benjamin june curriculum vitae

2004 University of Washington, Seattle WA
-B.F.A. in Ceramics
-B.A. in Interdisciplinary Visual Arts

2010-11 -Iraq Suicide Attack Pillow Project: A Memorial, Pool Art Center, Drury University, Springfield MO
2008 -Iraq Suicide Attack Pillow Project: A Memorial, FLATFILE Galleries, Chicago IL
2004 -Reconstructed Identity, B.F.A. Thesis Show, Ceramic & Metal Arts Gallery,
Seattle WA

2011 -"let’s be… Friends," Residence Gallery, Long Beach CA
2010 -"Iraq History Project Art Festival," DePaul University, International Human Rights Law Istitute,
  Chicago IL
2009 -"Welcome to My Walled, Multicultural, Military City", Ruben Kincaid Project at NEXT Art Fair,
  Art Chicago, The Merchandise Mart, Chicago IL
-"Version Festival Art Auction," Country Club Gallery, Chicago IL
2008 -"Select Media Festival 7: Infoporn", Co-Prosperity Sphere, Chicago IL.
  -"Present Tense," Basement Gallery, curated by T. Michael Martin, Knoxville TN
2007 -"Curator’s Choice Show" at the Chicago Art Open, Iron Studios, curated by
  Sabina Ott, Karen Irvine & Linda Warren, Chicago IL (catalogue)
  -"Portraits of Guns," Asrai Garden Boutique, Chicago IL
  -"Wear your Art on your Sleeve," Trunk Show, FLATFILE Galleries, Chicago IL
  -"Involving Violence," Lasso Gallery at the Butcher Shop, curated by Karen Patzke &
  Carrie Ruckel, Chicago IL
  -"Hand Harvested: Artists for a Greener Planet," Parkwest Gallery, Chicago IL
  -"8 x 8 - 2-D Art Open", ARC Gallery, Chicago IL
  -"Square Foot Show," Galaxie Gallery, Chicago IL
  -"One of one: Prints like no other," Spudnik Press, curated by Angee Lennard, Chicago IL (catalogue)
  -"Delineate," Black Walnut Gallery, curated by Betsy Treacy, Chicago IL
2006 -"Chicagoesque," Metropolis Coffeehouse, Chicago IL
2005 -"Estranged," Solo Show, Letizia’s Café & Wine Bar, Chicago IL
2004 -"B.F.A. 3," Jacob Lawrence Galley, Seattle WA
-"Show ‘n Tell," Ceramic & Metal Arts Gallery, Seattle WA
-"School of Art Open," Jacob Lawrence Galley, curated by Michael Sweney, Seattle WA
2003 -"Show ‘n Tell," Ceramic & Metal Arts Gallery, curated by Mandy Greer, Seattle WA
2000 -"Works on Paper," Jacob Lawrence Galley, Seattle WA

2011 -Artist Support Initiative Professional Development Grant, Illinois Arts Council, Chicago IL
2008 -C.A.A.P. Grant, City of Chicago, Department of Cultural Affairs, Chicago IL
  - Special Assistance Grant, Illinois Arts Council, Chicago IL
2007 -"Featured Artist," Chicago Artist’s Month, City of Chicago, Deptrtment of Cultural
  Affairs, Chicago IL
2004 -Deborah J. Haynes Scholarship for the Arts, Boulder CO
2003 -Deborah J. Haynes Scholarship for the Arts, Boulder CO
  -Milnor Arts Scholarship, University of Washington, Seattle WA

2010 -Artist Lecture, in conjunction with Iraq Suicide Attack Pillow Project: a Memorial, Pool Art Center,
  Drury University, Springfield MO
-Artist Talk, What does being a working artist mean? Pool Art Center, Drury University, Springfield MO
-Panel Discussion of Activist Artists, Iraq History Project, DePaul University, International Human
  Rights Law Institute, Chicago IL
2007 -Public Artist Talk, Pilsen Artist's Salon, Chicago Artist's Month, Chicago IL
2004 -Artist Talk, in conjunction with Reconstructed Identity, Ceramic & Metal Arts Building, Seattle WA
2003 -Artist Source Presentation, Ceramic & Metal Arts Building, Seattle WA

2012 -“Art, Politics and Pillows,” Dr. Thomas Russo, Drury Magazine, page 33, Fall 2012.
2010 -“Pillows represent hard fact of war,” Camille Dautrich, Front page feature article, Springfield
  News-Leader, December 3.
2009 -“Chicago artist discusses the creation of the Iraq Suicide Attack Project,” Jennifer Lacey,
  ChicagoTalks.Org, Online video interview, March 5.
2008 -“Artist Portfolio,” Proximity Magazine, Issue 2, pgs 158-159, September.
-“Homespun Memorials,” Jason Foumberg, NewCity Chicago, July 3.
-“Sleep won’t be so easy…,” Justin Sondak, Centerstage Chicago, June 30.
-“In the Galleries,” Alan Artner, Chicago Tribune, June 27
2007 -“Drawing Blood in Bridgeport,” Kevin Nance, Chicago Sun-Times, October 19.
-“Make a Connection,” Chicago Artists Month Brochure, pgs 18-19, October.

Gun Embroideries, 2007

Guns scare me. They are inherently violent and aggressive objects that are used to take life away. They are also beautiful objects that make me curious. Guns reside in a space of awkward contradictions where they bring a sense of power for those who carry them and invoke fear in others, and are seen as sexy in movies but they kill in such a brutal way. I try to approach the subject of guns as objects and symbols to learn without judgment or criticism. I’m interested in the paradox that is created by the white on white embroidery with these antagonistic objects. This series deals with the strange balance between delicate and dangerous and speaks to the fragility of life.

Male Anatomy Embroidery, 2007

I’m interested in the symbolism of the male genitalia for masculinity. I think that the reproductive organs are fascinating for their complexity; and are aesthetically beautiful when broken down into their textbook diagrams. The process of hand embroidery is labor intensive and delicate. I feel through this process I understand my subject matter in a distinctive way. The contrast of my masculine subject matter and a traditionally feminine technique is exciting and seems to occur often in my work. These pieces are a metaphor for the fragility of masculinity.

Smokestacks, 2007

I am from green and beautiful Seattle and I was raised recycling. Now I live in Chicago where they only recently started a recycling program. Recycling is one way that I feel I can make a difference in our world of global warming, pollution and excessive waste. The materials utilized in this body of work are recycled from things that I have used; plastic grocery bags and newspapers. I think that they are a good medium to illustrate big polluting industrial plants. These smokestacks, factories and power plants are aesthetically beautiful to me, but at the same time, they horrify me with the harmful pollutants that billow out and the waste they excrete. I’m interested in the contrast of the delicate hand embroidery with the harsh materials, and that I used garbage to represent the polluting smokestacks.

Chicago's Water Tower Project

Chicago’s water towers used to serve the purpose of safety and protection. Now they are unused and obsolete, and many people do not even notice their existence. I am interested in these deteriorating, vandalized and forgotten relics. I hand embroider architectural portraits to memorialize these water towers and to bring attention to this small part of Chicago’s history. With the use of black, white and grey thread, I draw their ghost-like status in our city. The process requires time, focus and intimacy and I have to be thoughtful and delicate with the materials as well as the concepts, and the end result speaks to fragility, loss and the memory of things past.

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