“Lumpy Morsels, Hot Rocks:” Claire Ashley Presents New Work at the Cleve Carney Art Gallery, Feb. 4 – March 19, 2016

Exhibition Reception and Dance Performance to Be Held Thursday, Feb. 4

GLEN ELLYN, Ill. – The Cleve Carney Art Gallery located at the McAninch Arts Center, 425 Fawell Blvd., at College of DuPage, presents “Claire Ashley: Lumpy Morsels, Hot Rocks,” Feb. 4 – March 19, 2016, curated by newly appointed gallery curator/director Justin Witte.  The opening reception and dance performance will take place Thursday, Feb. 4, 6 – 8 p.m. and is free and open to the public.  A Gallery Talk will be held at 11 a.m. on Feb. 11, 2016, and an Artist Lecture will take place on Feb. 17 from 12 – 1 p.m. as part of the College of DuPage Visiting Artist Series.

Widely regarded for her neon splashed and unwieldy blown up forms, Ashley has created an original body of work for this exhibition consisting of numerous small inflatable sculptures painted in a gradated palette.  Piled, stacked, and squeezed in the space, the resulting bakery-style display exists as a mangled conglomeration of rocks, breasts, and buns, responsive to body and landscape.  “This solo exhibition is an excellent example of how Ashley’s ambitious sculptures defy expectation by balancing the monumental with the humorous and the abstract with the physical,” stated Witte.  “We are so excited to be able to present “Lumpy Morsels, Hot Rocks” as part of the Cleve Carney Art Gallery’s mission to showcase the work of influential contemporary artists working in the Chicago area.”

Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland and currently residing in Oak Park, Ill., Ashley is an Associate Professor of Contemporary Practices at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she received her MFA.  Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at venues that include the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum (Lincoln, Mass.), Columbus College of Art and Design (Columbus, Ohio), Bahamas Biennale (Milwaukee, Wisc.) and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, (Chicago).  In 2013 a solo exhibition of her work entitled “frizzflopsqueezepop” was held at the Chicago Cultural Center.  In conjunction with the exhibition Ashley created the site-specific performance, “Disco Dozen for Daley,” where dancers performed submerged within an inflated sculpture in Daley Plaza.

Continuing her investigation into the relationship between painting, sculpture, and performance, for “Lumpy Morsel, Hot Rocks” Ashley will also present a collaborative work with dancers from the Chicago area in the gallery space during the opening reception on Feb. 4 from 6 – 8 p.m.  Performing while partially or fully submerged within her sculptures, the dancers activate and extend the polarities inherent to the inflatable form and its bodily metaphors.  The physical contrasts between inhale and exhale, tautness and wrinkles, strength and weakness are consistently explored in Ashley’s work.  The artist will discuss her approaches to object making during her Gallery Talk on Feb. 11 at 11 a.m., as well as her Artist Lecture on Feb. 17 from 12 – 1 p.m., which is part of the College of DuPage Visiting Artist Series.

Newly appointed Gallery Curator/Director Justin Witte comes to the Cleve Carney Art Gallery from Columbia College Chicago, where he served as the Exhibition Manager in the Department of Exhibitions Performance and Student Spaces.  Witte is a curator, educator and artist with more that 15 years of gallery and museum experience. In his seven years at Columbia College he curated a number of exhibitions including: “Slow Read, Midwinter and Fair Use: Information Piracy and Creative Commons in Art and Design.”  He was also responsible for the coordination of several large-scale exhibitions such as “Division of Labor and Risk: Empathy, Art and Social Practice.”  Witte has worked at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia and was a member and membership president of the influential Philadelphia artist cooperative Vox Populi.  He is a past recipient of the Pew Fellowship for painting and is currently preparing for a solo exhibition of his work at the Hyde Park Art Center, “Regenboog Broer,” opening Jan. 10.  He received his MFA in Studio Art from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2007, and maintains an active art practice.

Cleve Carney Art Gallery presents “Claire Ashley: Lumpy Morsels, Hot Rocks,” Feb. 4 to March 19, 2016.  The opening reception is Thursday, Feb. 4, 6 to 8 p.m.  An artist talk will be held on Feb. 11, 2016 at 11 a.m.  The exhibition may also be viewed during regular gallery hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., Thursday 6 – 8 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.  Cleve Carney Art Gallery is also open one hour prior to MAC performances held in the Belushi Performance Hall and during intermission.  For more information about the exhibitions and related special events, visit clevecarneygallery.org or call 630.942.2321.

The late Cleve Carney provided a significant legacy gift to establish the Cleve Carney Art Gallery, a one-story, 1,850-square-foot addition to the McAninch Arts Center.  The gallery opened in February 2014 with its inaugural exhibition “Selections from Cleve Carney’s Art Collection” and offers year-round visual art exhibitions showcasing a variety of innovative art by regional, national and international artists.  In conjunction with the Cleve Carney legacy gift, the College of DuPage Foundation has launched a three-year endowment campaign to ensure Carney’s generous gift is fully realized.  For more information, visit cod.edu/foundation.

About the MAC

McAninch Arts Center (MAC) at College of DuPage is located 25 miles west of Chicago near I-88 and I-355, and houses three performance spaces (the 780-seat proscenium Belushi Performance Hall; the 186-seat soft-thrust Playhouse Theatre; and the versatile black box Studio Theatre), plus the Cleve Carney Art Gallery, classrooms for the college’s academic programming and the Lakeside Pavilion.  The MAC has presented theater, music, dance and visual art to more than 1.5 million people since its opening in 1986 and typically welcomes more than 75,000 patrons from the greater Chicago area to more than 230 performances each season.

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McAninch Arts Center (MAC) is supported in part by the College of DuPage Foundation. Established as a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit charitable organization in 1967, the College of DuPage Foundation raises monetary and in-kind gifts to increase access to education and to enhance cultural opportunities for the surrounding community.  For more information about the College of DuPage Foundation, visit cod.edu/foundation or call 630.942.2462.

Programs at the MAC are partially supported through a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.