Jack Craig: Protist

Opening: Friday, Jun 23, 2023 5 – 8 pm
Friday, Jun 23 – Aug 12, 2023

1709 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622

Jack Craig



Volume Gallery is delighted to announce Protist, the gallery’s first solo exhibition with Jack Craig opening June 23, 2023, from 5-8 pm at 1709 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60622.

Jack Craig’s practice operates in acts of transformation and regeneration. Giving precious and non-precious, natural and man-made materials equal weight, his projects connect to an undiscovered world just beneath our increasingly mass-produced landscape.

The show's title, Protist references the fourth kingdom of organisms - a class of life otherwise uncategorizable plant, animal, or fungus. In Craig’s latest body of work, he introduces a series of petrified objects formed from melted synthetic carpet, sculpted into grotesquely beautiful works. 

In Craig's childhood home, carpet represented a luxury. Through the economy of mass production, carpet brought an animal-like warmth and insulation into the interior. Craig arrived at design after first exploring a career as an electrical engineer developing stealth technologies. For Craig, “invention is an engine for fantasy.” His methodology combines his understanding of the scientific method with an intuitive process. 

Over the past 15 years, Craig has made Detroit his home. In that time, the material language and attitude of the city made its way into his work. Carpet is often used and discarded in Detroit to pave alleyways and create weed barriers for gardens. Detroit is a place where creative solutions are necessary and where resilience and inventiveness are common amongst the population.

With these recent melted carpet pieces, Craig is leaning into unconventional use and aesthetics, finding opportunity in experimentation with the conventional and undesirable material. Craig has worked through hundreds of iterations and experiments to transform the ubiquitous material into new unidentified forms and finishes. Craig amplifies the material’s biomimicry, and like the protist, he creates new, in-between creatures posing as furniture in a domestic color palette of hard and soft tissue.

The results are intriguing feats of transformation that embrace the captivating beauty and strangeness of the unfamiliar. 
Protist will be on view at Volume Gallery through August 12, 2023.

Jack Craig currently resides and works in Detroit. He was first trained as an engineer (BS and MS, University of Maryland, 2001 and 2003) and worked on stealth technology for the US Navy before pursuing degrees in design (BFA, University of Illinois, 2010; MFA, Cranbrook Academy of Art, 2012). His works – which span the categories of furniture, sculpture, and installation – source material and inspiration from industrial processes scaled down and reexamined through hand manipulation and fantasy.