February 20, 2015

Painting Is Dead?!

School of Art & Design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Painting Is Dead?!, 2015. Photo/ceramic design: Taekyeom Lee.

Figure One, an off-campus venue for the Illinois School of Art + Design, presents Painting Is Dead?!, an exhibition that explores 21st-century notions of painting. Curated by Rehema Barber, Figure One Visiting Coordinator, the exhibition presents both a critique and question. Painting Is Dead?! explores the work of artists who are innovatively changing contemporary painting practice. The exhibition also seeks to expand the conceptual ideals associated with how we define painting. Overall, Painting Is Dead?! is a commentary on the longevity and the place of painting in our world today. Artists featured in this exhibition are Rico Gatson, Patrick Earl Hammie, Chris Kienke, Jason Middlebrook, Jenny Morgan, Harvey Opgenorth, Ebony G. Patterson, and Maja Ruznic.

Rico Gatson is a Brooklyn-based artist who received his BFA from Bethel College and his MFA from the Yale School of Art. Gatson’s works examine a variety of subjects such as identity, the history of race, entertainment, and spirituality.

Patrick Earl Hammie is an assistant professor in the Illinois School of Art + Design and holds a BA from Coker College and an MFA from the University of Connecticut. His monumental portraits explore themes surrounding identity, history, and individual narratives.

Chris Kienke is the Chair of Foundations in the Illinois School of Art + Design and received a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and an MFA from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Kienke’s studio practice revolves around a hybrid of painting and digital imagery, making it difficult to decipher between the painted and printed image.

Jason Middlebrook is based in Hudson, NY, and received his BFA from the University of California at Santa Cruz and an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Middlebrook draws inspiration from both nature and technology to translate his observations into various works, including installation, large-scale drawings, paintings and sculptures.

Jenny Morgan is based in New York and received her BFA from the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts. Morgan’s deeply personal works examine the complexity of human relationships and awareness, while also exploring new ways to depict figurative painting.

Harvey Opgenorth is an MFA candidate at the Illinois School of Art + Design and received his BFA from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. Opgenorth explores individual and collective perception, while also seeking to challenge the methods and means of how audiences see, interact, and understand the world in which we live.

Ebony G. Patterson is an associate professor of Painting and Mixed Media at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Patterson graduated from the Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts and received an MFA from Washington University. Patterson’s works reference dancehall culture, while also questioning the ideals associated with beauty and gender in relationship to masculinity within black popular culture.

Maja Ruznic is based in Los Angeles and received a BFA from the University of California, Berkeley, and her MFA from the California College of the Arts. Ruznic’s paintings, drawings, and performances explore memory and how it shapes our understanding of reality.


About Figure One
Figure One is a laboratory that supports projects, exhibitions and events stemming from all areas of study at the undergraduate and graduate levels at the Illinois School of Art + Design. As an off-campus venue, Figure One is a public test bed for new ideas to take shape in the space between the safety of the classroom and the rigor of the professional world.

Sponsorship for Painting Is Dead?! is generously provided by:
The Illinois School of Art + Design, the Illinois School of Art + Design Visitors Committee, George Grubb, and Robert Ballsrud.

Painting Is Dead?! at Figure One, School of Art & Design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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