Other Investigations: Blake Daniels


Nighttime Practice, oil on canvas, 53″x42″, 2014

Blake Daniels (b. 1990, Cincinnati, U.S.A.) graduated in 2013 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has worked and exhibited across the United States and internationally. This summer, he was an artist in residence at Ox-Bow in Saugatuck, MI and the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT. This fall, he will be relocating to Johannesburg, ZA. He has recently exhibited at Beers Contemporary by whom he is represented, 5&J Gallery, Fresh Exhibitions, and Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts.

I briefly met Blake for the first time during the last week of his undergraduate experience at SAIC, before winding up working with him during the VOLTA NY art fair this past March, which felt like such a ‘small art world’ moment. Personally throughout the years, my relationship with the medium of painting has gone from being my main practice (during my high school years like many art students starting off), to a more strained relationship as I got caught up within the world of more sleek and shiny conceptual art with less of a history of capital A “Art” attached to it. Perhaps selfishly, I wanted to speak with Blake about his practice to help me understand how he’s connected his research and more instinctual experiences to a medium that can feel so daunting to explore both as a viewer and a maker.

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Matt Austin

mattislearning.com / / thechicagoperch.com

"The Shape of Spilled Milk," a book of stories and photographs created by Matt Austin.

“The Shape of Spilled Milk,” a book of stories and photographs created by Matt Austin.

Matt Austin is a pretty prolific artist, educator, and organizer based in Chicago, IL. He is also the founder of The Perch, a creative platform for social exchange through collaborative programs and projects such as book publishing, symposium dinners, public programs, and so on. Matt collaborates with his equally prolific brother Jeff Austin (who we’ve worked with in the past) in several capacities including The Perch, where he serves as the Director of Education. For these straightforward features, I usually try to write the artist’s bio in my own voice, in order to give the content a more personal feel. But, Matt sent me such thoughtful writing about his practice and his work that I have to share it as he wrote it (quoted text is directly from the artist). Matt’s practice is exciting and inspiring because I feel personally aligned to the way he approaches his multidisciplinary practice. It seems that through every experience, whether art related or not, Matt strives to experiment with process, connect with people, and foster exchange in the most genuine way.

"From Downtown (We Got This)" installation by Matt Austin and Jeff Austin at MCA Chicago

“From Downtown (We Got This)” installation by Matt Austin and Jeff Austin at MCA Chicago

“Matt Austin is an artist and educator based in Chicago, IL. Matt tends to apply his approaches to art making in all facets of his life: working, teaching, getting older, having dinner, etc. Though his practices vary widely – from making photographs to publishing books, hosting dinners to building benches – his work remains focused on the importance of honesty and learning from others. Many of his creative projects are motivated by tragic experience and frequently engage the idea of learning to appreciate through embracing difficulty. Inspired by failure and often motivated by fear, he mostly demonstrates his enthusiasm for living by trying.”

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Megan Taylor Noe


Meg Noe

Megan Taylor Noe likes dark things. Her sculptures and photographs express a fascination with morbidity and explore the mutability of objects and the transience of time. The genesis of this work produced her first book, Black Sun, which was published by Oranbeg Press in early 2014. Her work has recently been exhibited in Brooklyn in Mute Annotations at Bad News, in Chicago at Cardinal Cross - a guerrilla exhibition in the Back of the Yards warehouse district – and in Reliquary at The University of Saint Francis Gallery in Joliet, IL. Meg is also the Associate Director of Terrain Exhibitions in Oak Park, Illinois and the curator at David Weinberg Photography in Chicago, Illinois.

You can still check out Meg Noe’s work in Mute Annotations at Bad News at Black Bear Bar in Brooklyn, NY (70 N. 6th St.). She will also have work in 11:11, a screening at Kitchen Space Gallery in Chicago, IL this weekend, September 27-28, 2014.

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Mike Paro



Chicago-based artist Mike Paro frames his practice through conceptual concerns that are contingent, changing, and fairly fluid. He approaches his work through ad hoc design and the concept of synecdoche. On one hand, Mike finds some oddity already within his work and copies it – ad hoc. On the other hand, some of his works incorporate conflation or confusion between part and whole, relating to synecdoche. Through each approach, Mike experiments with geometry, composition, color, and form, exploring the intersection of aesthetics and process.

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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

www.carolinepaquita.com / / http://pegacornpress.blogspot.com / / https://www.etsy.com/shop/carolinepaquita

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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