Empathy Fatigue

January 10 – February 22, 2020
Galleries One and Two

Exhibition Text


Chicago, IL, January 10, 2020 – ANDREW RAFACZ is pleased to announce the beginning of 2020 with Empathy Fatigue, a group exhibition of works by Dominique Knowles, Jason Lazarus, Mev Luna, Liz Nielsen, Rachel Schmidhofer, Siebren Versteeg, and Jeremy Weber in Galleries One and Two. The exhibition continues through Saturday, February 22, 2020.

Empathy Fatigue examines our contemporary relationship with empathy and its limitations in our current human experience. The exhibition aims to connect seven contemporary artists’ varied practices to a shared concern for a deeply impassioned relationship to others and the complex world we live in, as well as the collateral emotional damage that inevitably and continually results from such care.

A relatively recent term used in the study of care-giving, empathy fatigue describes the results of a state of psychological, emotional, mental, physical, spiritual and occupational exhaustion that occurs as a counselor’s own wounds are revisited by the patient’s regular chronicling of theirs. It is a specific kind of burnout that results in the loss of the ability to nurture.

For this exhibition, empathy fatigue also describes a larger collective concern for the health of all of our being as we navigate an ever-complexifying world. It is clearly urgent that we must press on, to understand each other and our responsibility to the planet and the world we’ve constructed. Each of the artists in this exhibition, while addressing a variety of specific issues and manifesting them directly or conceptually, solemnly or playfully, earnestly engages in empathy as a core driver to better understanding and care.

DOMINIQUE KNOWLES (Bahamian, b. 1996) lives and works in Chicago, IL. Knowles is currently a Master of Fine Art candidate in Painting at School of the Art Institute of Chicago and received his BFA from School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2017. Recent solo exhibitions include The Green Gallery East (Milwaukee, WI) and The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (Nassau, Bahamas). Knowles has had group exhibitions at Halle 14 (Leipzig, Germany), Elmhurst Art Museum Elmhurst, Illinois), ANDREW RAFACZ (Chicago, IL), and Julius Caesar (Chicago, IL).

JASON LAZARUS (American, b. 1975) lives and works in Tampa, FL. He received an MFA in photography from Columbia College Chicago in 2003 and a BS from DePaul University in 1998. Recent solo exhibitions include ANDREW RAFACZ (Chicago, IL), Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art (Kansas City, MO), Luminary Center for the Arts (St. Louis, MO), the Contemporary Jewish Museum (San Francisco, CA), and the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago, IL). Recent group exhibitions include Illinois State University (Normal, IL), the Orlando Museum of Art (Orlando, FL), High Museum of Art (Atlanta, GA), Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (Detroit, MI), Ringling Museum of Art (Sarasota, FL), San Francisco MoMA (San Francisco, CA), Columbia University (New York, NY), University of South Florida (Tampa, FL). His work is included in numerous public and private collections.

MEV LUNA (American, b. 1988) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. They received an MFA in Performance from School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2017 and a BFA from California College of the Arts in 2011. Recent group exhibitions include Oficina de Arte (México City, Mexico), PRIZM Art Fair (Miami, FL), Threewalls (Chicago, IL), and the Oliver Arts Center (Oakland, CA). Luna’s time-based works have premiered at SFMOMA (San Francisco,CA), Artists’ Television Access (San Francisco, CA), MIX Queer Experimental Film Festival (New York, NY), and Defibrillator Gallery (Chicago, IL).

LIZ NIELSEN (American, b. 1975) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Nielsen received an MFA from the University of Illinois, Chicago in 2004, her BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2002, and her BA in Philosophy and Spanish from Seattle University in 1997. She has had recent solo exhibitions at Danziger gallery (New York, NY), Black Box Projects (London, UK), Horizont gallery (Budapest, HU), SOCO gallery (Charlotte, NC), and NextLevel gallery (Paris, FR). Recent group or two-person exhibitions include Yossi Milo gallery (New York, NY), Messums in collaboration with The Photographers gallery (Wiltshire, UK), David B. Smith gallery (Denver, CO), and Angell gallery (Toronto, CA). Nielsen has been featured at international art fairs such as Paris Photo, Photo London, and Unseen Amsterdam.

RACHEL SCHMIDHOFER (American, b. 1980) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She received an MFA from Yale University in 2011 and her BFA from Washington University in 2004. Recent solo exhibitions include Jeff Bailey Gallery (Hudson, NY), Novella Galler (New York,NY), and Glike Gallery (Los Angeles). She has had recent group exhibitions at SHE Gallery (New York, NY), Kent Fine Art (New York, NY), Driscoll Babcock (New York, NY), Field Projects (New York, NY), Zurcher Gallery (New York, NY), Gallery Poulsen (Copenhagen, DK) and the Torrance Art museum (Los Angeles, CA).

SIEBREN VERSTEEG (American, b. 1971) lives and works in Queens, NY. He received an MFA from The University of Illinois at Chicago in 2004 and a BFA from School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1996. Solo exhibitions include the University of Michigan Museum of Art (Ann Arbor, MI), Museum of Art at Rhode Island School of Design (Providence, RI), Hallwalls (Buffalo, NY), Wexner Center for the Arts (Columbus, OH), Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago, IL), Michael Jon and Alan (Miami, FL), Rhona Hoffman Gallery (Chicago, IL), and Max Protetch (New York, NY). Group exhibitions include the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington, DC), Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago, IL), The Contemporary Museum (Baltimore, MD), Krannert Art Museum (Urbana-Champaign, IL), The Fabric Workshop and Museum (Philadelphia, PA), National Museum of Art (Prague, Czech Republic), James Cohan Gallery (New York, NY) and Clifton Benevento (New York, NY). Prominent collections featuring his work include the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York, NY), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington D.C.), Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, CT), The Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, NY), Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago, IL), and Rhode Island School of Design Museum (Providence, RI).

JEREMY WEBER (American, b. 1994) lives and works in Bartlett, IL. Weber received his BFA from Columbia College Chicago in 2017.

Selected Press