Fall 2017 Diane Marek Visiting Artists Exhibit Is Sonnenzimmer

Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Nadine Nakanishi of Sonnenzimmer at work in the studio
Nadine Nakanishi of Sonnenzimmer at work in the studio

The Cress Gallery of Art UTC announces the Fall 2017 Diane Marek Visiting Artists exhibit is Sonnenzimmer in conjunction with their exhibition Café Avatar. The exhibition will run Sept. 26-Nov. 3. 

There will be an Diane Marek Visitin Artist Series Activities Sept. 25-28.  An Artists’ Lecture will be held Tuesday, Sept. 26, at 5:30 p.m. in Benwood Auditorium, Room 230, EMCS Building, corner of Vine and Palmetto Streets, followed by an opening reception directly across Vine Street at the Cress. 

Other Diane Marek Visiting Artist events open to campus and the public include Process and Materials Session: Wednesday, Sept. 27, 11 a.m.-noon at Cress Gallery; Professionalism Session: Wednesday, Sept. 27, 4-5 p.m. Room 356, Fine Arts Center; Professionalism Session: Thursday, Sept. 28, 12:15–1:30 p.m., Room 201, EMCS directly across Vine Street from the Fine Arts Center.

This exhibition and all Diane Marek Series events are open to the public.  Admission is free.  Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 9:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 p.m.

Review for Sonnenzimmer:

“Welcome to Cafe Avatar. When are you looking inward? When are you looking out? Where is it we stand when we gather? As humanity enters a new graphic skin, how will we remember our physical selves...or are we becoming computational mochas?” – Sonnenzimmer 

Chicago-based publishers, printers, artists, and musicians, Nick Butcher and Nadine Nakanishi have worked across numerous media in their evolving decade-long collaboration known as Sonnenzimmer. Equal parts balancing act between art and design and a radical reclamation of all aspects of visual expression, their practice remains grounded in the lasting potential of the graphic arts. While exploring the physical and conceptual friction between abstraction and communication, they examine how our humanity is being defined by the substrate of media. 

During their spring 2017 Artists-in-Residency on the campus of Facebook, the duo found that “our old-school art making was confronted with a very fast, digital environment.” As part of that experience, Mr. Butcher and Ms. Nakanishi published the essay Graphic Arts Future: Corporeal Knowledge. Their Cress exhibition, Café Avatar, is a distinctive and highly original visual manifestation born from those thoughts, and their continued observations and investigations about the role of graphic art and our existence within an accelerating digital climate. The noun “avatar” has passed through many meanings, from incarnation in earthy form to embodiment in virtual reality, yet always associated with a concept, an affiliation, or self-identity. In the words of Sonnenzimmer, Café Avatar will “convert the gallery into a familiar format…a sort of ecological interface.” 

Café Avatar is comprised of original screen and wood block prints designed and pulled by hand onto non-traditional surfaces, along with sculpture, animation, sound work, illustration and text, all new work never exhibited before. Outside the doors of the Cress, an additional selection of Sonnenzimmer’s previous objects, printed works, and publications are featured in the lobby cases of the Fine Arts Center. 

Mr. Butcher and Ms. Nakanishi established their collaboration as Sonnenzimmer in 2006 in Chicago, Il. Initially recognized for their idiosyncratic commissioned screen-printed posters, their practice has since morphed into an interdisciplinary toolshed spanning multiple platforms, including exhibitions, performance, publishing and design. They have exhibited in the United States, China, and Europe with recent exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Arts Club of Chicago, Chicago; Vebikus Kunsthalle Schaffhausen, Switzerland; and Texas Sate University, San Marcos. They have lectured and led workshops in academic and commercial settings, including The Facebook Artist-in-Residence Program, Menlo Park, California; The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; California Institute for the Arts, Valencia; Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis; Pratt Institute, New York City; and Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland. For more information about the artists visit  www.sonnenzimmer.com 

The Cress Gallery of Art is in the lobby of the UTC Fine Arts Center, 752 Vine St. at the corner of Vine and Palmetto Streets. The EMCS Building is at 735 Vine. 

Parking: After 5 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends, visitors to the Cress may park free in any nearby lot not marked “24 hour reserved”. Before 5 p.m. on weekdays, visitors may find limited nearby street parking or park in the 5th Street Garage near MacKenzie Arena for a $4 fee and stroll across campus to Vine St. For more parking information and lot maps 
visit http://www.utc.edu/auxiliary-services

For more information about the exhibition and the Diane Marek Series community and campus events, visit www.cressgallery.org, like the Cress Gallery on Facebook, or contact Ruth Grover at ruth-grover@utc.edu or 304-9789. 

If requiring accommodations for this event, please contact the UTC Department of Art at 425-4178, email Patricia_Kelley@utc.edu, or contact the UTC Disability Resource Center at 425-4006, 
email Michelle-Rigler@utc.edu a week prior to the event.

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