The art of Murdertown | Art Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The art of Murdertown

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Christalena Hughmanick and Hope Esser share interests in fabric, fiber, and performance. They also have a common colleague in Jane Jerardi, who's brought their work together for Retracing, the latest show at Murdertown, an alternative space housed in an apartment in Logan Square.

Jerardi knows Hughmanick and Esser from the School of the Art Institute, where they're all MFA students. She's intrigued by the way her classmates blend performance with the creation of tangible art objects. "Their work is different than mine in that they're trained more as makers," she says, "But Christalena is returning to an earlier interest in performance, and Hope is now exploring the idea of performative actions." Among Esser's contributions to Retracing is Walking Milwaukee—a collection of still slides taken during her, well, retracing of the Native American trade route that's become a major Chicago thoroughfare. For the piece, Esser walked the length of Milwaukee Avenue, from downtown Chicago to Buffalo Grove. Hughmanick has two pieces in the show. One of them, Made in China, is a sheer, beaded, shredded dress meant to represent the decline of manufacturing in the West. The other is Time Motion Studies, which consists of videos—partly inspired by research into assembly lines and labor theory—depicting Hughmanick engaged in daily rituals.

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