Color Key: Ellie Balk, Addoley Dzegede, and Amy Reidel

Color Key

May 5, 2017 at 7:00 pm- August 13, 2017

Artists: Ellie Balk, Addoley Dzegede, and Amy Reidel

Curator: Meghan Grubb

facebook-logo-button_318-84980Color Key was held at the  Contemporary Art Museum – St. Louis  in the front gallery along with other CAM Summer Exhibitions. Color Key featured the winners of the Critical Mass for the Visual Arts 2016 Creative Stimulus Award, which is the 8
th in a series. This year’s selected artists are Ellie Balk, Addoley Dzegede and Amy Reidel. Creative Stimulus awards unrestricted funding to support artists to pursue special projects, experiment with new techniques, and deepen their understanding of their working processes. Each artist will receive an award of $1,500 for their use as creative operating capital along with the opportunity to present their work in an exhibition in 2017. The artists were selected by a jury from nearly 40 St. Louis-area visual artists who applied for this award, which recognizes artists for their outstanding work and commitment to developing their careers.

Featured Artists:

Ellie Balk situates her longtime artistic inquiry into the visualization of the number pi. For her exhibition at CAM she explore pi within the cultural and geographical context of Saint-Louis, Senegal, having spent a five-week residency there. During her time in Senegal, Balk gathered physical artifacts from her immediate environment—pieces of broken tile, stones, shards of wood, and bits of pottery. Considering the aggregate of these remnants a reflection of the colors of Saint-Louis, Balk assembled a palette of the place, then integrated this color scheme into a visual and auditory exploration of pi. Experienced as both a wall mural and a musical score, Balk utilizes systems of translation to share the sound of pi within the particular atmosphere of Saint-Louis, Senegal. Balk received her MFA from the Pratt Institute and BFA from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Her murals can be found throughout New York, and recently at St. Alexius Hospital in St. Louis.

Addoley Dzegede is a Ghanaian-American interdisciplinary artist living in St Louis, works with mixed media, combining words and images to explore ideas of belonging, home, location, and identity. Her work for the exhibition includes an exploration of black fabric dyes and the nuanced text-based characterizations of various hues of black, noting the discomfiture of the text descriptions as they relate to black identity. Dzegede also employs traditional Yoruba techniques of resistant fabric dying to create an adire oloba, “commemorative cloth,” to depict her memory of President Barack Obama’s 2008 election-night victory. This distinct personal memory simultaneously provoked fear and elation in the artist, referencing her complex relationship to the politics of race and ethnicity as a woman of color in the United States. Dzegede received a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art, and was awarded a Chancellor’s Graduate Fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis, where she completed an MFA degree in Visual Art in 2015. Dzegede’s work has recently been on view at Resident Arts, Columbia, Missouri; Hardesty Art Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma; and upcoming at Demo Projects, Springfield, Illinois.

Amy Reidel’s draws on experiences of intimacy, loss, trauma, and longing in small sculptures assembled from glittering detritus, feathers, and fake hair. At once enchanting and repulsive, the objects suggest the simultaneity of love and loathing elicited by the experience of witnessing cancer diagnosis and treatment. Reidel creates a floor piece that expands on these themes, intermingling imagery of MRIs and weather radar as visual metaphors for personal and physical storms and emotions. Recalling the time-intensive work of assembling a Buddhist sand mandala, the work is evidence of a slow, meditative process of deliberate care and reconciliation. Reidel received her MFA in Painting and Drawing from the University of Tennessee and her BFA from the University of Missouri, St. Louis. Her work is currently on view at St. Louis Lambert International Airport and at ACRE in Chicago.


Previous Creative Stimulus award-winner, Meghan Grubb, organized the exhibition for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. A sculptor and installation artist, Grubb has received numerous awards and grants, including the American Scandinavian Foundation Fellowship (2012-13), Regional Arts Commission Artists Fellowship (2015), Creative Stimulus Award (2015), Alice Cole Award (2015), and recent nominations for the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant (2014) and Joan Mitchell Foundation Emerging Artist Grant (2015 and 2016).


The Creative Stimulus Award is a program of Critical Mass for the Visual Arts and is supported by the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission and individuals who believe that supporting and promoting local artists makes St. Louis a better place to live.