Unfurl

12.11.11 – 01.21.12

For most of his professional career, Chicago artist Scott Fortino has been using photography to identify and scrutinize the institutional contexts within which cultural and social authority are defined. The context is often a very real space: typically familiar and public, sometimes restricted to only those with access. Fortino uses his highly tuned sense of composition and a formal acuity to reveal secrets about these public and private spaces. He opens the doors, leads you into private chambers; he turns on the lights and shows you a history ground into its surfaces. He encourages the viewer to fully occupy these environments, to experience a sensory dimension that often reveals much more than expected.

As a veteran of the Chicago Police Department, Fortino always had privileged access to sectors of society that most of us do not. He recognized first-hand how a space might be used to impart an immediate and sometimes visceral psychological imprint on anyone unfortunate enough to find themself inside. His work might locate familiar interstitial zones–foyers, hallways, corners, scarred walls, stained floors, small patches of ground, random trees–the spaces that lead us in or out of the main theaters of experience. At the same time he will expose sites that are simply evocative and poetic: framed interiors celebrating the possibilities of architecture to open our minds and hearts. On occasion, Fortino has taken his camera to locations far removed from the familiar territories of urban structures. Photographs of the lakefront, micro-views of flowers and even stark landscapes of Iceland contradict the psychology so prevalent in his institutional work. But the obvious beauty can be as oppressive as a small airless room in one of his interiors. These photographs seem almost too perfect; appearing strategically constructed with a hint of artifice, even though they’re purely documentary.

We’re very pleased to present Unfurl, Scott Fortino’s most recent project. A series of photographs reveals a new studio-based practice with a sentient inquiry into artifacts loosely associated with his previous work. The unfurling here is a refreshing opening-up that one senses as both emotional and expressive; newly defined concerns are registered through material means deliberately arranged in the space of his studio. We’re brought in much closer to the subject now. Bolts of camouflage fabric hang in front of the lens to create a scrim that suggests, but obscures, a landscape beyond. Like his previous work, we find resonant levels here; the camouflage functions as an optical deception intended to cover and deflect, while it invites the viewer into the comfort of its folds and the mystery of the imprinted foliage. Fortino says that this body of work evolved out of a need to find new ways to process big landscape themes. Camouflage, created for military advantage, becomes an appropriate carrier to bring forth new questions about contemporary culture and society.

Scott Fortino developed his approach to photography out of experiences directly related to his position as a Chicago police officer. This work led to the publication of his important 2006 book, Institutional. He received his MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a BA from Columbia College Chicago. He has had solo exhibitions in Chicago at the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Contemporary Photography. His work is in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, Milwaukee Art Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Photography, and numerous public and private collections. He lives and works in Chicago.

  • Scott Fortino

    Boat (2011)

    archival pigment print, 52 × 40 inches

    sold

  • Scott Fortino

    Unfurl (2011)

    installation view

  • Scott Fortino

    Benefactor (2011)

    archival pigment print, 52 × 40 inches

    sold

  • Scott Fortino

    Unfurl (2011)

    installation view

  • Scott Fortino

    Unfurl (2011)

    installation view

  • Scott Fortino

    Barracks (2011)

    archival pigment print, 40 × 52 inches

  • Unfurl

    Unfurl (2011)

    installation view

  • Scott Fortino

    Untitled (2011)

    From the series Unfurl

    archival pigment print, 24 × 20 inches

  • Scott Fortino

    Untitled (2011)

    From the series Unfurl

    archival pigment print, 24 × 20 inches

  • Scott Fortino

    Untitled (2011)

    From the series Unfurl

    archival pigment print, 24 × 20 inches

  • Scott Fortino

    Untitled (2011)

    From the series Unfurl

    archival pigment print, 24 × 20 inches

  • Scott Fortino

    Untitled (2011)

    From the series Unfurl

    archival pigment print, 24 × 20 inches

  • Scott Fortino

    Untitled (2011)

    From the series Unfurl

    archival pigment print, 24 × 20 inches

  • Scott Fortino

    Untitled (2011)

    From the series Unfurl

    archival pigment print, 24 × 20 inches

  • Scott Fortino

    Untitled (2011)

    From the series Unfurl

    archival pigment print, 24 × 20 inches

  • Scott Fortino

    Untitled (2011)

    From the series Unfurl

    archival pigment print, 24 × 20 inches

  • Scott Fortino

    Bandstand (2011)

    archival pigment print, 11 × 14 inches

Current

Sean Sullivan

Sunset, Saudade Station

02.19.17 – 03.26.17

offspace

Paul Erschen

Cloven

02.19.17 – 02.25.17

Archive

Peggy Casey

Gun Shadows

01.08.17 – 02.11.17

Matt Phillips

Yard Sale

10.30.16 – 12.17.16

offspace

Steve Reber

copy, fax… cut and paste

10.30.16 – 12.17.16

offspace

Allison Wade

Know Better

08.28.16 – 10.15.16

Alain Biltereyst

Not Just Because

08.28.16 – 10.15.16

Christine Tarkowski

Chthonic Void

04.03.16 – 05.14.16

Mike Andrews

The Friends and Family Plan

02.21.16 – 03.26.16

offspace

Conrad Bakker

Untitled Project: Still Life / Style Leaf

02.21.16 – 03.26.16

offspace

Turquoise Sunset

01.10.16 – 02.13.16

Scott Wolniak

To Break is to Build

01.10.16 – 02.13.16

offspace

Amy Yoes

Structurals and Sightlines

11.01.15 – 12.12.15

Christopher Michlig

To Everyone

11.01.15 – 12.12.15

Bradley Biancardi, Austin Eddy, Annie Hémond Hotte, Shara Hughes and Tracy Thomason

08.30.15 – 10.17.15

offspace

Steven Husby

myotherisanother

04.26.15 – 06.13.15

Jessie Mott

What Creature Deserves Such Devotion

04.26.15 – 06.13.15

Cody Tumblin

Tell Tale

03.15.15 – 04.18.15

offspace

Angharad Davies

You Know That As Radiant

03.15.15 – 04.18.15

Leslie Baum + Allison Wade

01.31.15 – 03.07.15

Katy Cowan + Michael Milano

work : work

12.14.14 – 01.25.15

offspace

Monika Bartholomé

Night Walk

10.26.14 – 12.06.14

Aron Gent

Pure Pictures, Perfect Prints

10.26.14 – 12.06.14

offspace

Aaron Carpenter + Philip von Zweck

Cartoons + C.A.B.S.

09.07.14 – 10.18.14

Franziska Holstein

Works on Paper

09.07.14 – 10.18.14

Seth Hunter

held/crushed

07.20.14 – 07.20.14

Mistakes Have Hidden Intention

05.25.14 – 06.28.14

Gerd Borkelmann

Different Every Day

03.09.14 – 04.12.14

offspace

Mike Rea

Exile on Main Street

03.09.14 – 04.12.14

offspace

Felix Malnig

Fringe Area

01.26.14 – 03.01.14

Craig Yu

Phantom Limb

01.26.14 – 03.01.14

Peter Fagundo

Model Questions for the Sun, the See and Other Things…

12.15.13 – 01.18.14

offspace

Sofia Leiby

The Drama of Leisure

12.15.13 – 01.18.14

Nathaniel Robinson

The Sensible Range

10.20.13 – 12.07.13

offspace

Alain Biltereyst

09.08.13 – 10.12.13

Sterling Lawrence

If I Plucked You from the Sea

09.08.13 – 10.12.13

Matt Rich

Razors & Vapors

04.28.13 – 06.08.13

offspace

Vincent Hawkins

Flying Suit

03.17.13 – 04.20.13

Nancy Ford

Land Loping

03.17.13 – 04.20.13

Rainer Spangl

UUUUU

02.03.13 – 03.09.13

offspace

Shit is Real

new editions by Chicago artists

02.03.13 – 03.09.13

offspace

Nick Ostoff

Tracing

12.16.12 – 01.26.13

Allison Wade

The Rest of the More

12.16.12 – 01.26.13

offspace

Julia Hechtman

10.14.12 – 12.08.12

Christopher Michlig

10.14.12 – 12.08.12

offspace

Michael Pfisterer

08.26.12 – 10.06.12

Gary Stephan

08.26.12 – 10.06.12

06.10.12 – 07.21.12

Jin Lee

04.22.12 – 06.02.12

offspace

Dorothee Joachim + Richard Roth

04.22.12 – 06.02.12

I Surrender

03.11.12 – 04.14.12

offspace

Alexander Valentine

01.29.12 – 03.03.12

Joshua Abelow

Songs from a Room

01.29.12 – 03.03.12

Mark Booth

The Sea is Represented by an Irregular Shape

12.11.11 – 01.21.12

offspace

Scott Fortino

Unfurl

12.11.11 – 01.21.12

offspace

Andreas Karl Schulze

10.16.11 – 12.03.11

Evidence of the Material World

10.16.11 – 12.03.11

offspace

Sound & Vision

08.28.11 – 10.08.11

Volker Saul

Rough Cuts

08.28.11 – 10.08.11

Leslie Baum

The eyes have it or how to win a staring contest with a monster

05.22.11 – 07.02.11

offspace

Works on Paper

05.22.11 – 07.02.11

offspace

MultipleMix

01.30.11 – 03.19.11

Andreas Fischer + Melissa Pokorny

Kabinett 5

01.30.11 – 03.19.11

Britta Bogers, Mark Holmes, Jered Sprecher

Kabinett 4

12.05.10 – 01.22.11

Dana DeGiulio, Marie T Hermann, Anders Ruhwald

Kabinett 3

10.24.10 – 11.27.10

Richard Rezac + Gary Stephan

Kabinett 1 + 2

08.29.10 – 10.16.10

Paul Cowan + Matt Stolle

Causality without Cause

07.18.10 – 08.15.10

offspace

Wheatstone Stereoscope

07.18.10 – 08.15.10

Skies in Between

05.23.10 – 07.08.10

offspace

Berlin Drawings

05.23.10 – 07.08.10

offspace

Visceral Geometries

04.11.10 – 05.18.10

Nathaniel Robinson

de facto

04.11.10 – 05.18.10

Peter Otto

The Lodger

03.07.10 – 04.09.10

offspace

Heiner Blumenthal

A Hand-off Between

01.31.10 – 03.01.10

Rodney Carswell

hither and yon (little prisons)

01.31.10 – 03.01.10

Home Wreckage

Subversive Musings on Domestic Ideals

12.06.09 – 01.24.10

offspace

Time, Trauma, Drama and Rhyme

12.06.09 – 01.24.10

Dagmar Varady

Redden

10.18.09 – 12.01.09