Lauren Sudbrink, Endless Vexations
Lauren Sudbrink is an interdisciplinary artist living and working in Chicago, Illinois. She received her BFA from the University of Minnesota in 2009 and her MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2015.
Her recent works have dealt with the transactional nature of experience, examining the potentials and difficulties inherent in participation and play, as evidenced by her on-going series on 19th Century composer, Erik Satie’s “Vexations,” titled “840 Variations on Vexations.” This question of participation and experience is particularly significant now as we navigate required social distancing, presenting further challenges to shared experiences in a pandemic-ridden society.
Blake Lenoir (b. 1984) creates highly detailed and accurate colored-pencil drawings of natural landscapes and animals. Specializing in depictions of entire ecosystems, with as many plant and animal species as he can fit onto a sheet of paper, his animal kingdoms are peaceful places where all coexist harmoniously. Several of his images have been used in national and local marketing campaigns, and one of his illustrations provided the cover for Temple Grandin, My Life in Pictures: A Coloring Book for Children about Autism (a companion to the HBO original film about the autistic author, activist, and engineer). Lenoir focuses his research by area or country for months at a time before beginning a new series of works, though his recurring areas of interest are the Middle East, African nations, and – his own backyard – the Calumet Region of northwest Illinois.
Lenoir’s life and work, including his award-winning gardening, have been profiled on WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight,” among many other media outlets. In addition to his artistic talents, he is a passionate advocate for people with autism and environmental causes. He is very active in Special Olympics, and a long-time member of the Sierra Club – advocating alongside many Chicagoans to shut down air- and soil-polluting coal plants in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. Lenoir hopes that his images will not only delight the viewer but also encourage them to learn more about the regions he depicts. He joined Project Onward in 2004 and lives in the South Chicago neighborhood.
Sonya Bogdanova, Your House is Mine
Sonya Bogdanova (b. 1991, Moscow) is a Chicago-based artist and educator working with sculpture, painting, and performance. In her practice, Bogdanova objectifies and defiles representations of the ruling class. She is an MFA Candidate in Studio Arts (2021) at the University of Illinois at Chicago and earned a BFA from the School of the Art Institute in 2012. Selected exhibitions include work at Gallery 400, Co-Prosperity Sphere, Flatland, YorkExplore (York, UK), and Silvia Rivera Law Project (New York). She was an artist-in-residence at Holly & the Neighbors in 2021 and at Jiwar Foundation in Barcelona in 2015.
“My practice involves the sculptural-performative enactment of violence against oppressive systems. There are streams of grief and feelings of powerlessness that flow through the collective body in late capitalism. My work embodies a kind of raw artistic revenge against figures and systems that produce this public suffering.
Using neon paint, textiles, foam, and found materials, I create esoteric three-dimensional forms which mimic human physiology: organs, limbs, or knots. These forms are life-sized, and at times, larger. They are internally supported by paint, glue, and plastic refuse, which provides the necessary resistance for my physical attacks against them. A summary of my debasement of these objects would include: binding them together, attaching them to wood and other found objects, destroying their surfaces, penetrating their slits and sags with my hands, and using hand tools on them. I also incorporate altered sounds to reveal the abnormalities within dominant structures. I document my attacks with everyday recording equipment, such as a cell phone, and distribute the videos and images online.
I often make work to destroy it. Performing ultraviolence on these forms is physically and mentally pleasurable. My embodied performance lies somewhere between action painting and a sloppy version of carnivalesque mixed-martial-arts, and is acted out for an audience. When my target takes the form of a common enemy, I am able to produce a kind of shared catharsis.”