VIP : Thursday, April 13 | 12 PM–9 PM
PUBLIC : Friday, April 14 | 11 AM–7 PM
Saturday, April 15 | 11 AM–7 PM
Sunday, April 16 | 11 AM–6 PM
Kavi Gupta welcomes the return of EXPO CHICAGO. A pivotal international platform for contemporary art, EXPO CHICAGO is crucial to our gallery’s mission to amplify voices of diverse and underrepresented artists to expand the canon of art history.
Our 2023 presentation will include works from James Little, the breakout star of the 2022 Whitney Biennial. With more than half a floor of the biennial devoted to his abstract paintings, Little is finally achieving the recognition he has long deserved as an American master.
In conjunction with the openings of their solo exhibitions at our Chicago area galleries, we will spotlight the practices of internationally acclaimed conceptual artist Esmaa Mohamoud; Trinidadian-American artist Allana Clarke; and Guyana-born, Los Angeles-based artist Suchitra Mattai.
Esmaa Mohamoud’s exhibition Let Them Consume Me In the Light examines what Mohamoud calls “Black body politics”—a web of interconnected personal, social, economic, and historical factors that shape how Blackness is perceived by Black people and non-Black people alike. Four paradoxical sculptural phenomena fill the gallery: an elegant but inaccessibly tall peacock chair; a marvelous but un-drivable pink Cadillac; an enchanting but lifeless prairie of black steel dandelions; and the visages of three young African girls, tenderly carved from shea butter. The title alludes to the inevitability that Black cultural products and their creators will be exploited by majoritarian society. “They’re already gonna consume us, it might as well be out in the open,” Mohamoud says. “They should consume us in the light of the truth, in the light of racial injustice, in the light of the things we don’t usually want to talk about. There are many lights this exhibition can hold.”
Allana Clarke’s exhibition I Feel Everything is the artist’s first solo exhibition to focus exclusively on her series of sculptural paintings made from Salon Pro 30 Sec. Super Hair Bond Glue, a material that has become signature to her practice. To create the works, Clarke first pours thousands of 8-oz. bottles of the gloopy, black liquid onto mesh screens. She then wrestles with the material over the course of weeks as it slowly dries. Clawing, pulling, twisting, and scraping at the gradually-less-mutable surface with her bare hands and feet, Clarke imposes her physical and emotional will onto the substance. The undertaking transforms her medium’s appearance and value—a punk subversion of its usual function, which is linked to systems that aim to negate aesthetics of Blackness. “As I developed the works I was thinking deeply about my relationship to the color black, approaching it as a space for discovery, experimentation, and multiplicity,” Clarke says. “This is a type of meditative space.”
Suchitra Mattai’s Osmosis: in the face of the sea is an expanded and extended edition of the artist’s groundbreaking solo exhibition Osmosis. Thinking about the saltwater ocean migrations that have shaped her family’s heritage, Mattai has both a scientific and a poetic interest in osmosis, a process that involves the migration of water molecules from one region to another. In a manner of speaking, osmosis is about equilibrium, or the transferral of something to achieve a new balance. Salt is an osmotic trigger; throughout the exhibition, Mattai employs salt as both a sculptural medium and a chemical instigator of aesthetic transformation. Conceived as an exhibition that would evolve in order to allow a living examination of its theme, this second manifestation of Osmosis introduces multiple new works, including three new large-scale wall tapestries woven from vintage saris.
We are also proud to exhibit a selection of major new large-scale paintings by Alfred Conteh, whose portraits capture the people he meets in and around Atlanta, Georgia, where he lives and works. Conteh paints their outward countenance—their body, posture, and fashion—wIth photorealistic perfection; his acrylic mediums, meanwhile, are augmented with earthen elements like soil, concrete, metal dust, and melted urethane in order to arrive at a deeper truth—elemental evidence of toughness amid dereliction.
We will also exhibit at EXPO CHICAGO 2023 works by some of the most influential artists on the contemporary vanguard, including Beverly Fishman, whose radiant relief paintings offer an aesthetically stunning and conceptually rigorous critique of humanity’s complex relationship with the chemical sublime; Michi Meko, whose sumptuous, layered abstractions express the ecstacy of absconding into the physical wilderness and the wilderness of the mind; José Lerma, whose audacious paintings elevate the mundane and trivialize the grand, crafting a visual world that is both celebratory and absurd; Kour Pour, a British-Iranian-American artist whose visual language is informed by longstanding, global traditions of intercultural exchange, intersecting a wide range of material and aesthetic conventions that allow for a remapping of the standard understanding of “Eastern/Western” dichotomies, Miya Ando, a multidisciplinary abstract artist whose works reference the ephemerality of nature and the transitory nature of existence by transforming materials that convey a sense of permanence—such as steel, glass, and aluminum— into embodiments of impermanence; and Armani Howard a multi-disciplinary, African American-Thai artist whose work cross-examines the roles of memory, nostalgia, and folkloric narratives in the creation and preservation of identity.