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Chicago, IL 60622

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September 5 to October 11, 2008

Stan Shellabarger: Walking Books
images | reviews: Chicago Tribune, New City, Art Letter, Flavorpill, Artslant, 60 Inches on Center

Western Exhibitions is moving, and we're thrilled to be inaugurating our new gallery space with a solo show of new work by STAN SHELLABARGER. After 4 years in a near west-side industrial complex, Western Exhibitions will transfer its operations to the 119 N Peoria Building in Chicago's West Loop gallery district. The gallery will be joining its new neighbors in holding receptions on Fridays. Shellabarger's show will open with a public reception on Friday, September 5, 2008.

Stan Shellabarger's performance and book work addresses issues relating to the body. The artist often takes mundane, everyday activities like breathing, walking and writing to extreme measures in endurance-based performance work: walking from sunrise to sunset on solstices and equinoxes, counting every breath he takes in an 8 hour time span, filling notebook after notebook with his signature. Shellabarger's work amplifies the traces humans leave on the earth, as in his walking performances, or on objects, as in his Lightswitch and Mousepad books.

For his second solo show at Western Exhibitions, Shellabarger will show several new Walking Books, works that marry his performance and book-making impulses. To make the Walking Books, the artist paces on long sheets of rag paper with graphite-soled shoes. His footsteps create a luminous graphite/gray drawing that betrays the pattern of the surface trod upon. The verso side of the drawing simultaneously becomes a beautiful blind embossment of this same surface. He folds the paper accordion style and affixes the ends to waxed MDF panels that function as the covers of the book. Shellabarger started this series of books this summer and made 5 of them at the Volta art fair in Basel in June. The books in this show capture several different surfaces form multiple locations, including a particle-board platform in Basel, Switzerland, a parking lot in Portland, Maine, the floor of Western Exhibitions old location and several others. Shellabarger will make a new book on each Saturday during the run of the show, either in the gallery proper, or somewhere in the surrounding West Loop neighborhood.

This will be Stan Shellabarger's second proper solo show with Western Exhibitions. His last show was reviewed in Art in America, and ArtUS. Shellabarger has been invited to do performances at the VOLTA show in Basel, Switzerland, the Time-Based Art Festival in Portland, Oregon; Macy's downtown department store window during the Looptopia festival in Chicago; Millennium Park in Chicago; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Illinois State University in Bloomington, Illinois; The Suburban in Oak Park; and the Center of Contemporary Art in St. Louis. Shellabarger has been included in shows at inova in Milwaukee, the Chicago Cultural Center, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and has had a 12 x 12 New Work/New Artists solo exhibition at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art in December 2005. He also makes work collaboratively with his husband Dutes Miller. Together they won a Tiffany Foundation Award in 2007 and their show at Western Exhibitions in 2007 was reviewed in Time Out Chicago, New City and the Chicago Sun-Times. Their performance work at the Volta fair was covered in Artnet and at the NEXT fair was covered in Art & Antiques.