Author Archives: omcman

A Studio Visit with Stevie Hanley


In anticipation of our upcoming show at FLAT Space Chicago, I conducted a studio visit with Stevie Hanley, a second year MFA candidate in SAIC’s Painting and Drawing department, who will be featured in Perverted Living: A Summer Social.

I was aware of Stevie’s practice before we met. A discussion had arisen between friends surrounding his interest in the perversion of “sacred space”, such as the bedroom or the kitchen. As someone who is extremely interested in transgressed boundaries, I was intrigued to see his take on things; I was pleasantly surprised.

It takes a bit of time to become oriented when in Stevie’s studio. Like most artists, he is working on many different projects at the moment, but it seemed that Hanley had his mind on vastly different things. Tacked to the wall are numerous “chemical studies” on Mylar, interspersed with incredibly detailed drawings of spiders, and placed next to soaring gelatinous wooden sculptures.


Also hanging in his studio are his 2D mattress studies opposite both found and sculpted mattress shells. When I had heard that Hanley worked with mattresses, I was concerned that the mattress had been “done”. From Rauschenberg to Whiteread, the motif is not new, but I was stuck by Hanley’s deconstruction and the raw beauty in his use of wax and found fibers. When asked to describe these works, Hanley credits a curiosity with skin, textures, and sensations that led to a fascination with dirt, the base, and most importantly shame. Using shame as a force of energy to explore the role of dirt, Hanley states: “dirt is nothing more than matter out of place.” Dirt is associated with the floor, the unwelcome; the unwanted bits that cling long after you think they’re gone. Interested in the elevation of these perversions, Hanley physically lifts his deconstructed, manipulated, and dirty mattresses from the floor displaying them erect, reveling in their revolt.


We then discussed his newest fascination: the broom. Obviously in sync with the dirt motif and elevating the base, Hanley is currently playing with the casting of brooms, using different types and colors of wax, incorporating them into his existing installation-based works. However, what I found to be the most interesting was the mold itself. From his mattresses to the brooms, to the gelatinous sculptures, Hanley continuously seeks and manipulates the mold. In discussing this, he admitted to not seeing this connection before but will explore it further.

Stevie Hanley has a lot going on, but he has managed to unite all of these works under the studio heading “Pervert Kitchen”.  His fascination with the base, the dirty, and the unwanted convenes in his space where he takes “permission and pleasure in a practice that aims to harness the experiences of shame as an energy of revolt.” This energy is palpably present and I couldn’t be more excited to see his works installed this may.

To find out more about Stevie’s practice join us May 2nd at FLAT Space Chicago from 7:00-10:00 pm for the opening of Perverted Living: A Summer Social.  Also featuring the work of Jacob Raeder, a first year MFA candidate in SAIC’s Ceramics department,  Perverted Living is an exhibition that plays with the notions of baseness, sensuality and subjugated senses within the framework of contemporary lifestyle choices. For more information on the conceptualization, artists, and work included, check out our press release below!

Press Release


F L A T Space Chicago has a new website!


We’ve ditched our wordpress presence and upgraded!

On this new platform we showcase all past, present, and upcoming exhibitions. In addition, all of our artists shown in the space have profiles under the “Artists” page. Conversations on the shows, with each artist regarding their work, and with people engaged in the Chicago arts community are recorded under the “Conversations” page. Lastly, we have begin a blog-style critical engagement with both each show individually and issues/events occurring in the art world.

Our next show is set for May 2nd. Details on artists to be released shortly.

Lectures Lectures Lectures!

Art Historians at SAIC!

Today 3/25 Jason Foumberg is visiting SAIC as a Internlink Visiting Artist to discuss his experiences as a Chicago-based art critic and how SAIC prepared him for this path.
12:10-12:50, MacLean Center, room 111

Also Today 3/25 Jennifer Doyle is visiting SAIC through the Visiting Artist Program.
6:00 pm, Columbus Auditorium

Jennifer Doyle is a Professor of English and Co-Chair of the LGBIT Studies Minor at University of California, Riverside, where she directs Queer Lab. Her newest book, Hold it Against Me: Difficulty and Emotion in Contemporary Art (2013), explores some of contemporary art’s most contentious works. Doyle shows how controversy in art is used to question our assumptions about identity, intimacy, and expression; and, she considers emotion as an artist’s medium in the works of such artists as Ron Athey, Carrie Mae Weems, and David Wojnarowicz. Co-sponsored by SAIC’s Visiting Artists Program and Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism


Wednesday 3/26 Cecile Whiting, the Chancellors Professor of Art History at UC Irvine and prominent art critic, will be giving the Terra lecture on the Americanist Sixties in the MacClean Ballroom.
6:00- 7:00pm
Terra 2014

Susan Silas at Studio 10

I know a lot of people are heading to New York this weekend for the break and Susan Silas: love in ruins; sex over 50 at Studio 10 should be added to your list!

The images of Love in Ruins documents Silas and her husband in the act of making love. She states “This work is a personal diary about sex and sexuality. It is about the resilience and the decay of the aging body”. The project, which began in 2003, provides an unapologetic look into human sexuality as we age, conveying a sense of passion and urgency that is not often documented. Moving away from the typical depiction of sex and desire as anchored in youth, Silas’s work is striking.

Because of the nature of the work, all works exhibited at Studio 10 are not on her website, but she does provide some documentation:

284 288sex-over-50

Susan Silas: love in the ruins; sex over 50
March 7, 2014 – Sunday, April 6, 2014
Hours: Thursday-Sunday 1:00- 6:00

Silas is also featured at Moment Art, in the same building, with Joy Episalla. TO SELVES: Joy Episalla and Susan Silas is comprised of both video and photographic self-portraiture.





Conrad Bakker at Columbia College

A must see lecture from Chicago creator Conrad Bakker!

I had the pleasure of working with Bakker in the fall of 2012 to organize his solo show Untitled Project: Seasonal Economies at the BCA Center in Burlington, Vermont. For the past 15 years Bakker has worked with a series of Untitled projects that examine the role of the object and celebrate its complexities. Creating hand-carved wooden facsimiles of the familiar, Bakker creates an illusion of the “real” object by inserting the “fakes” into various environments. In particular, Untitled Project: Seasonal Economies responded to the commercialization of Vermont’s local marketplaces: fall foliage and the harvesting of maple sugar.


Appearing at Columbia College this Thursday, Bakker will speak on his continued Untitled Projects and his interest in the everyday object.

Untitled Project: Consumer Actions (Hefty), 2002


Conrad Bakker is an Associate Professor of Art and MFA Studio Coordinator for the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign.

March 13th, 6:00-7:30pm
Columbia College Chicago
Hokin Hall, Room 109
623 S. Wabash
Chicago, IL 60605

Tracking Public Art

Have you ever wondered how to document interaction with public works of art? Well, a new blog from Michigan based artist Kevin Buist, automatically uploads Instagram photos with geotags at or near Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate to a Tumblr page.


Check it out here!

Also interesting is Kevin’s artist site/social media presence:

5 Artists Withdraw from Sydney Biennial on Grounds of Human Rights Violations

Libia Castro, Ólafur Ólafsson, Charlie Sofo, Gabrielle de Vietri, and Ahmet Öğüt have withdrawn their works from the event, due to open March 19th, in response to the sponsorship of Transfield. One of the events top sponsors, Transfield, contracts with the Australian government to manage detention centers for asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.

The following statement has been released:

“We have revoked our works, cancelled our public events and relinquished our artists’ fees. While we have sought ways to address our strong opposition to Australia’s mandatory detention policy as participants of the Biennale, we have decided that withdrawal is our most constructive choice. We do not accept the platform that Transfield provides via the Biennale for critique. We see our participation in the Biennale as an active link in a chain of associations that leads to the abuse of human rights. For us, this is undeniable and indefensible.

Our withdrawal is one action in a multiplicity of others, already enacted and soon to be carried out in and around the Biennale. We do not propose to know the exact ethical, strategic or effective action to end mandatory detention, but we act on conscience and we act with hope.”

Read the full article here:

More “Required Reading” from Hyperallergic:

F L A T Gallery

Introducing F L A T Gallery! Chicago’s newest apartment gallery 
2023 S. Ruble St. Chicago, IL

F L A T provides an inclusive platform for Chicago-based emerging artists, which encourages practice-based risk taking.

Building on the existing Chicago apartment gallery model, it aims to stretch and subvert the current theoretical boundaries that exist within the present gallery structure of commercial and nonprofit spaces.

By inverting the physical parameters of the ‘White Cube’ space, the gallery attempts to eliminate the divide between student artists, emerging artists and the academic community.

Artists are provided with a physical and conceptual space that steps away from the current established model used to develop, display and distribute contemporary artistic practice.

Join us Friday February 28th 7:00-10:00pm for our inaugural show:
Visual Ends: The Edge of Perception


More Details:


Austen Brown:
Lauren Pirritano:
George William Price:
Nicole Prutsch:
Tobias Zehntner:

Nicole Prutsch & George William Price collaborative action: 8.30pm

Exhibition Dates: 29th February – 30th March
Opening Hours: Saturday & Sunday 1.00-4.00pm
By Appointment, contact: