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Art Fri Oct 11 2013

"Everything is Practice" Opens at Fulton Street Collective

EverythingIsPracticeKF.jpg

It looks like police tape. It's wrapped around the bannisters and plastered to the steps on the way up to the Fulton Street Collective gallery space. It runs long and yellow, the words "Everything is Practice" repeating over and over across its surface. Kyle Fletcher and Steve Juras, the artist curators of the exhibit, look at one another sheepishly.

"The curators aren't supposed to provide any art for the exhibit," Fletcher says. "But we thought it was interesting as a design element. Is it part of the show? Is it not?"

If anything, the yellow tape leading up to the space tells us that we're entering an ongoing investigation, a purposeful look into the forensics of the creative process. "Everything is Practice" explores the repetitive gestures, motions, and thoughts that bring works of art into existence.

As Fletcher and Juras take me on a tour of the pieces hanging around the gallery, the Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble rehearses in the middle of the room. The added punch of their performance transforms a simple gallery opening into an interactive experience.

"The exhibit is arresting," Juras explains in a whisper as we step around the performers. "It's stimulating. It's a call to be present in the moment, which is in itself a practice. We wanted to create a space where all of those practices could intersect."

As for the pieces on the walls, draped over chairs and dangling from the ceiling, they are as eccentric and various as the performance happening in the middle of the room, united by a simple fact: dedication to obsessive detail, dedication to the practice of innate skill. One of Fletcher's earlier remarks -- that Juras and himself had sought out artists with a "masochistic work ethic" -- had only been a half-joke.

There is a stack of Post-Its painstakingly reimagined with colorful graphics by Zach Hobbs. On another wall, Jonathan Armstrong's geometric quilts boast stitches so precise you'd quickly dismiss them as the work of a machine, except they're not -- each stitch was made by hand. James Warfield's architectural sketches speak of a painstaking attachment to rulers and a remarkable memory of spaces visited long ago. And more, all away around the room.

Fletcher and Juras could not have curated a more appropriate exhibit for Chicago Artists Month. Not only does it unveil the patience, precision and persistence of the creative process in general, but it also showcases works by artists for whom both first drafts and gallery pieces share equal weight, for whom everything is indeed practice.

"Everything is Practice" will be open to the public Friday, October 11th and Saturday, October 12th at 7 PM at Fulton Street Collective (2000 W. Fulton Street).

Image by Kyle Fletcher

 
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