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Art & Art History

The Crystalline Regime: 2016 MFA Thesis Exhibition 2

Tuesday, April 05, 2016–Saturday, April 09, 2016
Gallery 400
400 South Peoria Street, Chicago, IL 60607

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Nicholas Ballesteros, Timothy McMillan, Monica Nydam, and Jimmy Schaus.

The Crystalline Regime is the second in a series of three UIC MFA Thesis Exhibitions in Studio Arts, Photography, Moving Image, and New Media Arts featuring artists Nicholas Ballesteros, Timothy McMillan, Monica Nydam, and Jimmy Schaus.

Art is searching…

Terms are entered into Google, and images are defined. Possibilities open up in which an image of one’s own physical body can create a populous of digital bodies, a virtual Adam’s rib. The real and the searched take on each other’s identifying marks and can be reversed.

The crystalline image occurs when an actual image crystallizes with its own virtual image. When they come together, they de-solidify; the actual becomes dark, and the virtual becomes limpid.

Our bodies open portals to other realms. In a soft control society, people we know become characters, actors, and personas that speak in cipher. They exist in a circuit where the real and the imaginary, the actual and the virtual, chase after each other, exchange their roles and become indiscernible.

The image search becomes the conceptual edifice for the canvas. Personal moments captured in the cloud allow us to be visitors to our own reality outside of linear time. When will this dissonance disturb our narrative? The painting becomes a threshold between the private and the seeking public.

When memory or experience becomes a form, can it have emotions? All of the sculptural form’s borrowed parts, well-worn and nostalgic, hold uncanny energy. Self-analysis takes shape through these formal elements; hazy mental images face objecthood.

The crystalline regime stands in for its object and creates it; this is the regime of the imaginary.

Nicholas Ballesteros is a painter and visual artist based in Chicago, Illinois. He received a BA from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities alongside a Design minor. He has shown previously at NYCAMS gallery in New York and at Coffman gallery in Minneapolis. While his past work had an edge for appropriate media spanning collages, drawings, and videos, he has now turned towards painting. Having taught himself a digitally mediated photorealist method, Ballesteros makes autobiographical and conceptually driven paintings that play off the themes of love, intimacy, and the domestic.

The generative systems at play in Timothy McMillan’s process poetically investigate social structures and institutions ranging from the personal to the spectacular. A playful irreverence and exuberant material exploration are applied to insistently obscure intentions. The in-between, unfamiliar, and morally ambiguous are the horizon lines Timothy chases in his meandering practice.

Monica Nydam’s paintings explore the relationship between being human and technology. The source material for her paintings is culled from the Internet through Google image search and online news sources. She graduated from Massachusetts College of Art and Design with a BFA in Painting.

Jimmy Schaus is a filmmaker, video artist, and musician living in Chicago, IL. His work often takes the form of experimental, elliptical narratives which imagine new ways of seeing, hearing, and being in the world. He grew up in Florida, where he was an active participant in the sub-underground music scene.