On exhibit

In her natural habitat

By Ruth E. Kott

Photograph courtesy Packer Schopf Gallery

An artist’s creative process is often private, says Ann Worthing, MFA’82, but seeing where the art was made may give viewers insight into the work. “People go into a gallery, and they see work in this white box. It’s interesting to see where the work comes from because environment has a lot to do with it.” On October 4–5 Worthing exhibits new pieces inside her three-person shared studio, which spans about a half-floor in the Deagan Building in Chicago’s Ravenswood neighborhood.

Her latest work harks back to earlier collections—she uses abstract shapes, animal motifs, and, as a medium, cold wax mixed with pigment. In many pieces she plays with humans’ relationship to nature. “What do we gain from [nature] without anthropomorphizing a creature? Can we see something clearly without foisting our own assumptions onto the animal or whatever we’re looking at?”

Because a studio show is more “low-key” than a gallery exhibition, says Worthing, even she isn’t completely sure which of her pieces she will display in October. Curating the exhibit—called The Weather Outside—is her longtime dealer, Aron Packer, of Chicago’s Packer Schopf Gallery. Alongside her new work, he may choose to display some of Post, Worthing’s 2006 exhibit, which the painter terms “a pivotal moment in my development as an artist.” Packer may also hang some sketches and drawings. Says Worthing, “All your experience with constantly making work—you bring that to bear on each painting.”