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Columbia College Chicago
Christine Tarkowski
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Christine Tarkowski

Winter 2010
Institute/3Arts Fellow
Chicago, IL


photo by: Michelle Litvin

Christine Tarkowski is a Chicago based artist who works in a variety of mediums including sculpture, printed matter, photography and song. Her works range in scale from the ordinary to the monumental. Equally variable is her scope of production which incorporates the making of permanent architectural structures, cast models, textile yardage, and temporary printed ephemera. Many of her recent works point toward the flotsam of western culture relative to systems of democracy, religion and capitalism. Those systems often intersect with or concern themes of conversion, salvation, and belief and are malleable systems relative to a believer's desires.

Tarkowski's solo exhibitions include Whale Oil, Slave Ships & Burning Martyrs at Priska Juschka Fine Art in New York, Imitatio Dei at the Museum of Contemporary in Chicago and Last Things Will Be First And First Things Will Be Last at the Chicago Cultural Center. She has been included in exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Socrates Sculpture Park, Cooper-Hewitt National Museum of Design, RISD Museum, and The Contemporary Museum in Honolulu.  She has created commissioned projects for the Manilow Sculpture Park at Governor's State University, Mass MoCA, Public Art/City of Chicago, and Franconia Sculpture Park. She currently is an Associate Professor in the Fiber and Material Studies Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has been the recipient of grants from the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Creative Capital Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council and awarded residencies at the Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris and J.M. Kohler Arts in Industry.

For her fellowship Tarkowski will investigate direct and indirect trade in American from the colonial era up until the Civil War.  Direct trading includes the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the triangular trade of manufactured products, slaves and slave-produced agricultures between Europe, Africa, and the North American colonies. The taxation of goods such as whaling products by the British Empire on the colonies also falls into the investigation of direct trade or exchange.  Indirect trading will look at the importation of ideology including religious and political theory.  The migration of religious and political dissenters including the Puritans and the Enlightenment thinks to the colonies is of specific interest. More information can be found at www.christinetarkowski.com.