Adjunct Professor, Painting and Drawing (1988). BFA, 1980, University of Nebraska, Omaha; MFA, 1983, University of Illinois at Chicago. Exhibitions: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago; Kunstverein Recklinghausen, Germany; Renate Schroeder Gallery, Cologne; University of New Mexico Art Museum; State of Illinois Museum; Betsy Rosenfield Gallery, Chicago; Roy Boyd Gallery, Chicago. Collections: Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, AT&T, Prudential Insurance; State of Illinois Museum. Awards: NEA/Midwest Regional Fellowship, Center for Interdisciplinary Research in the Arts Fellowship, Illinois Arts Council Fellowships, CAAP Grants, Art Matters, Inc. Fellowship.

Personal Statement

DAN DEVENING (b. 1958, Ft. Walton Beach, Florida) is an artist, curator and educator living in Chicago. He’s currently an Adjunct Professor of painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Since the mid-1980s, his paintings and works on paper have been featured nationally and internationally. In the United States, his work has been featured at Autumn Space, Roy Boyd Gallery, Chicago Cultural Center, Terra Museum of American Art, ebersmoore gallery, Threewalls and Julius Caesar in Chicago; Kinkead Contemporary in Los Angeles and Launch F18 and Printed Matter, Inc. in NY among many others. Recent projects include exhibitions in Germany at the Kunsterverein Recklinghausen, Museum Kurhaus in Kleve, galerie oqbo and Scotty Enterprises in Berlin, dok25a in Dusseldorf and Renate Schroeder Gallery in Cologne. Other international group exhibitions include shows at Art Metropole in Toronto; De Appel in Amsterdam; Secession in Vienna and Galerie des Multiples in Paris. 

His recent curatorial projects include Seers, Signs at 57W57Arts in New York City; Gravity Matters and Shadowy Folds at dok25a in Dusseldorf; Where There Is, recent drawings from Chicago at galerie oqbo in Berlin; and Slow Frequency at Or Gallery, Vancouver. 

Devening is also the director of devening projects + editions, a gallery project in Chicago featuring exhibitions and site-specific installations by emerging and established international artists.

Dan Devening’s richly varied work is defined by a strong sense of visuality; optical sensations activated by particular surface, color and spatial nuance drive his practice. The production and interaction of these formal elements become the means by which he addresses how presentation and audience create an integral and inter-dependent relationship. Each piece offers subtle enticements that bring the viewing experience forward to pull the gaze closer: chromatic pairings, overlaps, loosely tacked parts, tape, hanging threads, enlarged patterns, abrupt brush marks activate the composition and act as the ground work for deeper concerns. Framing the parameters of an image becomes a way to stage a narrative fiction. Theater and the mechanics of story telling are integral and continue to provide a structure for ways in which artworks attract, deflect and trigger desire. Some parts of an image are covered; others partially exposed. Like the narrative trajectory of a play, the slow unveiling of discreet parts, lead to a fuller and more complete story. 

In his 2014 essay for Kiosk at the Tarble Arts Center in Charleston, Illinois, William Conger wrote that “Dan Devening is devoted to modernist high art abstraction. He cares about beauty and he makes artworks that achieve it through a deep commitment to materials and composition. He is a painter-collagist-bricoleur: the astonishing variety of his collage elements lifted from everyday ephemera, constitute the means of his expressive art. However, this eclectic range of materi¬als and their art-making potentials never steer Devening to the world of daily popular culture with its fascination for shocking coarseness, violence and irony. Instead, Devening aims for the rarer shock of aes¬thetic clarity and its transcendent expression of beauty. He achieves this with deceptive ease: a few cutout discs, clear color, a quickly made line or two and a pinch of tape to hold it all together. Rightness trumps fragility.”


Disclaimer: All work represents the views of the INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS & AUTHORS who created them, and are not those of the school or museum of the Art Institute.