Thursday, October 23, 2008

Blog Installation No. 9: Ossia Fine Arts Space

This blog installation is part of Chicago Connection: The 5 Artists Project, showing through November 1, 2008, at Ossia Fine Arts Space in the Fine Arts Building. For the duration of the show, anyone coming into the gallery on Fridays from noon to 4 p.m. will be part of the blog.

Leah Mayers, book artist and gallery manager, stopped by for a visit. Her comments about the show: "The abstract art is a nice way to bring the art together. I'm particularly drawn to Frank's work (textile hanging) and I like the mix of the poetry and installation(Mirjana). I love the space -- good lighting, wooden floors, interesting view, cushions, high ceilings. I like the hanging of the art and how the show is put together."

Growing up in Hyde Park and the south side of Chicago, Leah received an MFA from Columbia College's Book and Paper Center in Interdisciplinary Arts. She co-manages Vespine, an independent artist-run gallery in Chicago, which showcases book and paper art, installations, conceptual art, photography, and readings and performances. In addition to her gallery involvement, she is a part-time graduate faculty member at Columbia's Department of Education Studies, and she is a teaching artist in the public schools.

Leah Mayers. Memento Mori, Vespine Gallery, 2008. Installation.

Leah Mayers. November 8, detail of Memento Mori, Vespine Gallery, 2008. Mixed media, 7" x 9".

"I do concept-driven installations and artists' books. I include handmade paper, drawings, installation, and text in my art. The work I created for Memento Mori started as a meditative drawing-a-day project for a year. Three weeks into the project, my friend committed suicide, so I decided to dedicate the work to her and so the project evolved into commentary about our relationship. I did a drawing a day from Sept. 1, 2006 to Sept. 1, 2007, and recently showed the drawings in a continuous format on the walls at Vespine."

Leah has been influenced by artists including Melissa Jay Craig, Kiki Smith, Eva Hesse, William Kentridge, and Charlotte Simon; writers including Charles Johnson, Raymond Carver, and Toni Morrison; and psychologists including Ernest Becker, and Otto Rank.

Her interest in the dissolution of the line between public and private space has resulted in a video project "C(el)L," involving six months of riding the Brown Line and recording loud cell phone conversations and taking pictures with a disposable camera of the view looking out the window. She showed her sound art video project at Vespine last month.

For more information on Leah and her art, please visit

At the last minute, Johannah Silva, an abstract painter, dropped by the gallery to say hello. She shares a studio in the Cornelia Arts Building with one of the 5 Artists, Darrell Roberts. Her comments on the show: "I like the relationship among the artists. There is a preoccupation with patterns, textures, gestures, and colors, and I like the mix of sculpture and painting dialogue. The hanging flows nicely, and the lighting and space are good for the show."

1 comment:

Sarah Kaiser said...

I taught my students the term Momento Mori yesterday when studying 17th c. Dutch Still Life. It's exciting to see the concept conveyed in such a contemporary manner.
-Sarah Kaiser