The groundbreaking 1944 exhibition The Imagery of Chess sought to challenge the general conventions of the ancient game.
Organized by Marcel Duchamp, Julien Levy, and Max Ernst, the show included the work of over 30 painters, photographers, sculptors, critics, and composers, among others. Each created artwork or performances inspired by and challenging preconceived notions of chess. Though a few of the participating artists—Alexander Calder, Man Ray, André Breton, and the organizers—were well known at the time, others such as Matta, Arshile Gorky, Robert Motherwell, and John Cage would emerge as significant figures in the second half of the 20th century. The highly publicized exhibition was well received by the chess, art, and general communities, and the project went on to inspire artists over the last 70+ years to reinterpret the game in an artistic way.
With a mission to interpret the game of chess and its cultural and artistic significance, the World Chess Hall of Fame was honored to celebrate the history of the 1944 show in Fall 2016/Winter 2017 in Designing Chessmen: A Taste of The Imagery of Chess, by showcasing some of the original artwork and reproductions of pieces from the original exhibition. We are now proud to present The Imagery of Chess: Saint Louis Artists, featuring 20 leading local artists, writers, designers, musicians, and composers and their newly commissioned artwork and performances inspired by the game of chess.
Eugenia Alexander is a multimedia artist from Edwardsville, Illinois. She studied fine art and art history at Columbia College Chicago, but is largely self-taught, and currently lives and works in Saint Louis, Missouri. Alexander has painted for over ten years and is studying under her grandmother, master artist quilter Edna Patterson Petty. Subconsciously refining her visual works, Alexander has created her own genre and her own signature style, which viewers can easily recognize through the alluring repetitive line patterns that adorn her work. Her inspirations include traditional African symbolism and textile design as well as Afrofuturism, a genre of literature, art, music, and many other forms that features futuristic or science fiction themes incorporating black history and culture.
Alexander’s work has been featured in several group and solo exhibitions and events, including: Evolving Archetypes, SOHA Studio & Gallery, Saint Louis (2016); Powerful Black Women Artists, Vaughn Cultural Center, Saint Louis (2016); and Blended Spirits: Where Two Artful Souls Collide, Old North St. Louis Restoration Group (2015). Additionally, she has participated in Artscope’s Wall Ball Auction (2016). Media outlets including All the Art: The Visual Art Quarterly of St. Louis, Santa Clara University’s Explore Journal, and NPR Saint Louis Public Radio, among many others have profiled Alexander.
Brandon Anschultz received his MFA with a concentration in printmaking and drawing from Washington University in St. Louis in 2002 and his BA in painting and drawing from Louisiana Tech University in 1997. He creates paintings, sculptures, and installations that mainly investigate the space between painting and sculpture. Anschultz focuses on the materiality of painting and often employs loose narratives to guide his work.
His past solo exhibitions include Below Horizon, Regards, Chicago (2015); Suddenly Last Summer, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2014); Pacer, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2012); Press Pause, Philip Slein Gallery, Saint Louis (2012); Stick Around for Joy, Laumeier Sculpture Park, Saint Louis, and Longue Vue House and Gardens, New Orleans (2010); and Brandon Anschultz: Round, White Flag Projects, Saint Louis (2007). Additional group exhibitions include: Fact or Fiction, Truman State University, Kirksville, Missouri (2016); Bad Habits (Remember Me), fort gondo compound for the arts, Saint Louis (2016); You Are Looking Good, A Real Good Looker, Chicago Arts Coalition, Chicago (2016); The Tyranny of Good Taste, La Esquina, Kansas City, Missouri, and Columbia College Chicago (2013-2014); All That Heaven Allows, fort gondo compound for the arts, Saint Louis (2013); All Good Things Become Wild and Free, Carthage College, Kenosha, Wisconsin (2012); Die Erklärte Ausstellung, Künstlerhaus Klagenfurt, Klagenfurt, Austria (2012); Violence, Exhibition Agency, Chicago (2010); Due Diligence Done, Tiger Strikes Asteroid, Philadelphia (2010); Jasmine Plus B, Front Desk Apparatus, New York City (2009); and Amass, Monte Vista Projects, Los Angeles, and Boots Contemporary Art Space, Saint Louis (2009). Anschultz’s past residencies include ACRE in Steuben, Wisconsin, and La Cité internationale des Arts in Paris, France.
Jessica Baran & Nathaniel Farrell
Jessica Baran is a poet, curator, art writer, and a lecturer at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Art. She also teaches in Saint Louis University’s Prison Arts & Education Program. Baran holds a BA in Visual Art from Columbia University, New York, and an MFA in Poetry Writing from Washington University in St. Louis. Across disciplines, her work constantly investigates the relationship between visual art and language. Baran has explored this topic in-depth through three poetry collections, including Common Sense (Lost Roads), which was released in fall of 2016.
Baran has curated exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis; the Center for Creative Arts, Saint Louis; the Charlotte Street Foundation, Kansas City; and White Flag Projects, Saint Louis, among other venues. For four years she directed fort gondo compound for the arts (Saint Louis), a nonprofit community art space, where she oversaw an expansive program that included exhibitions, publications, and a poetry series. Baran is a recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, which include the Regional Arts Commission Artist Fellowship, Critical Mass Creative Stimulus Award, a PXSTL Project Grant, and a Marfa Dialogues Project Grant. Her second poetry collection Equivalents (Lost Roads, 2013) earned her the Besmilr Brigham Women Writer’s Prize, and her poetry has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize twice. Baran’s poetry and art criticism has appeared in Art in America, Artforum.com, Art Papers, A Public Space, BOMB, the Boston Review, the Denver Quarterly, Flash Art, Hyperallergic, the Riverfront Times, and the Village Voice, among many other publications.
Nathaniel Farrell is a poet, collage artist, educator, and radio host. He spent his formative years growing up on a small farm in Western Pennsylvania where his father, Richard, a union plumber and steamfitter, and his mother, Maria, a public elementary-school teacher, raised him. Farrell holds a doctorate in English Literature from Columbia University and is the author of The Race Poems (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2005), which includes collages by Steve Dalachinsky, and Newcomer (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2014), a long poem narrated by an anonymous soldier and set in an undefined American-soil campaign.
Farrell’s work is consistently informed by a commitment to daily observation, environmental ethics, and the critique of nationalism. After living in New York City for fifteen years, in 2011 he moved to Saint Louis, where he now teaches college composition at Washington University in St. Louis and works for KDHX Community Media coordinating volunteer writers and photographers. Farrell has recently begun serving on the New Music Circle board of directors, and since 2015 he has hosted the experimental music program Cure for Pain, which airs Tuesdays from 11 am-1 pm on 88.1 KDHX. He lives in the Tower Grove South neighborhood with his partner and poetic collaborator, Jessica Baran.
Over the years, Farrell’s poetry has been published in 6x6, New York Nights, Greetings Magazine, VLAK, The Brooklyn Rail, and The Recluse. His current manuscript, Other Places, brings together three long poems devoted to real and imagined landscapes: from Forest Park and Lindell Boulevard, specifically the so-called Catlin Tract; to interstate scenery and suburban mall-scapes; to John Milton’s hell reworked in the vocabulary of evolutionary science, occult anthropology, and colonial exploration.
Martin Brief was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, and earned his MFA from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. His recent work—long-term, absurd, drawing-based tasks—interrogates aspects of our complex social and political fabric. Brief currently lives and works in Saint Louis, where he is an Associate Professor of Studio Art at Saint Louis University.
Brief’s work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally in New York; Paris; Zurich; Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia; Chicago; and Saint Louis. Selected exhibitions include: A Brief History of Time, Danese/Corey, New York (2016); Amazon God, Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis (2010); New Talent 2010, Gallery Joe, Philadelphia (2010); and A–acneform (The Dictionary Series), La Cité internationale des Arts, Paris (2006). Additionally, his work is in several public collections, including the Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection at the Art Institute of Chicago; Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, Arizona; and the Hawai’i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, Honolulu. Brief participated in the Great Rivers Biennial and recently received fellowships from the Howard Foundation and the MacDowell Colony. His work is represented by Danese/Corey, New York.
Bruce Burton received his BA from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville and lives and works in Belleville, Illinois. His work explores the artmaking process; gathering, sorting, collating, associating, and staging/displaying. Burton’s art is rooted in opposing principles, such as thinking and making, mind and body, rational and organic, structure and experimentation, and mechanical and handmade. He investigates the relationships among the object (found or created), the environment, and the viewer.
Burton’s process of curating and presenting objects within a defined space is intuitive and happens as a reaction to the space itself. He remakes the space with an eye that is as equally attuned to contemporary materials and design as to natural oddities. Using a collection of objects and materials, Burton attempts to strike a balance between the past and present as well as the personal and the historical, while arranging new constellations which react pointedly to the spatial situation of the exhibition space.
His work has been featured in solo exhibitions including: Staging the Remains, fort gondo compound for the arts, Saint Louis (2015); Observation and Formulation, PSTL Gallery, Saint Louis (2009); Sullivan’s Systems, The Sheldon Art Galleries, Saint Louis, (2008); and all & one, Maps Contemporary Art Projects, Belleville, Illinois (2007). Group exhibitions include: Off Modern: In What Time Do We Live?, The Luminary, Saint Louis (2017); Perspectives, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis (2007); and Live Action: An Exhibition of Interactive and Performance Art, White Flag Projects, Saint Louis (2006); among others.
Juan William Chávez
Juan William Chávez is an artist and cultural activist who was born in Lima, Peru, and was raised in Saint Louis, Missouri, where he works and lives. Chávez earned his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In his work, he creates and shares space in the built and natural environments to address community identified issues. Chávez’s studio research incorporates drawings, films, photographs, architectural interventions, and unconventional forms of beekeeping and agriculture that utilize art as a way of researching, developing, and implementing creative placemaking and socially-engaged projects. His studio research is often presented as multimedia installations, with exhibitions focusing on themes of the urban environment, ecology, sustainability, craft/labor, activism, identity, and archaeology of place.
Chávez’s work has been highlighted in solo exhibitions including: Artist-In-Residence Exhibition, ArtPace, San Antonio (2016); Living Proposal: Pruitt-Igoe Bee Sanctuary 2010-2012, Laumeier Sculpture Park, Saint Louis (2012); and Drawings from the Cave, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2008). His work has also been featured in many group exhibitions, such as: The Highlights Presents a Video Screening, the Harris Lieberman Gallery, New York (2008); Heartland, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, the Netherlands (2008); and Video 2005, Art in General, New York (2005).
Chávez founded Boots Contemporary Art Space (2006-2010), a non-profit organization that offered support to emerging artists and curators. In 2011, he established Northside Workshop, a nonprofit art space dedicated to addressing community identified issues in North Saint Louis. Chávez has received awards and grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Creative Capital, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Kindle Project, Art Matters, the Gateway Foundation, and the Missouri Arts Council.
Deborah Douglas is a mixed media artist living in Saint Louis, Missouri. She received her BA from Truman State University in 1988 and her MFA in Painting and Printmaking from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville in 1991. Since that time Douglas has taught both art history and studio art. She is currently an Associate Professor of Art and Art History at Saint Louis University, where she also serves as the director for the Art History program. Additionally, Douglas has served as a juror for numerous professional and student art exhibitions. Her artwork addresses issues of gender, feminism, and empowerment through personal and societal imagery.
Douglas has exhibited extensively both regionally and nationally. Her most recent solo exhibitions include: Lucky Fortune: Mixed Media Work by Deborah Douglas, Fontbonne University, Clayton, Missouri, (2016); Deborah Douglas-Pop Up Exhibit of Mixed Media Work, Saint Louis University, Madrid (2016); and Deborah Douglas: Hard, Cold Facts, Messing Gallery, Saint Louis (2015). Recent invitational exhibitions include: Exposure: 10th Anniversary Exhibition, 210 Gallery, University of Missouri St. Louis, (2016) and Snap to Grid, Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, (2015). Her upcoming solo exhibitions are Alternative Facts (1965-2017) at the Schmidt Art Center in Belleville, Illinois (May 2017) and Past, Present, Future Tense at The Sheldon Art Galleries, Saint Louis (March 2018). Douglas’s work has been reviewed in publications including the Kansas City Star, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Intermission Magazine, the Riverfront Times, The Beacon, and the Columbia Daily Tribune.
Michael Drummond is a veteran of Project Runway season eight whose client list includes actress Tika Sumpter, New York Fashion Week founder Fern Mallis, and supermodel and television host Heidi Klum. Largely self-taught, the multi talented artist works as a fashion design consultant and textile designer for SKIF International, produces his own line of clothing under his given name Michael Drummond, and is a commercial stylist for print and film. In his work, he seeks to marry practicality and dramatic design. Drummond loves large scale prints, delicate knits, simple comfortable shapes, deconstruction, and a dark palette. Rather than creating a new collection twice each year, he designs by building on a concept that could take three years to come to fruition. This is a process akin to creating a narrative and allows Drummond to choose a more thoughtful and ethical approach to clothing design with an end goal of creating interesting, timeless clothing that will work in his clients’ wardrobes for years to come.
Drummond’s work has been featured in several exhibitions, including: Little Black Dress: From Mourning to Night, Missouri History Museum, Saint Louis (2016); Spread, Reese Gallery, Saint Louis (2016); Pants!, Regional Arts Commission, Saint Louis (2016); A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes, Fashion & Chess, World Chess Hall of Fame, Saint Louis (2013-14); Unraveled: Crossing the Line Between Fashion and Art, Sheldon Art Galleries, Saint Louis (2007); and Layered, Stitched, Assembled, Art St. Louis (2006). In 2013, he curated Dressed, an exhibition at the Regional Arts Commission, Saint Louis. Drummond has also worked as a costume designer for many operas, dances, and theatrical productions in the United States and Europe. The most recent include: Medea, The Junction, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (2017); Kinetic Field Work, Washington University Dance Theatre, Saint Louis (2011); and Three Penny Opera (co-designed with Bonnie Kruger), Washington University Dance Theatre, Saint Louis (2011). He has shown his work in countless fashion shows, including Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, New York (2010). In 2017 his work has been shown at Omaha Fashion Week; Kansas City Fashion Week, Kansas City, Missouri; Nashville Fashion Week; and The Factory Fashion Show, Saint Louis.
Kristin Fleischmann Brewer
Kristin Fleischmann Brewer is a painter and sculptor working and living in Saint Louis, Missouri. In May 2011, Fleischmann earned her MFA from Washington University in St. Louis, where she was the recipient of the Mr. and Mrs. Spencer T. Olin Fellowship for Women. She earlier received her BFA in Painting from the University of Denver in 2007.
Fleischmann expands her creative practice through curatorial projects, community organizing, and teaching. She currently works as the director of public projects and engagement at Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, where she collaborates with local and national artists and thinkers to curate public programs and complete artist commissions. Fleischmann also co-founded and from 2012-2014 directed Enamel Art Space in Saint Louis, Missouri with artist Katie McCullough. The venue exhibited the work of local and national visual artists and poets. In 2015, Fleischmann co-founded Citizen Artist St. Louis, which she runs with local artists in order to organize artists around public policy and politics locally and nationally.
Fleischmann has exhibited in multiple venues in Denver, Saint Louis, New York, and Berlin. Selected exhibitions include: Some Things Precious, The Clothesline, Saint Louis (2016); Talk for an Hour, Des Lee Gallery, Saint Louis (2015); and Absences and Obsessions, Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design, Saint Louis (2011). She has been awarded artist residencies and fellowships including the Creative Community Fellowship with National Art Strategies (summer 2015), and two residencies with The Luminary: a studio residency (spring 2012) and the FLOAT Residency with Italian Collective Radical Intention in (summer 2014). She will be a resident artist at the La Cité internationale des Arts in Paris in summer 2017.
Self–taught artist Nicholas Gates celebrates the elements of hip hop, particularly graffiti and b-boying, through his dance, sculpture, and fashion design. As the son of James Gates Sr., the first DJ to spin a hip hop record on radio, Gates grew up around entertainment and true hip hop culture. In the first season of So You Think You Can Dance (2005), he earned his stripes as the only breakdancer in Chicago to make it through to the top 25. Nick has choreographed for and worked with artists such as Cali Swag District, Rock Steady Crew, Black Eyed Peas, Nelly, Ebony Eyez, Cirque du Soleil, Chemical Brothers, Carlos Santana, Lululemon Athletica, the Step Up 3D movie premiere, and more. Gates appeared in the viral music video for “Teach Me How to Dougie” (2011). He has also taught numerous master classes and shared the stage with Pharrell Williams. Gates has worked alongside Michael Jackson’s choreographer Fatima Robinson in BET’S Played By Fame (2005). Currently, he is a master hip hop instructor for Kids Artistic Revue’s (KAR) national conventions.
Gates also has a passion for art and has sculpted for various artists including Jay-Z, Ice-T, Nelly, Kanye, and others. He was commissioned by Disney in 2010 to create sculptures for the cast of Step Up 3D (2010), as well as appearing in the film. His sculpture and fashion designs were featured in a special installation titled Freedom Under Rough Years during the World Chess Hall of Fame’s exhibition Living Like Kings: The Unexpected Collision of Chess and Hip Hop (2014-2015).
Gates is the proud owner, instructor, and choreographer of the first and only all-hip hop dance studio in Saint Louis—Hip Hop Foundation Fanatics (HHFF). He is well known for his unique and fresh approach to teaching breakdance. Nick’s stage name—FURY—stands for “Freedom Under Rough Years.” Gates truly believes art is the tool to free anyone.
Meghan Grubb received her MFA in Art and Design from the University of Michigan in 2012 and her BA in History and Studio Art from Wellesley College in 2005. She makes works of sculpture and installation that explore the non-rational and intuitive responses of wonder and anxiety. Investigating what is at stake when we engage with the fringe of our conscious experience, Grubb focuses on the ways that we respond—both physically and emotionally—to precarious situations.
Grubb’s work draws on art and architecture, research into literature, perceptual psychology, optics, and the natural environment. Her practice generates new questions and strategies on interrupting the built environment, bending our expectations of physical space, and creating opportunities for psychological and conceptual vertigo. Grubb intends to leverage the uneasiness in the relationship between humans and the physical spaces we inhabit, making work that may prove at once playfully reassuring and profoundly disquieting.
Grubb’s exhibition record includes group and solo shows, collaborations, and site-specific installations. Her work has been exhibited internationally in Norway, Finland, Spain, and Thailand, and nationally. Selected exhibitions include: Appetite for Destruction, Wassaic Project, Wassaic, New York (2016); Chain Letter, Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Los Angeles (2011); Long Fall, Heaven Gallery, Chicago (2014); and Beacons, Urban Institute for Contemporary Art, Grand Rapids (2014). She has received numerous awards and grants, among them the American-Scandinavian Foundation Fellowship (2012-2013), Regional Arts Commission Artist Fellowship (2015), Creative Stimulus Award (2015), Alice C. Cole ’42 Award (2015), and has recently been nominated for the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant (2014) and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Emerging Artist Grant (2015 and 2016).
Gregg Louis is a multidisciplinary artist who works in a wide range of media including painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, and video. He received his BFA from Missouri State University and his MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Louis’s work investigates ideas of belief, interpretation, and perception. He creates uncanny objects and images that rest on the blurry line between abstraction and representation. Often influenced by everyday objects and actions, Louis twists the mundane into strange and humorous deviations of its original form. His works playfully explore the patterns and perceptions of our daily lives.
Louis’s past solo exhibitions include: Likeness, Nohra Haime Gallery, New York (2015); Blind Spot, Hverfisgallerí, Reykjavík, Iceland (2015); and It, or the Something in the Lake, Hotel Maria Kapel, Hoorn, the Netherlands (2011 collaborative project). He has also participated in group exhibitions in the United States and abroad, such as: This One Is Smaller Than This One, Galerist, Istanbul, and Postmasters Gallery, New York (2016); Salon 94 x The Smile Face Museum, Frieze, London (2014); ArtBo, Bogota, Colombia (2014); Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo, Here Art Center, New York (2014); Videos on the Front, Interstate Projects, Brooklyn (2011); and Doing Easy, Los Caminos Gallery, Saint Louis (2011). In 2009, Louis was an artist-in-residence at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Sculpture Magazine, and several other prominent online blogs and journals have covered his work. He is represented by Nohra Haime Gallery, New York.
Adam Maness & Bjorn Ranheim
Cellist Bjorn Ranheim was appointed to the Saint Louis Symphony in 2005 and is a member of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony in Idaho. He earned his Bachelor of Cello Performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music and currently lives in the heart of Saint Louis. Ranheim serves as Music Director for the World Chess Hall of Fame, curating the Monthly Music Series, which features all genres of music, as well as the Composers Spotlight Series, which presents members of the St. Louis Symphony performing chamber music by the foremost composers throughout history.
A committed advocate of contemporary solo and chamber music, Ranheim has given world-premier performances of works by the late Stephen Paulus, Paul Schoenfield, Steven Heitzig, Peter Martin, Stefan Freund, and William Beckstrand.
He has also toured extensively in the United States, Europe, and Central America and is highly visible throughout the Saint Louis region, presenting recitals, educational programs, and chamber music performances. On multiple occasions, he has performed as a soloist with the St. Louis Symphony and Colorado Music Festival. He has also appeared with the New World Symphony, Columbia Civic Orchestra, National Repertory Orchestra, and the Washington University Symphony Orchestra.
Seeking out new directions and partners in music making, Ranheim also collaborates with internationally known jazz musicians, sharing the stage and recording studio with Branford Marsalis, Christian McBride, Peter Martin, Jeremy Davenport, and Brian Owens. Ranheim is a founding member of The 442s, an acoustic string ensemble that pursues innovative, genre-defying music making and collaborations.
Adam Maness is a versatile multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, composer, and arranger. Born in Saint Louis, Missouri, Maness has performed around the globe with award-winning artists from a plethora of musical genres. Shortly after beginning his studies in jazz piano as a young man, he began performing in clubs around Saint Louis. In 2001, Maness moved to New York City to attend the acclaimed Jazz and Contemporary Music program at The New School University and was soon deeply immersed in the city’s jazz scene. In 2003, he moved home to Saint Louis and began playing with renowned vocalist Erin Bode.
In ten years, Maness has recorded six albums and traveled across America, Europe, Japan, and South Africa as Bode’s pianist, guitarist, and songwriting partner. In 2011, along with St. Louis Symphony musicians Bjorn Ranheim and Shawn Weil as well as bassist Syd Rodway, he helped found the acclaimed, genre-bending quartet, The 442s, for which Maness is the primary composer. In the summer of 2014, Maness was commissioned by Brian Owens to write an orchestral piece titled Divides that Bind for a unity concert in Ferguson, Missouri. In February 2015, the piece was reprised by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and IN UNISON Chorus, under the direction of Kevin Mcbeth, for their Black History Month concert at Powell Hall. The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, The Metropolitan Orchestra of St. Louis, Peter Martin, Erin Bode, David Halen, Peter Henderson, Karin Bliznik, The Trombones of the St. Louis Symphony, Brian Owens, and Chamber Project St. Louis have performed his compositions and arrangements. Maness performs regularly around Saint Louis with his trio featuring bassist Bob DeBoo and drummer Montez Coleman.
Peter Manion is a native Saint Louisan who returned to the city in 2000 after studying and living in Chicago, Illinois, and Louisville, Kentucky. Though he completed his studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Manion spent nearly ten years away from the art world focusing on other career paths and his role as a father. For the past six years, however, he has returned to his studio, as a full-time artist, creating and showing his work continuously with participation in numerous group exhibitions as well as solo shows, most recently at Houska Gallery in Saint Louis. Manion’s work blends elements of painting, drawing, sculpture, and performance. Concentrating on the idea and the process of creating art, his work has been evolving, challenging both him and his audience. Using an assortment of tools, techniques, and mediums, his work contains subtle abstract details and images built around a central form that frequently demands the viewer to ask “How is that done?”
Manion’s current practice has transitioned from painting to sculpture after a month-long residency in Spain, where he explored the visual influence of scale as it relates to the outside environment. These sculptures are the outset to a deeper study into the idea of what an art object and is and if an art object needs to be preserved or revealed. By constantly changing, the sculptures experience a lifespan with ephemeral qualities. This offers the viewer a chance to understand that art is meant for something more than to be acquired. It needs to live and change to be meaningful to our existence and to remind us of our own temporary place.
Nika Marble is an artist and composer residing in Saint Louis, Missouri. She earned her MA in Russian and Slavonic Studies at the University of Missouri, Columbia, and studied studio art at the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg, Russia. Marble’s scholarship is multidisciplinary, treating photography and critical theory in Europe between World Wars I and II, while also maintaining a strong interest in modern Russian literature and art history. She is a classically trained pianist and violinist, and performs frequently with her collaborator Louis Wall in their avant-jazz outfit Marble//Wall Duo. They have played at a wide array of venues in the Saint Louis area, including the Kranzberg Arts Center, The Luminary, and KDHX. The Marble//Wall Duo’s music is an exercise in improvisation and collaboration, and seeks to present musical thought as an urgent reaction to the challenges of navigating a complex world.
Marble’s collages and paintings explore uncanny collisions between the conscious and unconscious self, challenging the viewer to engage with the tension and dissonance between private and presented identities. She is fascinated by collage as a medium for its material accessibility, and for its potential to reflect an environment and context through its source materials. Identity is a recurrent theme in her work. The figures in her collages seek to achieve full forms by cobbling together attributes from a wide variety of sources, creating a chimerical pastiche that utilizes a diverse and unsettling sum of forms and experiences to render a whole self.
Adrienne Outlaw is a socially engaged artist whose work addresses issues of individual and communal health, especially in such areas as neuroethics and bioethics. Taking inspiration from consumer driven changes in food and drug policies, her goal is to create experiences in which viewers can imagine solutions and start a sea change. She holds a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Master of Liberal Arts and Science degree from Vanderbilt University.
Outlaw has exhibited at galleries and museums across the United States and abroad in Italy, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Nigeria. Recent solo exhibitions include: Slices, University of Wyoming Visual Art Gallery, Laramie (2016); Spun: New Work by Adrienne Outlaw, Low Gallery, San Diego (2015); and Witch’s Brew, Whitespace Gallery, Atlanta (2014). She has also participated in a number of group exhibitions at venues including: the Parthenon Museum and Centennial Park, Nashville; Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, Winchester, Virginia; The Wright Museum of Art, Beloit, Wisconsin; MASS MOCA, North Adams, Massachusetts; Islip Art Museum, East Islip, New York; Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion, Champaign, Illinois; Customs House Museum and Cultural Center, Clarksville, Tennessee; Art Museum of the University of Memphis; Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art, Fort Collins, Colorado; Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville; Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, Alabama; Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum of Art, Nashville; and the Tennessee State Museum, Nashville.
A dozen exhibition catalogs and three art books feature Outlaw’s work, which has been positively reviewed in Art in America, Sculpture, Art Papers, and World Sculpture News. Additionally, she is the recipient of grants, awards, and fellowships from such organizations as the National Endowment for the Arts, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation. The U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, the Public Library of Davidson County, and Vanderbilt University hold her artwork in their collections.
Yuko Suga studied metalsmithing with Heikki Seppa at Washington University in St. Louis, where she received an Intense Minor in Metals and a Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy. She is involved in community-based programs as both a therapist and an artist, working with diverse groups of individuals in a variety of settings. Suga’s experiences contribute to an ever-expanding source of inspiration and modalities of creative expression. Her work is a reflection of the relationships between line, form, function, and process and is often inspired by events and experiences in the community and environment. By taking a single idea and bringing together related concepts and adding layers to it before de-constructing them into simple, minimalist terms, it allows the viewer (or in the case of jewelry, the wearer) to develop his or her own relationship with and personal meaning in Suga’s work.
In her role as a therapist, Suga investigates and identifies patterns of movements and behaviors that may indicate if an individual has specific concerns in learning and function, and works to develop effective strategies to facilitate learning opportunities and comprehensive skill building. Similarly, through her art, she contemplates patterns of issues and concerns impacting our communities, and hopes to inspire the viewer to contemplate them as well through visual representation.
While teaching at Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design, Suga’s interests have expanded to include exploring the application of techniques used in one medium into other media. She is currently a faculty member at the Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design in Saint Louis in both metals and glass, and co-chair of the glass studio, where she has taught for over ten years. Suga exhibits her work in metals and glass both in the Saint Louis region and nationally. Most recently, the World Chess Hall of Fame showed her work Checkmate: Prototype I as part of its exhibition Ladies’ Knight: A Female Perspective on Chess (2016).
Adrian Octavius Walker
Adrian Octavius Walker was born and raised in North Saint Louis and received his BA in Sociology with a certificate in photography and Women’s and Gender studies from the University of Missouri St. Louis in 2010. Walker now often photographs the mundane areas of the west and east sides of his current home city Oakland, California, where he works as an assistant editor on the entertainment community team for VSCO. Always curious, Walker also creates sensitive portraits based on his studies human interactions in intense environments. The work of black women photographers including Latoya Ruby Frazier, Carrie Mae Weems, Deana Lawson, and Deborah Willis Thomas, as well as his investigations of the black body and dynamics of the black family inspire his current work. This includes the 2016 mixed-media installation Living Room, which was curated by his wife Morgan H. Walker.
In 2015, Walker self-published the book My Lens, Our Ferguson, a documentation of the Ferguson, Missouri, protests that was shortlisted for a Paris Photo-Aperture First PhotoBook award. Images from that book were featured in a solo exhibition last year at the University of Alabama and in five group exhibitions internationally. The same year, Walker offered his insight into what it is like to grow up in North Saint Louis in an episode of Vice’s Abandoned, which aired in 2016. His work has been included in a variety of solo and group exhibitions including Black On Film, Creative Campus at The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama (2016); Dandy Lion, Brighton Photo Biennial, Brighton, England (2016); Black Mail 2, Space 236, San Francisco, California (2016); Common Sense(s), The Center for Photography at Woodstock, Woodstock, New York (2016); Paris Photo-Aperture Photobook Awards 2015, Huis Marseille, Museum of Photography, Amsterdam, the Netherlands (2015); and Street Beautification (a special installation as part of the exhibition Living Like Kings: The Unexpected Collision of Chess and Hip Hop), World Chess Hall of Fame, Saint Louis (2014).
More information coming soon!
Artwork photography by Michael DeFilippo
Portrait photography by Matt Kile
3/30/17: HEC TV — The World Chess Hall of Fame Revisits the Imagery of Chess with Local Artists (video)
3/24/17: Riverfront Times — The Best Things to Do This Week in Saint Louis, March 24 to March 29
3/21/17: The Telegraph — World Chess Hall of Fame debuts new exhibitions, opening receptions Thursday
3/20/17: The Vital Voice — World Chess Hall of Fame Debuts New Exhibition Celebrating Works of Leading Saint Louis Artists
3/7/17: Exhibition Press Release (download)