Madlener House
4 West Burton Place
Chicago, Illinois 60610
Telephone: 312.787.4071


In her first solo exhibition in Chicago, Graham Foundation Fellow, Katherine Simóne Reynolds continues her exploration of overhealing from trauma in a new body of work—photographs, a two-channel film, sculptures, and other works—produced throughout her residency at the Madlener House. A different kind of tender and the practice of overhealing includes multidisciplinary works that reference the creation of a keloid—a raised scar-like skin growth that continues to grow beyond the original site of a wound—as an outward representation of healing and a site sensitive to recovery and repair in tandem. The work centers on two towns in southern Illinois, Cairo and Brooklyn. Cairo was established as a port on the Mississippi River in the nineteenth century, and Brooklyn—also known as Lovejoy—was founded by Priscilla “Mother” Baltimore in 1829 after buying her own freedom, and later became the first town incorporated by African Americans in the United States in 1873. By considering the historic and current conditions—as well as potential futures—of these Midwest communities, the exhibition addresses relationships between perceptions of abandonment and fertility, Black female imagination, and different manifestations of healing as Reynolds looks at the Rust Belt as a kind of keloidal landscape.


Katherine Simóne Reynolds practice investigates emotional dialects and psychogeographies of Blackness, and the importance of “anti-excellence.” Her work physicalizes emotions and experiences by constructing pieces that include portrait photography, video works, choreography, sculpture, and installation. Taking cues from the midwestern post-industrial melancholic landscape having grown up in the metro east area of Saint Louis, she formed an obsessive curiosity around the practices of healing as well as around a societal notion of progress spurning from a time of industrial success. Utilizing Black embodiment and affect alongside her own personal narrative as a place of departure has made her question her own navigation of ownership, inclusion, and authenticity within a contemporary gaze. She draws inspiration from Black glamour and beauty while interrogating the notion of “authentic care.” Her practice generally deals in Blackness from her own perspective, and she continuously searches for what it means to produce “Black Work.”

Reynolds has exhibited and performed at Pulitzer Arts Foundation, St. Louis; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and SculptureCenter, Long Island City, NY, among other spaces. Alongside her visual art practice, she has embarked on curatorial projects at SculptureCenter; Stanley Museum of Art, Iowa City; and Clyfford Still Museum, Denver.

Synthesizing the Foundation’s grantmaking and exhibition programs, the program acknowledges the investment and resources required to produce an exhibition and invites an artist to create new work that engages the mission of the Graham Foundation—to explore ideas about architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society. Providing space, support, and financial resources for the production of new work, the Fellowship enables the Fellow to experiment with production techniques and, often, to create work at a new scale. The Fellowship culminates with an exhibition at the Foundation’s Madlener House galleries in Chicago.

The Fellowship program extends the legacy of the Foundation’s first awards, made in 1957, and continues the tradition of support to individuals to explore innovative perspectives on spatial practices in design culture. These initial fellowships provided a diverse group of practitioners a platform to pursue innovative ideas in the field, and they included alumni such as experimental architect Frederick J. Kiesler, painter Wilfredo Lam, Pritzker Prize winning architects Balkrishna V. Doshi and Fumihiko Maki, designer Harry Bertoia, photographer Harry M. Callahan, and sculptor Eduardo Chillida, among others. Artist David Hartt piloted the contemporary Fellow program with his new body of work in the forest, which premiered at the Graham in the fall of 2017. Additional Graham Foundation Fellows include: Brendan Fernandes (2018); Torkwase Dyson (2018); Martine Syms (2018–19); Nelly Agassi (2019); Tatiana Bilbao (2019–20); Sergio Prego (2020); Anna Martine Whitehead (2020–21); Barbara Stauffacher Solomon (2022–23); and Mark Wasiuta (forthcoming)