Society! Artwork-In-Residence Program Featuring Kirsten Leenaars

Evanston Art Center

Oct. 2, 2016, 10:00 am

1717 Central Street
(847) 475-5300

The Evanston Art Center (EAC) is pleased to announce its third Society! artist resident, Kirsten Leenaars, who will occupy the upstairs gallery at the Art Center from October 2 – 30, 2016. Leenaars’ practice is a hybrid of video, performance and text based work in which she engages with specific people and communities.

In Leenaars’ upcoming residency, Where You End and I Begin, she will present a series of text based work derived from the language used in the upcoming November elections in the United States. Her work will address the notion of language as something compelling as well as confronting, ultimately researching words’ power to align themselves into unexpected chords of nuance. These text artworks will exist as a series of drawings and screen prints, forming the basis of a collaborative performance developed over the course of the residency with community members.

Within a participatory framework, Leenaars creates video and performance work by engaging with specific people and communities. Her work oscillates between fiction and documentation, reinterprets personal stories and reimagines everyday realities through staging, improvisation and iteration. Leenaars’ practice is driven by meeting people in their lived realities. She collects personal stories and creates shared experiences that form the basis of her work. She examines the very nature of our own constructed realities, the stories we tell ourselves and the ones we identify with and explores the way we relate to others. Her artwork aims to ask questions of how we are all connected and engaged in this creative endeavor called being human.

Leenaars’ work has been shown nationally and internationally, amongst others at Museo Universitaro del Chopo, Mexico City, DCAC, Washington DC, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Glass Curtain Gallery, Threewalls, Gallery 400, 6018 North, and Elaine L. Jacob Gallery, Detroit, Printed Matter, New York, the Wexner Center, Columbus, and at the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam.

“Kirsten’s work continuously reveals the possibilities for spirited and meaningful artist engagement with communities,” states curator Jessica Cochran. “With no fixed model, her work follows the course of collaboration, going where it needs to go. As such, Kirsten will use this time and space to incubate and develop this body of work with the support of the Evanston Art Center.”

Launched in June 2016, Society! is an artwork-in-residence program curated by Jessica Cochran and hosted by the Evanston Art Center. The program brings 6 artists over the course of a year to “move into” the gallery for 4-6 week residencies where they can work on projects-in-progress, experiment with the display of their artwork, host studio visits, and engage the community of the Evanston Art Center. For each artist, this studio/exhibition space is a blank slate, fresh semi-public environment and a temporary platform designed for making, showing, thinking, writing, experimenting and talking within a dynamic and thriving creative community. In addition, artists are invited to utilize the studios and class offerings at the Evanston Art Center for the duration of their residency.

Jessica Cochran is a curator living and working in Chicago. She recently completed a curatorial fellowship at the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation and her upcoming exhibitions include the Center for the Book (New York) and the Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago). After seven years spent in academic galleries, she is now managing private art collections and coordinating project engagement and development for Watermarks, a public art project in Milwaukee by Mary Miss/City as Living Laboratories. She is a lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the Department of Arts Administration and Policy.


Friday, October 28: Closing Reception and Artist Performance
6:00 pm until 8:00 pm

Upcoming residents during the Society! program include Judith Brotman from November 6 – November 27, 2016, David Giordano from January 8 – January 22, 2017, and Adriana Kuri Alamillo from March 5 – March 26, 2017.

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