Samantha Bittman's "Untitled," 2021, acrylic on hand-woven textile - 📷 courtesy the artist
Unvaccinated guests must wear a mask when attending exhibitions at Julius Caesar.
Exhibition Gallery Guide located here
Closing is Saturday, October 23rd, from 2-6 PM. Follow us on instagram @juliuscaesarchicago to keep up to date with our hours during ever evolving guidelines in Chicago.
Adrienne Tarver @ Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar is proud to present Group Chat, a group show featuring Samantha Bittman, Jeane Cohen, Elizabeth Ferry, Patrick Hubbell, David Leggett, Nereida Patricia, Cindy Phenix, Joe Reihsen, Josh Reames, John Rogers, and Adrienne Tarver. The exhibition is based on an Instagram group chat created by the JC directors to share the artists who come across our feeds. The chat not only serves as a sounding board that has led to many of our exhibitions over the years, but also reflects a form of engagement with the arts familiar to many. Over the last year I began to think of the group chat as not only a tool for putting together exhibitions, but also as the framework of an exhibition.
During the pandemic, online engagement replaced much of our previous means of interaction as artists. Many exhibitions were online only, studio visits were performed on zoom, and our sense of community was fostered by sharing and liking images rather than seeing each other at openings and other IRL gatherings. The “feed” as an experience of art however, predates the pandemic.
Over the last two decades, there has been an ever-expanding swell of images online. Oftentimes inspiring and at other times overwhelming, images slide past as a boundless scroll, with no curation, commonality or relation outside a vague sense of shared social space. Art and artist become flattened into a field of all options and types known available, living together as an ever-renewing stream of content.
Like our Instagram feeds, the artists in Group Chat have a wide range of experience, form, and content. The artists include colleagues, friends, and friends of friends. Those we’ve admired from afar, and even those who are closer to strangers. Some of the artists have graduated art school with MFAs, another is self-taught. Some are represented by international galleries, and others are striving to emerge. Some are local, some were local, and others have never lived or worked in Chicago.
Group Chat is a circle of digital encounters for the JC directors. Meant to examine a model of engagement and art world exploration, the exhibition brings works of artists we’ve seen and liked online into our space. As we begin to re-engage the physical spaces of our community, and rediscover an appreciation for the surface and tactility of the objects we lose online.
SAMANTHA BITTMAN (b. 1982, Chicago) is an artist and teacher currently based in Woodstock, NY. She received her B.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2004 and her M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2010. Bittman also attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2011. Bittman’s signature works combine painting with weaving, creating an amalgamation of Op art and textile patterning. Her practice springs from her background in weaving, using the physical parameters of her 12-harness floor loom to create textiles where the pictorial image and structure are mutually dependent. Weaving by hand and graphically driven patterns and stretching the textiles for painting, Bittman creates a foundation located in traditional “craft” to build paintings engaging with fiber artists Annie Albers and Sheila Hicks and painters like Bridget Riley, Frank Stella, and Agnes Martin. She has participated in residency programs at the Joseph and Anni Albers Foundation, Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, and Ox-Bow School of Art. In 2012, she received the Artadia Award. Recent solo exhibitions include, Ronchini, London, UK; Andrew Rafacz, Chicago, IL; Morgan Lehman, NY, NY; and Greenpoint Terminal Gallery, Brooklyn, NY. She has been included in numerous group exhibitions including David Castillo, Miami, FL; Shane Campbell, Chicago, IL; and Rhona Hoffman, Chicago, IL. Her work has been written about in The New York Times, Wall Street International, and The Washington Post, amongst others.
JEANE COHEN is a painter and educator based in Brunswick, Maine. She received her MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2018 and her BA from Hampshire College in 2011. Charged with an immediacy and wild vitality, Cohen’s paintings track her emotional journey through the world. Her paintings present a flow of information with reorienting points of reference for viewers to decipher, like being swept up in a gust of leaves. Improvisational painting integrates atmospheric abstraction into natural forms, like animals or flora. Gesture and mark collaborate to evoke themes of instability, futility, survival, and growth. Solo exhibitions include Slag Gallery in New York City, Miami University in Ohio, Zolla/Lieberman Gallery in Chicago, and Flying Object in Massachusetts. She participated in group exhibitions at The Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Able Baker Contemporary, Vox Populi, Brooklyn Fire Proof and numerous other spaces. She is the recipient of an Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant, a Yeck Young Painters Competition Award, and held residencies at Ox-Bow School of Art & Artist’s Residency, Monson Arts, the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, and the 40th Street Artist-in-Residence Program. She has a forthcoming solo show with Galerie RX in Paris. Cohen is currently a lecturer in the Painting and Drawing Department at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and at Maine College of Art.
ELIZABETH FERRY (b. 1982, Springfield IL) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. This year, Ferry has had solo exhibitions with Corbett vs Dempsey in Chicago and Best Western in New York. Her recent works begin as canvases coated with pigmented wax then covered with black acrylic paint. Etching and scraping the surface in a process echoing 90s scratchboard art, Ferry creates imagery both fantastic and familiar. Menacing jaws hover in a pitch-black plane, a French kiss morphs into a swirling yin yang, a smirking skeleton sits cross legged inside a birthday cake; Ferry’s vivid paintings are constructed with phosphorescent shapes and lines incised into the wax. Sometimes a second image is hidden within the painting by mixing glow-in-the-dark powders into the wax. Ferry’s work has been included in exhibitions at Canada, Jeffrey Deitch, and Grice Bench. She was previously awarded artist in residence at the Cite Internationale des Artes in Paris. Ferry received her MFA from Washington University in St. Louis.
PATRICK DEAN HUBBELL (b. 1986, Dine’) is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work is an exploration of his Dine’ and Indigenous identity within the contemporary moment. Hubbell is originally from the Navajo Nation, located in the Southwest region of the United States. The foundation of his practice uses the inspiration of Indigenous cultural methodologies, references to traditional Indigenous art and philosophy, and the abstract representations of language, nature, time, and place. Hubbell’s work has been exhibited at galleries, museums and institutions nationally and internationally and can be found in numerous public and private collections. In 2017, Hubbell was awarded the Pollock-Krasner grant. He is the recipient of the New Artist Society Award (2019) and the James Nelson Raymond Fellowship (2021) at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He currently lives and works between the Navajo Nation and Chicago, IL.
DAVID LEGGETT (b. 1980, Springfield MA) is a visual artist living and working in Los Angeles, California. He has shown his work throughout the United States and internationally, including a recent solo show at Steve Turner Contemporary Los Angeles (2020) and group show at Zidoun-Bossuyt Gallery in Luxembourg (2020). Leggett is a visual artist whose work tackles many themes head on; hip-hop, art history, popular culture, sexuality, the racial divide, and the self are all recurring subjects. He takes many of my cues from standup comedy, which he listens to while in the studio. Humor and the use of color become invitations for examining the collisions between pop culture and personal relationships. Leggett’s work grapples with a world of contradictions, trying to make us all more aware of one another and the lives that we lead. He received his BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design (2003), and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2007). He received the visual artist award from 3Arts Chicago in 2009, and ran a daily drawing blog Coco River Fudge Street that started in 2010 and ended in 2016. He also attended The Joan Mitchell Foundation Artist-In-Residence program (2018).
NEREIDA PATRICIA (b. 1996, New York) is a multidisciplinary artist and writer based in Chicago. Patricia’s practice spans sculpture, text, and performance, and explores themes of history, trans poetics, and identity. Her work draws from postcolonial and feminist theory, Peruvian symbolism, as well as autobiographical fragments, to build new mythologies around the transformation of the human body. She holds a BFA from the School of the Art Institute Chicago and has also studied at The New School. Her work has been exhibited at venues including Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit; Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago; Prairie Gallery, Chicago; Annka Kultys Gallery, London; the Museum of the Moving Image, New York City; The Knockdown Center, New York City; and POWERPLNT, New York City, among others.
CINDY PHENIX (b. 1989, Montreal) lives and works in Los Angeles. She received her MFA in Art Theory and Practice at Northwestern University in Evanston in 2020 and her BFA with distinction from Concordia University in Montreal in 2016. Phenix works include painting, drawing, and sculpture, utilizing a reciprocity of abstraction and figuration to convey complex narratives aimed to deconstruct structures governing society and social conduct. Navigating the tenuous relationship between the public and private, inviting viewers to freely associate meaning from fragmented figuration, intentional ambiguity, and untouched raw materials. Phenix’s works have been included in many exhibitions: Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago), Nino Mier (Los Angeles), Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver) and Galerie Hugues Charbonneau (Montreal). Phenix’s works are part of private collections in the US and Canada including Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec, Caisse de dépôt et de placement du Québec and Hydro-Québec. In 2015, Cindy Phenix was listed as one of the top 15 emerging artists for RBC‘s prestigious Canadian Painting Competition.
JOE REIHSEN (b. 1979, Blaine MN) lives and works in Los Angeles, and holds an MFA from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a BFA from San Francisco Art Institute. Reihsen belongs to a generation of painters that naturally integrated digital tools into their art while still being in high school in the 90s. Up until today, he would use computer terms to describe his process, where he would ‘copy and paste, distort, warp and rotate’, only to end up ‘scaling up’ or ‘scaling down’. In the end however, he is a master of texture and surface, seemingly at odds with at screens and pixels, whose works continually gain admiration and constant intrigue. The twin elements of digital maven and manual laborer are what define Reihsen both as a person and as an artist. As put by Ed Schad, ‘the most urgent question of his painting is whether these two worlds ultimately have to be at odds or whether he can find a vocabulary that dissolves the split entirely’ (Modern Painters, June 2014). Reihsen has exhibited around the world including solo exhibitions at Art Los Angeles Contemporary (LA), Brand New Gallery (Milan), The Hole (NYC), Praz-Delavallade (Paris), and Anat Ebgi (LA).
JOSH REAMES (B. 1985, Dallas TX) lives and works in Brooklyn. Reames received his MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago and BFA from University of North Texas. Known for their far-reaching imagery, his paintings use a myriad of painting techniques to render assemblages of “modern hieroglyphs.” Reames utilizes a variety of digital tools, from computer applications to Google images, in combination with trompe l'oeil, action painting, screen printing, and rudimentary drawing in his picture making. His all over compositions and array of image sources take on an indexical nature, breaking down hierarchies of images and mark making for a postmodern art world reflective of our online realities. Reames was artist-in-residence at Ox Bow (funded by Joan Mitchell Foundation), The Barn, East Hampton, NY and The Fountainhead, Miami, FL. Reames has exhibited in a number of galleries and institutions, including Elmhurst Museum of Art, Andrea Rosen Gallery, The Hole, Team Gallery, Josh Lilley Gallery, 356 Mission, Johannes Vogt Gallery, Monya Rowe, Galeria Annaruma, Andrew Rafacz, Bill Brady Gallery, Kwanhoon Gallery (Seoul), Koenig Gallerie (Berlin), Dittrich & Schlechtriem (Berlin), and Anonymous Gallery (Mexico City).
JOHN ROGERS (b. 1984, Harrisburg PA) is a self-taught artist living and working in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Part of the DIY artist/art-dealer hybrid many young artists find themselves a part of, Rogers operates an Instagram account and web store by the same name, Ghoulorama. Rogers’s webstore has tabs organizing paintings by year or under categories like “3D” and “bargain bin.” His paintings reflect the vernacular pictures of online spaces, where the impersonal, personal and biographical blend into the digital stream of the information age. Rogers has recently exhibited at galleries including: Smoke the Moon (Santa Fe), La Matadora Gallery (Joshua Tree), Trash Lamb Gallery (San Diego), Underdonk (NYC), Don’t Walk gallery (UK), and SPACE Gallery, Pittsburgh.
ADRIENNE ELISE TARVER is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, and administrator with a practice that spans painting, sculpture, installation, photography, and video. Her work addresses the complexity and invisibility of the black female identity in the Western landscape--from the history within domestic spaces to the fantasy of the tropical seductress. She has exhibited nationally and abroad, including solo or two-person exhibitions at the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Connecticut; Atlanta Contemporary in Atlanta, Georgia; Victori+Mo (now Dinner Gallery) in New York; Ochi Projects in Los Angeles; Hollis Taggart in New York; Wedge Curatorial in Toronto, Canada; Wave Hill in the Bronx, NY; BRIC Project Room in Brooklyn; and A-M Gallery in Sydney, Australia. She has been commissioned for projects through the New York MTA, the Public Art Fund, Google, Art Aspen, and Pulse Art Fair and has been featured in online and print publications including the New York Times, Brooklyn Magazine, ArtNet, Blouin ArtInfo, Whitewall Magazine, and Hyperallergic, among others. She is currently the Director of Programs at the National Academy of Design. Previously she was the Associate Chair of Fine Arts at SCAD Atlanta, and prior to that was the Director of Art & Design for the Harlem School of the Arts. She received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and BFA from Boston University.