whose work as artists, designers, scholars, and educators engages the audience to make positive changes in our world”.

Galina Shevchenko

I am  a Moscow born, Chicago based multimedia artist,  my work has been shown at numerous venues nationally and internationally, including international Art Fairs in Miami and Chicago, Berlin’s Director’s Lounge Video Festival, New York’s Red Shift Film Festival, Chicago’s Motion Graphics Festival, Media ART LAB segment of Moscow International Film Festival, where her work took a second Prize in 2007; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago and numerous Chicago Art galleries.

My practice encompasses multiple modes of expression and image processing: I am experimenting with precision of digital fabrication, visceral materiality of printmaking and fiber production, drawing, animation and video matter.  

My work is preoccupied with creating and processing the image of a body: body in its beautiful disobedience. I am interested in its multiple iterations: as a vulnerable, magnificent life giving entity, body in transition, androgynous, animal body, non-human/post human body. A grotesque body of a Monster >> Mother/Other: distorted, powerful, vulnerable, loving and procreating.

My world is the utopian happy seductive and irresistible ecosystem populated with bodies within existential crisis, constantly unfolding condition of seduction, desire, intimacy, disease. My Monstrous Mothers/Others are grotesque creatures ever becoming and transitioning between the worlds, across media, teasing with art historical references and looking into the future.

I question origins and destinations, gender power structures and condition of vulnerability.

I am attempting to create iconographic taxonomies that transcend the condition of femininity and motherhood into the visually exquisite, beautifully grotesque constructions.