Soft Allergy

Claire Ashley, Judith Brotman, and Cameron Clayborn
November 11, 2021 – February 18, 2022
DEPS will be closed in observance of the holidays from December 20, 2021- January 10, 2022.

Closing Reception: Friday, February 18, 2022, 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Please note that this event has been Cancelled.

Soft Allergy is born out of the collaboration of individual practices. In a series of call-and-response vignettes, where edges are present yet hard to determine, the artists in this show have pushed and pulled, upending and uplifting each other's practices. Meeting every three weeks over Zoom since 2020, the artists developed the show virtually and by trading material and works in the mail along with toiling in their studios.

Not only does the exhibition consist of singular objects from the artists’ individual practices that are placed in relationship to one another, but each artist has worked on, embellished, painted, sewed into, and/or incorporated spoken work, audio, or video inside of another’s object. These actions spur a number of comfortable and uncomfortable relationships that are optimistically dark, bringing out issues of gender, race, and material. The works in the show exude the formal, material, and conceptual struggles of their co-creation—they are generative and intuitive, and so the show is always in a state of being created.

Excitingly, during the run of Soft Allergy, a satellite exhibition, Tender Irritant, viewable from the windows will take place at SAIC Galleries located at 33 E. Washington St. Produced in the same manner as Soft Allergy, the work in Tender Irritant acts as a phantom appendage functioning as both companion exhibition and vigorous reaction simultaneously.

This project is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency with the National Endowment for the Arts.

Note: All artist talks for Soft Allergy will take place online.

Thursday, January 27, 6–7 p.m.
Cameron Clayborn Artist Talk
Register here

Thursday, February 3, 6–7 p.m.
Judith Brotman Artist Talk
Register here

Thursday, February 10, 6–7 p.m.
Claire Ashley Artist Talk
Register here

DEPS is proud to present the DEPS Artist Profile Series featuring the artists of Soft Allergy. The DEPS Artist Profile Series is designed by and managed by Kaylee Fowler. To view these interactive documents featuring artist interviews click on the images below.



Please note: For entry into DEPS spaces, masks as well as proof of vaccination or proof of a negative Covid test within the last 72 hours are required.


Soft Allergy

November 11, 2021 – February 18, 2022
Glass Curtain Gallery–Columbia College Chicago
1104 S Wabash Ave, 1st Floor, Chicago, IL 60605
Gallery Hours: Monday– Wednesday, Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. 
Thursday, 9 a.m.–7 p.m.  Saturday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. 
Closed in observance of the holidays from December 20, 2021- January 5, 2022

Tender Irritant
December 20, 2021 – January 12, 2022
SAIC Galleries
33 E Washington St, Chicago, IL  60602


Claire Ashley received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her BFA from Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen, Scotland. Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, Ashley is now Chicago based. Currently, she teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the Department of Contemporary Practices, and the Department of Painting and Drawing. Ashley’s work investigates inflatables as painting, sculpture, installation and performance costume. Her works have been exhibited nationally and internationally in galleries, museums, site-specific installations, performances and collaborations at venues including Henry Moore Institute in Leeds, England, Art Basel in Kassel, Germany, Rockelmann & Partner in Berlin, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, AR, Illinois State University Galleries in Normal, IL, DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, MA, ICEBOX Crane Arts in Philadelphia, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Additionally, her work has been exhibited in Scotland at The House for an Art Lover in Glasgow, gallerA1, in Edinburgh, and the Highland Institute for Contemporary Art in Inverness. 

Judith Brotman is a multidisciplinary artist and educator from Chicago. Her work frequently occupies a space between abstraction and figuration, deterioration and regeneration, elegance and awkwardness, generosity and obligation. She has exhibited at venues including Indiana University Northwest, Franconia Sculpture Park in Shafer, MN, Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, The Society of Arts & Crafts in Boston, Asphodel Gallery in Brooklyn, the DeVos Art Museum in Marquette, MI, as well as Smart Museum of Art, RUSCHWOMAN, Weinberg/Newton Gallery, Threewalls, Slow Gallery, Chicago Cultural Center, Tiger Strikes Asteroid Chicago, Chicago Artists Coalition, Hyde Park Art Center, and Gallery 400 all in Chicago. Brotman’s work is in the collection of The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, The Illinois State Museum, and the Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection as well as in many private collections. Brotman received her BFA and MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the Department of Fiber and Material Studies where she currently teaches.

Cameron Clayborn was born in 1992 and was raised in Memphis, TN. He lives and works in New Haven, CT. Clayborn’s practice addresses the relationship vulnerability has to power. Their work is materially rooted, and combines elements of Postminimalism, craft, performance, and spirituality. He has exhibited nationally and international with solo exhibitions and venues including Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, Germany (forthcoming), Art Basel Statements with Simone Subal Gallery in Basel, Switzerland where Clayborn was awarded the Baloise Art Prize, Simone Subal Gallery in  New York and Boyfriends in Chicago. He has shown in group exhibitions at venues including Bradley Ertaskiran in Montréal, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart in Stuttgart, Germany, Casemore Kirkeby in San Francisco, FIAC with Simone Subal Gallery in Paris, Mildred’s Lane in Beach Lake, PA, Magenta Plains in New York,  and Heaven Gallery in Chicago among others.