A lot of times when I am doing visual research technology, it is literally the lens that fleshy bits are being viewed through. It becomes like a mediator between the bio/entity and human comprehension of the form. I’m really interested in this translation to human scale via technology, and how in that translation the “thing” is inevitably transformed into something else completely. Tardigrades are a great example of this.Read More
LATITUDE is excited to present a new program initiative during the month of April: The Artist in Residence Education and Development program (AIR/ED). AIR/ED brings 2 artists into the lab to develop and produce their projects free of charge while receiving guidance, training, and support from staff and volunteers. Artists gain access to the LATITUDE community through their day-to-day interactions with their choice of either one studio visit with an outside curator or an educational lab training session.
This special residency lasts two weeks per artist during April, 2019. We are excited to present Shelby Stone and Loren Toney as our first AIR/ED residents! Please join us in celebrating these two photographers during a meet and greet cocktail hour on April 26 from 6pm-9pm at LATITUDE.
Shelby Stone is a visual artist whose current work investigates the liminal space between lived experiences, emotion, and ancestral knowledge to reinforce cultural histories, including her own. In her work, she meticulously pieces together expressions of intimacy, disclosures of vulnerability, natural landscapes and memory; ranging from the ancestral to the surreal. Through her practices in analog photography, collage, and sculpture, she sets forth in exploring the various Realms of Blackness, the materiality of self-preservation, compassion, intra/interpersonal relationships, the feminine, and multiplicities of the human condition as it relates to imagined and lived experiences. These elements and their juxtapositions to one another are an effort to evoke memories that are personal, shared, and yet to be discovered.
Q&A with Shelby Stone, interviewed by Noëlle Pouzar
Why do you find it valuable to create work? Why photography?
I find value in participating in activities that bring about joy and nurture curiosity; creating encourages both of those elements to flourish. Photography isn’t the only medium I work in, but it was the first that asked me to consider more intently what I was interested in creating and how I could either gain or relinquish control during the process, particularly as it pertains to image making in the context of analog photography. I like that I can be an active participant, a negotiator, a conjurer, and have the understanding that I may likely never be the master.
Do you see your work as autobiographical? Why or why not?
Yes, what I’ve become more closely identified with is the work I create as material evidence of self preservation. While it’s not necessarily the written word, the things I make are of me and have been imprinted upon by me and vice versa. Many of the images I tend to make are also self portraits, so in a way for now it can’t help but be autobiographical.
What will you be working on during your residency at LATITUDE?
During this residency I will be working to scan and archive 35mm negatives and color slide film, archiving a series of collaged slides and creating new negatives for alternative processing.
What are you currently reading, listening to or looking at to fuel your work?
I’ve been lassoed toward orchestra instrumentals featured in 1970’s soul and R&B songs. I’ve also been revisiting some older work of mine and reading record jackets and liner notes.
Loren Toney was born in 1997 in Chicago, Illinois. She was raised in the south suburbs of Chicago and received a BA from Columbia College Chicago as a Cinematography major and Photography minor. Her work has been displayed in Columbia College's Print Lab as well as Columbia College's Library for an installation entitled "The Americans Now". She was a recipient for the Trustee Award Scholarship for her photography portfolio in 2015.
Q&A with Loren Toney, interviewed by Noëlle Pouzar
Your work speaks as a narrative, but the individual photographs also express defined moments. How do these two ideas help create an overall series for you?
The purpose of my project Vignettes is to address my subjects as individuals to challenge the way society looks at marginalized groups of people. When discussing Black men, we sometimes gravitate towards stereotypes and statistics rather than real stories.
I chose very specific moments for this project to emphasize the idea that Black men exist outside of generalizations. My nephews, father and best friends are far more complex than that. This work consists of intimate stories that highlight these men in their essence, with me simply as a vessel for their truth. Their separate moments come together to work as a series by bringing the viewer into their spaces and allowing each and everyone of them to craft their own narrative. While they are connected by their blackness, they are separated by their experience.
As a Chicago native, how does the city influence your practice? Do you have any go-to places for inspiration?
Chicago has a big influence on my practices. I’m from the south suburbs of Chicago where there wasn't a lot of inspiration for art. In 2015, I moved to the city for college and it transformed who I am as an artist. There’s so many places that helped me get inspired here! A few of my favorites are The Art Institute, The Harold Washington Library, The Cultural Center, Museum of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Contemporary Photography.
What will you be working on during your residency at LATITUDE?
During my residency, I’ll be working on scanning text and film, as well as printing for my project Vignettes.
Do you have any recommendations for podcasts, books, movies, or articles we should check out?
The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas
The Glass Castle - Jeanette Walls
1984 - George Orwell
Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
Oh, the Places You’ll Go! - Dr. Seuss (I know this seems like a joke and it only partially is. It’s a
pretty relatable read as an adult!)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Tree of Life (2011)
LATITUDE is excited to welcome Isabelle Frances McGuire as its March Artist In Residence!
Isabelle Frances McGuire was born in Austin, Texas. They currently live and work out of Chicago, Illinois and graduated with a BFA from School of the Art Institute of Chicago. They recently completed a residency at Alternative Worksite, founded by Linda Burnham and supported by the Robert Overby Estate. Past solo exhibitions include, I’m a Cliché, Prairie, Chicago (2017). Selected group exhibitions include: At the End of the Game You Will Be Forgotten, Alyssa Davis Gallery, New York City (2018); Flat Earth Film Festival, Seyðisförður, Iceland (2018); Let Me Be an Object that Screams, Gallery 400, Chicago (2017)
McGuire’s Residency at LATITUDE is proudly supported by MOAB Paper.
Q&A of Isabelle Frances McGuire, interviewed by Noëlle Pouzar
You’ve mentioned creating a zine about the history of women artists in bio art. What adversities do you see women artists experiencing in this field?
My goals in making that zine would be to broaden the definition of bio art. One of the f***ed up things about bio art as a genre is that in most cases for a piece to be classified as bio art, it must tools that comes from a laboratory. Equipment for that kind of work is outrageously expensive, and can only be worked with the knowledge that is equally expensive to obtain in education. In my opinion, the term bio art should more broadly relate to the conceptual ideas of biotechnology and addressing concepts of the human/gender instead of directly needing to use materials that require an intense science background.
Everyone has access to biological material like bacteria, cells, and tissue and what is defined as science should never be contained to universities. Once you open up that idea and put fewer limitations on what it means to be making bio art, I think it lets other people put themselves into new contexts and new ways of thinking about making art. I wanted to do the same thing with the term women and broaden the definition, so more people feel comfortable identifying with individuals in this history. My intention is that women would mean more of the performance of femininity instead of directly relating to the body. It would include trans women, non-trans women and non-conforming people who perform she when they feel like it. Being able to look at a history book and see someone that resembles you or is interested in the same ideas as you is so important; It’s a really quick way to let people confidently participate in a conversation.
Another reason I wanted to make something like this was so that I could find people who were interested in similar things to me and I could form relationships with them. :)
The manipulation of materials feels essential to your practice. Walk us through your process of choosing items like dead dough, plastic, and sugar to craft your pieces.
All of my materials are from recipes I’ve found online. I’m interested in using food materials that have been extensively altered by human hands and ideas. I really like that relationship. It directly references the blurred border between the human and the world and kind of annihilates that imaginary line. I use products that are embedded with histories of ideas and then meant to be consumed and put back into a body.
An example of this is isomalt sugar. It is a genetically engineered beet sugar explicitly created to not spike insulin in the body. It is one of those "guilt free" sweetness. It interesting though, that one of the byproducts of its genetic makeup is that it became extremely easy to sculpt and mold. And because of that, it was adopted by the food craft community, and now there are a bunch of craft tutorials, youtube videos, and forums on how to use isomalt. The knowledge of how to use this material became a part of the crafts world collective consciousness online. Accessible information is crucial to how most of my pieces are made and materials are chosen.
How do you approach the relationship between writing and photography in your work?
Stories, especially science fiction, have had a significant impact on my work. Recently, I have been writing instructional plays that are acted out with the intention of making images. These plays create two separate pieces: one piece is the performance that takes place, the other is the images that come out of it. The pictures I make are fiction, or there is fiction influencing the way I approach them.
What are you working on during your residency at LATITUDE?
I’m going to be working on printing images from a play that I wrote titled H+, a series of shrinky dink images, and releasing a book of recipes that I use to make art.
As a Chicago-based artist, what places do you recommend people go check out?
I spend a lot of time at the library so I would recommend the Ryerson & Burnham Libraries, the Harold Washington, and the Flaxman. For looking at art, I go the Renaissance Society, Prairie, and Mickey. All fun. Other recommendations are the Garfield Park Conservatory, PopKTV for karaoke because they have Bjork, EK Housewares and Gifts in Chinatown. QXY for dumplings, Tank Noodle for pho, and Gene and Judes for hot dogs.
What’s in your Netflix queue right now?
Right now I’m watching Fooly Cooly but its on Adult Swim not netflix.