The son of Norwegian Lutheran missionaries and pastors going back 6 generations,Â PreusÂ (rhymes with choice) comes from a family of dedicated liberal believers, and much of his work revolves around related themes of belief andÂ transmission, sacrifice and victimology, public space and non-scalable architecture, the realms of transformation and revival, anticipatory grief, loss and nostalgia, philosophy and apocalyptic film and literature.Â PreusÂ (b. 1971) spent his early years running barefoot under a cathedral of trees in Makumira, Tanzania, then grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and northern Wisconsin.Â Â PreusÂ (rhymes with choice), in spite of his squandered pastoral pedigree, currently works as an artist, builder, fabricator, amateur writer, collaborator, and occasional curator.
He foundedÂ Dilettante StudiosÂ in 2010 which designs and builds cabinets, furniture, and residential and commercial spaces, relying almost exclusively on 2nd-hand materials.Â He co-founded the art groupÂ Material ExchangeÂ in 2005,Â and until 2010 collaborated with co-founderÂ Sara Black. Â PreusÂ is currently co-curator with Laura Shaeffer atÂ SHOP,Â and creative director for theÂ Rebuild Foundation, and lead fabricator for Theaster Gates studios.
PreusÂ holds aÂ BAÂ from Gustavus Adolphus College (93), and anÂ MFAÂ from the University of Chicago (2005). Â He studied at La Cipressaia, in northern Italy with art gurus Rose Shakinovsky and Claire Gavronsky, in 92, 94, and 96, and at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2002.Â He has roughly 16 years of building and designing experience. His education in the trades includes a 2-year apprenticeship with award-winning hand-tool furniture-makerÂ JohnÂ Nesset,Â and some years working in cabinet shops and on carpentry crews.Â Exhibitions of his work include the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Portland Museum of Contemporary Craft, the Betty Rhymer Gallery, the Hyde Park Art Center, the Smart Museum of Art, Chicago, the Devos Museum of Art in Marquette, Michigan.Â Â Preus’s work will be featured in a solo exhibition in the large gallery at the Hyde Park Art Center in April on 2014.Â Â PreusÂ lives with his wife and 3 children in West Rogers Park on the north side of Chicago.