Artificial Hell


Artificial Hell
October 29 – November 19 / 2010
Opening Reception / Friday / October 29 / 7-10 pm
Brief Zombie Walk / 10 pm

606 (Rear) West Main Street / Peoria / IL
(in the back of 600 West Main Street)

Gallery hours / by appointment only
Contact /

This Halloween, Backspace Collective proudly presents our inaugural event: Artificial Hell. Taken from a term coined by André Breton, our artificial hell is populated by monsters, mutations, and zombies. The uncanny horror they incite is corporeal, by attacking, transforming or devouring the body, as well as reminding us of our own physical vulnerabilities.  Including painting, drawing, film, performance, and video, Artificial Hell presents artists’ interventions into the ideas and conventions of horror in the works of Chase Melendez, Michael Stillion and Gabe Johnson.

Chase Melendez grew up in the in the Pacific Northwest and received his BS from San Diego State University and his MFA from The University of Cincinnati where he currently lives and works as a performance artist and painter.  His piece, THEY WON’T STAY DEAD! is a direct painterly engagement with George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968).

Michael Stillion received his BFA degree from the Columbus College of Art and Design and holds an MFA degree from Indiana University. He currently lives and works in Cincinnati, Ohio.  His painted works engage with the idea of monsters, stating “My nephew dreams about monkey blood. What does this look like? It’s when the purple and blue mix to make red. This is a monster.”

Gabriel Johnson is Museum Registrar at University Galleries of Illinois State University; he received his B.S. in Studio Art from Bradley University (2005), where he held a dual concentration in Drawing and Printmaking.

Backspace is:
• deleting, rethinking, changing your mind, looking at things a different way, editing.
• the freedom to fail, to try again, to fail again until you succeed
• a way to make thoughts ephemeral, transitional, adaptable
• the ability to revise ideas, change minds, and re-evaluate why we are here
• looking backward while moving forward
• a space to re-work, re-invent, and re-invigorate
• like the eraser on a pencil
• emptiness
• impermanence
• a thinkers’ and artists’ collective
• a space for contemporary art and ideas
• located behind 600 West Main Street (606 Rear), in Peoria, Illinois

Backspace is a center for new ideas in a radically changing world. We provide an outlet for creative expressions that are integral to a healthy society, and which promote civic engagement locally and globally. We are dedicated to fostering innovative, risk-taking contemporary art and cultural scholarship through exhibitions, “Marginalia” lectures, and other events and programming. Our space is a forum for exhibiting, discussing, and interpreting works ranging from traditional plastic arts to performance and new media. We feature works and ideas that are committed to expanding the cultural vocabulary within the region.

Backspace is:
Shannon Benine
Elizabeth Kauffman
John Mosher
Acacia Warwick
Todd Williams



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