Oct 7th 2016

A Polite Distance

@ ACRE Projects

1345 W 19th St, Chicago, IL 60608

Opening Friday, October 7th, from 6PM - 9PM

On view through Saturday, October 29th

New works by Brett Ian Balogh, Didier Morelli, Ruby Thorkelson, and Stephanie Williams // Curated by Matthew A. Coleman

The work on view in A Polite Distance is anything but polite. Social distance, or the perception of difference between members of various groups, is reinforced by politeness and other coded behaviors. “Polite distance” is seeing and not doing; a method of editing one’s response; a consideration of space; a way to call out inequalities, but only for the optics on social media. Brett Ian Balogh, Didier Morelli, Ruby Thorkelson, and Stephanie Williams address the pitfalls of polite distance through a range of strategies. From critiques of cultural colonization and the sociopolitical inequity created by gentrification and political vanity to meditations on Earth’s invisible forces, like gravity and electromagnetism, these artists share a particular consideration for the power and politics of space.

About the Artists:

Brett Ian Balogh is a Chicago-based artist making sculptural, aural, and cartographic explorations of the electromagnetic landscape. At a time when we increasingly rely on wireless technologies, Brett draws attention to the personal, private, and political aspects of our wireless world. He is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he teaches courses in digital fabrication, robotics, physics, sound, and electronics. Brett is a free103point9 transmission artist and has exhibited and performed at P.S.1 (NY), Diapason (NY), Devotion Gallery (NY), The MCA (Chicago), and The Hyde Park Arts Center (Chicago), among others.

Born and raised in Montreal, Didier Morelli is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Performance Studies at Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois. As an interdisciplinary artist, Morelli combines practice and research in both his academic and performative explorations. His live art practice includes endurance-based durational actions and contextually specific relational interactions. His studio-based work, which includes drawing, collage, photography and video, has been shown in solo exhibitions, notably at the Katherine Mulherin Gallery (Toronto, 2012) Defibrillator Performance Art Gallery (Chicago, 2015) and at the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery at Concordia University (Montreal, 2016). He has performed at Nuit Blanche (Montreal, 2013); Scotiabank Nuit Blanche (Toronto, 2012); the Performance Arcade (Wellington, New Zealand, 2014); at 7a*11D International Festival of Performance Art (Toronto, 2014); and at the Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University (Chicago, 2016). He has been an artist in residence in Canada, the United States of America, and Iceland. His academic research investigates the relationship between the body of the artist and the infrastructure of the city in Los Angeles and New York City between 1970 and 1985, with specific attention to how performance art resists, renegotiates, and responds to architectural functionalism.

Ruby Thorkelson graduated in 2016 with an MFA from SAIC, and has shown work at Chicago venues including EXPO, Roman Susan, Chicago Filmmakers, Chicago Alternative Comics Expo, Woman Made Gallery, and Plaines Project. She has forthcoming group exhibitions at ACRE Projects and Hyde Park Art Center, and was awarded a 2016 residency at Ox-Bow in Michigan and a 2015 residency at ACRE in Wisconsin. In 2015 she was part of the 6-person collective that produced Build Presence: A Movement Supportive Happening for Racial Justice at the Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago Home Theater Festival, and Woman Made Gallery. She plays music in Chicago band Lezurrexion, and teaches in the Liberal Arts Department at SAIC.

Stephanie Williams received her MFA in Sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design. She has shown nationally and abroad including ACRE Projects, Civilian Art Projects, Washington Project for the Arts, Grizzly Grizzly, School 33 and Lawrence University’s Wriston Art Center with reviews in the Huffington Post, the Washington Post. She has received fellowships from both the Vermont Studio Center (VCCA) and Toby Devan Lewis Foundation. Recent projects include costuming for the DC Art Center’s production of Antonin Artaud’s play To Be Done with the Judgment of God and The Anatomy of Fairy Tales at the Everhart Museum. This summer she was a resident fellow at the VCCA. Williams is an Assistant Professor of Art at James Madison University and is currently based out of Washington, DC.

About the Curator:

Matthew A. Coleman is an art and media historian, creator, and ACRE resident curator based in Los Angeles. Primarily interested in the ways in which media (art, film, photography, television, the Internet, and their infrastructures) re-mediates experiences of land, his writing integrates visual methodologies with personal narratives. He graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with an MA in Modern Art History, Theory, and Criticism, where he wrote his thesis on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. He previously received his BA in Art History & Visual Culture Studies at Whitman College. He is a Curatorial Assistant, Special Projects at the Hammer Museum, overseeing the In Real Life series of performance and film. http://www.matthewacoleman.com/

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