MAKING SPACE - MARK BALLOGG | NYCH Gallery
Exhibiting Sept 26th - Nov 1
In November of 2018 I had the good fortune to visit the Lincoln Park studio of the sculptor Richard Hunt. Since 1971, Richard has worked on his sculpture and drawings in a former Chicago Transit Authority power substation.The scale and visual complexity of Richard’s studio overflowed with possibilities. That visit inspired me to create a suite of images of the spaces artists use to conceive of and make their work.
After fleshing out my idea with several friends, and reviewing several existing photo books on artists’ studios, I realized the potential to create images that uniquely expressed the scope, individuality, and function of artist’s spaces. It was pointed out to me that text was a necessity. Adding artist’s quotes creates a more insightful and nuanced body of work.
Making Space is a four year project of photographing 150 artist studios in Chicago culminating in a book. Each studio visit consists of two hours of photography followed by an hour of recorded conversation with the artist. Before visiting each studio, I familiarize myself with each artist and their work through online research. Those insights along with ideas gleaned during the studio photography form the framework for each conversation. I explore the studio as a reflection of artists and their practices. In the process, both the temperament of creative people and the character of the region where they work is revealed. To that end, a wide range of artists, in all aspects of gender, practice, and defining circumstances are included.
The book, when published late 2021/early 2022, will consist of excerpts from the conversations and a single photograph from each of 50-75 studios. Wide angle, midrange, and closeup views are the basic template for my primarily intuitive approach. The conversations touch on all things Art, from the individual artists’ relationship with their studio and how that studio models their practice, outward to such questions as what is art, why make art, art’s personal and public impact, and the business of art. The edited text is driven by separate but also shared passions, poetic tone, and often marvelous insights. The reader is also introduced to the extraordinary diversity of spaces in which art is made. The result is a book with intermingling narratives illuminating the intersections of thoughts and structures, of stories and circumstances, and ambitions and their material realization.