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Join us for an artist talk with Chicago-based artist, Jessica Labatte, as she discusses Knee-deep in the cosmic overwhelm, a recent exhibition at Western Exhibitions


Knee-deep in the cosmic overwhelm unveils the complex material layers of Labatte’s artistic practice—various photographic series, sculptures, video, wallpaper­­—during the constant companionship of working from home and the birth of her second child.  Inspired by artist-built environments of the Midwest, Labatte and her family activate their home and transform simple everyday materials into imaginative still lives, sculptures, and abstractions, erasing the boundaries between high and low creative expression in both material and authorship. No longer relegated to the basement, the artist’s studio now permeates the entire house, bringing improvisational creativity and iterative production into the shared domestic space. Using snow, flowers, chenille stems, ice, feathers, construction paper, polymer clay, and pompoms to experiment, play, and create together, Labatte’s family are active collaborators in her creative process, highlighting the intimacy of shared artistic curiosity that co-exists with caretaking routines.


Jessica Labatte’s constructed imagery investigates the materiality of photography through light, color, illusion, and paradoxes inherent in photographic representation. She is Associate Professor and Director of the School of Art and Design at Northern Illinois University. Her work has been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, FL; Aperture Foundation, NYC, NY;  Silver Eye Center for Photography; Elmhurst Art Museum; South Bend Museum of Art; IMOCA; Hyde Park Art Center; Higher Pictures; Golden Gallery; and Western Exhibitions. She was artist-in-residence at Light Work, Ox-Bow, and Latitude. Her work has been reviewed in The New York Times, The New Yorker,, and Chicago Magazine. 

Date: September 29th, 2023
Time: 12:00 – 1:00 PM CT

Cost: FREE 
Location: Columbia College Chicago Student Center | 754 S Wabash Ave, 5th floor

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