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TODAY

Monday, February 18

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Airbags

Kristen Neveu's mixed media collage sculptures, which layer photography with found materials to project a sense of possibility in the abandoned and thus "reminiscent of shadowed memorials," are ongoing features at both Hazel boutique locations (in Ravenswood and in the newly opened Little Italy location) and at the Illinois Artisans Shop, a unique shop within the James R. Thompson Center that showcases one of the most diverse collections of handcrafted work in the Midwest. Last February her work traveled to Houston with the Pilsen area gallery Polvo to be part of a show at Commerce Street Artist Warehouse. Like an artistic anthropologist (she studied anthropology at the University of Iowa), Neveu searches demolition sites, alleys and thrift stores to salvage wood, glass, and fabric to utilize in her work. Visit www.kristenNeveu.com to keep up with her future exhibitions.

Q: Your artist's statement reads in part: "I'm addressing the fleeting feelings of isolation and comfort that can result in periods of change and stasis." When you come across an object lying on the ground, how exactly do you come to the conclusion that this object meets the criterion of your vision?

Neveu: When I find an object I might utilize, I can't tell if it will end up in my art or not. I'm usually drawn to it though, so I'll either collect it (if it's wood or something) or I'll take a picture of it. My newer works are mixed media collages on canvas, with the main focus being small strips of photos that I slice up into fragments. The photography functions as the new replacement for the found objects in my older sculptural work, but it serves the same purpose of trying to catch something fleeting by taking a picture to have a record of it.

Q:When it comes to your collages do you tell a work you're done with it, or does your work say when it's finished with you?

Neveu: I usually know when the collage is done and call it quits, but at times I'll go back to a collage after a few months of thinking it is done and add more depth or texture to it.

Q: With your interest in examining the passing of time, your collages certainly do possess both a degenerative and a regenerative quality to their visual impact. How do you view the passing of time? Which one of the two ultimately wins out in this unavoidable movement, regeneration or degeneration?

Neveu: Regeneration wins. You can only grow stronger by learning more as time moves forward, whether it's from past mistakes or achievements, or people you've met or lost. In this way, my work is nostalgic but it also has some darkness to it. I'm reconstructing from deconstructing.

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About the Author(s)

John Hospodka is a life-long Chicagoan, and today lives with his wife in Bridgeport. He does not profess to be an expert in anything; he's just a big fan of the arts and is eager to make more sense of them. Direct comments or suggestions for interviews to tqf@gapersblock.com.

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