At Chicago Artists Coalition, the two-person exhibition Repository and Repertoire contains multitudes. Some fit inside the six baskets of José Santiago Pérez, woven from coiled silver emergency blankets tied together with colorful plastic lacing. What those shimmery vessels might hold is the question, not least because the loads we carry, and often need help shouldering, can be both literal and figurative. Open rehearsals Pérez has been running in the gallery with three dancers reveal a range of possibilities: a pear-shaped vessel with a small opening becomes a wounded child, a wide shallow basket a shield, a tall conical urn an altar, all of this discernable until the next series of movements enacts further mutations. On the walls, light-filled photographs by Jazmine Harris painstakingly reposition and recombine elements from the artist’s life: family photos, scrapbook pages, newspaper clippings, sticky notes with motivational messages, even the experience of having her hair done at home. The complexity of a life, her life, is not easily revealed to the viewer, but it is contained here, and there’s no mistaking the artist’s control.
—Lori Waxman 2021-03-15 4:53 PM