• Augur @ CAC (January 30th, 2014)

    Augur @ CAC (January 30th, 2014)

    press release


    A solo exhibition by BOLT Resident Marissa Lee Benedict

    Opening Reception: March 7th, 6-9 PM

    Exhibition Dates: March 7th – March 27th

    Presented by Chicago Artists Coalition’s BOLT Residency, Augur is a new immersive installation produced by artist Marissa Lee Benedict. An extension of Benedict’s ongoing investigation into processes of research, collection, extraction and cultivation, this solo exhibition will feature a 4-channel video installation depicting Benedict’s repeated attempts to collect a core sample from the arid, clay-hardened surface of Harper Dry Lake located in Hinkley, CA.

    Working to cut into the parched ground and gain a glimpse of what might lie beneath, Benedict tries to gain traction in the harsh landscape via a series of gardening tools (a sledge hammer, a bucket, a shovel, a drill, and a series of pipes) and amateur soil sampling techniques. The show’s title, Augur, plays between the words "augur" – to portend a good or bad outcome of an event or circumstance, to foresee or predict– and "auger" – a hand tool often used by soil scientists, geologists and glaciologists to bore holes into the earth.

    Just as the aperture of a camera opens to allow light to pass though, Benedict’s repeated attempts to extract and expose the strata below speaks to the artist’s process of searching and re-searching, striving to make tangible connections with the elusive or imperceptible. 

    A native of Southern California, Marissa Lee Benedict is a sculptor, researcher, writer, explorer, teacher and avid amateur of many fields and disciplines. Motivated by a sense of critical wonder, Benedict’s artistic practice is an ongoing investigation into the complex, and ever evolving, relationship between humans and the material world. Rooted in research and experimentation, she is drawn to systems that allow equal space for planned action and uncontrollable reaction. Working with biological, chemical and physical processes, her projects range from growing algae under florescent lights to digging up mud samples and assembling large-scale microbial fuel cells. Most recently, she built a 10' ft wooden rowboat to search for lightening strikes and radio signals on the open waters of Lake Michigan.

    Currently based in Chicago, IL, Benedict received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2007 and an MFA in 2011 from the Sculpture Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), where she currently teaches. She has shown most recently in Chicago at threewalls (threewallSOLO), the DePaul Art Museum, Chicago Artists' Coalition, Mana Contemporary, the Evanston Art Center, Heaven Gallery, Columbia College, the Sullivan Galleries, and in NYC at the Cue Arts Foundation. She received a fellowship to attend Ox-Bow’s Fall 2013 Residency program, and was a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Fellowship in 2011.