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& SHELLABARGER |
| Artist Resume | Artwork
| Performances | WX shows:
2010 | 2007
9 x 7.25 inches
Miller b. 1965, Pennsylvania
Stan Shellabarger b. 1968, Illinois
Live and work in Chicago, IL
Husband and husband artist team Miller & Shellabarger’s
performances, sculptures, collages and artist books document
the rhythms of human relationships. Their performance work,
always enacted together in public, focuses on simple materials
and actions pushed to almost Sisyphean extremes. Their gestures
shift between moments of togetherness and separation, between
spaces of private and public, protection and pain, and visibility
and invisibility. They strive to make work that functions in
a space that is both autobiographical and metaphorical, and
speaks to the common experience of human interaction as well
as the specific experiences of queer relationships.
In their most well-known performance, Untitled (Crochet),
the artists simultaneously crochet the ends of a long pink tube,
a metaphorically loaded (penis, umbilical cord, etc.) object
that both unites and separates them. In "Untitled (Grave)",
Miller & Shellabarger dig, in close proximity to each other,
two holes, deep and large enough for each man to lie in. They
then dug a small tunnel between the holes that enabled them
to hold hands while lying in the graves.
The silhouette is a key component of their works. Miller &
Shellabarger first employed silhouettes in Silhouette Books,
a multi-volume set of large-scale artist books that contained
their individual profiles, each one cut by the other. Miller
& Shellabarger modernize the folk art tradition of cut-paper
silhouettes by combining the sentimental, documentary, and psychological
ambiguities engendered by odd alterations made to the images.
In their (Conjoined) silhouette collages they tie their
beards together and have their friends trace the resulting silhouette.
Larger-than-life, phantasmagorical silhouettes were created
during an artist residency at the School of the Art Institute
of Chicago's Sullivan Galleries in 2010. These images take advantage
of the distortions of the silhouetted figure in light and shadow.
Life-size body tracings of each other are realized in large
drawings on paper made with gunpowder, and in a repeated performance
where they trace each other’s body with seeds, leaving
them to disperse into the natural world. These “Seed Drawings”
were collected in a small book of photographs.
Like the Conjoined series, their three-dimensional
works reference their enigmatic beards -- a twin set of pillowcases,
each monogrammed with their initials using hair from their beards
as thread; delicate cameos depicting the two with their beards
intertwined, carved out of sardonic shell by an Italian master
carver, and a set of three handkerchief that also are embroidered
with their respective beard hairs.
Their artist books series Butter Books is an ongoing
project, for which they collected, cleaned and bound every wax
paper butter wrapper from each stick of butter they consume
in a year (Miller is an accomplished pastry chef) into books.
Each book’s pages are intended both attract and repel
Miller & Shellabarger have had solo shows at the Museum
of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Chicago Cultural Center, INOVA
in Milwaukee, the University Galleries at Illinois State University
and Gallery Diet in Miami. Their work has been included in group
shows at the Bellevue Art Museum in Washington, Diverseworks
in Houston, Sala Diaz in San Antonio, the Institute for Contemporary
Art in Portland, ME and their performances have been presented
at the Time-Based Arts festival in Portland, Oregon; Hub 14
in Toronto; Cornell Art Museum in Florida; the Hyde Park Art
Center and the 44/46 Performance Festival in Chicago; the Suburban
in Oak Park, Illinois, the Ulrich Museum of Art in Wichita and
the Illinois State University Galleries. Miller & Shellabarger
are a 2008 recipient of an Artadia Chicago award and a 2007
recipient of a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation award. Their
work in is the collections of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary
Art, the Newark Public Library, Indiana University Art Museum
and the National Gallery of Canada. Their Their work has been
written about in Artforum.com, Art & Auction,
Frieze, Artnet, The Art Newspaper, Flash
Art, Chicago Tribune, and the Chicago Sun-Times.
Dutes Miller and Stan Shellabarger also maintain separate artistic
practices. They live and work in Chicago.