logo Virgin Migrations Installation
Installation photos of my contribution to the group exhibition, "State and Lake." Curated by Annie Morse, Spring, 2006.

This is a painting made entirely from found and surplus materials; tarps, wind screening, and 2x4's from construction sights in Wicker Park (near northwest, gentrified area) and Pilsen (near south, gentrifying area), and paint screws and thread left over from old projects. It was about ten and half feet tall and about six feet wide.

A better look at the lady slipper.

The white image is a silhouette of Chicago's "Circle Interchange," an expressway junction near downtown, and the overlaying flower is a "Showy lady slipper" a prairie orchid that is the state flower of Minnesota, considered an endangered species in Illinois.

The entire painting is encrusted with road salt that was given to me for free by the guy at the hardware store near the gallery at Halsted and Lake.

Surprise, a hiding place! Free booklets (in the orange boxes) of the Virgin Migrations text sheltered behind the painting.

A view looking up from beneath the painting.

If you're like me and you start getting hung up on how the light plays on the wall then maybe you should start to consider more practical aspects of your art. Like, maybe work on the copy edit problems in your text or take some time to consider whether an old VCR box is really the best support for distributing your booklets.

This painting has been dismantled and it's parts either abandoned, given away, or incorporated into other projects. I did offer it for barter at the gallery. At the time of making it I wanted a membership at a health club so I could have access to a sauna. The asking price of the painting was a one year membership at a health club of my choice. I am afraid that no-one took me up on this once in a lifetime deal. But for the right price I would gladly remake the painting even better than before.

This is an image of German neo-expressionist painter, Sigmar Polke's painting, Ashes to Ashes, in the collection of the Chicago MCA from which I have obviously, unabashedly, stolen my form--as I have unabashedly stolen this image from the MCA web site. I became attached to this painting when I was a security guard at the MCA for two somewhat miserable, but instructive months. The painting draws on the western 'vanitas' tradition, which correctly reminds us that we're all gonna die. But it also obviously needs to be considered in the context of the atrocities of Germany's past. I came to love it because, well, it is a map of itself; there are three layers in two different directions and the reflect each other. Direction one: the three strata of the fabric, the obscuring strata of time, the scarlet red buried at the bottom, busy, distracting molecular activity on top. Direction two: The strata churned on its head, three layers of images; first the fabric, second the dripping paint (the scarlet is displaced onto the fabric), and third the decomposed, repeated death masks out front where we can't miss them. I like the idea of using this painting for this project not just because the painting is important to me but because "State and Lake" was an exhibition sponsored by a non-profit "society" that, early in it's life, was closely associated with the MCA. I knew the people from that group would be familiar with the Polke painting. I like to speak to a specific audience whenever I can.