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In a place and time where suburbs have become the norm, where generic is desirable and conformity is often celebrated, SUBURBIA features four artists who explore this cultural phenomenon. The work of artists Phil Bender, Christopher Coleman & Michael Salter, and Michael Whiting opens a dialogue around something cultural geographers call placelessness. As people increase their mobility, they identify less with one place (a "hometown") and may be attracted towards a sense of sameness wherever their modern nomadic life leads them. As a concept, SUBURBIA offers rich fodder for artistic interpretation.
Phil Bender was born in St. Louis in 1947 and his family moved to Dallas the next year. In the mid-seventies Phil and his first wife moved to Denver, where he graduated from Metropolitan State College. In 1980, he and seven like-minded Colorado artists founded Pirate - Contemporary Art, one of the first cooperative galleries in the region. Phil has exhibited nationally and internationally, including a 1996 solo exhibition in the Close Range Gallery of the Denver Art Museum. He was recently awarded the Mayor's Award for Excellence in the Arts for 2011. http://www.artworknetwork.com/philbender/
Christopher Coleman received his BFA in his native state from West Virginia University in 2001 and his MFA from New York State University at Buffalo in 2003. A number of his undergraduate years were devoted to studying Mechanical Engineering, knowledge that he brings to bear in his installations. His work includes sculptures, performances and videos as well as interactive installations. Coleman was twice a participant in the VIPER Basel Festival in Switzerland and has had his work in exhibitions in Singapore, Finland, Sweden, Italy, Germany, France, China, the UK and Latvia. In North America he has had solo shows at Big Orbit in Buffalo NY, Pratt at Munson Williams Proctor in NY, and NE plus Ultra in Toronto as well as exhibitions at the Albright Knox in Buffalo NY, Spaces Gallery in Cleveland OH, and other shows in Minneapolis MN, Austin TX, and New York City to name a few. He currently resides in Denver, CO and is an Assistant Professor at the University of Denver.
Michael Salter is a self-proclaimed "obsessive observer", sifting through the avalanche of mass media and corporate branding to find poignant, absurd, and baffling pieces which become part of his work. His work bridges all disciplines from product and toy design, to kinetic sculpture, logotypes, animation, and signage. Currently an Associate Professor of Digital Arts/New Media at the University of Oregon, Salter received his BFA from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio in sculpture and graphic design and his MFA in studio art from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Salter's art work has shown nationally and internationally in Brussels, New York, L.A., Portland, London, Amsterdam, Miami, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Seattle, Atlanta and Chicago. www.michaelasalter.com
Michael Whiting creates playful sculptures drawing from the forms and imagery of early video gaming and computer graphics. Whiting attempts to communicate as much visual information as possible with his essential forms that combine the reductive simplicity of the minimalist movement and the sensibility of pop art in re-contextualizing cultural icons. Michael Whiting's four solo exhibitions with Plus Gallery in Denver, Colorado since 2004 have established a devoted following for his art in the region. He is also represented in Los Angeles, California with Edward Cella Art + Architecture, since 2010. Whiting received his BFA from Brigham Young University and his MFA at the Pratt Institute, New York, NY and currently lives and works in Los Angeles.