Colleen Plumb


p r o j e c t s

     Animals Are Outside Today

    Towards the Sky Again

    How the Sky and Water Attach
    at the End of the Sea




   Thirty Times a Minute

   Path Infinitum

   Invisible Visible

   Surveilling Snow Lily



books + limited editions

cv / bio





  I N V I S I B L E    V I S I B L E



Invisible Visible explores relationships between systems rendered invisible that exist all around us. A multi-disciplinary project including sculpture and video installation, photography, and writings, created as an act of acknowledgement for the many lives involved in factory farming: the chickens and the workers, together subjected to the suffering created by our industrial food system.



Catherine Edelman Gallery
Chicago, Illinois
Photography +
July 10 - September 4, 2020

Riverside Art Center
Riverside, Illinois
January 10 - February 22, 2021

Across the back wall of the space sweeps a black and white video projection: a gentle handling of wing sculptures, wings being passed in endless succession. A second video is projected atop rows of plaster-cast sculptures. Another video projection, images of red, raw bird wing bones—bones from a chicken—slowly breathe, appearing and disappearing. The projected image moves our eyes beneath the surface of the wings, into the interior. Flanking the wings are an assembly of chalk white bones cast from a wing bone. This delicate line of bones mirrors the physical experience of workers in a slaughterhouse, standing in compact rows. The fragile plaster-casts were created as a gesture of honor and acknowledgement of fellow living beings. In the ritual of making, each one became a prayer. Plywood, a material ubiquitous in labor-intensive industry, subverts the common use as barrier and instead becomes a canvas of unity. The plywood platform and the walls encase, nest, the rows of wings that become markers for 175 chickens. 175 is the rate of birds killed every 60 seconds in factory slaughter in the US.

On the gallery door hangs a newsprint poster, bound into a pad, with writings attending to the question of what makes the invisible visible. The writer describes a practice of attention, witness, and vision for relating with, and welcoming into view, the invisible. The reader traverses through stories that lead to the interior, beyond the visible and back through imagining. Posters of the writing are to be torn from the door or listened to via an online recording, and all experiencing this work are invited to absorb the writings—to take the stories with them—and carry the question out into the world.

Listen to INVISIBLE VISIBLE written and read by Katherine Kassouf Cummings


2-channel projection, 175 plaster-cast bird wings, 175 plaster-cast wing bones, plywood




newsprint tear-off 2-sided poster, writings by Katherine Kassouf Cummings, suspended in installation


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Katherine Kassouf Cummings is a Lebanese-American writer living on the ancestral homelands of the people of the Council of Three Fires (Ojibwe, Potawatomi, and Odawa) as well as the Menominee, Miami, and Ho-Chunk nations. She is co-editor of the book What Kind of Ancestor Do You Want to Be? (University of Chicago Press, 2021) and serves as Managing Editor at the Center for Humans and Nature where she leads the Questions for a Resilient Future. Her writing has been shortlisted for the New Philosopher's Writer's Award. When not at her desk, Katherine shares her passion for movement and women's health as a Pilates Instructor based at the Center for Women's Fitness.

Colleen Plumb makes photographs, videos, and installations that look at the complex and contradictory relationships humans have with nonhuman animals. Plumb’s work is held in several permanent collections and has been widely published and exhibited. Her 2021 installation, Surveilling Snow Lily, at Roman Susan in Chicago, was highlighted as a must-see in ARTFORUM gallery guide. Plumb’s first photography monograph, Animals Are Outside Today, (Radius Books 2011), critically documents humans’ ambivalent dispositions towards animals. Plumb’s recent photography book, Thirty Times a Minute, (Radius Books, 2020), examines the plight of captive elephants. It was listed as a LensCulture favorite book of 2020, by Eastman Museum curator Lisa Hostetler. Plumb lives in Chicago and has taught photography and video at Columbia College Chicago since 1999.

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chicken feet from live poultry market, 2019


weavings / photographic series, 2020-2021


early casts, 2019


mold-making process, 2019