Barbara Koenen is an artist based in Chicago who works in a wide range of materials to explore themes that encompass the passage of time, repetition, accumulation, attrition, and duration through the lens of labor and craft. Her meditative paintings and works on paper, such as the series Buddha at the Hot Dog Stand, are records of marks made of paint and found materials inspired by patterns in nature and industry. Her photographic series, #sunrise #dawn is a long-term chronicle of the view from her window overlooking Lake Michigan, that is also found on social media and as a limited edition calendar. The War Rug Series, begun after the 9/11 terrorist attack and subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, explores the impact of war on culture and the representation of women’s voices and women’s labor through representation of various Afghan war rugs in installations and prints made from spices and seeds. Koenen is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Wisconsin, and her work has been displayed nationally and internationally. A former bureaucrat for the City of Chicago, she now runs UNUM exhibition space in Chicago’s East Garfield Park, and is the founder of the Creative Chicago Reuse Exchange.
For more information about the visiting artist lectures and workshops at Waubonsee Community College, contact Cecilia Vargas, Art Coordinator, at (630) 466–2964.
Baluchi Drixa by Barbara Koenen, 2007, various spices, detail of installation that was a part of the show Mapping the Self at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago