John Preus (rhymes with choice – b. 1971) spent his early years running barefoot under a cathedral of trees in Makumira, Tanzania, then grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and northern Wisconsin. Preus, currently works as an artist, builder, fabricator, amateur writer, musician, and collaborator.
After receiving his bachelors in art, Preus studied hand-tool furniture-making with master, John Nesset. He fabricated for Nesset, and later for many other artists and designers including, Dan Peterman, Theaster Gates, Omer Arbel, and Norman Teague. Preus co-founded SHoP, a community art space in Hyde Park Chicago with Laura Shaeffer (2011), and Material Exchange with Sara Black (2005). and collaborated with Theaster Gates on the Dorchester Projects, and was project lead for 12 Ballads for Huguenot House, at Documenta 13, the culmination of a 6 year collaboration with Gates.
Preus was recently a Kaplan resident at Northwestern University, a 2016 nominee for the US Artist Fellowship, and was included in New City’s Chicago Art 50 in 2016. He was the 2013-2014 Jackman-Goldwasser resident at the Hyde Park Art Center, a 2015 Propeller Fund recipient, a 2014 Efroymson Fellow in sculpture and installation, 2014’s first place winner of the Maker grant and a 2013 finalist. He was a finalist for the 2015 Artadia Award and the 2014 Creative Capital grant, and a 2014 DCASE artist grant recipient.
Selected solo exhibitions include, The Beast: Herd Mentality at Montserrat College of Art, Beverly, MA, John Preus: New Work at Rena Bransten Gallery in San Francisco, The Relative Appetite of Hungry Ghosts at Rhona Hoffman Gallery in Chicago, John Preus On Drawing at the Heilbronn Kunstverein in Germany, The Beast at The Hyde Park Art Center, Slow Sound at the Experimental Sound Studio. Group shows include The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Threewalls Chicago, The Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, OR, The Iceberg Gallery in Portland, OR. Miami/Basel, the New York Armory Show, ADAA, EXPO Chicago, The Elmhurst Biennial, The Huguenot House in Kassel, Germany, The Devos Art Museum in Michigan.
Portrait by Suzette Bross