We areBLESS, we are future, we are now -take our handsand join us, let the light of Art shine upon us all.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
SANDY KAYE ALLENlives in Chicago. She is deeply worried about the dying heritage and fading language of her ancestors, and she actively engages in the important artifacts and stories of Native American life, drawing from ritual and custom in an effort to educate others through her work. Intrigued by the sounds of the Cherokee language and the instruments that accompany it, she weaves these elements together with samples of her own recordings and her own voice. Moving between fact and fabrication, she teaches herself folk dances and writes love letters to her pretend Native American boyfriend in Tsalagi, the Cherokee language. She learns Native American recipes to cook meals for her friends; she sings the self-taught Cherokee morning song of her ancestors and often contemplates the magic of being able to fluently speak the Cherokee language. She dreams of one day finding and connecting with the Cherokee elders and using their knowledge to inform the world around her.
DAYTON CASTLEMANis an artist who was born in New Orleans, worked extensively in Philadelphia, and now resides in Chicago, where he received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute. He has installed work at numerous venues in Philadelphia, and has exhibited his work in Chicago at Co-Prosperity Sphere, DePaul University Museum, and Jennifer Norback Gallery, among others, as well as curating exhibitions at Alogon, Spoke, and The Zhou B. Art Center. He has shown work at the International Sculpture Center in New Jersey, and at galleries from Los Angeles, to New York, to Rotterdam.
DEREK CHAN'spaintings, works-on-paper, and durational performances record the minutia of daily life while combining historical narratives to reflect on such themes as spirituality. He develops his work through a highly personal, meditative practice that most recently that explores the spiritual and poetic nature of the Four Corners region, where Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado meet.Chan’s recent exhibitions includeThirty and Eightwith Golden Age, a 12 x 12 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and collaborations with Theaster Gates at the Whitney Museum of American Art during the Whitney Biennial.
Expanding elements of modernist painting,JUDY LEDGERWOODuses color as the primary agent to gain a critical vantage point on its trajectory. Early in her career, Ledgerwood began incorporating traditionally feminine pastel colors into her paintings in an attempt to challenge and undermine the historically male-dominated tradition of abstract painting. Today her compositions include a compound circular motif typically associated with the decorative arts tradition. Ledgerwood'sBlob Paintingspush painting toward sculpture in a further exploration of the meaning of form. Ledgerwood is the recipient of a The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award, an Artadia Award, a Tiffany Award in the Visual Arts, a National Endowment for the Arts Award, and an Illinois Art Council Award. Her work is represented in public collections including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, the Milwaukee Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Her degrees are from the Art Academy of Cincinnati, BFA, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, MFA.
DAVID WOJNAROWICZwas a painter, photographer, writer, filmmaker, performance artist, and activist who was prominent in the New York City art world of the 1980s. Wojnarowicz died of AIDS-related complications on July 22, 1992 at the age of 37. In November 2010, G. Wayne Clough, Secretary of the Smithsonian, removed Wojnarowicz's short silent filmA Fire in My Bellyfrom the exhibit "Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture" at the National Portrait Gallery after complaints from the Catholic League and Rep. John Boehner.
ABOUT THE SPACE: BEN RUSSELL is an 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 : LENS, BEN RUSSELL : REBELS, and BEN RUSSELL : US. 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 strict 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.