Nazafarin Lotfi is a visual artist who lives between Tucson and Chicago. She received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2011 and her BA from the University of Tehran in 2007. Lotfi’s interdisciplinary practice explores opposition, tension, and harmony in spatial arrangements in order to create places for possibility and growth. Recent solo exhibitions include: Become Ocean, Soon.tw, Montreal, CA; Negative Capability, Regards, Chicago, IL; Poiesis, Fernwey Gallery, Chicago, IL; White Light, Andrew Rafacz Gallery, Chicago, IL; Love at Last Sight, Brand New Gallery, Milan, Italy; Circles, Tony Wight Gallery, Chicago, IL. Recent group shows include: Waving, Unisex Salon, Brooklyn, NY; This here, Regards, Chicago, IL; Elsewhere, Joseph Gross Gallery, Tucson, AZ; Sedentary Fragmentation, Heaven Gallery, Chicago, IL; Resonant Objects, Logan Center Exhibitions, Chicago, IL; among others. In 2015-2016, Lotfi was awarded an artist residency at the Department of Arts and Public Life at the University of Chicago. She’s the recipient of CAAP Grant from the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events of the City of Chicago and the Illinois Arts Council, and stArt Grant from the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona. She is the co-founder of the artist-collective Stew-dio Visit based in Tucson, Arizona.
Born in Siberia, Russia and raised in Israel, Ruslana Lichtzier is a curator, writer, and educator. Her background as a migrant propels cultural productions that aim to nest radical imagination of difference and change. She is the initiator and co-director of Triumph School Manual Project, in Triumph, Illinois, and of the project space Triumph, Chicago. Recent productions include the group exhibition “The Dangerous Professors,” Flatland, Houston, TX, and the research project in form of a group exhibition “Terrorists in The Library,” Harold Washington College, Chicago, IL. She recently concluded a two years fellowship in Core, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX. She is the Co-Director of Jewish Artist Fellowship, at Spertus, Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership. Lichtzier is also a contributor writer for The Seen Magazine (EXPO Chicago). Most recently she taught at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago and Spertus Institute.
Dutes Miller lives and works in Chicago, IL. Miller’s collages, artists books, and phallic sculptures examine the spaces where the artist’s inner life, queer subcultures, and mass media intersect. Miller appropriates images from pornographic websites, magazines, and his own imaginings to investigate alternative standards of beauty, visualizations of lust and desire found on the internet, and power dynamics in sexual relationships. Michelle Grabner wrote in ArtForum, “Miller’s mixed-media collages on paper incorporating penis figures striking silly states of repose and activity are enjoyable vignettes, demonstrating nimble material interplay.” Miller’s work is driven by an investigation of queer male sexuality through a tactile exploration of materials, most often plaster, resin and paint and also including fabric, feathers, horns, and other found objects. From a conceptual standpoint, he is interested in the notion of an object that is penetrable (orifice) versus one which penetrates (phallus). Appearing to be in states of transition, his sculptures attempt to find the potential conflation of the two. Dutes Miller’s work has been written about on artforum.com, Hyperallergic, the Huffington Post, the ChicagoReader, Time Out Chicago, New City, and the Chicago Tribune. Miller’s work has been included in exhibitions at several national venues including White Flag Projects in St. Louis and the Ukrainian Museum of Art in Chicago. His collaborative work with his husband Stan Shellabarger, as Miller & Shellabarger, won a 2008 Artadia Award and a 2007 Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation award and has been written about in Art in America, Artforum.com, Art & Auction, Frieze, Artnet The Art Newspaper, Flash Art, and the Chicago Tribune. Miller received a BFA from Illinois State University. He is represented by Western Exhibitions in Chicago and lives and works in Chicago.
Julia Betts is based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 2014, Betts graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a BA and, in 2017, graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with an MFA in sculpture. Betts has participated in group exhibitions in New York City at Re:Art Show, Microscope Gallery, and Flux Factory and exhibited nationally in numerous solo shows such as at Unsmoke Systems (Pittsburgh, PA) and Grid Space (New York, NY). In addition, she completed artist-in-residence programs at Bunker Projects, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Millay Colony for the Arts. She has been invited as the visiting artist at institutions such as Montgomery College and Columbus State University.
Her work veers toward the intersection of sculpture, performance, and installation; and is defined by a series of radically disparate multimedia projects unified by their intentional unpredictability, use of unstable materials, and orchestration of situations in which her body and/or a constructed space are subjected to various hazards and forces of disorder. With each piece, her intent—although never completely pre-determined—is to push a range of materials to the limits of their utility, while placing herself in precarious circumstances that simultaneously function as metaphors of emotional/psychic vulnerability and pure demonstrations of intentional disarray. Generally, she makes a mess—but it’s a purposeful, highly textured mess.
Devin Mays holds a Bachelor in International Business and Marketing from Howard University. After receiving his degree, he worked in advertising developing brand strategies for the better part of a decade. He returned to school to pursue a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Chicago where he graduated in 2016. There he began an auto-ethnographic interdisciplinary exploration of material, prospective, and presence, which he often refers to as gestures. Since then he has exhibited and worked with the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Lowe Art Museum, University of Florida; Hirshorn Museum, Washington, D.C.; Chicago Artists Coalition, Chicago; Nahmad Projects, London; NADA Miami, DePaul Art Museum, Chicago; Regards Chicago. He currently lives and works in Chicago, IL.