Marissa Lee Benedict: Auscultations

November 4 – February 11, 2014
Dickson Window Art Project Space

Left: Joliet Arsenal ammunition bunker site where Marissa Lee Benedict collected osage orange branches and seed pods to be used in her installation Auscultations, photo credit: David Allan Rueter Right: Detail of a cut osage orange branch, photo courtesy of the artist

Marissa Lee Benedict's Artist Statement:
Yellow: Be aware. Severe weather is possible over the next few days and could affect you. Yellow means that you should plan ahead thinking about possible travel delays, or the disruption of your day-to-day activities. –– Excerpt from the Met Office’s (U.K) “Weather warnings guide

Yellow. Glowing, warm, radiant, joyful, jarring, startling, and anxious. With the batting of an eye, the color transitions from the evocative pale yellow of a wash of warm sunlight to the fluorescent hue of jarring traffic signals, signing a need for heightened precaution. It is a transitional color, sitting between red and green, requesting that you proceed with care. It’s intensity and light value jump out from the Weather Warning Guide instituted in the U.K. by the National Severe Weather Warning Service of the Met Office:a startling bright monochrome with the directive: “Be Aware.”

Installed in the Dickinson Window Project Space at Waubonsee Community College, Auscultation is an exhibition by artist Marissa Lee Benedict. Auscultation - meaning listening to the body, directly or via other instruments – proposes new methods of signing, signaling and signifying environmental change. How can we listen to the climate changing? How can we become bodily “aware,” when awareness is rendered irrelevant by phenomena that occur over enormous spans of time and on a global scale? How are we already, subconsciously, absorbing these changes? How are we saturated in yellow?

Collecting branches from osage orange trees found at a the decommissioned Joliet Army Ammunition Plan (JOAAP), formerly know as the Joliet Arsenal, Benedict will extract a brilliant yellow dye from the heartwood. With the installation of power tools and aluminum dyeing pans, electrical pipes and hand trucks, cut branches and sprouting osage orange seeds, the Dickinson Window Project Space will become a stage for actively engaging in this process. Benedict will work with artist David Allan Rueter to establish a live weather data feed from the Joliet Arsenal. Benedict and Rueter will actively listen to this weather over the course of the exhibition, modifying and responding to environmental fluctuations as they perceptibly and imperceptibly engage the window space over the winter months.

A native of Southern California, Marissa Lee Benedict is a sculptor, researcher, writer, explorer, teacher, organizer and avid amateur of many fields and disciplines. Motivated by a sense of critical wonder, Benedict’s artistic practice is one of active observation. Currently based in Chicago, IL she received an MFA in 2011 from the Sculpture Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), where she currently teaches. She has shown most recently in Chicago at the Hyde Park Art Center, threewalls (threewallSOLO), the DePaul Art Museum, Chicago Artists’ Coalition, Harold Washington College, Columbia College and in NYC at the Cue Art Foundation. She is the Program Coordinator for the Arts, Science & Culture Initiative at the University of Chicago.

For more information about the art exhibitions at Waubonsee Community College, contact Cecilia Vargas, Art Coordinator, at (630) 466-7900, ext. 2964.


Art Department:

Art Coordinator:
Cecilia Vargas, Von Ohlen Hall 209
(630) 466-7900 ext. 2964

Art Lab Assistant:
Esther Espino, Von Ohlen Hall 240
(630) 466-7900 ext. 5742