At Uprise

Behind the scenes of "Reflection Pools"

Uprise Art is pleased to present Reflection Pools, a new project by Chicago-based artist Chad Kouri at Chinatown Soup. Visitors are invited to enter the gallery space, sit down, and spend long-form time with the work as an exercise in meditation and mindfulness. Kouri’s practice centers the importance of making time for introspection, enabling more energy for mutual aid and collective community care.

With roots in ancient Persian gardens, the reflecting pool is an architectural design feature used in parks and memorial sites. These undisturbed waters create a literal and metaphorical moment for reflection by mirroring the onlooker’s image and offering a serene opportunity for pause. Likewise, the central metallic silver circle in Kouri’s paintings encourages the experience of deep-looking that prioritizes the viewer’s perspective. As the viewer’s relation to the painting changes, different features of the room around it are reflected, leading to an infinitely changing viewing experience.

My mixed-race identity is mirrored in my hybrid studio practice. I focus broadly on visual art, music, and community care while considering ideas based in improvisation, radical healing, joy, curiosity, self-awareness, and acceptance. — Chad Kouri

In a similar context, the circle was used in prehistoric petroglyphs to symbolize a portal to a spiritual realm. Modern interpretations view the circle as a symbol of perfection, wholeness, cycles, and the infinite; it is at once the sun, the moon, a clock, a compass, the wheel, and a vanity mirror. With so many associations both past and present, the reflective circle is the ideal symbol to activate the mind in an exploration of personal rumination.

At my core, I come from a belief that we are all more alike than different. At times, these works' distressed mirror-like surfaces resemble constellations. Since the beginning of time, people have been staring up at the night sky in total wonder and shock. These works strive to instill a universal sense of wonder and curiosity in the viewer that transcends different lived experiences, ages, races, ethnicities, and abilities. — Chad Kouri

Accompanying audio pieces enhance the immersive quality of the work, creating an atmospheric and healing space. The contemplative sounds include Kouri’s collection of field recordings and live, improvised music on bass, tenor saxophone, guitar and more, which gently persuade the mind into a state of active leisure.

Listen to the audio works by selecting from the following streaming services:


Discover the artworks featured in Reflection Pools here.

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