Curatorial Projects > Because the Night

Exhibition curated by Sabina Ott
October 19 - November 13, 2009
Featured Artists: Pat Badani, Jordan Biren, Stephanie Brooks, Kristin Calabrese, Dana Duff, Catherine Forster / LiveBox, Pamela Fraser, Matthew Girson, Michelle Grabner, Terence Hannum, Candice Lin, David Orsnick, Mary Anna Pomonis, Alison Ruttan, Scott Stack, Goody B. Wiseman

*Because the Night
Curated by Sabina Ott

Curator's musings*

Night is the space of pure potential and chance. A space of the sublime, feeling, pulsing, other side of light. A country of dreams and nightmares, the people who come out at night; tweakers, homeless, soldiers, hustlers, gamers and artists, breathe. Night concentrates the light and where night is, day is not. Infinite. If day is the space of work, convention and obligation, night is liberaton. Is night a space or is it time? 16 artists have cast the night as the protaganist in this story, each illuminating a different corner of the night. As elusive as the night is, so are these works. I’ve asked each artist to provide a text that somehow expresses their notion of the night. And yet, as Bataille writes in his essay on Chance:

“There’s no explanation and the mystery has no key. There’s nothing conceivable outside “appearance” and the desire to escape appearance ends up switching appearances we’re in no way closer to the truth that isn’t. Outside appearance, there’s nothing. Or outside appearance, there’s night. And in the night there’s only the night. If at night there was anything that could be expressed by using language, there would be night all the same. Being itself can be reduced to appearance or doesn’t exist. Being is
the absence that appearances conceal. Night is richer, as a representation, than being is. Chance comes from night, returns to night-it is both daughter and mother of night. Night doesn’t exist, and neither does chance. Chance, since it is what isn’t reduces being to the deposing of chance (chance, now removed from the game searches for substance). Being, Hegel says, is the most impoverished notion. Chance, I say, is the richest. Chance, by which being is destroyed in its beyond.”

Each artist chose a text that embodied their notion of "night".

Pat Badani

Pat Badani is an Argentinean- Canadian artist, writer and educator. She relocated to the Chicago, IL after a decade-long residence in Paris, France. She earned a BFA from the University of Alberta in Canada, and an MFA from the School of The Art Institute of Chicago. Her projects have been shown in international new media festivals and symposia, as well as in museums, contemporary art centers and galleries in Canada, the USA, Europe and Latin America. Badani’s articles and essays on new media appear in publications in both English and Spanish. She has received 19 awards and commissions, and her works have been subject in monographs and cited in books, magazines and journals in several countries.

“Gettin’ stress, makin’ excess mess in darkness…
Insomnia, please, release me and let me dream…
I can’t get no sleep, I can’t get no sleep
I need to sleep, I can’t get no sleep
I need to sleep, I can’t get no sleep”
Faithless: “Insomnia” from the album Reverence

Jordan Biren

Jordan Biren is a visual artist whose works in performance, video, image, and text reside at the intersection of melancholy and meaning as it migrates beneath the illusory promise of narrative. Screenings and exhibitions include: Automata at the Velaslavasay Panorama; Los Angeles Film Forum; Museum of Jurassic Technology; Machine Project; Echo Park Film Center; Fringe Exhibitions; Pacific Film Archive; Aurora Picture Show; Stuttgarter Filmwinter; Cinematexas; Dallas Video Festival; San Francisco Cinemateque; and Chicago Underground Film

"The image is intimate. For it makes of our intimacy an exterior
power which we suffer passively. Outside of us, in the ebb of
the world which it causes, there trails, like glistening debris,
the utmost depth of our passions"
Maurice Blanchot, from "The Space of Literature"

Stephanie Brooks

Stephanie Brooks received her MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her BFA from Ohio University. She is represented by Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago and the Peter Blum Gallery, New York. Her exhibitions include The Museum oContemporary Art, Chicago; The Hyde Park Art Center; Chicago Cultural Center; Rotunda, Brooklyn; New Center for Contemporary Art, Louisville, KY; Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, Indianapolis, IN; Gallery 400, Chicago, IL; with international exhibitions in Berlin, Denmark, London, and Vienna. Her work has been commissioned by the City of Chicago, the City of Phoenix, AZ, and the University of Arizona. She is in the collection of the Whitney Museum, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Microsoft, and Phillip Morris/Altria.

“The comets Have such a space to cross, Such coldness,
forgetfulness. So your gestures flake off ---- Warm and human,
then their pink light Bleeding and peeling Through the black
amnesias of heaven.”

Excerpt from Syliva Plath, “The Night Dances”
from The Collected Poems

Kristen Calabrese

Kristin Calabrese received a BFA in painting from the San Francisco Art Institute, participated in the New York Studio Program and received her MFA in painting and drawing from UCLA. She has had numerous solo exhibitions in the United States and
Europe and her work has been included in exhibitions at the Seattle Art Museum, WA, The Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA, and the San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA and is in prestigious collections such as the Neuberger Berman Collection and Saatchi+Saatchi. She is represented in Los Angeles by Gagosian Gallery.

“It always starts to happen when the sun goes down:
some crazy shit, crazy shit...”
Minuteman in the Showtime show Weeds, season 4, episode 7

Dana Duff

Dana Duff is Professor of Fine Art at Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles,
CA. She received her BFA at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Cranbrook, MI and her
MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA. Her solo exhibits include Max Protetch, N.Y.; Richard Kuhlenschmidt, L.A.; Milford Gallery, N.Y.
Her group exhibitions include The Renaissance Society, Chicago, IL; The
New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, NY; Whitney Museum, New York,
NY; Long Beach Museum, Long Beach, CA. Her film screenings include: “Sneeze
80 x 80” Athens; Pont-Aven, France; Centre Multimedia, Mexico City; Museum of Jurassic Technology, Los Angeles; International Film Festival Rotterdam; Biennale de l’Image en Mouvement, Geneva. She has received residencies at the Foundation Kaus Australis, Rotterdam and the American Academy in Rome.

“Night, when words fade and things come alive.”

Antoine De Saint-Exupéry from Flight To Arras

Pamela Fraser

Pamela Fraser received her BFA in painting from the School of Visual Arts in New York
and her MFA in new genres from UCLA. She has exhibited nationally and internationally
and is represented by Casey Kaplan Gallery in New York. Ms. Fraser’s solo exhibitions include Galerie Schmidt Maczollek in Cologne, Galleria Il Capricorno in Venice, Asprey Jacques in London, Vedanta Gallery in Chicago, and Casey Kaplan in New York. Select two-person and group exhibitions include galleries and institutions such as GAD Gallery in Oslo, The Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, Shipper and Krome and Podewil Centre in Berlin, Wurttembergischer Kunstverein in Stuttgart, Stadtische Ausstellungshalle am Hawerkamp in Munster, and Dundee Center of Contemporary Art in Scotland.

“Lately I’ve been rereading psychology books, and I have felt
singularly defrauded. All of them discuss the mechanisms of
dreams or the subjects of dreams, but they do not mention, as
I had hoped, that which is so astonishing, so strange — the
fact of dreaming…”

Jorge Luis Borges from Seven Nights

Michelle Grabner

Michelle Grabner is an artist and writer living and working in Oak Park, IL.
Her writing has been published in Artforum, Modern Painters,
Frieze, Cotemporary, X-tra, Art Press, Teme Celeste among others
and is she is a corresponding editor for X-tra and ArtUS. A Professor and Chair of Painting and Drawing at The School of the Art Institute, Chicago, IL, she has also taught at The University of Wisconsin- Madison, Cranbrook Academy of Art, and the Yale Norfolk Program. Grabner is also the founder and director of The Suburban, an artist-run project space in Oak Park, Illinois. She has exhibited her work at Musée
d´art Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg; Stadtgalerie, Keil; Kunsthalle, Bern; Daimler Contemporary, Berlin; Midway, Minneapolis; Rocket, London; INOVA, Milwaukee, among many other national and international venues. She is represented by Shane Campbell Gallery in Chicago, IL and Rocket Gallery, London, UK.

"The moon is the mother of pathos and pity.
When, at the wearier end of november,
Her old light moves along the branches,
Feebly, slowly, depending upon them;
When the body of Jesus hangs in a pallor,
Humanly near, and the figure of Mary,
Touched on by hoar-frost, shrinks in a shelter
Made by the leaves, that have rotted and fallen;
When over the houses, a golden illusion
Brings back an earlier season of quiet
And quieting dreams in the sleepers in darkness—
The moon is the mother of pathos and pity."

Wallace Stevens: “Lunar Paraphrase” from the book of poems "Harmonium"

Matthew Girson

Matthew Girson has exhibited his work nationally and internationally. Recent
paintings have dealt with themes of darkness, silence and absence. Other recent
projects include a personalized typeface called Central Scotoma, a signature perfume
called blanc (a scent in ab•scent•ia by Matthew Girson), and an audio project
that will eventually last for 100 years called The Sleep (of Reason Produces Monsters, I
Think), 2007/2037. He is Professor of Art at DePaul University, Chicago, IL.

“The sunshine bores the daylights out of me”
The Rolling Stones: Rocks Off, from the album Exile on Main Street

Candice Lin

Candice Lin received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and her BA
from Brown University. Lin’s work has been exhibited at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, the New York Underground Film Festival, Lisa Dent Gallery San Francisco, CA, Milliken Gallery, Stockholm, Valenzuela Y Klenner Arte Contemporaneo Bogota, and Kino Lab at the Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw. In 2004, Lin was awarded an artist residency at CESTA (Czech Republic) and is currently a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow. She is represented by Chung King Projects, Los Angeles, CA.

“Plato used the metaphor of the prisoners in the cave who took
their shadows to be real…For Plato the world of appearance
is confused and shadowy and the world of ideas is bright.
[André Breton’s] problem was to go behind the screen of
realist control and release the imagination…he also reversed
Plato’s pattern of light and shade…Revelation comes with
dreams in the night, by means of nonsense, disjunction, total
relaxation of control.”
Mary Douglas, from Implicit Meanings: Essays in Anthropology

Terence Hannum

Terence Hannum received his MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and his BA in Religion/ Philosophy and in Studio Art from Florida Southern College, Lakeland,
FL. He has exhibited in both group and solo shows from the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, to the Fodazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turino, Italy, Light & Sie, Dallas, TX and Lothringer-Dreizehn, Munich, Germany. His bibliography includes Time Out Chicago and Art on Paper, amongst many more, while his publications include Bridge Magazine Online and F News, among others.

“Like the tide, shadows flow towards the shore of light
The night comes whirling like a maelstrom
Warring waves of crackling clouds
Embrace this nightside landscape
The heavens bleed, through open wounds, the dim light of the

Emperor, “The Majesty of the Nightsky”
from the album In The Nightside Eclipse

David Oresick

David Oresick sets scenes and tells stories by combining and editing videos and photographs found on the Internet. His work focuses on the ways people record their
lives, beliefs, and experiences with social networking technology. Recipient of the prestigious Albert P. Weisman Award, Oresick was born in Pittsburgh, PA, received
his BFA from Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY and currently lives
and works in Chicago, IL. He will complete his MFA from Columbia College Chicago
in May 2010.

“Have you had any other dreams?
Of course.
Tell us about them.
I don’t want to talk about it.
Dreams? Dreams are good.
Not all of them.”

Transcription from a YouTube video of a soldier talking with his
friends while home on leave.

LiveBox /Catherine Forster
See LiveBox Video Program for list of artists in this portion of the exhibition.

Catherine Forster is a filmmaker, artist, curator and educator based in the Chicago area. She received an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her artwork has been shown in exhibitions at the Carnegie Art Museum,
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum Chicago, South Bend Regional Art Museum, Flint Institute of Art, Orange County Contemporary Art Center, Exit Art (NY), Hyde Park Art Center Chicago, and the Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius, Lithuania, to name a few. Films by Forster have been screened at the Sao Paulo International Short Film Festival, Echo Park Film Center, Magmart Film Festival Casoria International Contemporary Art Museum (Italy), Directors Lounge (Berlin), and San Diego International Women’s Film Festival.

“I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain -- and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.
I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.”

Excerpt from Robert Frost: “Acquainted With the Night”, from the
book of poems West - Running Brook

Mary Ann Pomonis

Mary Ann Pomonis is an artist and a writer living in Los Angeles who
received her MFA from Washington University in St. Louis, MO and has
written for many publications such as Art US, THE, Artweek and White Hot.
Additionally her curatorial projects and essays have been featured at
commercial and college art galleries such as The Whittier College Greenleaf Gallery, Peter Miller Gallery and Circus Gallery. Pomonis is also well known as an exhibiting artist who has shown at galleries and institutions including Los Angeles Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA, Post and Circus Galleries, Los Angeles, CA; the Krannert Art Museum, Champain-Urbana, IL; the Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA and I space Gallery, Chicago, IL.

We were locked in this kitchen
I took to religion
And I wondered how long she would stay
I needed so much
To have nothing to touch
I’ve always been greedy that way"

Leonard Cohen, excerpt of lyrics from “Night Comes On”
from the album Various Positions

Allison Ruttan

Alison Ruttan lives in Oak Park, IL, is faculty at the School of the Art Institute
of Chicago and is represented by Monique Miloche Gallery in Chicago, IL. She received her BFA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI and her MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL. She has exhibited her photographs and videos in such venues as Gallery Wit, Wageningen, Netherlands; Gallery TPW, Toronto, Canada; Sweeney Art Gallery, University of California, Riverside, Riverside, CA;
the Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL; the Morgan Lehman Gallery, NYC, NY; the Life Bomb Gallery, Berlin, Germany and the Moscow International: Novaya Collecksiya, Moscow, USSR. She has received awards from the Wexner Center For the Arts, Art & Technology Residency, Ohio State University, the Illinois Arts Council, and the
Jerome Foundation Artist Fellowship.

“Below me the moonlight was reflected in the myriads of
leaves forming the upper canopy of the forest, glistening
brightly on the smooth shiny green of the palm fronds.
Somewhere down there a baboon barked twice and then was
silent. Behind me the darkness of the forest was closer; it was
easy to imagine a leopard slinking through the trees, a herd of
buffalo browsing the dank undergrowth.”

Jane Goodall, from In the Shadow of Man

Goody-B. Wiseman

Goody-B. Wiseman received an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and a BFA
from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
She has had solo exhibitions at Mandarin Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, Second Gallery,
Boston, MA, Bonelli Contemporary, Los Angeles, CA, The New Brunswick Museum, St. John, NB, among other places, and has been included in museum exhibitions at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, Spain, the Pompidou Center, Paris, France and the Orange Country Museum of Art in Newport Beach, CA. Her group exhibitions have
included shows at Bonelli Contemporary, Los Angeles, CA; Katharine Mullherin Contemporary Art Exhibitions, Toronto, Canada; Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (L.A.C.E.); Angstrom Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Participant, INC, New York, NY and John Connelly Presents, New York, NY.

“Eurydice is the limit of what art can attain: concealed
behind a name and covered by a veil, she is the
profoundly dark point towards which art, desire, death
and the night all seem to lead. She is the instant in which
the essence of night approaches as the other night.”
The Gaze of Orpheus, Maurice Blanchot

Scott Stack

Scott Stack lives and works in Oak Park, Illinois and received his painting degree from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He has had solo exhibitions at White Columns NY, Chicago Cultural Center, and Thomas Barry Fine Arts in Minneapolis. Group exhibitions include the Drawing Center NY, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Hyde Park Art Center Chicago, and most recently at the Gahlberg Gallery. Stack has been the recipient of an Illinois State Arts Board Grant, Ragdale Artist Residency, McNight
Foundation Fellowship, and Jerome Foundation Fellowship. He is represented by Monique Miloche Gallery in Chicago, IL.

"The whole night was like that.
Spaces and shadows,
the turning of time and the earth:
something flooding and flowing
and falling away"

Pablo Neruda: excerpt from the poem “Ode to a Watch in the Night”

One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866

text from the catalog published by Guggenheim Gallery, College of Performing Arts
Chapman University
One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866