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About the Artists

Candida Alvarez

"Born in Brooklyn and based in Chicago since 1998, Alvarez has been involved with both abstraction and representation in her work for more than 30 years. Emerging from a home life that immersed her in the traditions of her parents’ birthplace in Puerto Rico, Alvarez incorporated narrative and ritual into her work from the outset." --Chicago Cultural Center

Bethany Collins

"Bethany Collins (American, b.1984) is a multidisciplinary artist whose conceptually driven work is fueled by a critical exploration of how race and language interact. In her Contronym series, for instance, Collins transposes definitions from Webster’s New World Dictionary of American Language onto American Masters paper, then aggressively obscures much of the entries with an eraser. What remain are specific snippets of meaning that are poetically charged through their isolation, as well as the crumbled paper bits left behind by her erasing. As Holland Cotter noted writing in The New York Times, “language itself, viewed as intrinsically racialized, is Bethany Collins’ primary material.” 

Her works have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions nationwide, including the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Drawing Center, the High Museum of Art and the Birmingham Museum of Art. Collins has been recognized as an Artist-in-Residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem, the MacDowell Colony, the Bemis Center and the Hyde Park Art Center among others. And in 2015, she was awarded the Hudgens Prize."  --Artists' website

Abigail DeVille

"Born in 1981 in New York (USA). Lives and works in New York (USA). Abigail DeVille creates immersive and proliferating works and installations of post-apocalyptic appearance. Her work refers to displacement, migration, marginalization and cultural invisibility. Abigail DeVille undertakes intensive preparatory research and acts as an archaeologist, collecting and reallocating found materials to give physical presence to unspoken stories and forgotten pasts.

Abigail DeVille’s work has been exhibited at Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (St Louis), Institute of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), The Studio Museum in Harlem (New York), the Pinchuk Art Centre (Kiev), New Museum (New York), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam). DeVille has designed sets for theatrical productions—at venues such as the Stratford Festival, directed by Peter Sellers, Harlem Stage, La Mama, JACK, and Joe’s Pub directed by Charlotte Brathwaite. She has received honors fellow at The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, Creative Capital grantee, received a OBIE Award for design, and nomiated [sic] for The Future Generation Art Prize in 55th Biennale di Venezia. She is currently in residence at the American Academy in Rome. 

Her work is part of prestigious collections as Kadist Art Foundation (San Francisco), Kaviar Factory (Henningsvaer), The Bronx Museum of the Arts (Bronx), The Studio Museum (Harlem), Centre National des Arts Plastiques (Paris), among others." --Michael Rein Gallery, Artist's Bio

Maren Hassinger

Hassinger is a multimedia artist who combines sculpture, installation, performance, dance and video. She is known for using methods of minimalist and process art using both industrial and natural materials to explore themes of nature, culture and identity.  In the 1970s she began exploring the use of non-tradition art materials which had been dismissed as craft. Hassinger has regularly collaborated with Senga Nengudi on sculptural installations incorporating movement. 

Hassinger's work is held in permanent collections of Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, Baltimore, MD; California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Portland Museum of Art, Portland, OR; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY; Williams College Art Museum, Williamstown, MA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA.  In 2009 Hassinger received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women’s Caucus for Art, Maryland Institute College of Art.

Ariel Jackson

"Ariel Jackson (b.1991) is an American artist originally from Louisiana, currently living and working in Austin, TX. Jackson uses her personal experiences as a based to build and explore historical, personal, and social perceptions of blues. Her mediums of interest are video, animation, and sculpture which she uses to contextualize narrative and physical translations of intellectual and historical information into lyrical forms." --

Steffani Jemison

"Steffani Jemison uses time-based, photographic, and discursive platforms to examine "progress" and its alternatives. Jemison's work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Her work has been presented at the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Studio Museum in Harlem, The Drawing Center, LAXART, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art, Bridget Donahue, Laurel Gitlen,Team Gallery, and others. Her work is in the public collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Kadist Foundation." --Artist's website

Jennie C. Jones

Jones is a visual and sonic artist whose paintings, sculptures, and works on paper incorporate ideas around minimalism, abstraction, jazz, and black history. --Wikipedia Entry, Jennie C. Jones

Caroline Kent

"Since receiving her MFA in 2008 from the University of Minnesota, Caroline Kent has participated in numerous exhibitions including the California African American Museum, Los Angeles; The Suburban, Chicago; Washington Park Arts Center, Chicago; Elephant, Los Angeles; and SUNY Duchess in Poughkeepsie, NY. In 2012-13 she was a Creative City Making Minneapolis grant recipient. Kent has twice received the Minnesota Artist Initiative Grant, and is recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, a Jerome Fellowship, and a McKnight Artist Fellowship, and is currently a Fellow at Shandaken Project’s Paint School. Kent is included in the forthcoming cross-institutional exhibition Out of Easy Reach, hosted by the DePaul Art Museum, highlighting contemporary and conceptual expansion of abstraction by female-identifying artists from the Black and Latina Diasporas." --The Union of Contemporary Art

Ayanah Moor

"Ayanah Moor (born 1973, Norfolk, Virginia, United States) is an American conceptual artist working in print, video, mixed media, and performance.She is also an Associate Professor of Art. Her work addresses contemporary popular culture by interrogating identity and vernacular aesthetics. She appropriates and revises existing material to invert and expand meaning. 'My work explores the way popular culture is an articulation of our desires, our fears, our fantasies,' Moor has explained. 'I think I have always been sensitive to the need to self-define, because black people in America have historically been affected by the ways in which others have defined them. For me, to revise: is to act upon a history. It is both an acknowledgement of history, a critique of it, and an alternative view. I am intrigued by the social constructs of race, just as I am intrigued by gender and sexuality. In my work I often play upon notions that we think of as fixed, to invite new definitions.'" --Wikipedia

Kellie Romany

"Kellie Romany is a Chicago-based visual artist interested in the materiality and history of the painting process, with a specific focus on the body as a permeable and evolving entity. Romany was born in Trinidad and moved to the United States in the late 90s. She received a Masters of Fine Arts in Painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2011, and a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2008. Romany has exhibited both nationally and internationally, including Sullivan Galleries in Chicago, Parade Ground Gallery in New York, Amel Bourouina Gallery in Berlin, Germany and Minninger Gallery in Cologne, Germany. Residencies include Albert Oehlen’s Studio in Lekeitio, Spain." --UChicago Arts

Edra Soto

"Edra Soto (b. Puerto Rico) is a Chicago-based interdisciplinary artist, educator, curator, and co-director of the outdoor project space THE FRANKLIN. She is invested in creating and providing visual and educational models propelled by empathy and generosity. Her recent projects are motivated by civic and social actions focus on fostering relationships with a wide range of communities.  --Artist's website

Xaviera Simmons

"Xaviera Simmons's body of work spans photography, performance, video, sound, sculpture and installation. She defines her studio practice, which is rooted in an ongoing investigation of experience, memory, abstraction, present and future histories-specifically shifting notions surrounding landscape-as cyclical rather than linear. In other words, Simmons is committed equally to the examination of different artistic modes and processes; for example, she may dedicate part of a year to photography, another part to performance, and other parts to installation, video, and sound works-keeping her practice in constant and consistent rotation, shift, and engagement." --Artist's website

Brenna Youngblood

Youngblood uses acrylic, paper, wood, photographs and found objects to create abstract works, which juxtapose non-representational elements with cultural, personal and historical references.  She prefers to leave the meaning of her pieces ambiguous allowing viewers to make their own interpretations but her work can be said to touch on themes of black female subjectivity, personal experience, and pop culture. Youngblood has had numerous group exhibitions and solo exhibitions at the Tilton Gallery, Honor Fraser and the Hammer Museum and is included in the permanent collections of the Hammer Museum; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and The Seattle Art Museum among others.