Bethany Collins, a multidisciplinary artist who works in Chicago, will talk about how race and language interact in her works as part of the School of Art’s Visiting Artists and Scholars Endowment (VASE) series. In her Contranyms series, for instance, Collins transposes definitions from Webster’s New World Dictionary of American Language onto American Masters paper, then aggressively obscures much of the entries with an eraser. What remain are specific snippets of meaning that are poetically charged through their isolation, as well as the crumbled paper bits left behind by her erasing. As Holland Cotter noted writing in The New York Times,“language itself, viewed as intrinsically racialized, is Bethany Collins’s primary material.”
Her works have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions nationwide, including the Studio Museum in Harlem, the High Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, and the Birmingham Museum of Art. She has been recognized as an Artist-in-Residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem and was awarded the Hudgens Prize in 2015. Other awards include: Lucas Artist Fellowship (2019), Montalvo Arts Center; The LeRoy Neiman and Janet Byrne Neiman Artadia Award (2019), Artadia Chicago Awards; Public Humanities Practitioner-in-Residence (2019), Davidson College; Artist Fellowship Award (2019), Illinois Arts Council Agency; Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant (2018) and Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowship (2019), CIC Foundation.
Collins received an MFA from Georgia State University and a BA from the University of Alabama.
The School of Art focuses on bringing renowned and diverse artists and scholars from around the world to our campus. These visitors bring their own unique influences to the program by engaging with community members, students, and faculty through salons, lectures, and exhibitions.