Was/Is/Ought

Opening: Saturday, Sep 18, 2021 12 – 5 pm
Sep 18 – Nov 13, 2021

900 W. Washington
Chicago, IL 60607

900 W. Washington BLVD, Chicago, IL

Whitney Bedford
Zach Bruder
Antonia Contro
Stephen Eichhorn
Brendan Getz
Diana Guerrero-Maciá
Hilma's Ghost
Anne Lindberg
Chuck Ramirez
Kay Rosen
Amanda Ross-Ho
Scott Stack
Oli Watt
Augustine Woodgate

Carrie Secrist Gallery is pleased to present the group exhibition Was/Is/Ought. This exhibition opens September 18 and continues through November 13, 2021. It will be viewable in person and with or without appointment at our gallery located at 900 W. Washington BLVD, Chicago, IL. Our online viewing room and exhibition will open to the public Saturday, September 18 at 10AM (CST) with a reception that day from 12 to 5PM (masks are mandatory). If you would like to make an appointment in person, please visit the Reservation page on our website.

Over the last two years, since the beginning of the pandemic, time has proven to be the great equalizer within the world wide population. The end of 2019 will mark history in most of our lifetimes as the last we knew as "normal" or what Was life as we knew it. The new world landscape of 2020 ushered a paradigm shift toward intensely present living, for what we understood to be what Is began to shift precariously and constantly beneath our feet. The unchartered, ever-changing situation redefined any efforts toward planning or prediction as a fool's errand. As the dust begins to settle, we move toward a hopeful and trepidatious post-pandemic world, carrying forward resolutions in science, politics and personal reassessment of purpose / importance of all things.  2021 is the first year of what is next, and how it Ought to be.

Dating back to the cave paintings of Lascaux to the present day, artists have revealed their core purpose... to be the translators of time. They are the interrogators, the interpreters, the reporters, the recorders and ultimately the myth-makers - utilizing time as a medium for storytelling to present generations and those centuries yet to come.

Moving forward from the known or the Was, philosopher Herbert Marcuse generally stated that the present (is) creating what (ought) to be, i.e. future/world building and imagining...This interpretation states that time - as an entity - is in two places: 1. the present (ie what is happening this very instance) and, 2. the future (or, what ought to be happening next). So, in order to get the future successfully, or meaningfully, one has to be wary of complacency and use their imagination - in order to achieve it (the future). And this imagination is where art making/creativity is planted.

The fourth in our series of survey exhibitions in 2021, Was/Is/Ought will follow the participating artists through the arc of what could arguably be described as the most pivotal time in contemporary life.

Top Image: Kay Rosen, Blue Monday, 2015, Continuous loop on DVD, 9 minutes, 12 seconds, Edition of 100