Piss & Vinegar | DFBRL8R Apprentice Showcase

Piss & Vinegar | DFBRL8R Apprentice Showcase

Defibrillator Gallery proudly presents

PISS & VINEGAR | Apprentice Showcase

Amplifying the talented folks who help make Defibrillator happen.

> SUN 12 AUG | 6PM | Zhou B Art Center | FREE!

Holly Arsenault | David Chervony | CR Cooper | Seraphina Violet Cueller | dyoskuri | Noa/h Fields | Caleb Foss | Chin-ting Huang | Aaron Kaufman | Olivia Sydnei Page


Annie Zwick

A note from Joseph Ravens: “My grandpa used to use the term “Piss and Vinegar” to describe someone who was young, confident, energetic, or hopeful. At a young age I realized that this vulgar term, though sounding like an insult, was tinged with jealousy and admiration from the perspective of a man in his autumn years. I detected envy in my grandpa’s voice and I thought, “I’m gonna be like that – full of Piss and Vinegar!” Or, more accurately, “I think I am like that…” Defibrillator celebrates those who, early in their artistic careers,  are energetically questioning and embracing exploration, discipline, risk, and hope – while thoughtfully considering what they do and why they do it. The artists in this program are remarkable for they have selflessly given their time and energy to other artists in order to learn, grow, and actively contribute to the legacy of Performance Art.”

The newly expanded DFBRL8R Performance Art Apprentice Program is an alternative pedagogical system of structured mentorship designed to provide professional experience, practical knowledge, and applicable skills to artists who want to be versed in the presentation of time-based practices. In exchange for this experience, DFBRL8R Apprentices provide the energy and labor necessary to sustain our non-profit, gaining insight into the inner workings – the struggles and triumphs – of a unique organization.

August at Zhou B Art Center is about celebrating the artists who help make everything possible. The 3RD FRIDAY opening on the 2nd floor, Centerline, exhibits work by artists who have studios at The Center, curated by ZBAC Director of Exhibitions, Sergio Gomez.

     About the Artists [alphabetical]

Holly Arsenault [www.vimeo.com/hollyarsenault] currently resides in Chicago Illinois. They graduated from the BFA program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2018. In Fall 2016 they were an apprentice at Defibrillator Performance Art Gallery. They have shown at The Bridge, Comfort Station, Gallery 400, and the Gene Siskel Film Center. They are currently working on their next film. Holly says, “I am interested in trauma: the hard to look at, the gross, and the hard to deal with. Imparting an impression of horrible twisty feelings, visual definitions of things like anger mixed with shame mixed with fear, my work attempts to articulate hard to put into words emotions and feelings or occasionally sensations, which collectively create a glimpse of a disjointed mindset. My twisty vignettes create narratives – making sense out of them is not important, what’s important is that they are being told. Through strangeness, I forcibly draw attention in order to leave an emotional impression. There is no meaning in trauma.” Holly describes ‘Punch Piece 10,’  ” We can rationalize something a thousand different ways, but we can’t go back in time and cause a different emotional response to a thing. Punch Piece is a series about venting emotion.”

David Chervony [https://www.daviddrops.com/] is a professional juggler and entertainer, who is known for making surprising acts with unexpected objects. He is also a skilled instructor, and has taught many people of all ages how to juggle and perform other circus skills. He has a background in theatre and ethology, with a degree in biology from Indiana University.

CR Cooper [www.instagram.com/certain_kinds_of_trash] is best known for her small scale found object sculptural pieces which bring human emotion to pieces of trash (and a proclivity for banana peels). She works across media, from printmaking to sculpture to performance. Cooper is interested in what makes meaning in our society and has a deep love for the discarded.

Seraphina Violet Cueller [www.instagram.com/seraphinavioletcueller] is a storyteller. “Every story I tell is true even if it never actually happened. I dive into dark places in the hopes it will open up connection and make the world a kinder place. I enjoy being vulnerable so that others feel empowered to do so. I use a multidisciplinary practices to create performances that I hope help in some small way.” In this piece, How to Write the Letter, the artist is writing a letter to her mother.

dyoskuri [Michael Lee Bridges + Jake Eveker | www.facebook.com/dyoskuri] is a conglomerate of Floridian heritage and Chicago sensibility. As a duo they seek to create performance work inspired by Greco-Roman mythology, Floridian hyper-capitalism, and millennial technological quirks. They’ve shown work at Defibrillator Gallery in Chicago and at Spread Art in Detroit. Their work, MANiKen, was used as reference material in a TEDxTalk in 2015 concerning performance work created in the collegiate environment. Hatched from the egg 2k13. They build a new web each day. They also tend to be active during the evening hours; they hide for most of the day. Generally, towards evening, they will consume the old web, rest for approximately an hour, then spin a new web in the same general location.

Noa/h Fields [www.noahfields.bigcartel.com/product/with] is a genderqueer poet and performance artist from SoCal. They studied Literary Arts and Gender/Sexuality Studies at Brown University. They work at Anomalous Press and The Offing Magazine, and you can also find their writing in Electronic Beats, Luna Luna, Impossible Archetype, and Aldus. Their first book WITH is recently released from publisher, Ghost City Press. Noa/h’s performance “Wi(d)th” explores the preposition of togetherness against a measurement of distance: the space of together while apart. Let’s make a dance out of this distance. “Our long distance, our longing distance. We go along a long way, our longing way. Alonging this distance.” We are fundamentally relational creatures, but how do we care for one another? How do we acknowledge and make space for our radical contingency? Especially across distance: how can we maintain the strength of our “we”, our covalent bonding “with” across width? Can I write my way a little bit closer to you?” Special thanks to Ghost City Press

Caleb Foss [www.calebfoss.com] combines a spectrum of old and new media devices with a focus on how their mechanics reflect and impact social and political structures. Drawing from a fascination with amusement park rides and magic tricks, these projects take an imaginative approach to everyday technologies. They are an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the School of Art and Art History at University of Illinois at Chicago and Adjunct Faculty in the College of Computing and Digital Media at DePaul University. ‘Screen’ is a digitally scanned live performance, with imagery generated from depth readings and sounds cued by body tracking. With a packet of data functioning like a film frame, continuous data extraction acts as its own form of cinema.

Chin-ting Huang [http://www.chintinghuang.com] is a Taiwanese interdisciplinary artist living and working in Chicago. She has an MFA degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is interested in common objects that reflect and represent how she connects to everyday life. She expresses her connection to the world through the reusing, rescaling, and remaking of daily objects with which she has an intimate history. Chin-Ting’s performances have been presented at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Goldfinch Gallery, Nail in a Packet Gallery, 062 Gallery and The Franklin Gallery. In the short video, Chin-ting shows video from her daily life collection with her poem. She read and sing one of the poetries from her “The Time I Can’t Save” project by mixing two languages- English and Mandarin. For her, unfamiliar, unknown words or languages turn in to pure sound with intonation. This way of speaking sometimes creates an ambiguity of a word between the speaker and the receiver if the word spoken is in a language different from which the receiver is expecting.

Aaron Kaufman is a classical and jazz trained musician and Audio Engineer working in the Chicagoland area. “Demure” is the Modern Guitar solo project of Aaron Kaufman. This instrumental music cuts to the core of your humanity and will make you feel vulnerable and alive. Demure is pain and hate, sensitivity and love, sorrow and remorse. Attend only with your hearts open and your emotions on hand, the later will be broken and the former will be released.

Olivia Sydnei Page [www.oliviasydneipage.com] is a visual artist based in Chicago. Her work connects themes of the body and sensation through performance and video. She uses her work to understand how the body and the person relate to one another by observing the body’s experiences connecting with objects. The subject of gender is apparent, with the use of her own body and the abject.

Annie Zwick [www.anniezwick.com] is a recent grad from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago working in fibers, writing, painting, and ceramics. Working with themes of food and body, Annie looks to connect the internal space with external, and explore what it means to take up space. Through this performance My Body, ideas of personal space and function are challenged with familiar foods and movements. The performance is participatory, involves all five senses, and will leave the audience questioning the function of food in relation to body.


Defibrillator is made possible with support from The Reva and David Logan Foundation; Apis Mellifera Fidelity Charitable Grant; Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust; Martha Strutters Farley and Donald C. Farley, Jr. Family Foundation; Zhou B Art Center; DFBRL8R Board of Directors; and generous contributions from our loving community.

The Zhou B Art Center is a private non-government funded complex that facilitates the exchange of contemporary art between Chicago and the international art community. Founded in 2004 by the Zhou Brothers in Chicago’s historic Bridgeport neighborhood, The Zhou B Art Center has a mission to engage in cultural dialogue through contemporary art exhibitions and international programming.