Tuesday, September 16, 2014


a group exhibition brought to you by guest curator Aay Preston-Myint for Chances Dances 
September 9 - December 2, 2014
Latham Zearfoss

silk, watermelon / 11" x 11"  2010

Lula Cafe is pleased to present its 2014 Fall show Boundaries, Collapseassembled by guest curator and artist Aay Preston-Myint of Chances Dances. Boundaries, Collapse is a mixed media group show seeking to illuminate both parallels and ruptures between contemporary queer artistic concerns, early queer liberation movements, and popular (mis)conceptions of queer thinking. The show features works from the Chances community, and winners and finalists of the Critical Fierceness Grant, an artist microgrant funded by Chances Dances.

As acceptable, sanitized aspects of queerness continue to be assimilated and appropriated by the wider visual culture, some of us who still feel the dangers and complexities of living in queer bodies become distanced from a recognizable, coherent queer aesthetic. In Boundaries, Collapse, the work of Katie Vota, Betsy Odom, and Latham Zearfoss tackle this distancing through a formal engagement with the legacy of pageantry, camp and pride inherited from earlier queer movements. Other works interpret this affect through a displacement of desire onto inanimate objects - in the case of Matt Morris, the obsessive rubbing, sanding, and even gnawing of surfaces; in the case of Rebecca Mir Grady, the impossibility of a romance with the ocean; in the case of the late Mark Aguhar, a trans-species affinity unfolds in barely-there lines. Artists like Aay Preston-Myint, Michael Sirianni, Daniel Luedtke express queerness in their contributions as a sort of out-of-body state, by reducing physical experience to its requisite parts - looking, longing, touching. Still others look to complicate a one-dimensional queer experience by reaching across invisible lines to other aspects of identity - as in the work of Rami George, Kiam Marcelo Junio, Adam Liam Rose.

Michael Sirianni

A4A Drawing #3
11" x 14"  2014

Chances Dances is one of Chicago's longest running queer dance parties and a safe space for all gender expressions. The show features works from the Chances community, and winners and finalists of the Critical Fierceness Grant, an artist microgrant funded by the dance party.

Boundaries, Collapse will run in conjunction with Chances Dances' first ever crowd-sourced fundraiser, intended to fortify the Critical Fierceness Grant which offers biannual microgrants for queer art in the Chicago area. This includes the Mark Aguhar Memorial Grant, a $1000 grant for feminine-spectrum artists of color. Chances organizers will be tending bar at Lula for the opening and closing events on September 9th and December 2nd. Stay tuned for details on the closing event!
Kiam Marcelo Junio
Camouflage as a Metaphor for Passing: Mimesis I
Screenprint on silk / 18" X 24" 2012

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

things thrown upwards-- A solo show by Claire Ashley

Lula Café Summer Show
June 3 - September 9, 2014
Opening Reception June 10, 6-9pm

In Things Thrown Upwards Ashley presents a cross section of her work as sculptor, painter and visual slapstick artist. The show features painted panels, stuffed forms and fabric wall hangings, all marked with Ashley's exuberant neon spray painted mark making. Ashley's work is a playful exploration of the intersection of painting and sculpture, many of her hand made inflatable sculptures begin as two dimensional silhouettes, sewn together and then inflated or stuffed cartoonishly into buoyant, quivering, misshapen forms. Paint sprayed on the objects' surfaces in their various states retains a record of its peculiar dimensionality in the way it skips over wrinkles and drips along fault lines. In shape, color and gesture the work toys with the overlap of, on the one hand, goofy, cartoonish exuberance rendered in industrial materials, and on the other a sublime, unexpectedly beautiful play of color and shape that draws you up short and exemplifies the most profound possibilities of contemporary painting. 


Artist Bio:
Claire Ashley grew up in Edinburgh, Scotland. She received a BFA from Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen and her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she currently teaches. She has exhibited her work widely in North America and in the UK. She lives in Oak Park, IL.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lula Spring Show 2014 - Cut Fold Crumple Paste

Lula Spring Show 2014
Cut Fold Crumple Paste
Artists Working with Paper
March 11 - June 3, 2014
Opening Reception: Tuesday, March 11, 6-9

The show is an exploration of paper as a medium beyond its usual role in art as a support for drawing or painting. In perhaps the exhibition's most straightforward approach German cartoonist and sculptor Marijpol cuts a remarkable variety of evocative bat faces from textured brown paper.

cut paper
24" x 30"

France's Emilie Plateau begins by drawing tiny cityscapes in a traditional way, then cuts them out, installing the pieces in little boxes like miniature stage sets. Chicago shadow puppeteer Sara Drake has taken her medium of light projected through cut paper figures and fixed the cast light in giant blue cyanotypes. The late Cheryl Weaver created minimal, abstract, geometric 'drawings' simply by making careful folds in her paper support. A similar approach leads to markedly different results for Kayla Risko, who takes large scale black photocopies and crumples them in a hug-like embrace, leaving fine spidery white lines in the inky black toner. Stephen Eichhorn and Diana Guerrero-Maciá use found printed or colored paper in new takes on the 100 year old tradition of collage.

Stephen Eichhorn  

Floral Burst (Feel the Light)
54" x 44"
Collage on archival inkjet print

Diana Guerrero-Maciá
o. Ophelia
14 ¾” x 17
collage & enamel on paper


Lastly, the uncategorizable Lilli Carré uses paper in a variety of ways from hand-made paper embedded with string to create images, to photocopied, hand-cut pop-up books.

The results and themes in these artists' work varies widely, but each is in some way defined by a thoughtful, direct approach to what might be the humblest, most foundational material in any artist's craft.

An opening reception with several of the artists will be held Tuesday, March 11th from 6-9 with a cash bar and complimentary hors d'oevres.