Tuesday, April 21, 2015

DOMINODOMINO at Morgan Lehman Gallery

Edra Soto and Dan Sullivan

May 7 - June 13, 2015

The creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act. - Marcel Duchamp

For the past 10 years, Edra Soto and Dan Sullivan have worked as collaborators. During her years studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Soto solicited Sullivan’s services as a fabricator. Later on, Sullivan started a career in furniture design and became an expert in the trade. As intellectual collaborators, they share and discuss possible ideas to be materialized in conceptual form. Among their most significant collaborations is THE FRANKLIN, an artist-run project space located in their backyard. Dedicated to multi-disciplinary practices, THE FRANKLIN is a designed project space that is aesthetically specific but versatile enough to meet the needs of exhibiting artists.

During a visit to Puerto Rico, Soto and Sullivan encountered a traditional domino table made of cement in the county plaza of Ponce. The utter simplicity of its form made this piece of cement food for thought. Soto and Sullivan were further influenced by the popular rumor of the 1920’s that Marcel Duchamp stopped his artistic practice in order to dedicate his life to master the art of playing chess. Immersed in ideas of art and design, Soto and Sullivan decided to create a high-end version of this particular cement model. 

Their great affinity for the game of dominoes led them to create an immersive installation evocative of a familiar game room that conveys how playing dominoes invites and challenges connections among friends or strangers. The act of playing a game demands physical or mental focus while relinquishing pleasure. However, it is also an act of leisure that Sullivan and Soto can compromise to, equally excited in seek of a thrill.

Among its various meanings, “domino” is a word rooted in power, originating from the Spanish verb to dominate. DominoDomino intends to portray the various power plays embedded in ideas of collaboration; the figurative and administrative meaning of commonwealth; the inevitable variants that multiracial coupling disperses from a cultural inherence of ideals and traditions; the ambiguous nature of work versus leisure time. 

The domino table, meticulously crafted by Sullivan and the centerpiece of this installation, was made with jatoba wood and tinted with a dark patina. The graphic detail is made with inlaid corian, inspired by decorative iron screen designs commonly found in Puerto Rico. Decorative iron screens became ubiquitous in the architecture of post-war Puerto Rico due to the security they provided and their ability to allow for cross ventilation. Mid-century Spanish design elements added character. Today, these screens are viewed as much as a protection device as a language that pertains to the island’s visual culture. 

One of a limited edition of domino sets, also crafted by Sullivan, is set on top of the domino table for audience members to play. This domino set comes with a set of instructions of Soto and Sullivan’s preferred playing method. 

Another integral component of this installation is an edition of prints made by Soto. Tropicalamerican is a limited edition of evocative representations of the American, Puerto Rican, and Chicagoan flags. For this installation, Soto and Sullivan selected the ink-jet print on archival paper version made by Soto during her residency at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in the summer of 2014. Rigorously crafted, these representations were made using a variety of tropical leaves from Rauschenberg’s Captiva terrain, collaged with simple shapes derived from traditional quilting practices. Once the collages were made, they were photographed and translated into a digital format. Tropicalamerican approaches the patriotic art tradition that for centuries artists like Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, and David Hammonds, among others, have followed with the intent of canonizing events, aesthetics, and American culture. 


Edra Soto and Dan Sullivan design, fabricate and currently run operations of THE FRANKLIN,an artist-run project space located in their homeʼs backyard in Chicago, Illinois. THE FRANKLIN was selected one of the Top 5 New Art Galleries on 2012 and 2013 for the Newcityʼs Top 5 of Everything and Chicago Magazine. This project has been funded by Northeastern Illinois University, 3Arts 3AP Program, and The Propeller Fund. Soto and Sullivan will be having their second collaborative exhibition at Morgan Lehman Gallery in New York in May of 2015. They are currently working on the project Your New Blue, a commission to artistically renovate the CTA Western Blue Line Station.

Edra Soto is a Chicago based artist born and raised in Puerto Rico. She attended The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she obtained her Masters of Fine Arts in 2OOO. Immediately after, she attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She has exhibited nationally and internationally. Recent presentations include: Hyde Park Art Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago, Galeria Agustina Ferreyra in Puerto Rico and Field Projects in New York City.Trough a partnership between Alliance of Artists Communities and 3Arts, Soto attended the Robert Rauschenberg Foundationʼs Residency Program in Captiva, Florida in June of 2014. Her work has been included on the international IV Trienal Poli/Grafica de San Juan, Latinoamerica y el Caribe, curated by Gerardo Mosquera, Alexia Tala and Vanessa Hernandez Garcia, opening in the fall of 2015. On 2016, Soto will be presenting her first solo exhibition titled GRAFT in New York at Cuchifritos, a non- profit project space of the Artists Alliance Inc. located inside the Essex Street Market in the Lower East Side. GRAFT will travel to Chicago and will be presented at Sector 2337 in 2017.

Dan Sullivan was born and raised in Maine, and studied in Minnesota before moving to Chicago in 1997. After years working in both the trades and the arts, Dan began his own business in 2005, working primarily as a general contractor. Using his experience and contacts in the trades, Dan founded Navillus Woodworks, a custom fabrication business. Navillus Woodworks has done custom commission-based work for museums, institutions, art galleries, commercial spaces, as well as individuals and architects. With his wife, conceptual artist Edra Soto, he has collaborated on sculptural pieces that have been exhibited widely in venues including the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art. Dan is also a founding member of Dock 6 Collective, a group of designers and custom fabricators located in Chicagoʼs Hermosa neighborhood.

Morgan Lehman Gallery 

535 West 22nd Street, New York, NY 10011
T. 212.268.6699 & F. 212.268.6766
E. art@morganlehmangallery.com

GRAFT at the Riverside Arts Center

Material Normal Monumental

Participating Artists: Alberto Aguilar, Alejandro Figueredo Diaz-Perera, Maria Gaspar, Jorge Lucero, Victoria Martinez, Maddie Reyna, Edra Soto, Rafael E. Vera
April 12 – May 9, 2015
Reception: Sunday, April 12, 3 – 6pm
Curated by Alberto Aguilar, in association with his Crossing Boundaries Residency through Arts + Public Life and Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture.
Exhibition essay by J. Gibran Villalobos and Wil Ruggiero (JGV/WAR)
A diverse group of Hispanic/Latino/a artists show works using everyday materials to present varied perspectives around the monument and monumentality. Although grouped through these simple common factors, each artist in this exhibition conceptualizes complex individualities about hybridity through their unique contribution to the exhibit. These blended identities are characterized by the particular nuance of being Hispanic/Latino/a in the United States (currently residing in Chicago), often existing within multiple languages and cultures while trying to make a personal contribution to contemporary art discourse.

Riverside Arts Center

32 E. Quincy St.
Riverside, IL 60546

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Chairs For Charity

Chicago Magazine &
Chicago Home & Garden Magazine presents
Chairs for Charity 
Thursday, March 26 from 6-8:30PM
at EuroFurniture
2145 W. Grand Ave.

Dan  (Navillus Woodworks) and I collaborated in this knock off Eames chair upholstered with beach towels.
Aiming for the highest by using the lowest...

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Dispatch: Puerto Rico

My work was included in Dispatch: Puerto Rico (survey)
written by Guggenheim's curator Pablo Leon de la Barra
Link: http://blogs.guggenheim.org/map/dispatch-puerto-rico/

Friday, October 17, 2014


curated by Ryan Travis 


67 West st #320, Brooklyn, NY 11222

October 24 – November 29, 2014
Opens October 24th 7-10pm
John Phillip Abbott, Daniel Albrigo, Scott Anderson, Brian Belott, Marissa Bero, Michelle Blade, Morgan Blair, Eric Carlson, Jacob Ciocci, Brian Cooper, Matthew Craven, Ryan De La Hoz, Bill Donovan, Lauren Ivy Dudko, Austin Eddy, Cassie Edwards, Madeleine Ehrhardt, William Emmert, Ron Ewert, Amir H. Fallah, Andreas Fischer, Travis Fish, Ted Gahl, Richard Galling, Ethan Gill, Magalie Guerin, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Joseph Hart, Cody Hudson, Huskmitnavn, Matt Irie, David Jien, Kiel Johnson, Stacie Johnson, Ben Jones, Kara Joslyn, Michael Krueger, Alex Kvares, Jessica Labatte, Jeff Ladouceur, Eric Lebofsky, Austin Lee, David Leggett, Sofia Leiby, Matt Leines, Dave Lloyd, Matt Lock, Tom Long, Morgan Manduley, Keegan McHargue, Taylor Mckimens, Bill McRight, Easton Miller, Mark Mulroney, Marcie Oakes, Jonah Olsen, Robyn O’Neil, Hilary Pecis, Joyce Pensato, Cleon Peterson, Josh Reames, Carmen Price, Sara Greenberger Rafferty, Scott Reeder, Tyson Reeder, Amber Renaye, Christian Rex van Minnen, John Riepenhoff, Steve Ruiz, Louis Schmidt, Allison Schulnik, Adam Scott, Eric Shaw, Casey Jex Smith, TL Solien, Edra Soto, Ben Stone, Devin Troy Strother, Marissa Textor, Jeremy Tinder, Shalia Tulze, James Ulmer, Sarah Weber, Nick Wilkinson, Sara Willadsen, Bud Wizzo, Scott Wolniak, Eric Yahnker

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Dock 6 Design & Art Series #8

    photo by Michael Soto

Artists at Work series by Kevin Nance

Say Everything


National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture

Inaugural exhibition
On the news:


3Arts / Rauschenberg Residency Fellow
Rauschenberg Foundation, Captiva, Florida
Photos (portraits only) at the studio courtesy of Laurie Lambrecht

Wedding to Unknown by Alberto Aguilar

collaborating with The Wedding Cake Project

Dock 6 Design & Art Series #7

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Western Exhibitions, Chicago