Longtime collaborators Dutes Miller & Stan Shellabarger premiere their largest multimedia installation in Loving Repeating. The Chicago-based artists have been creating works on paper, performances, and installations that draw attention to the human condition as experienced through the queer perspective since 1993. The exhibition will incorporate their signature style featuring silhouettes of each other’s bodies – recognizable from their long beards – to build an immersive installation. Combining cut paper, vinyl, video, light and shadow, the artists aim to address the presence and absence of human touch experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The artwork in Loving Repeating focuses on the underlying concept of the infinite feeling of connection, loneliness and loss felt throughout long-term relationships over time. This exhibition will include three new major works; A large cut vinyl mural, a multi-channel video projection, and a participatory durational performance.
According to the artists, “speaking both to common experiences of intimacy as well as the specifics of queer identities, we attempt to document the rhythms of relationships. The title of the exhibition comes from Gertrude Stein’s “The Making of the Americas”. Stein’s discussion of the way in which life, history, and time is formed and understood is emblematic of our own relationship. Life is made of small repeated gestures. Each repetition accumulating over time equals history. The intimacy of these small moments is documented in our work in a variety of ways.
Dutes Miller b. 1965, Pennsylvania Stan Shellabarger b. 1968, Illinois Live and work in Chicago, IL
Married artist collaborators Miller & Shellabarger explore physicality, duality, time and romantic ideal in their multidisciplinary work – performance, photography, artists books, sculpture and cut paper silhouettes – that documents the rhythms of human relationships, speaking both to common experiences of intimacy as well as the specifics of queer identities. Their performances, always enacted together in public, push simple materials and actions to almost Sisyphean extremes. Their gestures shift between moments of togetherness and separation, private and public, protection and pain, and visibility and invisibility. Their work is both autobiographical and metaphorical, speaking to common human interaction and queer relationships. Silhouettes of each other, their iconic beards, and their bodies appear regularly in their work. In their signature ongoing performance, Untitled (Pink Tube), a non-theatrical, durational piece, they simultaneously crochet at opposite ends of a long tube of pink acrylic yarn, a metaphorically-loaded object that both unites and separates them. In Untitled (Grave), Miller & Shellabarger dig two holes close together, deep and large enough for each man to lie in. They then dug a small tunnel between the holes that enabled them to hold hands while lying in the graves.
Miller & Shellabarger have had solo shows at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Chicago Cultural Center, INOVA in Milwaukee, the University Galleries at Illinois State University and Gallery Diet in Miami and they have performed and/or been exhibited in group shows across the North America. Miller & Shellabarger are a 2008 recipient of an Artadia Chicago award and a 2007 recipient of a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation award. Their work in is the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, the Newark Public Library, Indiana University Art Museum and the National Gallery of Canada. Their work has been written about in Artforum.com, Art & Auction, Frieze, Artnet, The Art Newspaper, Flash Art, Chicago Tribune, and the Chicago Sun Times. Dutes Miller and Stan Shellabarger also maintain separate artistic practices. They are represented by Western Exhibitions in Chicagoland live and work in Chicago.