1709 W Chciago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
westernexhibitions dot com
11am to 6pm
editions and more
21-May 26, 2007
DUTES MILLER & STAN SHELLABARGER
Miller & Stan Shellabarger’s first-ever joint
show at Western Exhibitions opens on April 21 and will include
collaborative artist books, photos and documentation of collaborative
performances, a re-staging of work first performed in 1999,
and selected individual works by both artists.
Miller & Shellabarger’s performances act as metaphors
for the bittersweet rhythms of human relationships. Their work
shifts between moments of togetherness to moments of separation,
between spaces of private and public, amidst protection and
pain and visibility and invisibility.
Between the Sheets, which premiered at the 1999 Cleveland
Performance Art Festival, will be re-staged in Western Exhibitions
main gallery. Positioned in the darkened gallery, atop a translucent
mattress lit from below, Miller and Shellabarger will sew themselves
“into bed”. The work reclaims the bed, often the
locus of the outrage and disdain expressed by the moral majority
and the Christian right toward queers, as a site where people
turn to each other for compassion, comfort, and safety. Shellabarger
states, “Sewing ourselves into the bed’s sheets,
we are both vainly seeking safety while experiencing entrapment,
exposing the conflict queers face in a society that is violent
and discriminatory towards them.” This performance will
take place at 8pm during the opening reception and will be filmed
and projected onto the bed for the run of the exhibition.
In addition to Between the Sheets, Miller & Shellabarger
will show an accumulation of a thousand paper cranes from the
performance Untitled (Origami Cranes). In this recent
work, the artists sat next to one another on a bed in the window
of a Chicago futon store and folded paper into origami cranes
over the course of three Saturdays, 8 hours at time. As they
sat together, participating in a shared activity, a barrier
of cranes built a wall of separation between them.
This show will unveil a new Butter Book, an on-going
project where Miller & Shellabarger collect, clean and bind
into a book every wax paper butter wrapper from each stick of
butter they consume in a year. Miller is a pastry chef and Shellabarger
an eager consumer of his partner’s creations. The book’s
pages, filled with butter wrappers, both attract and repel the
viewer into the beauty of the domestic and the material.
Another new book collects oversized silhouettes the couple has
been making of each other for the past two years. Their profiles
face one another across each two-page spread, documenting the
different stages of their distinctive facial hair and sometimes
featuring bizarre hats.
Miller & Shellabarger will install recent individual projects
on the south wall of the gallery: Miller’s visceral and
lurid watercolors and collages of body parts and Shellabarger’s
photographs of airplane contrails and walking performances from
the 2006 solstices and equinoxes.
This is Dutes
Miller and Stan Shellabarger’s first collaborative
show at Western Exhibitions. Recent performances by the duo
include Origami Cranes, performed in 2006 at the 44/46
Performance Festival in Chicago, Crochet, an on-going
performance recently performed at Illinois State University
and NUB, presented at the Center of Contemporary Art,
St. Louis in 2002 and in Slop’s Supermarket Outlet at
Gallery 312 in Chicago, 2001. Stan Shellabarger’s solo
exhibition at Western Exhibitions in 2004 was reviewed in
Art in America, artforum.com,
Art US and Ten by Ten. Dutes Miller’s recent
group shows include “Where
All the D*cks Hang Out” at Western Exhibitions and
“Vomitorium with Agitprop” at 40000 in Chicago.
Miller and Shellabarger live and work in Chicago.