The Presence of Absence reviewed in the Huffington Post

"The space is gorgeous, the art solid, challenging, yet accessible. This is a wonderfully odd, powerful, thoughtful show. " - Paul Klein, Huffington Post

Happy to have our exhibition written about in such good company.


Curators/Artists talk for The Presence of Absence, Sat, May 18, 2 p.m.

At Hairpin Gallery. See info below.


The Presence of Absence at Hairpin Gallery opening May 10, 5-7 p.m.

"A show about invisible forces in the world..."

"One of the best gallery shows in Chicago right now"

--Chicago Magazine

Northwestern University Department of Radio-TV-Film Professors Dave Tolchinsky and Debra Tolchinsky have curated the Contemporary Arts Council 13th annual exhibition, The Presence of Absence at the Hairpin Arts Center in Logan Square. 

The Presence of Absence grapples with that which should be there, but isn’t, and that which shouldn’t be there, but is still felt, seen or heard.  According to the curators, the initial concept for the exhibition came about from an awareness that an absence of anything—a person, an action, an idea—often affects us more acutely than that which may be concretely present. Gathering work for the show, the Tolchinskys found themselves attracted to artists who explore the tension between that which is and that which is not in a variety of media (film, video, installation, sculpture, and paint) and from a multitude of perspectives.

Participants include renowned installation/conceptual artist Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle (Guggenheim Fellowship winner, Documenta participant, Northwestern faculty member), in a rare Chicago appearance; new media artist Christopher Baker off his recent sale to Saatchi of his Hello World! Video installation, featuring thousands of YouTube users announcing themselves to the world; filmmaker/installation artist Melika Bass off her recent Lincoln Film Center screening and acclaimed video for icelandic band Sigur Ros; internationally recognized sculptor and School of the Art Institute professor Laurie Palmer; well known Colombian/Chicago painter Paola Cabal and installation artist Katarina Weslien, as well as newcomer filmmakers Robert Chase Heishman and Brendan Meara.

The Tolchinsky’s previously curated The Neighbor Next Door: Shimon Attie at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum in Evanston, IL (one of the ten shows to see this fall, according to the Chicago Tribune) and The Horror Show at the Chicago City Arts Gallery which then traveled to Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs in New York City (chosen as a Voice Choice for Art by the Village Voice). Debra Tolchinsky also recently co-curated Crossing Wires; Technology and Play at the Evanston Art Center.  

The exhibition runs from May 6 to June 2, 2013 and will be accompanied by a color catalog.  Opening reception is Friday, May 10, from 5-7pm. Curators and Artists Talk, Saturday, May 18, 2-3pm. All events are open to the public. Gallery hours are Wed. 12-3pm, Fri. 5-9:30pm, Sat. 2-9:30pm, and Sun. 2-5pm.

The Hairpin Arts Center was established by the Logan Square Chamber of Arts. The space acts as a place for cross-disciplinary exchange. By offering a variety of traditional and experimental programming, the Hairpin brings together local, national, and international artists and arts groups connecting them to the local community.



Hairpin Arts Center, 2800 N. Milwaukee Ave., 2nd Floor, Chicago, IL, 60618,





NU MFA in the News

The program I direct in the Independent.


Where's The Rest of Me?

I have a piece in Paraphilia Magazine. About Spalding Gray, monologues, and the movie King's Row. Check it out.