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Too Much of a Good Thing is Wonderful: New Works by Chase Barney

Opening Reception: Chase Barney installed his exhibition "Too Much of A good Thing is Wonderful" at SooVAC, and this is a recorded discussion with fellow artist and mentor Pao Her about his exhibition, see video below. The Virtual Opening Reception will be on Sunday July 26th, on Instagram Live, from at 6pm-7pm (CST). To attend LIVE, please follow SooVAC on Instagram and Instagram will send you a notice when the live studio visit starts. If not, please go to the SooVAC page on Instagram at 6:00pm on July 26th. 

Chase Barney’s Too Much of a Good Thing is Wonderful presents sculptural experiences of the people that have formed his identity over the years, a blend of still life and portraiture all through the lens of ceramics. These objects become sketches that inhabit a place that doesn’t exist, only in remembrances of how these people, places and things have contributed to Barney’s sense of self. Stereotypes, celebrity, beauty and adornment are common themes throughout his work, the people that inspire these still lives frequently aren’t really known to Barney, ranging from celebrities to nameless sex partners.


Raised in a Mormon community outside of Salt Lake City and aware of his queerness at an early age amplified his feelings of alienation while still longing to belong. “Utahans and their mass consumption of soda, the rugged landscape, the perpetuation of the stereotypical loner frontiersmen, and the dominant cultures' refusal to acknowledge sex and sexual innuendo all inspire the iconography that repeats itself throughout my work.” This imagery, paired with color, humor and the occasional obscure pop culture reference are used to transport the viewer to a very particular place, complicated by the fact this place is a fantasy version of reality; “I’m aiming for utopia but willing to settle for just being tolerable”.


Chase Barney currently lives and works in Minneapolis, MN. Barney graduated with a BFA from the University of Minnesota in 2019 and was recently accepted into the MFA program at The School of the Art Institute in Chicago. Barney has exhibited at the Nash Gallery, Tippetts and Eccles Gallery and Soo Visual Arts Center. He has also received numerous grants and scholarships in support of his work, most recently a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant. In 2019, he attended the residency at the Center for Periphery in Bavaria Germany and was a resident at Penland School of Craft in January of 2020.


Pao Her is Barney’s mentor, a Soo Visual Arts Center curatorial panelist and acclaimed artist. Pao Her is the subject, maker, and gatherer of her photographic work. Employing different vernaculars of photography, she investigates the idea of desire within the Hmong community from both her personal and cultural consciousness. Her’s work has been exhibited in both solo and group shows across the United States and received several grants and fellowships. She has a BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and a MFA from Yale University.


Chase Barney is a fiscal year 2020 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

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