Tuesday, July 21, 2009


BEN RUSSELL presents


1716 S Morgan #2F
Chicago, IL 60608

August 2 to August 30, 2009
Opening reception: 6-10 pm, August 2, 2009
Private viewings by appointment*

*A performance by Camlab will be presented once at 9pm during the opening reception.


In remembrance of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the Harrowing Pepsi Shoot of 1984, the Tragic Heat Wave of 1995, and that August '09 sweat on your Midwest brow; in honor of the public swimming pool around the corner, the names of various Midwestern sports teams, the ice cream truck that is actually probably not a drug front, and the sweet rattle of window-mounted air-conditioning units; in praise of art and summertime and the rapid rise in regional mercury, BEN RUSSELL presents its third show in just as many months - BEN RUSSELL : BURNS

Following (hot) on the heels of last month's (smoking) success, an opening that was made complete with the romance of a simulated Mars-Moon eclipse in the cop-infested alleyway (via artists Roxanne Hopper and Julie Rudder), this month's scorcher features two artists and two artist duos of international persuasion. Break your sunglasses, skip the tanning salon, throw that 60SPF sunscreen in the trash and let the BURNS at BEN RUSSELL char to a crisp your inner and outer cultural selves. From the language-branded cowflesh of Chicagoan Diana Guerrero-Macía to the glow-in-the-dark smokebomb abstractions of Matt Hanner, from UK team Semiconductor's sun-flared NASA video grit to the campfire-replacement sculpture and damsel-in-distress performance of CamLab, BEN RUSSELL : BURNS will demonstrate unequivocally that, at least in Pilsen, the heat is on.

In keeping with the by-now time-honored BEN RUSSELL custom, opening-night attendees are invited to feel the (afore-mentioned) heat of the barbecue and bask in the chill of mild inebriation, while supplies last.

CAMLAB is a collaboration between Jemima Wyman and Anna Mayer. CamLab has exhibited in group exhibitions internationally and had solo shows at The Block, Queensland University of Technology (Australia), Sea and Space Explorations, Los Angeles, and at 40000 in Chicago. Recently they staged a live performance in conjunction with a social project documented throughout the duration of the exhibition for “Performing Economies” exhibition at Fellows for Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. This summer CamLab is living and working at the Co-Prosperity Sphere in Bridgeport as part of the ThreeWalls residency program. They currently have work in “No Other One Is,” a group show of the summer residents’ at ThreeWalls.

DIANA GUERRERO-MACÍA is an artist deeply invested in the history of language and the usage of signs and symbols in art. Her work demonstrates the construction of universal statements culled from popular narratives as fields of text and image recalling eccentric forms of concrete poetry. Her playful and paradoxical approach to language resonates through her hand-sewn materials of choice: wool, vinyl, cotton, and leather. She received an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, a BFA from Villanova University, and studied at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She has received the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant and two residencies at the MacDowell Colony. Her solo shows include Artpace, San Antonio, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Bodybuilder & Sportsman, and Tony Wight Gallery. She has finished public art commissions for the Public Art Fund, NYC, and the Chicago Public Art Foundation. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Fiber & Material Studies and Painting Departments at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

MATT HANNER has exhibited his wall paintings, collages, and installations in group and solo exhibitions at the Hyde Park Art Center, Temporary Services, mini-dutch and Deadtech, Chicago. Additionally he has had exhibitions in Dallas, TX, Puerto Rico, and Denmark. He lives in Porter, Indiana with his wife Erika, daughter Gigi and their moody cat Angelina.

SEMICONDUCTOR make moving images which reveal our physical world in flux: cities in motion, shifting landscapes, and systems in chaos. Since 1999, UK artists Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt have worked with digital animation in an attempt to transcend the constraints of time, scale, and natural forces and explore the world beyond everyday experience. Central to these works is the role of sound, as it creates, controls, and deciphers images, exploring resonance through the natural order of things. Their work has been exhibited at the Tate Britain, ICA London, San Francisco Film Festival, Mutek Montreal, and the Venice Biennale, among other venues worldwide. Recent fellowships and residencies have supported site-specific work, including research and experimentation at the NASA Space Sciences Laboratories of UC Berkeley in California.
*image1: still from Brilliant Noise by Semiconductor (2006, video, 9:40)


BEN RUSSELL is a newly formed art space in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. Co-curated by artists Brandon Alvendia and Ben Russell and situated around the front two rooms in the apartment of its namesake, BEN RUSSELL began presenting a series of month-long 5-person shows on Memorial Day Weekend in the year 2009. Participating artists are invited to produce and exhibit work that is in accordance with the title/theme of each show, the name of which will be derived entirely from the 10 letters in the words "ben russell." Future shows may include BEN RUSSELL : BLUENESS, BEN RUSSELL : REBELS, and BEN RUSSELL : BEER. In keeping with the structural conceits of the French Oulipo language group and the spatial and material limits of what is effectively a rented apartment, BEN RUSSELL maintains a set of restrictions for all exhibiting artists by which:

- One artist shall produce a wall-mounted work scaled at a minimum of three quarters of the thirteen by ten foot wall
- One artist shall produce a wall-mounted work at a maximum of one half of the opposing wall space between the two adjacent doors
- One artist shall produce a time-based work to be presented via a CRT flat screen monitor (and associated components) with Dolby 5.1 audio in the adjacent screening room
- One artist shall produce work to be installed in the all-weather sculpture garden
- One artist shall produce work to be performed for the duration of 15-30 minutes during the opening

BEN RUSSELL features a rotating roster of Chicago-based and non-Chicago-based artists and will be open for viewings one night a month and by appointment, as needed.

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