Futile Divide Reading Group


Join us at ACRE Projects on Saturday, November 22nd for a reading group hosted by Wolfie E. Rawk and their dog Rutabaga. The reading group will meet to hang out in the gallery space and discuss five excerpts from the research behind Wolfie’s work in Futile Divide. There will be hot tea and sweet snacks. All are welcome (even if you don’t have time to read). The reading discussion may be followed by a short artist talk.

Click below to read and download PDFs of the texts. Hard copies are also available in the gallery.

The Dreaded Comparision: Human and Animal Slavery – Marjorie Spiegel, 1996

St Lucy’s School for Girls Raised by Wolves – Karen Russell, 2006

Dismantling Cissexual Privilege – Julia Serano, 2007

Display, Performance, and Sport – Margaret DeMello, 2012

On Labeling Women Crazy – Harris O’Malley, 2014

Saturday, November 22 2-5pm

ACRE Projects
1913 W 17th Street | Chicago IL 60608

Studio Visit: Wolfie E. Rawk

This studio visit is part of the exhibition Futile Divide featuring new works by Cory Imig and Wolfie E. Rawk. The exhibition is organized by Make Space in conjunction with ACRE Projects.


Wolfie E. Rawk is a multi-disciplinary artist who works in sculpture, video, and experiential installation. My first experience with Wolfie’s work was seeing their installation in the Sullivan Galleries for their Masters of Fine Arts exhibition at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013. The space was carefully arranged with constructed materials of all sorts including stacks of library books, a video on a monitor in an artist-constructed frame, hand-manipulated soft sculpture, and quilted cushions. Wolfie first visited ACRE as a resident in 2013 and returned again this past summer. In 2013, when Jason and I visited ACRE during our first year as Curatorial Fellows, we met with Wolfie and they showed us footage of a horror movie they had started working on while there.

For their upcoming ACRE exhibition, Wolfie is creating a new video documenting the behavior of animals at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Since this past summer, they have been making trips to the zoo to watch the animals and have been researching the history of zoos and zoo animals and studying their mannerisms. Instead of a traditional visit to Wolfie’s studio prior to the ACRE show, we met up at the zoo on a cool early November afternoon to walk around, visit the animals, and talk about the research and connections surrounding this work.

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Studio Visit: Cory Imig

This studio visit is part of the exhibition Futile Divide featuring new works by Cory Imig and Wolfie E. Rawk. The exhibition is organized by Make Space in conjunction with ACRE Projects.


I have long admired Cory Imig‘s multidisciplinary practice as an artist, curator, and educator. I can’t quite place when Cory and I first connected, but it was in 2011 via the internet. It was the very beginning of both Make Space and Plug Projects (we even posted a mention of Plug’s inaugural exhibition). Plug Projects is a curatorial collaborative and exhibition space in Kansas City, MO, founded by five artists including Cory. They received a Rocket Grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Art in 2011 to launch the space. Eventually Cory and I met in person at MDW Fair 2012 in Chicago, where both Make Space and Plug Projects were organizing exhibition spaces. While we’ve kept in touch for the last three years, this exhibition has given me the chance to work with her directly and develop a deeper understanding for her artistic practice.

I spoke with Cory over the phone to discuss the conceptual concerns of her work, explore her process-based methodology, and talk about how she balances the various parts of her practice. She also tells us about her experience at ACRE last summer and its impact on her work.Take a listen and excuse the fuzzy beginning! (Also check out the end of the post and check out what Cory is reading)


(approx. 43 min)

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Other Investigations: Heather Mackenzie



I first met Heather when she was a TA for one of the many weaving classes I took as a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She gave our class a presentation about the time she spent learning to weave Kente cloth in Ghana. We visited her graduate studio, where she showed us a miniature punch-card Jacquard loom that she brought back with her from when she studied Indian silk brocade in Varanasi, India.

Heather left Chicago at the beginning of September to move Paris, France as a Fulbright-Hayes Scholarship recipient. Before she left, I got a chance to visit her home as she was packing. On the cool late-summer evening, she took a break to have a conversation with me in her backyard about weaving, her recent work, the process of applying for a Fulbright, and what she hopes to do while in France.


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Melissa Leandro

melissaleandro.com // melissaleandro.tumblr.com

Crieda-Wanna be_detail$800_Woven cloth,plastic,rubber_15.5-X22-


Melissa Leandro is a weaver and image-maker based in Chicago, IL. Her work combines dissimilar materials to produce unique manifestations through the process of hand and digital Jacquard weaving, appliqué, and assemblage. Personal histories, family emblems, language play, and female domestic gender roles inform her artistic language. Melissa’s working process often begins with the act of drawing, through this exploration of mark making; a collection of symbols and landmark images develops. She is currently an MFA candidate and Assistant Director of Facilities in the Fiber and Material Studies department at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Check out Melissa’s work in the exhibition Transcending Boundaries at the Bridgeport Art Center before it closes November 7th! And stop by the Intelligentsia Coffeehouse (53 East Randolph St, Chicago) to see her solo exhibition Pequeños Pasos (Small Steps). Melissa’s work will also be featured in the upcoming seventh issue of ART CRUSH publication this month.

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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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