Oasis teeters between familiar and fantastical worlds. Andy Davis, Dana Hemenway, and J Noland shift expectations of the vernacular using abstraction to invite intimate interactions encouraging slow looking and attention through illusion, imagination, and instruction. The artists’ invitations to self-reflect center questions that continue to arise in the pandemic like structures of stability, methods to process emotions, and ways to engage in experiences from afar. 
Dana Hemenway’s experiments with utilitarian objects and ceramics poke holes in notions of structure and stability. Industrial lights emiting continuous beams of light weave seamlessly through gallery walls, anchored with ceramics disguised as metal fittings. Cast from 3D-printed molds, undulating ceramic tiles create a sea of bodily polyp forms across the floor, referencing the violence associated with Carl Andre and his floor sculptures and societal expectations of domestic spaces. Hemenway’s transformation of function, intention, and perception reflect the ability to redefine and transverse spaces creating pliant maneuvers through confines and borderlines of stringent political systems, gender structures, and built environments. 

Andy Davis’ work dissolves boundaries between humans and landscape and is the result of quiet findings and attentive time spent with natural materials. During the pandemic, Davis re-introduced himself to local parks and green spaces near his home in Philadelphia. His art practice is a place to process emotions and through the grinding of rocks, filtering and foraging pigments, and making brushes from carcasses, it became a meditative process of making tools. Annunciations reward close-looking and imagination. Working in an improvisational mode of painting, each mark and shape responds to the previous one, allowing the forms to direct their own next steps. Referencing the imaginative creatures in the margins of medieval books, Davis’ forms morph from birds to tigers to floras and fields as they enter ambiguous moments sweeping and swirling across the paper. The process of making and looking is one of pleasure and intensive slowness, fueled by the invitation to lose oneself in abstract landscapes.

Known for structuring meaningful engagements in exhibition spaces, J Noland creates opportunities for shared experiences. When the pandemic hit, the question of how to create relational experiences without physically gathering provided an opportunity to turn inward. Meditative practices and experimentation with psychedelics provided experiences of intense self-dissolution and reflection. A found image of a Phoenician anchor in Noland’s home greets and acts as a constant each passing day. The weighted object resting in the overgrown grass plays on the double-meaning of grounding providing a familiar image through the wait of uncertainty. Creating a print, Noland offers a series of takeaways for visitors to live with and attach their own meaning to the image. Noland’s tokens of generosity are invitations to encourage time for oneself and self-exploration, now and post-pandemic. 
The title Oasis, nods to a space providing rest and relief. The works on view reward close-looking and vulnerability guided by the artists given or unspoken instructions. Oasis also hints at the return back to the exhibition space as a designated place to process and feel through in-person interactions with works on view and one another. Acknowledging the expansive use of “oasis” as a term that encapsulates a break from reality, the exhibition hopes to recognize the oasis-like moments of presentness, warmth, and joy through turbulent times that, in return, advance our sense of self and provide understanding about contemporary realities.

Andy Davis

Andy Davis drifts between painting, pigment-making, theater, movement and moving image. Davis has performed and exhibited both within the US and internationally. Residencies and fellowships include Muong Studio (Hoa Binh, Vietnam); SOMA Summer (Mexico City, Mexico);  FRAC Bourgogne (Dijon, France); The Wassaic Project (Wassaic, NY); Nakanojo Biennale 2019 (Nakanojo, Japan); ACRE (Steuben, WI); and in 2020 received a project grant from Galveston Artist Residency (Galveston, TX). Andy currently lives and works on the Atlantic Coastal Plain on Lenapehoking, the traditional homeland of the Lenape people.

Dana Hemenway

Dana Hemenway is an artist, curator, and educator based in San Francisco. She received her MFA from Mills College and her BA from University of California Santa Cruz. Hemenway has had residencies at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art (Omaha, NE), ACRE (Stueben, WI), SÍM (Reykjavik, Iceland), The Wassaic Project (Upstate New York), Joya:AiR (Velez Blanco, Spain) and in 2020 she was awarded a Residency at Recology San Francisco (now scheduled for October 2021). Dana is the recipient of The San Francisco Arts Commission Individual Artist Grant and a Southern Exposure Alternative Exposure Grant. She has a permanent public art commission in SFO’s Terminal 1. Dana has exhibited her artwork locally, nationally, and internationally. From 2015 – 2017, Dana served as a co-director of Royal Nonesuch Gallery, an artist-run project space in Oakland, CA. She is represented by Eleanor Harwood Gallery.

J Noland

J Noland is an interdisciplinary artist caught in an earthly realm. Hailing from the American Midwest, Noland now lives and works in Southern California. He received his MFA from the University of California San Diego, and holds a fourth Kyu ranking in Aikido from the United States Aikido Federation. He is co-founder of Helmuth Projects, an  artist-run project space in San Diego focused on collaboration and experimentation. Most recently, Noland was artist in residence at Island Farm Press (San Diego, CA), where he created the print edition for this exhibition. Currently, Noland works as producer at Tender Claws, a digital art and VR studio in Los Angeles, CA. He has a deep and abiding love for birds and ocean swimming. 

Rachel McDermott

Rachel McDermott is an arts administrator and a 2020-2021 ACRE Curatorial Fellow based in Savannah, GA. She is interested in questioning the vernacular every day and ways to alter how we move through social, ecological, and digital spaces. She earned her M.A. in museum and exhibition studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her B.A. in historic preservation and community planning from the College of Charleston. McDermott is currently the social media manager for SCAD Museums and has previously worked on curatorial and marketing teams at Galley 400, EXPO CHICAGO, ASMP Chicago/Midwest, and the Robert F. DeCaprio Art Gallery at Moraine Valley Community College.


Opening Reception:

ACRE Projects @ Drama Club
2439 S Oakley Avenue
Chicago , IL 60608

Not Wheelchair Accessible

Open Hours are available by appointment.
Email exhibitions@acreresidency.org to schedule.