John Preus developed his multidisciplinary practice from roots in both painting and furniture-making, which became entwined in his collaborative work with Material Exchange in graduate school at the University of Chicago. They remain the predominant lenses through which to look at his work. Preus is also an amateur writer and musician, and has been a fabricator for other artists including Dan Peterman, Theaster Gates, and Omer Arbel. Preus co-founded SHoP with Laura Shaeffer (2011) and Material Exchange with Sara Black (2005). He collaborated with Theaster Gates on the Dorchester Projects and was project lead for 12 Ballads for Huguenot House at Documenta 13, the culmination of a 6 year collaboration with Gates.
Preus will be Interpreter in Residence at the Smart Museum in 2018 and was recently a Kaplan resident at Northwestern University. He was a 2016 nominee for the US Artist Fellowship and was included in New City's Chicago Art 50 in 2016. He was the 2013-2014 Jackman-Goldwasser resident at the Hyde Park Art Center, a 2015 Propeller Fund recipient, a 2014 Efroymson Fellow in sculpture and installation, 2014's first place winner of the Maker grant, and a 2013 finalist of the Maker grant. He was a finalist for the 2015 Artadia Award and the 2014 Creative Capital grant as well as a 2014 DCASE artist grant recipient. Selected solo exhibitions include The Bride Stripped Bare, Even: Addenda to the Historical Record at Pentimenti gallery in 2018, The Beast: Herd Mentality at the Montserrat College of Art (2018), John Preus: New Work at the Rena Bransten Gallery in San Francisco (2016), The Relative Appetite of Hungry Ghosts at the Rhona Hoffman Gallery in Chicago (2016), John Preus On Drawing at the Heilbronn Kunstverein in Germany (2014), The Beast at The Hyde Park Art Center (2013), and Slow Sound at the Experimental Sound Studio (2013).