Of Portals and Pathways II: Fiscal Frontiers

Shonna Pryor, Of Portals and Pathways II, Reception Promotion


January 2023

Evanston Art Center 2023 Exhibition





OPENING RECEPTION: February 19, from 1–4 pm, featuring “In conversation with Shonna Pryor and Matt Morris” at 3pm

EXHIBITION DATES: February 19 – March 26, 2023

GALLERY HOURS: Monday–Thursday, 9 am–6 pm; Friday, 9 am–5 pm; Saturday and Sunday, 9 am–4 pm


The Evanston Art Center (EAC) is proud to present a new exhibition, Of Portals and Pathways II: Fiscal Frontiers, featuring works by Shonna Pryor.

Shonna Pryor is a conceptual artist, art programs producer, and an educator at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her interdisciplinary art practice is inspired by references to food theory and its peripheral objects and concepts as a lens through which to critically engage the politics of identity, memory, power, and play. Afrofuturist aesthetic underscores the visual language of these expressions via reclaimed objects, installation, painting and public programming. Pryor's work has been exhibited in major cities such as Chicago, Detroit and New York, with esteemed artist residencies at Hyde Park Art Center; High Concept Labs; and Chicago Council on Science and Technology, respectively. Her visual art and community-based collaborations with nationally recognized organizations and institutions have been instrumental in employing art to encourage young people towards S.T.E.A.M. futures, as applied to a just and equitable society.


I think of my found objects as reclaimed testimonials with previous lives. In their studio re-awakenings, these object griots become story catalysts, fundamentally engaging food-referencing concepts as a way-to-the-heart-through-the-belly of identity, memory, power and play…the food brings you to the meeting but the agency makes you stay. My creative practice aspires toward nourishing pathways that generate questions, broaden perspectives, and inspire action-to-positive-change both personally, as well as within broader social frameworks. It imagines the spirit of sentient webs of underground railroads linking the past/present/future of my ancestral collective conscious. These ideas, as serviced by select multidisciplinary media and making become conduits that toggle between the immediacy of the actual and the possibilities of the speculative…with a dash of Oshunna’s cayenne;)

The exhibition aligns with Black History Month, including a nod to the city of Evanston as the first to advance reparations to qualified descendants of enslaved black Americans.

Of Portals and Pathways II: Fiscal Frontiers will be on display in the Evanston Art Center's Main Second Floor Gallery + Atrium from February 19 – March 26, 2023, with an opening reception on Sunday, February 19, from 1-4pm.

The opening reception will also feature “In conversation with Shonna Pryor and Matt Morris” beginning at 3pm.

Matt Morris is an artist, perfumer, and writer based in Chicago. Morris has presented artwork internationally including Andrew Kreps and Tiger Strikes Asteroid, New York; RUSCHMAN, Berlin, Germany; Netwerk Aalst, Aalst, Belgium; Krabbesholm Højskole, Skive, Denmark; The Suburban, Milwaukee, WI; DePaul Art Museum and Queer Thoughts, Chicago, IL; Mary + Leigh Block Museum of Art, Evanston, IL; Elmhurst Art Museum, Elmhurst, IL; and the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH. Morris contributes to Artforum.com, Art Papers, ARTnews, Flash Art, Fragrantica, Sculpture, The Seen, and X-TRA—additional writing appears in numerous exhibition catalogues and artist monographs. In 2021 chapters of Morris’ writing were included in the anthologies Olfactory Art and the Political in an Age of Resistance, Routledge; and Atem / Breath, De Gruyter, with Dr. Dorothée King. Morris is a transplant from southern Louisiana who holds a BFA from the Art Academy of Cincinnati and earned an MFA in Art Theory + Practice from Northwestern University, as well as a Certificate in Gender + Sexuality Studies. In 2017 Morris earned a Certification in Fairyology from Doreen Virtue, PhD. Morris is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Morris writes,

"Pryor animates the anthropological through experimental disordering of linear time: historical events, private familial touchstones, trauma, and irrepressible joy are clustered into conceptual ‘tableau vivant,’ acting out upon one another within pryor’s constructs and critical apparatuses. she elevates a strata of lived history often swept away from what is canonically preserved by pernicious systems of power. she collects trails of crumbs that amass into trenchant stories that allow the artist and her audiences to revisit passages of perseverance, ingenuity, and grace within the Black American experience.

food—bread, cheddar, and dough, for instance—is never exclusively metaphoric nor solely literal in pryor’s practice. at the nexus of family recipes, meals recollected, as well as more sweeping analyses of wealth distribution and access to the means to build sustainable approaches to living, the artist traces the material realities of what might be called provisions, nourishment, investment. an accounting of the spiritual, psychological, and social ramifications of feeding and being fed.

pryor’s inquiries press on the fraught pasts and multiple dazzling and disorienting futures of mutual care as a foundational political responsibility. in all seriousness and all playfulness, it’s great to be around what she does.

come see us feb 19!"

-Matt Morris,

contributing writer to Artforum.com, Art Papers, ARTnews, Flash Art, Fragrantica, Sculpture, The Seen, and X-TRA


The exhibition, opening reception and artist conversation are free and open to the public.

Evanston Art Center, a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization, is dedicated to fostering the appreciation and expression of the arts among diverse audiences. The Art Center offers extensive and innovative instruction in broad areas of artistic endeavor through classes, exhibitions, interactive arts activities, and community outreach initiatives.

Evanston Art Center is located at 1717 Central Street, Evanston, IL. Evanston Art Center Gallery Hours: Monday– Thursday, 9 am–6 pm; Friday, 9 am–5 pm; Saturday and Sunday, 9 am–4 pm. First and second-floor gallery spaces are accessible. Limited free parking is available. Masks are optional but strongly recommended for students, visitors and staff.

For more information, please visit us online at www.evanstonartcenter.org or contact Audrey Avril, Manager of Exhibitions, at 847.475.5300 or [email protected]. Visit the Evanston Art Center on Facebook: www.facebook.com/EvanstonArtCenter/, follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/#!/evartcenter, or on Instagram: @EvanstonArtCenter.


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