One Last One
Time for One Last One... Please join us for the final exhibition of Fernwey Gallery.
FRIDAY June 15.
6pm - 10pm
916 N Damen Ave, Chicago
It's been a glorious run and we want to celebrate once more and toast to all the amazing artists who have come through our doors these last four years. Join us June 15th for the opening reception of "One Last One," an exhibition surveying 50+ artists who have worked with and supported our vision since 2014.
Coinciding with the event, we are pleased to announce our final Fernwey Edition, a comprehensive catalogue chronicling our entire run with a forward by Patrick "Q" Quilao.
This concluding exhibition will feature new works as well as old favorites by:
Parsons & Charlesworth
Patrick "Q" Quilao
Epilogue (Something To Take With You)
Patrick 'Q' Quilao
Between these covers is the culmination of thirty exhibitions and countless contributions that came to define the artist-run project space, Fernwey. Whether in the days or decades following the conclusion of this experiment, you are invited to an earlier time of collaboration, curiosity, production, and play.
On Friday September 19, 2014 Kate Conlon, Boyang Hou, Ilan Gutin, and Richard Blackwell first turned on the fluorescent white glow that illuminated the evening sidewalk along Damen Avenue in Chicago. For the next four years, opening receptions would break fire code and the visibility of over a hundred emerging and established artists and writers would be championed, embodying thoughtful curation and spirited collaboration spanning demographics and geography. Gallery hours provided afternoons laden with quiet moments of observation or engaged conversation.
Fernwey however, was always conceived as a temporary experiment, and the project’s end was announced on April 6, 2018. Which brings us here.
Epilogue. A moment that gently but unabashedly breaks from the established tone while intimately, candidly delivering closure and clarity. At once necessary and unnecessary, it perpetually waits beyond the threshold of every rite of passage of consequence. With it comes the virtue of knowing, and possibly a whisper of something more.
What comes after Fernwey? Did the experiment succeed? Do we mourn that this utopic space closed its doors?
“Utopia is a combination of three Greek words: Eu (good), Ou (not), and Topos (place). Utopia translated is ‘good not place.’ ” (1). This etymology is an appropriate reminder that the ideal sought after is not a destination found or bound by place. So if not the space, what endures?
One of Fernwey’s great distinctions among artist-run spaces was a concerted commitment working with artists to produce an artists’ edition that accompanied nearly every exhibition. The range was broad: prints, books, zines, postcards, puzzles, air fresheners. Quickly becoming an essential, recognizable component of every show, the editions were accessible to any viewer in both taste and treasure. A piece, original or multiple, went home with someone so moved by it that it eventually became a noble souvenir chosen to be lived with long after the show came down.
Susan Stewart wrote, “souvenirs envelop the present within the past, and are magical objects because of this transformation. Yet the magic of a souvenir is a kind of failed magic, the place of origin must remain unavailable in order for desire to be granted.” (2). At closing time, perhaps we consider those things we took, and what they ask of us as we hold onto them.
Each time I grabbed a risograph print off the windowsill among a few empty High Life cans on the way out of Nazy Lotfi’s, Nelly Agassi’s, Hamza Walker’s, or Peter Power’s shows, the writings contained did not fail to challenge, assure, or question how I had just seen the corresponding work. I consider permanence in the fold as my eyes trace the contours in Michael Milano’s chine colle hanging in my living room. As I leaf through my Trump L’oeil zine, I’m reminded of first meeting M. Wright of AK/OK researching the birthplace of the Gideons Bible in Boscobel, Wisconsin. The brilliant, gestural colors of the offset printed jacket on Alex Valentine’s Algorithm Gerbils flank Jessica Campbell’s My Erotic Stationary Set playfully grinning on my bookshelf. And my jaw remains unhinged at the depths Kate Conlon mined within the subculture surrounding Han Solo’s blaster in DL-44. I’m fortunate to live with these things kept, treasured not only for the range of practices and perspectives they exude, but their part in the larger epilogue moving further and further away from the indelible mark Fernwey left behind.
The lights at 916 North Damen turned off and we left. But the work, editions, prints, and books endure. As this book does.
“Some books, full of opinions, resemble umbrellas. Others, full of questions, are more like rain. Why not end with poetry? Something like:
Now I give back the keys to my door, and I give up all claims to my house.
I don’t remember the moment of my birth.
I do remember one morning when the light and smell of rain made me
feel I was not a stranger in the world.
When we worked together, I never questioned you, or who you were. I did
not feel shy or afraid. I had an abundance of confidence.
Now our time together has ended, and I notice how the world bends down
to look at your feet, and all the stars in the night sky.
Let the things I longed for and the things I received pass me by.
Your questions guided me. They composed my paths.
It’s April and the clouds fill up with rain.
Flocks of homesick geese fly.
All my questions gather into a river heading for the sea.
Ask another.” (3).
To Kate, Bo, Ilan, Ric, and every human who made Fernwey possible these last four years, thank you. I’m glad I got something to take with me.
With enduring support,
1. Lambert, Steve. “On Utopia.” First published in The Imaginary World Of… by Keri Smith licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license.
2. Stewart, Susan. On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection. 1993. pp. 151
3. Goulish, Matthew. Rearranged and altered lines from Rabindranath Tagore, Gitanjali [Song Offerings] in 39 Microlectures. 2000. pp.127