Offering insights into identity, culture, mathematical inquiry, and personal trauma, 2016 Creative Stimulus Award winners Ellie Balk, Addoley Dzegede, and Amy Reidel each utilize distinct tools and strategies, employing color as a foundation for representations of place and displacement, constancy and loss. Sponsored by Critical Mass for the Visual Arts, the Creative Stimulus juried award recognizes St. Louis-based artists for their outstanding work and their commitment to career development.
Ellie Balk continues her investigation into the visualization of the number pi, a concept of infinity as a mathematical constant. Her site-specific mural and accompanying audio score explore pi within the cultural and geographical context of Saint-Louis, Senegal, where she spent a five-week artist residency. For the mural Balk’s color palette is made from gathered physical artifacts from her journey. She also incorporates an auditory component, VISUALIZE Pi, presenting a linear pattern of sound.
Addoley Dzegede, a Ghanaian-American interdisciplinary artist, combines traditional techniques of fabric dyeing with content rooted in personal experience to suggest the unnerving sense of not quite belonging—embodying an identity that straddles disparate cultures, geographies, and representations. For Color Key, fabric dyeing is explored in relationship to text-based characterizations of “black” as well as memory and tradition.
Amy Reidel draws from experiences of intimacy, loss, and longing, bearing witness to the trauma of cancer diagnosis and treatment. Her small sculptures—assembled from glittering detritus, feathers, and fake hair—are at once enchanting and repulsive. Her floor work intermingles imagery of MRIs, Doppler ultrasounds, and weather radar to produce stormy representations of emotional tension and bodily stress.
Color Key: Ellie Balk, Addoley Dzegede, Amy Reidel is organized for Critical Mass for the Visual Arts by Meghan Grubb, guest curator.