4th Ward Project Space: Mika Horibuchi

Apr 28, 2015 / by EMILIANO BURR DI MAURO / South Side Weekly

The 4th Ward Project Space, situated on 54th Street and Kimbark Avenue, proves that young, underrepresented artists in Chicago can exhibit their work as long as someone is willing to exhibit it. In the case of 4WPS, those dedicated to supporting such artists are three Chicago artists themselves: Mika Horibuchi, James Kao, and Valentina Zamfirescu.

“Part of the goal is to build a coalition—another place for Chicago artists to show work,” Kao told me at 4WPS last week. “We see it as our responsibility. If we have the means to do this, it’s sort of the right thing to do.”

The most recent exhibition, by Eric Saudi, is as overwhelming as it is inviting. “Marginalia” is the fourth in a string of single-artist shows 4WPS has exhibited since opening last year. The show focuses on Saudi’s upbringing in the Bronx in New York City and explores themes of sexuality, religion, and violence in his community. The exhibit includes drawings on flesh-like materials, which are interspersed throughout overlapping party-like banners whose phrases reflect on the darker side of his neighborhood. A new exhibit by Alberto Aguilar will begin on May 3.

As professional artists who have a strong background in painting, Horibuchi, Kao, and Zamfirescu select their artists from a variety of sources. Some they hear about through word of mouth, and others they stumble upon online. After they select someone, the trio is with that artist through every step of the process, from the first gallery visit to installation. But essentially, as Kao put it, they give them the keys to the gallery and try not to step on their toes.

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