“SOFT FASCINATION”, 2021, Speaks of the pervasive nature of fear and anxiety in a setting where the absence of emotional turmoil has been created. The title of this series refers to the term soft fascination coined by psychologists to describe tranquility – where there is enough interest in our surroundings to hold attention but not so much that it compromises the ability to reflect. As our lives slowed down with life coming to a halt due to the pandemic, stillness welcomes in meditative moments of reflection and uncovers intrusive thoughts. Some works feature large spaces where color, light, and form have been engaged by far-reaching, invading shadows. These shadows mimic the serpentine appearance and consciousness across the surface to overtake these intended spaces of tranquility. In other works in this series, this chasm of emptiness is disrupted by the very colors and movements it sought to extinguish, in reflective chrome as well as raised contours of my body. This is reflective of clearing mental space to reset and come back to a place to restore your Spirit. This void, in all its splendor and strength, is the overwhelming presence of deadlines, flashbacks of traumatic events, and/or social conditioning that have limited our views and potential of ourselves. Tranquility is a state that we can conceive for our well-being and although the stresses of our lives may keep it less clear than we hope it to be, it is not impossible to achieve or embody.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Raised and bred on the Southside of Chicago, MISU is an interdisciplinary artist. Their work explores themes related to their personal histories, such as vulnerability, fragmented realities, intersecting identities, and their cross-cultural upbringing as Nigerian-American. Within these topics is the undercurrent of creating, holding, and sharing a memory. They work in media that activate living memory through painting, installation, and photographic processes. As they continue to do the work to heal themselves, they seek to work through moments of catharsis in media and processes unfamiliar to them, to initiate new modes of coping in the present.
They obtained their BA in Studio Art at Chicago State University. They received scholarships quarterly during their undergraduate program based on the strength and merit of their distinctive coursework. Since participating in the Art Institute of Chicago’s Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Summer Academy, they have explored independent fine arts curatorial opportunities.
They have exhibited at several galleries in cities such as Chicago, IL, Oshkosh, WI, and Acme, MI as well as receiving numerous honorable mentions for their photography work. Their budding art practice is continually driven by community engagement, deeply situated introspection, and the research of tangible and ephemeral materiality in quotidian rituals.
They currently live and work in Chicago, IL.