Soft Allergy: Claire Ashley, Judith Brotman, and Cameron Clayborn

Soft Allergy, an exhibition of work by Claire Ashley, Judith Brotman, and Cameron Clayborn, opens to the public on November 11, 2021 at Columbia College Chicago’s Glass Curtain Gallery.

Columbia College Chicago’s Glass Curtain Gallery is pleased to present Soft Allergy, an exhibition of work by Claire Ashley, Judith Brotman, and Cameron Clayborn that opens to the public on November 11, 2021.

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.

A full-color catalog will be issued at the end of the show that includes a new commissioned poem by Jericho Brown. This exhibition runs through February 18, 2022, and will present three virtual programs to accompany the show.

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


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.

In observance of the holidays, the gallery will be closed from December 20, 2021,to January 5, 2022


Tender Irritant

December 20, 2021–January 12, 2022

SAIC Galleries

33 E. Washington St., Chicago, IL 60602



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

Thursday, January 27, 6–7 p.m.

Cameron Clayborn Artist Talk

Thursday, February 3, 6–7 p.m.

Judith Brotman Artist Talk

Thursday, February 10, 6–7 p.m.

Claire Ashley Artist Talk


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.



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 that vulnerability has to power. His work is materially rooted, and combines elements of Postminimalism, craft, performance, and spirituality. He has exhibited nationally and internationally with solo exhibitions and venues including 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. Clayborn will be mounting a solo exhibition in 2022 at Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin.

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; and 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.

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, Ashley is now based in Chicago. Currently, she teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the Department of Contemporary Practices and in 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.


Columbia College Chicago is a private, nonprofit college offering a distinctive curriculum that blends creative and media arts, liberal arts, and business for nearly 7,000 students in more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Dedicated to academic excellence and long-term career success, Columbia College Chicago creates a dynamic, challenging, and collaborative space for students who experience the world through a creative lens. For more information,



Mark Porter

Senior Exhibition Coordinator

The Department of Exhibitions, Performance and Student Spaces