The Weinberg/Newton Gallery at 688 N. Milwaukee has announced the gallery’s first-ever experimental makers workshop, initiated and led by Chicago-based movement artist Joseph Lefthand. In a first-time collaboration with Chicago-based artists Isaac Couch and Sarah Whyte, the workshop explores impactful alternatives to institutional violence and navigates sustainable forms of social and political change. Led by Lefthand, who works at the intersection of art and social practice, the three artists consider the relationship between personhood and institutional violence, utilizing elements of performance and design to conceive wearable art that re-imagines the human form as transitory, lucid, ethereal, and disruptive.
Placing a strong emphasis on cultivating a progressive and intuitive working process through the use of embodied practice and mindful self-awareness, the three artists are constructing garments that they will activate through a series of performances that extend beyond the workshop dates. Although the garments are created collaboratively from ideation, construction through to activation, each artist brings their own narrative and practice to the process. Isaac Couch, a fashion and fiber artist who works with garment silhouettes and heavy materials, focuses on the role of social issues and climate change within the fashion industry. Sarah Whyte, a Chinese American fiber artist and painter, addresses questions of identity through embroidery and paintings. Combined with Lefthand’s integration of movement and performance into the collaboration, the workshop draws from personal practices and historical narratives of socio-political violence to imagine new and innovative approaches to nonviolent intervention.
On Thursday, July 22 at 6 p.m., Joseph Lefthand will lead a virtual artist talk to discuss his practice and conception of the experimental makers workshop. In addition, an exhibition of work produced during the workshop will be presented in the street-facing windows of Weinberg/Newton Gallery (688 N. Milwaukee Ave.) from August 16 – 28. The workshop provides the artists with 2,200 square feet of collaborative workspace, materials, unlimited access to Weinberg/Newton Gallery’s resources, and a stipend for each artist.
In 2014, Weinberg/Newton Gallery framed an ambitious new mission – to become a presenting platform for social justice issues through collaboration with artists and non-profit organizations. The gallery aims to create space for dialogue about social justice issues relevant to local, national and international communities. Keeping in line with their mission, the gallery’s business model divides the proceeds from sales of art between the artist and the partner organization.