November 3, 2006–January 19, 2007
Catherine Jacobi, “Her Tongue: corporal and textual examinations”
Mary Farmilant, “Hospital”
Opening Reception: Friday, November 3, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
Free and Open to the Public
|Catherine Jacobi, Lingua Franca|
These two Chicago artists incorporate the principles of scientific observation into their artistic visions, noting changes in their subjects over time as if analyzing the life cycles of fruit flies.
“Her Tongue” features Jacobi’s recent sculptural work in two distinct media—glycerin and found materials. Referencing antique anatomical models of teeth, hair follicles, and the tongue, the sculptures created from found materials represent the biological process of conception, through which “family history,” both in terms of genetic material and biographical narrative, is recombined into a new form. Jacobi says that these works play with “the idea of what we are made of—wood, our language, our histories, and our mothers,” and concludes that “the history of objects is a history of us.” On the other hand, the works composed of glycerin, which comprise the artist’s “biopsy” series, resemble tissue samples viewed through a microscope. Like living tissue, they gradually and uncontrollably change as they age, due to the inherent volatility of the medium: “The misperception is that this form, this body specific is fixed; rather, it constantly changes and escapes anticipation.”
Although Jacobi primarily works in sculpture, having received her MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in that discipline, she has also explored the concepts of object and narrative in film, writing and directing a feature production screened at festivals in Chicago and New York.In recent years she has served as a resident artist at the Chicago Printmakers Collaborative and published an article on Lithuanian American ceramicist Rimas VisGirda. For more information about Jacobi and her work, visit http://web.mac.com/cjacobi/iWeb/jacobi/catherine_jacobi.html.
“Hospital” comprises ten large-scale color photographs of the former Columbus Hospital in Chicago, taken between 2002 and 2005 while the building was awaiting demolition to make way for the construction of luxury condos. Farmilant’s photographs, alluding to the clinical documentary tradition within their medium, record the deteriorating condition of the hospital building, itself the setting of innumerable life stories’ beginnings and ends. She says, “These images explore the idea that human presence still remains a part of the history and narrative of these now uninhabited spaces.” Farmilant offers these observations of Columbus Hospital as support for the hypothesis that American medical institutions are suffering from a “profit plague”: “Although the images are of one hospital,” she says, “they represent the current demise of healthcare throughout the country.”
|Mary Farmilant |
Room 1107: Columbus Hospital, Chicago
Farmilant worked at Columbus as a nurse for 14 years before obtaining her MFA in 2005 from Columbia College, where she now teaches as a member of the adjunct faculty in the Photography Department. “Hospital” also includes an audio component, as well as a limited edition artist’s book that Farmilant produced during her 2006 residency at Columbia’s Center for Book and Paper Arts. More information about Farmilant and her work is available at: www.maryfarmilant.com.
These exhibitions are the latest in the Museum’s “Anatomy in the Gallery” series, which has showcased medically themed contemporary art in quarterly paired exhibitions since 1998. The Museum exhibits this artwork along with thousands of historical artifacts from its permanent collection, including surgical instruments as well as a number of paintings, drawings, and sculptures, in accordance with its mission: to enrich the lives of its visitors by enhancing their appreciation and understanding of medicine.
This project is partially sponsored by a CityArts Program 2 grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.