Barbarita Polster 

“Night Lines (Language into Space), Rogers Park, Chicago”
Polaroid performance documentation printed on hand-cut board, paper, glue, pins, 58” x 75.5” x 4”

My work encompasses writing, exhibition-making, and drawing, but each to different ends. Most of my time is spent on “local gestures,” a non-spectacular public practice of performative gestures developed from the dotted line, a motif I am drawn to because of the way it straddles both written language and spatial notation (floor plans, morse code, absent letters, and instructions to “cut here”). Only occasionally captured in photographic drawings, these few documentation images are then obscured and retranslated into “exhibition gestures,” usually objects such as this one, to protect the intimacy of the local gesture while critically acknowledging exhibition's differing strengths, tempo, and relation to the public—a small poetic piece pointing to a much larger practice in the world outside the gallery walls. Within my work overall, writing adjudicates this process, grounding the work in my autobiographical relationship to multiethnicity and Caribbean creolization, underscoring my visual preoccupation with translation, ambiguity, and “passing.”

Artist Bio

Barbarita Polster (b. Cleveland, OH (1987); l. Chicago, IL) is an artist-scholar and current faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL. Recent solo exhibitions include: Neon Heater, Findlay, OH (2020); Critical Practices, Inc., New York, NY (2018); Leroy Neiman Center, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL (2018); GLASSBOX gallery, Seattle, WA (2016); Forum Artspace, Cleveland, OH (2016); and William Busta Gallery, Cleveland, OH (2014; 2013; 2012). She was an artist-in-residence at the Studios at MASS MoCA in 2019, generously supported by an Illinois Arts Council Agency IAS Professional Development Grant and a City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) Individual Artists Program (IAP) Grant.


CIA Alumni               ︎               ︎               ︎