NIU School of Art and Design instructor of photography Jessica Labatte’s second solo exhibition at Western Exhibitions, Shade Garden is open now through December 22.

Western Exhibitions is located at 1709 West Chicago Avenue in Chicago.  Her show is in Galleries One and Two, and gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Cicadian Daylilly Dream - Jessica LabatteWestern Exhibitions’ description of the show:
Jessica Labatte continues her explorations into paradoxes and illusions within photographic images. Labatte’s two interrelated series of color photographs explore photographic notions of the visible and invisible, the present and withdrawn as they champion beauty in the everyday as a radical gesture in our contemporary moment. An exhibition catalogue will accompany the show with contributions by Elizabeth Chodos, Michael Milano, Elisabeth Holland Rose Smith, Jeff M. Ward and interview with Labatte by Eric May.

Almanac for Shade Gardeners is a series of floral still lifes —small and medium sized prints installed in a salon-style fashion in the gallery alongside three monumentally scaled prints— that mark impermanence in the everyday domestic space of her home and garden as Labatte has photographed every flower that bloomed over the course of one growing season. The pictures incorporate indexes of nurturing and the clutter of objects and materials that accompany parenthood and artistic practice within domestic spaces. Challenging myths of artistic practice and motherhood espoused by early feminist artists, Labatte’s photographs look to depict new definitions of feminist art practice.

The second series of photographs capture the experience of being in the garden, as color and dappled light are constantly in flux. In seemingly abstract works, color, light, and shadow explore an imagined virtual space beyond traditional notions of photographic representation. Drawing inspiration from Hilma af Klint and early photographic abstractionists such as László Moholy-Nagy, her Shadow Plants photographs meditate on color, time, and sensation. To create these brightly colored images, Labatte uses film and a large format camera to capture multiple exposures of collaged color paper. Her process allows one image to fuse with another, obscuring and revealing forms, textures, and the fleeting effects of light and shadow, creating a metaphorically virtual space for the visible and invisible within society, photographic image making, and art.

Jessica Labatte has two photographs currently on view in Picture Fiction: Kenneth Josephson and Contemporary Photography at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago through December 30, 2018. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, FL; Elmhurst Art Museum; Hyde Park Art Center; Higher Pictures, NYC; Golden Gallery, and Horton Gallery, NYC and has been reviewed in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Artforum.com, and Chicago Magazine. Labatte received an MFA and a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is represented by Western Exhibitions in Chicago and lives and works in the Chicagoland area.