Fulton Street Vortex 2012
This installation was created specifically
for the exhibit "Locality" at the Chicago Artists'
Coalition gallery for Chicago Artists' Month, October 2012.
The theme was "Block by Block" and the curator,
Tempestt Hazel, asked me to create new work that responded
and interacted with the neighborhood around the gallery. I
happened across an urban legend about an energy vortex that
exists on Fulton Street right around the corner from the exhibition
space. It is one of the few reported cases where an energy
vortex is located within an urban environment, and it was
my inspiration for this work.
It was created on 3 panels of Dura-lar, each
16 feet long by 40 inches wide. Soldering irons were used
to burn patterns into the Dura-Lar and leko lights were installed
to project strong shadows through the cut-out forms onto the
walls, floor and out onto the street.
The rich history of Chicago's Fulton Market
District has relied on the hard work of the laborers, meatpackers
and craftspeople that first made their livelihoods here. More
recently, a new group - gallerists and artists have
been inspired by the mystical energy of the vortex, channeling
their vision into revitalizing and inhabiting remarkable spaces
that were once warehouses and workshops.
In this installation, I use the vortex image
as a metaphor for the energy that drives and invigorates the
uncommon mix of businesses and creatives that live and work
in this neighborhood.
The swirling vigor of the vortex snatches up
impressions of the local scene - the prints of work boots,
the carcasses of animals and the sleek interiors of contemporary
restaurants - intertwining their DNA and illustrating how
dependent they are on each other to breathe life and creativity
into the unique Fulton Street atmosphere. Shadows and light
project this history beyond the gallery walls, spilling into
this unique and visionary neighborhood. The light reaches
out, connecting and even dancing with gallery goers, local
inhabitants, and the vast variety of Chicagoans on their way
to and from work.