A soft place to land
Mueller Family Gallery, Cohen Family Gallery
Jul 7-Dec 31, 2023
A soft place to land highlights artists who use textiles to unpack personal histories and reveal how fiber arts materially and metaphorically connect stories to broader socio-cultural narratives. The exhibition focuses on textiles’ ability to embody collective and individual memories. Presented artists elevate mundane or ubiquitous objects into tangible, fibrous expressions of the moments and traditions that have shaped them. The artists, coming from multi-generational backgrounds and at various points in their careers, create a conversation about resilience, homesickness, connectivity, and care for themselves, one another, and the audiences experiencing their works. The artworks in A soft place to land showcase the influence of place and placemaking on one’s identity, confront trauma associated with upbringing, and celebrate materiality as an essential tool in self-discovery.
Pia Camil, Cass Davis, Alexandra Kehayoglou, Kaveri Raina, Na Chainkua Reindorf, Liang Shaoji
About the Artists
Cass Davis (b. 1986, Illinois) is a Chicago-based artist with an MFA in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2017). Their solo shows include Out of Time at Engage Projects, Revelations at University of Southern Indiana, HEARTLAND at G-CADD St. Louis, No Body on Earth But Yours with the Chicago Underground Film Festival, and Of Roses and Jessamine at SITE gallery, Chicago. Davis has shown in group exhibitions and screenings at the Design Museum Chicago, IL, Bemis Center in Omaha, NE, York St. John University, UK, Tile Blush in Miami, FL, The Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, The American Medium in NYC, UIS Visual Arts Gallery, Springfield, IL, Terrain Biennial Oak Park and Springfield, IL, Mana Contemporary Chicago, Chicago Artists Coalition, 062 Gallery, Sullivan Galleries, and the Mary Elizabeth Dee Shaw Gallery, Utah.
Alexandra Kehayoglou; Photo: Francisco Nocitois
Alexandra Kehayoglou (b. 1981) is an Argentinian and Greek visual artist who works primarily with textile materials. She produces works combining textiles, sculpture and installation. Alexandra’s repertoire includes memories of various native and endangered landscapes that the artist has visited and desires to preserve over time. Her renowned pastizales (grasslands), fields, and shelter tapestries exhibit sublime realities which the viewer can contemplate or utilize. In 2014, Kehayoglou created a major collaboration with Belgian designer Dries Van Noten. She developed a carpet of fifty meters long inspired by John Everett Millais’ Ophelia. In 2016, Kehayoglou presented the No Longer Creek at Design Miami/Basel, decrying the decimation of the Raggio creek in Buenos Aires. In October 2016, the work Repoussoir for a New Perspective was exhibited at the Onassis Foundation, New York, as part of the festival Antigone Now. At the end of 2017, The Triennial of The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, included Kehayoglou’s work Santa Cruz River. The work is an interactive installation part of an extensive research project about the future damming of the Santa Cruz River in the Argentinian Patagonia.
Kaveri Raina; Photo: Zhiyuan Yang
Kaveri Raina (b. 1990; Delhi, India) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She received her BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2011, her MFA in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2016. She attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2017. Raina has received various awards and fellowships including the James Nelson Raymond fellowship and the Fred and Joanna Lazarus Scholarship, and she was recently nominated for the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors grant. Raina’s work has been exhibited in the US, India and Europe.
Na Chainkua Reindorf (b. 1991, Ghana) is a mixed media artist and mythmaker. Her work, which ranges from large-scale tapestries and paintings to immersive sculptural installations, is an exploration of and an ode to the rich cultural history of West African textiles, focusing largely on the complexities and visual culture surrounding masquerades and ceremonial costumes. She incorporates contemporary materials into her work, using these historical textiles and costumes as inspiration to investigate ongoing social topics centered on the politics of dress, identity and gender and their close relation to culture and tradition. Na Chainkua has exhibited internationally in institutions across the United States, France, Italy, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Nigeria, and Ghana, as well as in the Ghanaian Pavilion at the 2022 Venice Biennale.
Na Chainkua Reindorf
Liang Shaoji (b. 1945, Shanghai) studied soft sculpture from Maryn Varbanov at China Academy of Art. For more than thirty years, Liang has been indulged in the interdisciplinary creation in terms of art and biology, installation and sculpture, new media and textile. His Nature Series sees the life process of silkworms as a creation medium, the interaction in the natural world as his artistic language, time and life as the essential idea. His works are fulfilled with a sense of meditation, philosophy and poetry while illustrating the inherent beauty of silk. Selected exhibitions: Liang Shaoji: A Silky Entanglement, Power Station of Art, Shanghai (2021-2022); The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China (touring exhibition), Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Smart Museum of Art (Chicago), U.S.A. (2019-2020).