Erica McKeehen: REVEAL

January 9–March 21, 2023
Reception: Thursday, February 2, 5–7 p.m. 

Note: All visitors must RSVP via Eventbrite for entry to the exhibition during open hours. 

In REVEAL, Erica McKeehen presents two prominent collages of imagery, Flores Turquesas: Seven Years with Kitty Tornado and Days of Rust: Self-Portraits, as separate pieces in conversation.

Flores Turquesas: Seven Years with Kitty Tornado is comprised of small-to-medium scale photographs and handwritten pieces made in collaboration with McKeehen’s best friend, muse, and fellow performer, Kitty Tornado (who has performed burlesque since 2015). Tornado and her husband David left Chicago in 2019 and shortly thereafter moved to Almuñécar, Spain to live. In the summer of 2022, McKeehen traveled to Spain with funds from the Stuart Abelson Graduate Research Fellowship. She split her time between exploring local burlesque shows and performers in Madrid and collaborating with Marguerite in the south of Spain, as well as traveling with her to Granada, Seville, and Valencia. With Tornado now living back in Chicago, both women co-produce Lust for Life, a monthly rock n’ roll-themed burlesque show in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village.

In Days of Rust: Self-Portraits McKeehen’s manner of seeing herself reflects on her coded identities as both a stage performer and sex worker (under the alias Greta-X) whose craft and livelihood are dependent upon being looked at. When viewed together, the pieces in REVEAL resist voyeurism and spectacle and instead explore creative comradery and community through nuanced views of femme experience, sexuality, and autonomy.

This exhibition is partially sponsored by Columbia College’s Photography Department and the Stuart R. Abelson Graduate Research Fellowship. The Stuart R. Abelson Graduate Research Fellowship was established to encourage international travel among Photography students while completing a specific project and to support the experience by assisting with the costs of travel. 

Thursday, March 16, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
at Haus, 623 S. Wabash Ave., First Floor
Registration required

Image: Erica McKeehen, “Late August, 2019 (Chicago, Illinois),” 2019, archival print

This project is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency. 

Please note: For entry into DEPS spaces, masks required.

DEPS is proud to present the DEPS Artist Profile Series featuring Erica McKeehen. The DEPS Artist Profile Series is designed by DEPS Exhibitions Assistant Gray Beyer and managed by DEPS Exhibitions Sierra Delamarter. To view this interactive document featuring an artist interview click on the image below

 Photograph of woman in the nude posing for the camera with her red hand fan made of feathers. Her arms are covering her breasts, and her gaze is downward looking toward the fans. It is as if she is the classic female form and a muse for the artist.

Erica McKeehen: REVEAL
January 9–March 21, 2023
The Arcade–Columbia College Chicago
618. S. Michigan Ave., Second Floor
Chicago, IL 60605
Gallery Hours: Monday– Friday 9 a.m.– 5 p.m.

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Exhibition Contact: Mark Porter,