Grad school & life lately

This August I returned to school as a first year MFA (Sculpture) student and graduate assistant at NIU, my undergraduate alma mater. So far the semester has been pretty fantastic (I can’t believe it’s Homecoming already…) and I’m excited for the next few years. I actually really missed being out of school and felt unsatisfied/out of sync with the direction my life/career was going, so I finally feel like I’m headed in the right direction. I’ve been focusing on working on art in my studio as well as working as a graduate assistant for the university. It’s great meeting new people, students, faculty, as well as going downtown to art exhibitions.

Lately I’ve been experimenting a lot in the studio, testing out different ideas and playing with various materials. I just go in the studio and make stuff- usually a lot of it. It’s a good thing to have a lot of projects going on at the same time, so if you get bored or frustrated with something, you can just move on to another thing. Even if some of the pieces don’t turn out to be so great, at least you have a lot of options and can edit yourself down to the ideas worth pursuing.

Below is a photo of my studio when I ‘moved’ in…

It’s a lot crazier looking now, but I love how much space I have to work with!

I began the semester with a lot of experimenting with old teddy bears and stuffed animals, then moved onto the material.   

  

  

  

  

 

 

So far I’m more interested in the abstract forms I’ve been working on the past week, but I’m still working on it. It’s funny how much work can completely change from one week to the next.

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Early on in the semester, several galleries in Chicago opened exhibitions for the opening of the Gallery Season. It was exciting to see work by my professors at school and meet/socialize with other grads.

The first show we went to was “the Last Catholic” by my professor Mike Rea at Ebers Moore Gallery. His woodwork is extremely  detailed and impressive!

Then I went to my former life drawing professor Geoffrey Todd Smith’s show “Looker” at Western Exhibitions. I wish I could afford one of his crazy-meticulous paintings.

Lastly I saw Anne Lindberg’s show at Carrie Secrest Gallery. I fell in love with her painstakingly crafted graphite drawings and massive thread installation.

Then last weekend some friends and I went to the EXPO show in Navy Pier, which is a massive collection of galleries from around the world in one warehouse-style exhibition.

  

(Jeff Koons, Ivan Navarro)

  

(Mark Ryden, Ai Wei Wei)

   

(Mark Ryden, Camille Rose Garcia)

  

(Mark Ryden)

  

  

  

  

(Maya Lin, Damien Hirst)

  

Richard Hull (Below): he recently came to my school for an artist lecture. Cool guy! I love his abstract portraits.

The show was amazing, but I felt so overwhelmed by so much art! The place was like a giant maze and there was no way to really digest everything in just a few hours. I literally just browsed each aisle and checked out whatever caught my eye. Afterwards I just wanted to stare at a blank white wall or some cute puppies or something as a ‘palette cleanser.’ However, it was very impressive and I had never seen anything quite like it before. Apparently, word is this year’s show was much better than years past because of the new venue (Navy Pier instead of the Merchandise Mart), larger space, better display, and better group management. It was inspiring and I got a lot of great ideas from what I saw there.

My friends and I also crammed in a short visit to the MCA, where there was a nifty exhibition about skyscrapers and architecture. I love modern design/architecture and Chicago has always been a great city for architecture so I knew this would not be a show to miss. My favorite pieces were by Yin Xiuzhen. I love how she used old clothes to craft the buildings in the suitcases.

  

This is probably the longest post I’ve posted in a long time! Goes to show that time does fly..

have a great week everyone!

xoxo
Lauren

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