We, Ann Bartges and Meredith Brickell, are two artists who have traveled to Chicago to work in the city for three weeks investigating the infrastructure of Chicago’s public water supply, distribution and reclamation. We are interested in this practical, continuously evolving network that connects millions of people in a passive, yet intensely intimate way. For this art piece, we are researching and referencing the engineering, architecture and developing technologies that provide this resource in combination with local history and stories from city residents.
This project is supported by Threewalls, a 501(c)3 arts organization located in the West Loop Gallery District of Chicago.
joint artist statement
We share a mutual curiosity and enthusiasm for the cultural and modern evolutionary relationships between a location and its community of inhabitants. As we discuss and dissect these relationships, we look toward the information offered by city planning and land-use, industrial impact, and the residues left within communities by social change and developing technologies. Struck by the significances of abandoned buildings, empty containers, and overgrowth, we look for clues alluding to the overall cycles of living that have been experienced within a particular area. We marvel at the ongoing combat between the natural world and the defined urban, as citizens mow lawns and pave lots, while cycles of weather and growth crack sidewalks and send green shoots up through the asphalt. We take on the roles of observer and gatherer as we put together facts and stories divulging information on the history of a place. This knowledge of past informs the reality of present and infuses our understandings of present tense with the necessity, brutality, and beauty of constant human adaptation.
Ann Bartges is an interdisciplinary artist currently living and working in Philadelphia, PA. Bartges has both developed and exhibited her work internationally, and has been an artist in residence at Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris (FR), Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Center, Skealskor (DK), Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT, Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, MT, and the Odyssey Center for Ceramic Arts, Asheville, NC. She received her BFA, graduating Magna Cum Laude, from Alfred University in 2005. In 2009 Bartges was invited to Bennington College as a presenter and visiting artist. She has done several commissions for organizations including: Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries, Highwater Clays, Saylor Cement Kilns Preservation Society, and the YMCA of Western North Carolina.
Meredith Brickell holds a Master of Fine Arts in Ceramics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She received a Bachelor of Art and Design from North Carolina State University and was a Core student at Penland School of Crafts. Recent solo exhibitions include Colors of Shade at the Philadelphia Clay Studio and Weights and Measures at Dubhe Carreno Gallery in Chicago. She was awarded the Silver Prize for her piece, Gather, in the 2008 Taiwan Ceramics Biennale at the Yingge Ceramics Museum in Taiwan. Brickell teaches in the Department of Art and Art History at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana.