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Fall 2024 - Class Option #2

Marking Inner Worlds and Other Futures

What does it mean to make a mark in the world? Mark making describes the lines, dots, patterns, pencil strokes, and dabs of paint used to express thought and feeling. They are painted, etched, drawn, or carved onto canvas, paper, plaster, and walls to reflect our experiences by enabling us to engage with the world. These marks of brush strokes, scribbles, and splatters, visually manifest and attest to our inner worlds of energy and emotions. In conveying meaning, they become distinctive marks for their creators, as well as for those captivated by them. In this course, students will critically explore the meaning of making a mark in today’s world through critical reading, writing, and hands-on painting and drawing.

We will engage with different works of art ranging from various forms of visual expression, sound, and literary texts created by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color to gain a deeper understanding for how our identities inform artistic expression. Likewise, we seek to understand the ways these voices and their respective histories, as expressed through painting, music, poetry, and film intervene in how we critically engage the worlds we live in. How do these creative forms open possibilities for imagining other ways of being, existing, or for simply imagining other futures? To further our practice and understanding, we will meet with local Chicago artists, and visit museums and community-based art organizations. Finding inspiration, method, critical thought, and possibilities by being in conversation with these artistic forms, students will build an embodied artistic practice to respond to the complexity and urgency of the question: What does it mean to make a mark in the world? 

Prof. Elvia Mendoza is Associate Professor of Instruction in Latina and Latino Studies. Her research and visual productions reflect and examine the intersections of intimate forms of state violence, forced migration and displacement, memory, body politics, and representation. She is the Field Producer of Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four, an award-winning documentary film based on the wrongful convictions, incarceration, and eventual exoneration of Anna Vasquez, Elizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera, and Kristi Mayhugh, four Latina lesbians falsely accused of assaulting two girls. She is also the Producer of Nosotros Tambien Migramos/We too, Migrate, an award-winning documentary short film portraying the everyday uncertainty of Fernando, José, and Diana, two undocumented Mexican gay men and their daughter, as they navigate immigration surveillance regimes in the U.S. Her other works include short film productions, photography, and multimedia installations. Her current work, Conjuring Images of Memory, is a multi-media installation that visually and sonically reflects on what remains in the in-between spaces of memory while confronting death in the context of histories of forced migration. She received her doctorate in Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin.

Prof. Sherwin Ovid is Assistant Professor of Instruction in Art Theory and Practice. He draws from the experience of immigration as a space of contingent exchange channeling concepts of cultural transmission through his use of mixed media. A morphology of forms encompasses the dynamic interplay of materials and forms in his work.  Ovid is a visual artist born in Trinidad who earned his Bachelor's degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He was a Lincoln Fellow in 2013 at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he received his MFA. He currently teaches as an Assistant Professor of Instruction at Northwestern and University of Illinois at Chicago. His commercial endeavors include collaborations with Lee Daniel’s Netflix feature The Deliverance, Lena Waithe’s Showtime drama The Chi, and Jordan Peele’s Monkey Paw Studio remake of Candyman directed by Nia DaCosta. Ovid has collaborated with Demon Leg gallery in New York and exhibited at the Chicago Cultural Center, Lubeznik Center for the Arts, UIS Visual Arts Gallery, 6018North, Randy Alexander Gallery, Goldfinch Gallery, Gallery 400, Prison Neighborhood Arts Project, Humboldt Park Boathouse Gallery, University of Wisconsin, Cleve Carney Art Gallery, Julius Caesar, Haitian American Museum of Chicago, and Iceberg Projects in Evanston. He was published in New American Painters in 2016 and 2021 as a noteworthy feature and in 2020 listed as one of New City Magazine’s breakout artists.

Photo above: Detail of "Unfolding the Space of Yuba" by Sherwin Ovid.