Inspiration in the Pandemic: Virtual studio visit with Andrei Rabodzeenko.

Chicago artist Andrei Rabodzeenko brought an exhibition of drawings to the FlexSpace at Riverside Arts Center this January past. A marvelous show of works made using a technique he calls “life-trembling line”; allowing the unconscious to guide the hand as the drawing is being made, limiting input from the conscious – while still creating a work that makes sense to a conscious eye. The drawings were exquisite; delicate renderings of dreamscapes – vistas outside of time. From these, beings emerge, seeming to be born as physical energy out of a complex world. A balance between being and environment.

Andrei’s show, “Energy, Frequency, and Vibration”, curated by Dr. Lise McKean was the first show I helped guide from opening to closing as the brand-new gallery director of FlexSpace.

Just a few brief months after we closed that show, the world is so much changed. Challenging, upended, uncertain. Looking to the future yields a palpable, at times almost unbearable unknown.

As director of the FlexSpace I’ve been thinking about how to support our creative community during this time of vast uncertainty. Sharing inspiration with artists seemed a good way to go, and I started this series “Checking-in” with artists. Andrei agreed to be our inaugural artist and graciously invited us in to his studio via zoom. He shared work he’s making now, and we talked about how the solitude of the artist’s studio is connected in the larger society, the inspiration in sidewalk chalk drawings, and the value in staying the course despite the global pandemic.

Artists are community-builders and connectors. We are problem-solvers. We keep going despite tough times all around. We devise ways to pursue ideas, make work, and share it – whatever the context. I hope you enjoy this reflective conversation with Andrei.

For other inspiring online art conversations, check out:

Photos at Zoom“:  A new lunchtime lecture series from the Museum of Contemporary Photography with a vibrant roster of artists and topics.  Recordings are available on the Museum site.

The Commons Online at the Museum of Contemporary Art is a ‘digital extension’ of their second floor commons space and updates regularly with projects, events, and discussions.

Hyde Park Art Center has moved a big selection of their programs online. Registration is underway for classes that begin soon. And classes are ‘contribute what you can’ to encourage people to be involved.

Riverside Arts Center, home to the FlexSpace is also offering “Boredom Buster Boxes” delivering projects to your door. Order online with ‘no-contact’ deliveries.

For a publication gathering info about the ample creativity in Chicago’s art community, check out “The Quarantine Times” by Co-Prosperity Sphere.


Andrei Rabodzeenko, Drawing #82. from Energy, Frequency, and Vibration at the Riverside Arts Center FlexSpace, January 2020


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