March 8 - April 21, 2021.
Gallery Hours: Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Capacity of gallery is 10 visitors, and masks are required.
OOPS! POW! SURPRISE! takes a deep look at Cristal Sabbagh’s interdisciplinary practice that includes traditional portraiture, ceramics, and performance. While movement is the spine of her practice and the core that all her other work emanates from, intentional spontaneity, reverence, and bliss are threads woven throughout.
Sabbagh’s performance practice, rooted in improvisation and Butoh, walks a line between the everyday, the divine, the personal, and the political. In embodying in her art transformational memories while simultaneously celebrating pop culture and the experimental, she challenges power structures and awakens viewers’ senses. Working both in a solo capacity and with collaborators, Sabbagh is equally attuned to individual perspectives and collective structures. As with Sabbagh’s previous projects, OOPS! POW! SURPRISE will also incorporate collaborative work. Her collaborators include Erin Peisert, Scott Rubin, Keisha Janae, Ramah Malebranche, and Sara Zalek. In various configurations, these collaborators have regularly engaged in improvised performances, opening up new avenues for Sabbagh’s material and conceptual exploration.
Although her work is defined in movement, her practice also looks outward to portraits of the world around, taking the forms of traditionally drawn portraits, figurative ceramic sculptures, and nontraditional portraits on ceramic mugs. Sabbagh labors over each piece, that act as homage and memorials and are a resistance to white-supremacy. Her traditional portraits include images of Black Trans lives that have been taken or disrupted. And her nontraditional portraits take the form of Black creatives lovingly emblazoned on ceramic mugs intended to be shared by friends and family. Not only do these works infuse the user’s everyday coffee and tea rituals, but their ceramic forms will stand the test of time, potentially outliving the user by thousands of years and leaving traces of how we lived recorded by Sabbagh’s hand.
During the run of OOPS! POW! SURPRISE!, a full-color catalog will be issued that includes a poetic essay, also on view in the gallery, by venerable artist and writer Abra M. Johnson.
This project is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.
Wednesday, April 21 at 9:00am to 5:00pm
Glass Curtain Gallery
1104 S Wabash Ave, 1st Floor, Chicago, IL 60605