A friend posted this interview between Steven Cox and Scott Wolniak on the ol’ FB. I thought I’d repost an excerpt here.
HUNTED PROJECTS presents Chicago based artist Scott Wolniak.
Scott is currently a tutor within the Visual Arts department of the University of Chicago, where his multi disciplinary practice expands upon the realms of installation, painting, sculpture and video. With references to both destruction and humor, his past experience of being an art handler shines through with sculptural and painterly works that suggest the purposeful mishandling of materials. This being made particularly clear through his video work The Ratio of Effort to Effect (2010), which in a tongue in cheek manner, explores the ever so common mishandling of art work, done in a manner that hints at Wolniak’s appreciation of the absurdist comedy of Steve Martin. In all, Wolniak’s rounded practice explores the cockamamie, poking fun through the purposeful use of humble materials, whilst simultaneously rationalising conscious bad craftsmanship as a by product of expressionism.
Can you tell HUNTED PROJECTS about yourself and your creative background?
SW: I am a multidisciplinary artist based in Chicago. I studied Painting and Drawing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and did my MFA in Studio Art at the University of Illinois at Chicago. After finishing my BFA in 1995 I spent five years working as a truck driving art handler, which introduced me to important social and logistical aspects of the art world. I opened an alternative exhibition space in my garage called Suitable Gallery in ’99, which was in operation for 5 years. It was a positive experience; we did many great shows with great artists. My studio is now in this same finished and heated garage that used to be Suitable. After completing my MFA in 2002, I began part time teaching at SAIC and, in 2007, began my current full time teaching appointment in the Department of Visual Art at the University of Chicago. Teaching is a really important part of my practice and helps me to constantly reconsider my relationship to visual art.
When did your interest within the arts begin?
SW: As a kid, art was a natural form of entertainment and escape. It was always frustrating but endlessly engaging… same as now. I shield away from formal instruction and traditional techniques in favor of cartoons, material experiments and made-up imagery. I used to steal techniques and styles from classmates in elementary school. Some of my early influences were Shel Silverstein, B. Kliban and LeRoy Nieman. As a teenager I was nourished by music and record cover art. I also loved comedy, especially ridiculous, physical stuff like early Steve Martin. I decided to go to art school because nothing else really made sense… and I liked the idea of making a life doing what I was already doing anyway. I knew nothing of art history before I began school at SAIC. My 1st life-changing encounter with Art was the work of the Abstract Expressionists. I spent hours looking at DeKooning’s Excavation at the Art Institute.
Can you discuss your day-to-day creative process?
SW: My studio is in my backyard. Convenience is really important to me because I like being able go to my studio any time, for any length of time, even if just to glance at something. I am in my studio every day, so the work is a constant. I have a hectic daily routine, which has required me to compartmentalize in order to sustain my practice. Nights have always been a haven of undisturbed studio time for me. Ideas come from everywhere. My work typically involves combinations of everyday life and abstract systems, explored through labor-intensive processes with humble materials. I tend to work on several things at once, shifting between conceptual projects that are primarily about planning and process-based pieces that are heavy on labor. My labor-intensive projects are probably the most enjoyable. I like to see things accumulate and transform over time. I can drop into the studio for 15 minutes or 5 hours; either is productive since it is always moving toward the same end point. As with meditation or exercise, small efforts conducted with great regularity do add up.
I listen to tons of music while working, as inspiration and background noise. I often smoke marijuana in order to trick myself perceptually. (read more)
1. Bound and/or Stapled (or not) & Plant Life at Western Exhibitions
Bound and/or Stapled (or not) includes work by Elijah Burgher, Lilli Carré, Terence Hannum, Leah Mackin, Dutes Miller, Andy Moore, Miller & Shellabarger, Stan Shellabarger, and Scott Teplin. Plant Life is curated by Geoffrey Todd Smith, with work by Chinatsu Ikeda, Eric Wert, Heidi Norton, Jonathan Gardener, Mindy Rose Schwartz, Scott Wolniak, and Tyson Reeder.
Western Exhibitions is located at 845 W. Washington Blvd. Reception Friday, 5-8pm.
2. Two Women Do Three Things at Happy Collaborationists
Work by Mothergirl (Katy Albert and Sophia Hamilton).
Happy Collaborationists is located at 1254 N. Noble St. Reception Saturday, 7-10pm.
3. Shit is Real & UUUUU at Devening Projects + Editions
Shit is Real includes work by Aron Gent, Carrie Gundersdorf, Cody Hudson, Sofia Leiby, and Josh Reamesand Cody Tumblin. UUUUU includes work by Rainer Spangl.
Devening Projects + Editions is located at 3039 West Carroll St. Reception Sunday, 4-7pm.
4. Tempus fungit-amor mannet at moniquemeloche
Work by Gabriel Vormstein.
moniquemeloche is located at 2154 W. Division St. Reception Friday, 6-8pm.
5. Contemporary Artists from Ukraine at Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art
Work by Oleksander Babak, Oleksander Dubovyk, Serhiy Mikhnovsky, Roman Romanyshyn, Serhij Savchenko, Oksana Stratijchuk, Katarina Svirhunenko, and Mykola Zhuravel.
Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art is located at 2320 W Chicago Ave. Reception Friday, 6-9pm.
1. Addendum & The Blind Light, the Pyre of Night at Linda Warren Gallery
Addendum features work by Jason Peot and The Blind Light, the Pyre of Night features work by Conrad Freiburg.
Linda Warren Gallery is located at 1052 W. Fulton Mkt. Reception is Friday from 6-9pm.
2. Space Out, Space In at Andrew Rafacz
Curated by Scott Wolniak. Work by Thorne Brandt, Ken Fandell, Young Joon Kwak, Jesse McLean, Shana Moulton, Jon Rafman, Andy Roche, Ben Russell, Jen Stark and Kirsten Stoltmann.
Andrew Rafacz Gallery is located at 835 W Washington Blvd. Reception is Saturday from 4-7pm.
3. People Don’t Like to Read Art at Western Exhibitions
Work by Nicholas Frank, Adriane Herman, John Parot, Mark Wagner, Joe Hardesty, Deb Sokolow, Rebecca Blakley, Elijah Burgher, Simon Evans, Cat Glennon, Meg Hitchcock, Rachel Foster, David Leggett, Andy Moore, and Angie Waller.
Western Exhibitions is located at 119 N. Peoria St., suite 2A. Reception Saturday from 6-9pm.
4. Samuel D. York at Courtney Blades
New works by Samuel D. York.
Courtney Blades is located at 1324 W Grand Ave. Reception is Friday from 7-10pm.
5. Part Wolf at What It Is
Work by Jacob Crose, Chris Holmes, and Vaughnda Johnson.
What It Is is located at 1155 Lyman. Reception Saturday from 3-8pm.
It’s that time again. This was another week full of many worthy options for viewing. I’ll be going to quite a bit more than just these five, but these looked particularly interesting:
1. You Can Lose Your Balance at 65 Grand
I’ve been a fan of 65Grand for quite a while. I am not terribly familiar with Scott Wolniak, but I took a trot over to his website, and it looked like interesting stuff. Corbett vs Dempsey or Noble and Superior are both close by, so why not go for a two- or three-for-one? See ya’ll at the top of the stairs.
65Grand is located at 1378 W. Grand Ave. Reception is Friday from 7-10pm.
2. Sarah Best: Daily Photos at Antena
There are two shows opening at Antena this Friday, and this is actually the smaller of the two. The premise involves cell phone pictures, a medium that I still find dubious, but which I need to see more of, so as to fully form my opinion. The one image available is beautiful, as you can see.
Antena is located at 1765 S. Laflin St. Reception is Friday from 6-10pm.
3. UnCommon Territories at Heaven Gallery
A group show of (primarily) SAIC sculpture kids, including: Marissa Benedict, Christopher Bradley, Scott Carter, Lauren Carter, Younghwan Choi, Colleen Coleman, Allison Fall, Elise Goldstein, Katya Grokhovsky, Samantha Hill, Holly Holmes, Scott Jarrett, Selena Jones, Maya Mackrandilal, Lisa Nonken, Luis Palacios, Ben Stagl, Stephanie Victa, Andrew Norm Wilson. Come spend an evening in Heaven.
Heaven Gallery is located at 1550 N Milwaukee Ave. Reception is Friday from 7-11pm.
4. Duncan R. Anderson at Kasia Kay Gallery
The best exhibition I ever saw at Kasia’s place was Anderson’s previous exhibition. I’m super excited to see that he’s back, and I can’t wait to see what new craziness he has on display. This dude’s work is friggin’ awesome.
Kasia Kay Gallery is located at 1044 W. Fulton Market. Reception is Friday from 6-8pm.
5. Room-a-Loom at Swimming Pool Project Space
Come see the spectacular culmination of the Room-A-Loom! People have ween donating their blue weaveable material for almost a month now. It is time now to experience what a giant loom and a giant room can make together! It’s gonna be fort-tastic!
Swimming Pool Project Space is located at 2858 W Montrose Ave.Reception is Saturday from 6-10pm.