Allison Lacher & Jeff Robinson: Subdivision
Opening Reception: Tuesday, February 21, 5 p.m.–7 p.m.
Artist Lecture: Wednesday, March 8, at Noon
- Andy Roche and Selina Trepp: February 21 at 5 p.m.
- Amanda Bowles and Erin Hayden: March 3 at 7 p.m.
- Alejandro T. Acierto: March 10 at 7 p.m.
- Thad Kellstadt : March 24 at 7 p.m.
- Melissa Oresky & Zak Boerger : March 31 at 7 p.m.
With its seven framed-out wooden façades, Allison Lacher and Jeff Robinson’s “Subdivision” transforms two galleries into a faux neighborhood where, on a weekly basis, additional artists are invited to manipulate one of the home-like structures in any manner of their choosing. Glossy white sheets of acrylic are attached to the face of every façade, each bearing its own vinyl decal depicting a common household object such as a vent, light switch, or power outlet. The installation immerses visitors in a landscape that evokes a recession-stricken, partially developed subdivision that is strangely populated by utilitarian-looking, Mondrian-like sculptures surrounded by decals of picket fences.
“Subdivision” will continually evolve during its six-week duration as the artists selected by Lacher and Robinson incrementally build upon, alter, or reinvent one of the aforementioned sculptures “causing,” according to Robinson and Lacher, “the exhibition to develop in ways not entirely within anyone’s control.” As people gather for the exhibition’s opening on Tuesday, February 21, at 5 p.m., Andy Roche and Selina Trepp will be the first participating artists to respond to their assigned structure. Following suit on successive Fridays, artists Amanda Bowles and Erin Hayden, Alejandro T. Acierto, Thad Kellstadt, and collaborative duo Melissa Oresky and Zak Boerger, will “perform” their work with a free public event in the gallery. In the last week of the exhibition, the “subdivision” will have changed from a conglomeration of similar architectural forms to a mash-up of different aesthetics, styles, practices, materials, and tastes—from a series of houses to a community of neighbors.
Throughout this collaborative exhibition, Lacher and Robinson’s roles will have transformed from traditional artists to artist-curators, or from material-manipulators to exhibition-makers. This hybrid role offers creative freedoms not afforded to a “professional” curator, from disregarding clarity in favor of experimentation, to destabilizing conventional roles and critiquing institutions—sometimes at the very institutions in which they are creating. The artist-curator freely moves between labels, uninhibited by expectations other than producing the unexpected. Everything the artist-curator does can be deemed as a work of art, from materials and coordination to another artist’s artwork. For Lacher and Robinson, the exhibition itself is the true medium.
Allison Lacher and Jeff Robinson began their collaboration in 2015 with the exhibition “A Kitchen Without a Knife is Not a Kitchen” at Kitchen Space Gallery in Chicago. For the next year-and-a half the duo continued to produce collaborative exhibitions at Museum Blue, St. Louis; Roman Susan, Chicago; Outhaus, Champaign, Illinois; and The Ski Club, Milwaukee. Lacher and Robinson are co-directors of DEMO Project, an artist-run contemporary art gallery in Springfield, Illinois. Individually, Lacher has exhibited nationally at venues such as E.TAY Gallery, New York; The Luminary, St. Louis; CAUC Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City, Utah; and Illinois State Museum, Chicago and Springfield. She received a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Edinboro University, Edinboro, Pennsylvania, and a master’s degree in fine arts in sculpture from Indiana University, Bloomington. Along with a rigorous independent curatorial practice, Lacher is the gallery manager at the Visual Arts Gallery of University of Illinois at Springfield. Robinson’s work has been exhibited at the Chicago Industrial Arts and Design Center, Chicago; Northern Illinois University Art Museum, DeKalb, Illinois; (SCENE) Metrospace, East Lansing, Michigan; and University Galleries of Illinois State University, Normal, among others. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Springfield, and a master’s degree in fine arts in painting from Illinois State University. He works at the University of Illinois at Springfield as an Instructor of Art and as the director of the Visual Arts Gallery.