Flaxman Library Exhibition
Wednesday, August 24Saturday, October 01

Sharp Building
6th Floor Exhibition Cases

One half of the background is a black painting, while the other half is a cream paper with embossed spiderweb. The text reads: Residue / Alex Bortell / Margaret Dugger / Aug 23 - Oct 1

Residue is a conversation on absence; an excavation of the ghosts that live in the crannies of our bones, the corners of the walls, the black spots at the edges of our vision; an exchange happening inside and around the gaps. This exhibit reveals through the process of removal, using the residue of movement and transformation to create a space in-between the known and the unknown. 

While Dugger’s embossings collaborate with light and the positionality of the viewer to reveal traces of her body’s presence, Bortell’s paintings fixate on the act of redaction through their simultaneous application and removal of paint with their hands and arms; together, their repetitive works display unfinished shadows and untraceable remains. Alongside their embossings and paintings, the artists reconstruct the research and conceptual notes exchanged during their collaboration as visual poetry. 

By exhibiting these works as a collection, the artists invite the viewer into a quiet space they have carved out for the missing and what remains.

Alex Bortell (b. Detroit 2001) is a multidisciplinary artist and writer located in Chicago, IL. They will receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an Emphasis in Writing (BFAW) from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2024. You can see more of their work at and on Instagram @alexbortell.

Margaret Dugger (b. North Carolina 1995) is an artist living in Chicago, IL. She is currently attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and will receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2024. You can find her at the lake with needle and thread or on instagram @margepye.

Please note the library may have evolving visitor policies as SAIC's Make Together protocols change. Before planning your visit to the exhibit, please review our Visit Us page for the most up-to-date library protocols. If you have questions about Flaxman Library 6th floor exhibits, please email