Studio Visit: Liz Ensz

Liz Ensz

Not many artists that I know personally are making much (if any) money off of their work. We all have other day or night jobs teaching, art handling, or working in the service industry. We work hard throughout the year so that we can pay rent and bills and then hopefully take some time off, leave the city, have adventures, and work on our art. I met up with Liz Ensz in her studio at the end of July before she did just that. For a few weeks in August, she was in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan at the Visitor Center, an artist residency that she runs with Margaret Coleman, Amy Joy Hosterman, Josh Hosterman, and James Lentz. Next up, she’ll be spending a month at Salem Art Works in New York where she’ll get to do an iron pour, then head to Providence, Rhode Island for an artist talk and a metal casting workshop hosted by The Steel Yard. She’ll stop by Tyler University and the Maryland Institute College of Art to give some artist lectures before going to Oregon for another month-long residency at PLAYA and then finally go to the Oregon College of Art and Craft for some workshops. I’m glad I was able to visit her studio before all this and look forward to seeing what happens along her travels.

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Nina Perlman

Nina Perlman, a native New Yorker, received her BFA in Photography from the Maryland Institute College of Art with a concentration in Book Arts. She moved back to New York City in January 2014. These days she’s been pursuing personal projects, reading/researching, and getting everything ready for a trip to Berlin for the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, followed by some additional travel while she’s in Europe. She’ll also be working on a book with MOSSLESS, which launching in the near future.

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Clay Hickson

Blue Jazz, 2014

Blue Jazz, 2014

Clay Hickson is a freelance illustrator and printmaker living and working in Chicago, IL. He received his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2010. His work explores the intersection between various post-modern influences and the positive sentiments that were central to the attitudes of 1960’s counter culture. Aside from doing Illustration work, Clay runs a small publishing company called Tan & Loose Press. The press produces limited edition artists books and prints.

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Noël Morical


Noël Morical is a process-based artist and educator living in Chicago, IL. Noël originally hails from Indianapolis IN, and transferred to Chicago in 2009 to attend The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2011. Noël is interested in decoding experience. In addition to her studio practice, she teaches in after-school enrichment programs. Noël recently attended an artist residency program in Iceland, turned 25, and enjoys the color Orange best of all.

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ACRE Visit 2014: Part Two

This is Etta’s reflection on our visit to ACRE a few weeks ago. If you missed Lynnette’s post from last week, check it out here.

ACRE Morning

I first got involved with ACRE a few years ago when I was living at the Plaines Project, an alternative venue and exhibition space in Pilsen, Chicago. One awesome aspect of the ACRE residency program is that each resident who attends is offered an exhibition opportunity within a year and a half after attending the residency. In addition to their own ACRE Projects gallery space in Pilsen, ACRE has partnerships with a variety of different types of galleries around Chicago and beyond. At the time that I moved in, the Plaines Project was a partner gallery with ACRE, hosting exhibitions for four residents per year.

When I left the Plaines Project, ACRE asked if I’d like to be a member of the Curatorial Board – a group of organizers and curators in Chicago who put together the exhibitions at ACRE Projects. I was excited about the opportunity to continue working with ACRE and the possibility for a partnership between ACRE and Make Space.

Studio Visit Sarah and Sam

Studio visit with Sarah Hotchkiss and Sam Hertz

Besides getting to meet and work with some pretty cool artists, one of the perks of working with ACRE is that we’re invited to visit the residency each summer. This is a great opportunity to meet the residents and get to talk to them about their work. We have found this to be extremely rewarding and beneficial to the curatorial process for working with ACRE. As curators, we get access to each artists’ website and applications but to be able to meet in person with the artists, see what they’re working on, and talk to them about their ideas and practices gives us a greater insight and feel for the artists than just looking at a screen. We see curating more like collaborating and it’s always been important to us to form a connection, if not a friendship, with the artists we work with. By just meeting and talking with the residents at ACRE, we are able to begin forming these connections in a fluid and organic way, talking to people we otherwise may have never had the opportunity to meet and work with.

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Caroline Paquita / / / /

Caroline Paquita is an interdisciplinary artist living and working in Brooklyn, New York. Born and raised in Miami, Florida, her work is highly influenced by her colorful tropical upbringing, queer and feminist sassy sensibilities, social change through seemingly crude humor, and the concept of “ridiculousities.” In 2011, after self-publishing for over fifteen years, she began Pegacorn Press, a small publishing house that uses Risograph stencil duplicators for production. So far, twenty one publications have been officially released of both Paquita’s work and of other artists that she has collaborated with. When not working on publishing projects, Paquita focuses on learning new techniques, drawing, sewing, beekeeping and exploring on her bicycle.

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ACRE Visit 2014: Part One

This is a two-part editorial piece about Make Space’s visit to ACRE Residency. This first post reflects the visit from Lynnette’s perspective. Check out Etta’s post next week!

Lynnette Etta

During the second weekend of August, Etta and I visited ACRE Residency in Steuben, Wisconsin. If you’re not familiar with ACRE, you should be! ACRE (Artists’ Cooperative Residency and Exhibitions) is a volunteer-run, Chicago-based nonprofit that supports emerging artistic practices and the production of experimental work, while creating a generative community of cultural producers. Founded in 2010, the organization hosts a residency program in Steuben, WI every summer. After each residency, it offers residents an exhibition opportunity at either ACRE Projects or one of its partner galleries around Chicago.

ACRE works with emerging curators to organize exhibitions through their Curatorial Board. Last summer, we were invited to join the 2014 Curatorial Board and we are excited to announce we were asked to continue in 2015! As a part of the Curatorial Board, Make Space was invited to visit the residency and conduct studio visits with its Session 3 artists.

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Jeremy Bolen



Jeremy Bolen is a Chicago based artist and educator interested in site specific, experimental modes of documentation and presentation. Much of Bolen’s work involves rethinking systems of recording in an attempt to observe invisible presences that remain from various scientific experiments and human interactions with the earth’s surface. Bolen received his MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2012 and is a recent recipient of a Center for Land Use Interpretation Residency in Wendover, Utah and the Provost Award for Graduate Research from the University of Illinois at Chicago. His work has been exhibited at various venues, including Galerie Zürcher, Paris; Andrew Rafacz, Chicago; Salon Zürcher, New York; The Drake, Toronto; Untitled, Miami; Gallery 400, Chicago;  Depaul University Art Museum, Chicago; Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, and Roots and Culture, Chicago.

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From the Directors: Reading List

Make Space has gone through quite a few internal changes in the past few months! Maybe you noticed, but we were on a brief hiatus due to summer schedules, life changes, job changes, and just general life flux. We have re-energized and are excited to take these changes in productive ways to keep Make Space growing.

In the next few months, we are excited to work with Cory Imig and Wolfie Rawk for their ACRE exhibition in November. Which leads us to Etta and Lynnette’s most recent visit to ACRE. The visit was very exciting and informative, giving both of us the opportunity to speak with a diverse group of artists and overall have a great time in Steuben, WI.

Here at Make Space, we have switched a couple of roles. Jason recently co-founded Public Practice with fellow artist Iga Puchalska for the Rockford, IL community and beyond. He will continue collaborating with Make Space but in a lesser capacity. We are very excited to see what happens with Public Practice among his many other projects! This coincides with Kathy’s increased involvement as she starts to contribute more to administrative and directorial decision-making for the website.

In this post, we want to share not only what has changed, but also what is on our current reading list. As artists and organizers, we like to keep informed by constantly taking in and learning through reading essays, articles, fiction/non-fiction books, theory, criticism, and everything else you can think of. Here is just a glimpse at what has been on our minds recently.

Jason Judd is taking a stepping back his role with Make Space to concentrate on some new projects and art making, which include continuing Public Practice, curating Ultra-Deep Field, a group show at the Clark Arts Gallery at Rockford College in the fall, and making work for a solo exhibition at Fluxx Gallery in Des MoinesIowa in the spring.

The Poetics of Space A.K.A. The Confusion of Cats

The Poetics of Space A.K.A. The Confusion of Cats

1. I have started reading “The Poetics of Space” by Gaston Bachelard. Appropriately, this comes after finishing Susan Stewart’s “On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection” which was an accidental, yet wonderful, primer for Bachelard’s notions. Bachelard’s writing does not sit well with my cat. He says it may be too dense. In light of this, he suggests you read it swiftly, picking the thoughts and poetics that pertain to you: highlight them, circle them, notate and set place markers. After some time, revisit the book, but this time only read the highlighted and notated segments. After this, he said, some new ideas may emerge. I asked him, “What kind of ideas?”. He replied, “Meow”.

2. I often revisit Kate Greenstreet’s poetry. Believe me when I say that I am a far cry from being any sort of knowledgeable authority of poetry. Though I do own her books, I prefer visiting her website. Greenstreet’s website is set so that audio of her reading automatically plays when you choose a selected a poem.  Her voice is hoarse and cracks making you question if it derives from wisdom, regret, or age.  As you read along with her speaking, it feels as though she is figuring out the world out loud, alone, in her bedroom and you get to listen.

Here are three short poems I have selected: The Last 4 Things, Page 39, Young Tambling, Pages 105-106, Case Sensitive, [SALT] 10, 13, 16.

Image by Lynnette Miranda

Lynnette Miranda graduated from NYU’s Visual Arts Administration graduate program in May 2014 and left the city for the summer to hang out with friends and family in Chicago, Miami, and Peru.

1. “Alliances for Unlearning: On Gallery Education and Institutions of Critique” by Carmen Mörsch (on Afterall):
For the last couple of months I have been trying to decompress from my graduate thesis (and grad school in general) but the ideas/dialogues continue to flood my brain. Without getting extremely into my own thesis, my research led me to this article about “critical gallery (museum) education,” which recognizes museum education as a critical practice that serves a deconstructive and transformative function within the institution. The role of education in the museum is complicated and overlooked by many (not all) museums. This article begins to grapple with these tensions, while acknowledging museum education as its own practice, not in service of a curatorial or institutional voice.


Image courtesy of Abita Jefferson on Village Voice

2. Like many of us have experienced after graduating, I’ve been getting the post-grad ~feels~, but luckily I stumbled upon the Andrew W.K. advice column on The Village Voice! The articles that have stuck with me the most are Letting Go of Stress, How to Cope With the Death of a Friend, and Dealing with Bullies. The combination of his honesty, positivity, and humor, make me feel grateful, humble, and way more chilled out every time I read his column.

Try to stay in that state of mind, and the pain and pleasure will just be another aspect of this absurd and perplexing party called “life” — it’s the best party we can have — it’s the party of not being dead.“​

Etta Sandry has been enjoying the midwest this summer. She kick-started it by camping in Michigan and then went to relax in her home state of Minnesota for a week before heading to Steuben, WI for the first session of this year’s ACRE residency where she slept in a tent and made a giant grid out of wood. For the past month she’s been teaching a fiber arts class at the Old Town School of Folk Music’s summer camp.


Image by Alex Tsocanos

1. I have been trying to make it through Hannah Higgins’ The Grid Book for about a six months now. Grids are a big part of my work/studio practice – appearing in the form of weave drafts, block patterns, the actual structure of the woven cloth itself, and most recently in a 3′ x 3′ wooden grid “game board”. The Grid Book follows different types of grids through history, starting with the brick and then working through other gridded forms like maps, boxes, and networks. With my time opening up a little more now, I’m excited to get further into it, consider the grid form in different ways, and see what ideas or connections this history may inspire in my studio work.

2. I took Tom Robbin’s Skinny Legs and All from the library at the house where I used to live when I moved out just about a year ago, intrigued by the title and the dancing girl on the cover. I haven’t read any of his other works and don’t know much about him as a writer. When my work schedule slowed down earlier this summer, I dug it out for some leisure reading. It’s a difficult novel to describe as it interconnects a variety of different plot lines, topics, and concepts. It was written in 1990 but the themes of politics in the Middle East and what it means to be an artist/an artist in New York City still feel relevant today. I’m still mulling over how I feel about it. At times it seemed slow and a bit conventional while at others it was engaging and profound. My favorite quote from the book involves a conversation between a gender-neutral bean can and a dirty sock:

Eventually, an old sedan rattled up to the crosswalk, full of music, smoke, and rust. When the light changed, it pooted and tooted off in the direction of New Jersey, but not before the objects noted a sticker on its bumper that announced, “I’d Rather Be Partying.” Can o’ Beans imagined it an infraction of taste, if not of grammar, declaring, “You should never trust anyone who uses ‘party’ as a verb.” He/she felt appropriately chastised, however, when Dirty Sock growled and shot back, “Uh-huh, and don’t trust anybody who’d rather be grammatically correct than have a good time.”

“Touche,” said the bean can. “Although in the age that is to come, the two needn’t be mutually exclusive.”

-Tom Robbins, Skinny Legs and All

Kathy Cho moved to South Philly, resurrected her Twitter account that she made in 2012 but never posted to, transitioned from interning to working at Philadelphia Photo Arts Center and has been trying to visit places on the east coast, outside of the Philadelphia whenever possible.

1. As with most things I find while surfing the web, I don’t really remember how I came across this essay: Why Are Conceptual Artists Painting Again? Because They Think It’s A Good Idea by Jan Verwoert. I left it open as a tab for a few weeks before getting around to read it but when I finally did, I was glad. It is one of those essays that articulates so well those thoughts that have been floating around peripherally but never got around to discussing out loud with anyone. As an artist do you choose what mediums you work with or do you work more instinctively and go to whatever medium draws you in? There is that weird line that still exists between “conceptual artists” and “traditional artists” which I’ve found revealed more and more, parallel to my personal experiences in comparing Chicago and Philadelphia’s art scenes and institutions. Related reading: Who’s Afraid of New Abstraction?

the cover of The Studio Reader: On the Space of Artists

2. Full disclosure: I was a sophomore at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago when “Picturing the Studio” was on view at the Sullivan Galleries, and this exhibition was one that stayed with me throughout my growth as an artist. So when I recently came across “The Studio Reader: On the Space of Artists“, which was produced as a companion to the exhibition, I checked out the book immediately. Since graduating in 2012 I’ve had a mixture of guilt, apathy and hate for not having as disciplined an artist practice as I felt like I should’ve. This book has coincided so well with the re-invigoration of my practice as I started to use an extra room in my apartment as a temporary studio space, and also as I’ve begun to do more in-depth studio and gallery visits for Make Space.

Studio Visit: Chad States

I first came across Chad States’ work during Philadelphia’s first Friday of February this year at NAPOLEON space and immediately asked him to be featured here. Surrounded by a crowd of visitors to the building, which has a few gallery spaces on various floors, Chad’s installation titled Night Sweats which took the entirety of the NAPOLEON space and was the most memorable thing I saw that night.

Chad agreed to do a studio visit with me early this April, located in his home in the Old Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. We headed upstairs to his third floor studio and went straight into talking about his process, influences and how he balances his practice as it has shifted from traditional photography to more immersive installations.

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