Elegant Disruption

Elegant Disruption

Zhou B Art Center and Defibrillator Gallery present

Elegant Disruption

A visual art exhibition curated by Joseph Ravens

Zhou B Art Center | 1029 W 35TH ST | 2nd Floor

Hannah Barco, Things to Come (2013), Photo by David Reuter

Hannah Barco | Things to Come 2013 | Photo by David Reuter

opening | 3RD FRI | 21 SEP 2018 | 7-10PM [live art by Azi]

gallery hours | Monday > Friday | 10AM-5PM

closing | FRI 12 OCT

featuring work by:


Elegant Disruption includes photos, videos, and other works that bring together artists who embrace new methodologies of engagement and connective practices. This exhibition embraces a wide range of social and interventionist actions that produce powerful, poetic, and alluring works of art – images that beckon the viewer to learn more about the underlying relational processes and social concepts. These works have in common a poetic approach to social, political, economic, or environmental transformation. 

Erica Mott | Elemental | Palmisano Park 2017

Erica Mott | Elemental | Palmisano Park 2017 | Photo by Hugh Sato

The six artists in Elegant Disruption are each asking different questions around sites of social intervention. What is it about certain sites that attract us? What kind of experiences, if any, can reinscribe them? Can the reinscriptions last? Could social transformation happen? Each work frames these questions within elegant conditions that demand to be considered.

Azi (Azadeh Khastoo) is a multi-talented artist with a wide range of skills. Her eye for capturing images started in her hometown of Yazd, a city filled with 3000 years of history, art, architecture, and people. Her first camera was a gift from her uncle. He could not have known how her first experiences capturing the visual stories with his gift would shape her life forever. At the age of 14 Azi and her family moved to Tehran. There she experienced the energy of a capital and international city. There was constant stimulation and opportunity to see and capture the livelihood of the big city and its people. She was intent on following her passion to be a photographer who could capture the untold stories When Azi was 19 years old, it was time for her to expand her wings and experience the West. She and her family moved to the United States where, with her new found freedom, Azadeh pursued her academic education at the School of the Art Institute, bringing her passion and education together to be her profession.

Hannah Barco is a performance artist, walker, writer, sculptor and image maker.  She works from a Fluxus sense of humor and poetry, a Surrealist obsession with the uncanny, and stands firmly within the Feminist legacy that the personal is political.  In her research into the materiality and praxis of everyday life there is an urgent call to reconsider what is at stake in the quotidian. Currently a Chicago-based artist, Barco was raised in Durham, NC and received a BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and an MFA in Performance from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she currently works as Assistant Director in the Department of Exhibitions. Barco has exhibited and performed her work in Chicago at the Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago Artist Coalition, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Sullivan Galleries, the Out of Site Public Performance Series, Defibrillator, and out on the streets. Barco was included in the survey exhibition “Walking Sculpture 1967-2015” at the de Cordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, MA and recently the Arizona State University Art Museum hosted her as an artist in residence to create the exhibition “Fathomings” in Tempe, AZ.

Ashley Gillanders is an emerging visual artist from Winnipeg, Canada, currently working in Chicago, IL. Her practice incorporates sculpture, new media, and experimental approaches to photography to explore the natural and the artificial, and the distance between physical and virtual space. Recent exhibitions include Methods of Preservation at Gallery 1C03 (2016), Seeing Through the Garden in Hiketa, Japan (2017) Uncertain // Unveil at 062 (2018), and I Can’t Even… at Gallery No One (2018). She is recent graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s MFA in studio where she was the New Artist Society Scholar in the photography department from 2016-2018.

Erica Mott is a choreographer, installation/visual performance maker, and cultural organizer who, through a variety of body based sculptural forms (mask, costume, ob- ject), transforms discarded materials and disregarded spaces into sacred objects and sites. Using the tools of humor and surprise, they attempt to capture and heighten the magic and mystery of the mundane and invite communities to re-view and re-envision shared spaces and practices.The body is the first site of research. Placing it within new sites, materials, and social constructs, in- vestigating its movement, capabilities of transforma- tion, cultural knowledge and the social perceptions its presence brings forth. Starting with the private and personal, navigating towards the public and the polit- ical.socio-historical implications.

Michelle Murphy is an Artist, Lecturer at the School of the Art Insti- tute of Chicago (SAIC), and Independent Curator. Murphy works to revise the exclusionary historical landscape of science and exploration. Her/Their lens- based and performance work encompasses futility and spectacle. Murphy performs in public locations, enacting gestural shifts to common, expected, or even suggested demographics or behaviors. Similar- ly, in her/their photographic and video work, Murphy employs lighting, optical effects, or durational chang- es to demonstrate a contrast between the aesthetics and functionality of consumer objects. Spectacle in Murphy’s work is counter-balanced with humor and gestures of futility by (over)extending the corporeal body, using props and costumes, and demonstrating the inadequacies of consumer objects. Notably, Mur- phy’s practice draws from first-hand experience with- in the American Space Program; as a photographer for NASA from 2004 to 2015, she/they accumulated understanding of NASA’s science pedagogy and PR methodology. This informs her/their exploration of: Utopic space, human rights, Big Bang, birth, count- er culture, Anthropocene, urban space, lens-based history, Space exploration, and the extraterrestrial. Murphy’s research orbits around those omitted from popularized narratives of these topics.

Hugh Sato is an artist and designer, working at the intersection between interactive experience design and installation art. He graduated with high honors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with a BA in New Media from the School of Art and Design. He has developed numerous 2D and 3D animations for theater as a freelance motion designer, and has taught young audiences about tornados and electricity at the Museum of Science and Industry. Son of a puppeteer turned social worker and a mime turned chef, he grew up surrounded by theater, and people bridging creative gaps between various disciplines. Inspired by interactive museum learning environments, as well as artists working with coding and technology as a medium, Hugh works with diverse collaborators to innovate in fantastic large-scale experiences.

Aram Han Sifuentes is a fiber, social practice, and performance artist who works to claim spaces for immigrant and dis- enfranchised communities. Her work often revolves around skill sharing, specifically sewing techniques, to create multiethnic and intergenerational sewing circles, which become a place for empowerment, sub- version and protest. Her work has been exhibited at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum (Chicago, Illinois), Chicago Cultural Center (Chicago, Illinois), Pulitzer Arts Foundation (St. Louis, MI), Asian Arts Initiative (Philadelphia, PA), Chung Young Yang Em- broidery Museum (Seoul, South Korea), and the De- sign Museum (London, UK). Aram is a 2016 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow, a 2016 3Arts Awardee, and a 2017 Sustainable Arts Foundation Awardee. She earned her BA in Art and Latin American Studies from the University of Cali- fornia, Berkeley, and her MFA in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chica- go. She is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Edra Soto is a Chicago-based interdisciplinary artist, educa- tor, curator, and co-director of the outdoor proj- ect space THE FRANKLIN. She is invested in cre- ating and providing visual and educational models propelled by empathy and generosity. Her recent projects are motivated by civic and social actions focus on fostering relationships with a wide range of communities.
Recent venus presenting Soto’s work include the Pérez Art Museum Miami (FL), Hunter East Harlem Gallery (NY), UIC Gallery 400 (IL), Bemis Center for Contemporary Art (NE), DePaul Art Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago (IL). Most recently, Soto was awarded the Efroym- son Contemporary Arts Fellowship, the DCASE for Individual Artist Grant from the City of Chicago and the 3Arts Foundation Make A Wave Grant.