The Chicago Artists Coalition is pleased to present Sweet Creature, featuring HATCH Artist Residents Cameron Clayborn, Sydney Shavers, and Anna Showers-Cruser.
"No one man should have all that power," Kanye West commands on his 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. A plea to be recognized for bringing an alternative perspective as an artist into this world, he entreats the listener to acknowledge the constraints present in our current society. However, these words never lose relevance as time continues to show us how we have yet to step outside our violent, suppressive systems.
The three artists in Sweet Creature use their practices to explore microcosms of how power operates, manifesting spaces for dialogues that are productively uncomfortable. These conversations revolve around race, power, queerness, illness, and systems in place that maintain the guise that there is one way to be in this world. Beginning from a place of deep personal experience, Clayborn, Shavers, and Showers-Cruser invite viewers to experience what it feels like to be told you are nonconsumable. The psychological pain of living in a world that is not constructed for one's body can, at times, feel insurmountable, but, together, these artists offer a space to unlearn preset values that create and inform "otherness."
Or as Kanye asks us, "You got the power to let power go?"
Sweet Creature is curated by Ariel Gentalen.
Cameron Clayborn is a sculptor, performance artist and community organizer. He received his BFA from the School of the Art Institute in 2016. Cameron works with people, opposites, weight, and imagery of death as material to complicate the aesthetics of the black, brown, and African-American body; with audience participation, his body shifts from a state of vulnerability to powerful and sexy. He seeks to "turn inside out" the private discourses we have with ourselves and others to an open public dialogue. Cameron has exhibited and performed at Chicago Art Department, Links Hall, Archer Ballroom Projects, Tritriangle, and Fat City Arts.
Sydney Shavers is an artist whose photographs, collages, films, performances and sound pieces question established conventions and spaces of existence. In her adolescene, she switched schools frequently going from one that was racially diverse to a school where she one of a handful of black students and back again. This experience has influenced her practice in which she creates a new language, one where conventional symbolism is challenged and the viewer is left to create new associations to relate to the world. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Anna Showers-Cruser is a Chicago-based artist and educator, originally from Richmond, VA. Anna creates hybrid sculptural forms that act as propositions for non-hegemonic expressions of gender. In conversation with both abstraction and craft traditions associated with the decorative to build a lexicon of community language, the work expands sculpturally on the foundation of known forms in Queer history. A current project, "With Furs & Ordinaries" imagines an altnerative lineage of southern family history, queering the forms of the liturgical banner, protest sign, heraldic flags and family crests. Ann's work has been included in recent exhibitions across the US, including, Ground Floor 2016 at the Hyde Park Art Center and at Woman Made Gallery in Chicago. Anna earned an MFA from the Universtiy of Chicago in 2016 and a BFA from Maryland College of Art, and currently serves as Associate Director of Terrain Exhibitions.
Ariel Gentalen is an educator, curator, and arts organizer seeking to diversify narratives and create platforms for engaging critical dialogue among artists, artwork, and audiences. They are currently the Residency Coordinator at the Hyde Park Art Center and the Events Manager at Third Coast International Audio Festival. They received their BA in Art History and Women's Studies from California State University, Fullerton and their MA in Arts Education from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.