Written By Tim Gao
Highlighting the artworks from Chicago-based artists, the exhibition, Between the buildings, unfolds the stories and spirits buried in history. The historical background of Between the buildings is interesting. In last century Chicago, many artists working in isolation, producing creativity, diversity, and personal aesthetics. However, the artists could hardly find opportunities to exhibit their works. Thus they collectively exhibit with students in art schools, forming the idea of Chicago School.
The exhibition featured several artists from Chicago, bringing back their artworks that express diversity and creativity. For example, the structure of the city, feminism, political activism, and street art.
There are several artworks that caught my eye.
The first one is the Three Women of America by Elizabeth Catlett, who expressed racial equality and sexual equality. This artwork featured three women, who are white, black and latin. They are different in race, from a different background, from different families, and experiencing different lives. However, the highlight is that they are all American women. They have more similarities than differences. They are one. They have the same civil rights. The idea is expressed by the overlapping of bodies and the detail of them holding each other’s hands. Also, Catlett featured women in this artwork instead of women. In my perspective, she is expressing the idea that women in American are as important as men. She is emphasizing sexual equality. I learned from this artwork that we should all unite together against any discrimination.
There’s another artwork that attracted my attention: El Sombrero by Barbara Rossi. This piece used a lot of clear lines, expressing simplicity. Using technological skills and simple lines, Rossi creates a piece that divided into two parts, both showing twisted figures. The twisting is the representations of suffering and agony. In my perspective, the twisting is an evasion from reality, a form of hiding oneself’s true identity from real life. The usage of simplicity is at the same time the ignorance of details, deliberately hiding the identity of the character in the artwork. In doing so, the artist invites the audience to become the human-like object in the artwork and imagine they are the one suffering, they are the one under agitation. In addition, both parts of the artwork use contrast colors. Green and pink, red and blue. The contrast of warm tone color and cold tone color is to highlight the suffering of the twisted figure using visual enhancement, even intensifying the strength of suffering.
Overall, the visit to the exhibition Between the Buildings gives me a new understanding of Chicago. Such a city abundant in artistic culture is a pearl in the United States.