4/7/2017 – 4/29/2017
The Annex @ Spudnik Press
Friday, March 3, 2017
Spudnik Press Cooperative presents new work by Chicago-based artist Alex Kostiw. She is an artist and graphic designer based in Chicago. Her practice combines short stories and experimental comics with book design and printmaking. She is interested in themes of fragmentation, communication, and incomprehensibility. Using interactive book formats and minimal visual and textual detail, she crafts loose narratives that reveal something more felt than understood. Her work offers readers traces of subjects that remain largely inaccessible. Kostiw received an M.F.A. in visual communication design from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a B.A. in English literature from the University of Chicago.
The exhibition, titled “I’m calling from a great distance,” through a variety of miniature and postcard-sized prints, large-scale artworks, and an artist’s book of indecipherable texts, relates the communications between a lighthouse keeper and an interplanetary explorer. The work explores the tension between physical distance and the closeness that technology can create; memory; and the scale of humanity. The prints are divided into two series. One details a sequence of a woman turning around. The other depicts planets and abstracted landscapes. The gallery becomes as a space for this two-part story to unfold.
During recent travel, Kostiw’s interest in immeasurable spaces shifted from metaphorical interior or mental spaces to physical ones. She was drawn to parallels between explorers in history who crossed oceans and the speculative exploration of other planets. She finds intrigue in the gut-wrenching contrast in size between the ocean or space and the individual, as well as in exploration as an expression of, and cause for, longing.
Throughout her practice, Kostiw’s interest is as much in what a story presents as in what it does not—in what is not said or done, as in what is. Oceans and outer space are settings that sharply highlight the inconsequentiality of humankind, but also our need for intimacy and our yearning for connection at the heart of the story.