Mayumi Lake’s Unison (Causality) suspends as a colorful, sculptural obstruction at the center of Hyde Park Art Center’s Gallery 1. The final placement of the sculpture in the space is intentionally supposed to feel a bit disruptive and tricky to navigate by the viewer. The artist requested a placement that’s “…passive aggressive, and unavoidable” taking up the space and position that’s more frequently directed at her own artistic practice and personhood “as an artist of color who is female.”
Assertions of space and the demand for an increased self-awareness characterize the many different artworks and practices brought together in this capstone, biennial exhibition of the artist cohort identified by the chronological and affectionate moniker CP9. For the past ten years (minus the stay-at-home lockdown of 2020) Hyde Park Art Center has uniquely dedicated its Education Department and Exhibitions Team resources to foster an annual program of professional development that supports twenty outstanding artists in Chicago. This year’s program began in February 2021, via weekly Monday evening critique sessions held virtually. Visiting artists and curators from the city joined our core group of twenty-two voices each week to lend their constructive insights on each artists’ practice. These essential conversations helped guide the new art projects presented in this show.
After a summer break, and the COVID vaccine round-one, this group met all-together in-person for the first time to complete the year with our final series of workshops throughout September. This significant transition to reunification as a physically-proximate and responsive community included touch as soon as day-one together. During this session, artist Jason Dunda requested that we move and re-arrange his pile of soft sculptures on the floor (DREAM audience tip: as part of this exhibition, please feel encouraged to handle and rearrange these works too). Simultaneous residents of the building’s adjacent studio wing, Cecilia Beaven, Monica Rickert-Bolter, and Tanya Gill, each opened the door to their personal spaces and brought us inside of their studio homes as well. Friendships that had existed over the previous digital space enjoyed the support of an extra hand; as witnessed in the crit-day care and collaboration between Cydney Lewis and Allison Svoboda, Cathleen Campbell and Dorothy Burge, and many more.
Each of these dedicated CP9 artists has a dream for the reach of their own practice, and the way their work can continue to exist in the subconscious and impact others. Our year together has been defined by a new collective experience of the many ways in which reality possesses the simultaneous hyperbole and mutability, to feel to the human mind as unfathomable and complicated as a dream. The present condition of being fully, truly alive exists in intersections of physicality, imagination, memory.
Asha Iman Veal, guest curator for Center Program 2021