Foto Relevance is pleased to return to Chicago this April for the 10th anniversary edition of the EXPO CHICAGO art fair. We are thrilled to be returning with three showstopping artists. Foto Relevance’s booth will feature work by three contemporary female multimedia artists: Alia Ali, Daisy Patton, and Karen Navarro. Each artist deals with portraiture in distinctive ways, working at the crossroads of photography, painting, sculpture, and textile, as well as at the intersection of layered identities. The work transcends media and crosses borders, defying categorization. Artwork by gallery artist Pelle Cass will also be on view around the city of Chicago through the OVERRIDE Billboard Project. We hope that you will join us at Navy Pier in Chicago this April 14–16, with a VIP preview day on April 13, 2023.
Alia Ali’s photographic works see the artist camouflage her sitters in elaborately patterned fabrics. Concealing her subjects' identities in traditional (and often controversial) textiles, and thus anonymizing them, she exposes fraught global histories of colonialism, migration, and language through the richly colored, enigmatic images. Ali's work explores the myriad of connections which invisibly bind together pattern and textiles, linguistics and cartographies, peoples and expression, and shows that design cannot be divorced from context. She subverts the colonial gaze, presenting beauty rather than suffering, ancestral knowledge rather than contemporary trauma, empowerment of the multiple rather than the reduction into a singular.
Influenced by collective and political histories, Daisy Patton explores storytelling and story-carrying, the meaning and social conventions of families, and what shapes living memory. Her work also examines in-between spaces and identities, including the fallibility of the body and the complexities of relationship and connection. In her series Forgetting is so long, Patton collects abandoned family photographs, enlarges them to life-size, and paints over them as a kind of re-enlivening, dislocating the individuals from their formerly static place and time. Each piece functions as an altar for the departed, a portal that fractures linear time, and a possibility for rich connection between the viewer and the painted subjects.
Karen Navarro’s uniquely deconstructed and reconstructed portraits of first, second and third generation American immigrants investigate a sense of belonging as influenced by race, migration, and the artist’s own indigenous identity. By exploring her ancestral culture, and her experience as an American immigrant, she creates connections between a vast constellation of identities in the present time — connections which reinforce a vision of a more just future. The bold, sculptural works push beyond the boundaries of traditional photography and color usage, carving out new spaces of exploration of media and identity.