Critical Conversations – Making it Work

Critical Conversations- Making it Work

June 6, 2017 – 6:30 pm
facebook-logo-button_318-84980Art practice is vital.  Artists interrogate, sustain, and define the cultural and intellectual life of our society through their labor, but to what end?  According to RAC’s 2012 Artists Count Survey, only 29% of the 3000+ artists who responded worked in the studio full-time. 46% reported that they made less than $25,000/ year. Is this a sustainable reality for artists in St. Louis? How do we make our practices work?  What obstacles do we see on the horizon, and how might they be overcome? Join Adrienne Outlaw, Thomas Sleet, Carlie Trosclair, Ellie Balk and your community as we discuss institutions, political dynamics, economics, and the impact they have on individual practice.


Adrienne Outlaw

Adrienne Outlaw is a socially engaged artist whose work addresses issues of individual and communal health. She has exhibited in galleries and museums across the United States and abroad in Italy, Hong AO_7_14Kong, South Korea and Nigeria. She’s shown in more than two dozen museums nationally including MASS MOCA, Islip Art Museum, MOCA Fort Collins, Cheekwood and the Tennessee State Museum. She’s had solo exhibitions in Wyoming, San Diego, Atlanta, North Carolina, Michigan, Tennessee and Chicago. A dozen exhibition catalogs and three art books feature her work, which has been positively reviewed in such publications as Art in America, Sculpture, Art Papers, and World Sculpture News. Outlaw is the recipient of grants, awards, and fellowships from organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation. Her art is in such collections as the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, the Public Library of Davidson County and Vanderbilt University. She holds a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Master of Liberal Arts and Science degree from Vanderbilt University. Two years ago Outlaw moved from Nashville to St. Louis.


Carlie Trosclair

Carlie Trosclair is an installation artist based in St. Louis, Missouri. Trosclair earned an MFA from the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis, a BFA from Loyola University New Orleans, and is a Fellow of the Community Arts Training Institute. Approached through a lens of Trosclair_headshotreordering and discovery, Trosclair’s site responsive installations create new topographies and narratives that highlight structural and decorative shifts that evolve over a building’s lifespan. Trosclair completed residencies at MASS MoCA (MA), Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts (NE), Oxbow (MI), Playa (OR), ACRE (WI), Vermont Studio Center (VT), Woodside Contemporary Artists Center (NY), chashama (NY) and The Luminary Center for the Arts (MO). Trosclair is the recipient of the Riverfront Time’s Mastermind Award, Creative Stimulus Award, Regional Arts Commission Artist Fellowship, and the Great Rivers Biennial. Trosclair is co-director of Museum Blue, an artist run gallery founded in 2014.

Thomas Sleet

thomas-sleet_2014_small copyThomas Sleet is a sculptor and painter based in St. Louis MO. He received his BFA in 1988 from Washington University in ceramics with a minor in sculpture. He has maintained a working studio and shown widely since 1980. He mounted a solo show in 2002 at the Mitchell Museum at Cedar Hurst, Mt. Vernon Ill, shown at Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus Ohio and is represented by Bruno David Contemporary Art, St. Louis. Thomas is also engaged in social practice and has lectured, executed artist residencies and seminars at Webster University, University of Missouri at St. Louis, and the College School in Webster Groves and is represented by the Bruno David Gallery.

Ellie Balk

Ellie Balk was born in St. Louis, MO. After earning her BFA in painting in 2002 at Bowling
Green State University in Ohio, she moved to Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. She graduated with a MFA in painting from Pratt Institute in 2005. Ellie’s work centers around mathematics IMG_3427-cand data visualization. Through color and abstraction, she creates systems to tell information. Ellie is inspired by the data to ignite investigation and interaction. The works look formally abstract, but with examination they reveal information that can be “read” by the viewer. For her public art murals, she likes to involve the community in the making of art as much as possible, allowing people to experience a connection to the space and to each other. Info-graphics, data and color-coding provides a strict structure for the design which allows community participants a comfortable way into the painting process. This direct engagement with the public facilitates a dialog that builds community. Artwork made with the public needs to employ this intimacy with the community and allow a direct link to the space. Ellie’s goal with her public work is to create an experience for connection. In the studio, Ellie plays with different structures to visualize data. Through painting, printmaking, stained glass and sculpture, she creates systems for documenting space, time and sound creating designs that are allow for interactive visual play.