Mar 7th 2020

Cloudy with a Chance of Ruin

@ Comfort Station

2579 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago IL 60647

Opening Saturday, March 7th, from 5PM - 8PM

On view through Saturday, March 28th

“Cloudy with a Chance of Ruin” includes new individual and collaborative works by Jan Brugger & Shanna Zentner that reflect on their shared interest in survival, climate change, and “the cloud”. Zentner’s cloud is a contagious, emotional atmosphere. Her mural “Weather” portrays “gossip”. A chattering chain causes clouds to break free from a canvas, while an accompanying zine shows the escaped clouds brainwashing someone. Zentner also uses motifs such as spikes and drops that reference bodily reactions to fear and anxiety like goosebumps, sweat, and tears.

For Brugger, the cloud is a digital haze that controls a mind hypnotically. Her sculptures and collages reference flooding, strained bodies, and a loss of control that stems from our devices and cultural distractions. In “Devices Used to Stay Afloat”, Brugger uses water as both a visual and thematic backdrop, her images reflect on the therapeutic and catastrophic qualities of the element through metaphorical and sculptural prompts (sinking, floating, rising, spreading, drowning, melting and crashing). Other forms inspired by bleached coral reefs, classical columns, the altered human body, and vegetation playfully offer two outlooks: adaptation or demise.

Employing the visual vernaculars of religion and science, Zentner engages world-building strategies rooted in defense mechanisms like the fetishization of conspiracy theories or addiction to information technology. These strategies foster feelings of control and security to combat an atmosphere of confusing and unreliable knowledge sources. Constructing material and narrative relationships between order and entropy, Zentner mirrors and questions these emotional spaces with allegories about the interdependence of knowledge and illusion.

Brugger’s work also examines illusion and its relationship to power and technology. She creates installations, objects, prints, and videos that simulate and stimulate our interactions with screens and the “bread & circuses” of screen culture. By riding the line between sincerity, humor and ironic detachment, her works exist as digital-age Dadaist arrangements that mock and decipher the disorientation and hopelessness of our oversaturated, decaying, and despondent landscape.

Both artists question what will survive this storm. Ruins and residues within their work become layered collapses of time and the surviving sediment tells various narratives of existence.

Artist Bios:

Jan Brugger (MFA, University of Chicago; BFA, University of Wisconsin) makes digital and physical works that test the screen’s influence on the human body and mind. Her work has recently shown at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (WI), Mana Contemporary (Chicago, IL and Jersey City, NJ), the 57th Ann Arbor Film Festival (MI), LVL3 Gallery (Chicago, IL), Baby Blue Gallery (Chicago, IL), Roman Susan (Chicago, IL), Aggregate Space Gallery (San Francisco, CA), and the Feminist Media Studio at Concordia University (Montreal, QC). Brugger was awarded fellowships and residencies at the Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago, IL), the University of Chicago (IL), and Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond).

Shanna Zentner is a Chicago based artist working primarily with painting, silkscreen, and ceramics. She received an M.F.A. from the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Chicago and a B.F.A. from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. She has lectured at The University of Chicago and Purdue University Northwest. In the spring of 2020, Zentner will be an artist in residence at Pilotenkueche in Leipzig, Germany. In 2019 she was a participant in both The Center Program and The New Edition Program at Hyde Park Art Center. She was a Fall Artist in Residence at Ox-Bow in 2017, and an Art, Science, and Culture Fellow at The University of Chicago in 2016. Her work has exhibited in New York, North Carolina, Oregon, and Chicago. She has work in the collection of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and she has a background in scientific illustration.

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