You're not Really Seeing This | Bryan Northup and Kelsey Merreck Wagner

Exhibition header featuring colorful pink and orange installation piece from reused waste materials by Bryan Northup, and a tapestry woven with blue plastic against a white background by Kelsey Wagner

On view: March 15 – April 22, 2024

Opening reception Friday, March 15, 2024, 5-8 pm RSVP

Community Workshop Saturday, March 16th, 2024, 12-4 pm RSVP


Bryan Northup is a Chicago-based environmental artist. Utilizing found single-use plastics and foam as an art medium since 2015, Bryan creates wall reliefs, sculptural works and installations to highlight the role plastic plays in global climate crisis. In 2019 Bryan was one of 12 artists chosen for the South Bend Museum of Art's Biennial 30 and was awarded Juror's Choice for his installation 'You Can't Put It Back In the Box'. His solo exhibition 'Sea Inside' debuted months later at the International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago, closing weeks before the pandemic began.

Bryan’s artwork has been exhibited both nationally and abroad in galleries including Czong Institute for Contemporary Art (CICA), South Korea, Gallery 524, Bortolami, TAG Gallery, Gallery MC, South Bend Museum of Art, International Museum of Surgical Science, Beloit College Wright Museum of Art. Bryan graduated from California College of the Arts in Oakland, California with a BFA in Fine Art Photography.

He was born in Los Angeles and currently maintains a home studio practice in Oak Park, IL.

Northup writes, "Depicting what we cannot readily see, drives my practice. Through abstracted views of microscopic cell interactions, molecular-level contamination and cross-sections of interconnectedness, I imagine how plastic is infiltrating and interacting with living systems at the deepest level, exploring layers of meaning in an age where this toxic material of our own creation has saturated the environment and penetrated our species—both biologically and culturally—to the cellular level."


Kelsey Merreck Wagner (b. 1990) is a textile artist and environmental activist. She received her B.A. (Studio Arts; focus: printmaking) at Western Michigan University; her M.A. (Cultural Studies & Sustainability; focus: community-engaged arts) at Appalachian State University, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Michigan State University (Anthropology; focus: human-animal relationships, and environmental art, education, and activism). She has exhibited work internationally in Cambodia, Thailand, Canada, and Italy, as well as across the United States including Illinois, Texas, New York, North Carolina, and Michigan; and has done curatorial work with and for art, culture and education institutions around the world. Her research and artmaking are at the nexus of aesthetics, an anthropological inquiry of environmental ruin at human hands, and hope for socio-environmental justice. She is especially interested in using art in science communication to raise awareness, initiate conversation and spark change towards coexistence among all species on the planet. Her ongoing body of work is a series of weavings made from recycled plastic, called “Loom & Doom”. Her website is


This exhibition will be held in the First Floor Gallery of the Evanston Art Center (EAC).

Gallery Hours

Monday–Thursday: 9am–6pm

Friday: 9am–5pm

Saturday–Sunday: 9am–4pm


Artwork sale proceeds benefit both the artist and the Evanston Art Center. If you are interested in purchasing artwork on display, please contact Emma Rose Gudewicz, Director of Development and Exhibition Manager, at [email protected] or (847) 475-5300 x 102.

This project is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency and EAC's general membership.

Artwork Pictured: work by Bryan Northup (left), work by Kelsey Wagner (right)