Artists: Conrad Bakker, Bethany Carlson, Bill Conger, Eli Craven, Jenny Hansen, and Joel Ross.
A sinking feeling is experienced in the moment right before our lives take an unexpected turn. Sometimes this moment of anticipation lingers, yet other times we are compelled by our curiosity to confront the promise of bitter news. Though this moment of confrontation liberates us from suspense, it serves as a demarcation point between how things were and how things will be.
Sinking Feeling employs the domestic history of DEMO Project’s space—a small house that originally served as a dwelling for caretakers who worked in Springfield’s most prominent houses in the early twentieth-century—as a platform for exploring unusual relationships among the artwork created by six artists based in Central Illinois. Each work conjures an uneasy feeling, from the psychologically suffocating effects of Bill Conger’s radiant wall image Hell Hull, to the unsettling embrace between a mysterious man and a cornered woman in Eli Craven’s Cornered.
Significant loss is evident in Bethany Carlson’s pair of infant-sized black burial gowns that unnaturally extend from the ceiling to floor. Insignificant losses—including bits of food wrappers or aluminum foil—and the hand-drawn organic shapes made in response to their forms, populate Jenny Hansen’s works on paper to create a field of somber souvenirs and tenderly drawn replies.
A hand-carved wooden J. CREW catalogue reanimates an easily discarded object and heightens both the economic status and absence of the fictional owners in Conrad Bakker’s CLEARANCE [JCREW]. Hanging on the exterior siding of DEMO Project is Joel Ross’s text installation, I thought this would be the best way to tell you, which serves as a reminder for each person leaving the house that they, too, might sink into the queasy feeling prompted by that forewarning.
All images by Brytton Bjorngaard
Friday, October 9
6 pm – 8:30 pm