09.08 — 10.12.19
Describing the full dimension of the work of Chicago artist, musician and performer Melina Ausikaitis is both a delight and challenge. This is an artist who incorporates so many interchanging and overlapping dimensions that it’s as if she’s created her very own genre. Object making derived from found and self-produced material, diaristic installations, and performances that fall comfortably within and often fully outside of what we consider familiar musical classifications. Melina is an artist, a dedicated musician and lyricist, a skilled seamstress, a spoken word performer, curator and playful image- and object-maker. It’s exactly the depth and richness of her practice that makes the work of this mercurial artist so compelling and has us very excited to open our fall season with her event.
For EVERYDAY EVERYDAY, Ausikaitis will bring her studio to the gallery to create a working environment and showcase that celebrates her process and most recent obsessions. We’ll see a series of wearable sculptures made from found materials and textiles that have been collected, hand-dyed — or otherwise altered — assembled and then displayed on custom manikin stands. During the show, she will be in the gallery periodically to finish new works while transforming others. The pieces for the installation take on the same characteristics found in all of her work. Talismanic and inhabiting the full history and personality of previously owned, closely held and lovingly used items, this is the apparel we need for the current state of our society and culture. At times roughly assembled and discomfiting, they still reflect the deep care and sensitivity of their imaginative maker. These are works whose stories are told through style — fancy shirts, chore jackets, lab coats, long winter parkas — and through the improvisational imagery and text applied to the material. Assembly and disassembly also factor into the deeply resonant way we understand and desire these objects. Ultimately, the final form of any one piece may belie expected or intended use; embellishments work counter to any notion of adornment. Wearing any of Melina Ausikaitis’ pieces will change you, and make you the most interesting person in the room. This is attire that declares, disguises and enchants all at once.
Melina Ausikaitis is a multidisciplinary artist and musician in Chicago. She has exhibited and performed all over the country and traveled the world playing in her band Joan of Arc. She is as much an inventor as an artist, and as much a librarian as a songwriter.
Ausikaitis writes with a self-consciously autobiographical naiveté and an attention to poetic detail too specific for fiction. (She) recall(s) the events of her childhood in the random-seeming pattern of memory that’s organized by places and aberrations rather than linear time; one’s life story is not cataloged back-to-front like a history book, but by some other, more arcane organic index. ___a sincere, sensitive attempt to get at the particular and peculiarly alien quality of childhood is such an uncommon thing. Ausikaitis’s work is an empathetic gesture, allowing listeners to substitute her words of self-discovery on behalf of their own half-buried formative memories. (Joan of Arc’s 1984 Is an Odd Gem in a Catalog Full of Them Spin Magazine, Anna Gaca, June 28, 2018)
This exhibition is produced in cooperation with Regards, Chicago