press release


March 10 - April 15, 2011
Opening: Thursday, March 10, 4:30 - 7:00 pm

"Knock Out Knock Down", 2010. Silk screened MDF, pressboard, contact paper, moss, PVC pipe, 17" x 13" x 18".

Press Release

Chicago, February 24, 2011 -- The President’s Gallery at Harold Washington College, 30 E. Lake Street, proudly presents the work of Shaila Christofferson in an exhibitionfrom Thursday, March 10 through Friday, April 15, 2011. There will be a public reception on Thursday, March 10 from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m. in the gallery, room 1105. The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public.

Reminiscent of the functional utility of furniture as well as hermetically preserved remnants of crumbled architecture, Christofferson’s formally sleek objects comment, in her own words, “on the tenuous nature of the constructed environment”.  In this exhibition, her sculptural works will be on display supported by selected collages that contain sketches and ideas for her three dimensional pieces.

Ligniform means “like wood”, which is a signifier of the material similes that Christofferson engages in her works.  They point to the things they are not or once were before going through intensive industrial processing, such as an engineered wood product that regularly appears in her pieces, called MDF or medium density fiberboard.  Cloaked in a screen-printed wood grain pattern, the works either long to be the real deal or are satisfied in their reference.

The negative and positive relationship of the real versus artificial material dialogue also translates to the forms of her pieces. In a recent body of work, she repurposes disposable plastic packaging, finding a second life for the rigid forms that wrap products for transparent display on store shelves.  Continuing this push and pull of material and space, sheets of MDF are carved at, sections cut away to create entrance into and movement around an otherwise rigid surface.  The negative space is positive space unfilled, or positive space removed. To this as a beginning point to consider the environment we are living in, Christofferson’s works gracefully synthesize what is there as well as what is missing.

After teaching nine-years in the Mid-Atlantic region, Shaila Christofferson recently returned to the Midwest in 2007 to accept the position of Assistant Professor in the Department of Art and Design at Chicago State University.  She received a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in French and Fine Arts from the University of South Dakota in 1994 and in 1997; she received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Sculpture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She has won several grants including a George Sugarman Foundation Individual Artist Grant and a State of West Virginia Fellowship Grant for Individual Artists, and has been exhibited widely. Recent exhibition venues include the Sheldon Swope Art Museum, Terre Haute, IN, Wichita Center for the Arts, Wichita, KS, West Virginia Cultural Center, Charleston, WV, Plano Art Centre, Plano, TX, Art Center of Northern New Jersey, Milford, NJ and La Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris France, and the South Bend Museum of Art, IN. Christofferson was also selected to participate in the Creative Capital Foundation Professional Development Workshop in conjunction with the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation in Baltimore, MD.

Harold Washington College is one of the seven City Colleges of Chicago. The President’s Gallery is located inside Harold Washington College, 30 East Lake Street, Room 1105. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and by appointment. For more information, contact the Harold Washington College art department at 312-553-5738 or visit

About City Colleges of Chicago
The City Colleges of Chicago (CCC), District 508, is the largest community college system in Illinois and one of the largest in the nation, with 5,800 faculty and staff serving 120,000 students at seven campuses and thirteen satellite sites city-wide.  The City Colleges of Chicago is in the midst of a Reinvention, launched by Chancellor Cheryl Hyman shortly after her appointment by Mayor Richard M. Daley in March 2010.  Reinvention is a collaborative effort to review and revise CCC programs and practices to ensure students leave CCC college-ready, career-ready and prepared to pursue their life’s goals.

CCC includes seven colleges: Richard J. Daley College, Kennedy-King College, Malcolm X College, Olive-Harvey College, Harry S Truman College, Harold Washington College and Wilbur Wright College.  The system also oversees: the Washburne Trade School, the French Pastry School, two restaurants, five Child Development Centers, the Center for Distance Learning, the Workforce Institute, the public broadcast station WYCC-TV Channel 20 and radio station WKKC-FM 89.3FM.  For more information about City Colleges of Chicago, call: (773) COLLEGE or visit