Monday, June 7, 2021

Richard Laurent - "Social Justice" at the Georgetown Art Center



Richard Laurent, Tower of Babel, oil on canvas, 36 x 36"

An Exhibition of paintings titled “Social Justice” by Chicago Artist, Richard Laurent, will open at the Georgetown Art Center on June 18, 2021. This exhibition of conceptual paintings references today’s social challenges. Laurent masterfully uses symbol to offer an approachable, yet thought-provoking, perspective. 

Having worked with Laurent on The Art of Influence: Breaking Criminal Traditions initiative for more than a decade, I’ve gained some insight into the work of this creative genius. His brilliance is not limited to his ability to perfectly render a form with a swipe of his brush. His brilliance stems from the complexity of his message. Each of Laurent’s canvases offers a puzzle for the viewer to solve. But, as always, the viewer will see what they want to see. 

There are still places in the world where women are expected to fill their mouths with stones prior to leaving the home. This practice is intended to hinder the ability to speak. In some cases, the stones are inserted for her. It is believed that the tone of a woman’s voice will seduce men. The stones will quiet women from having a voice—an opinion. In these cultures—women are held responsible for the cruel and brutal actions of the male population. And if a woman reports crimes against her, she may be stoned alive. 

Gender inequality is but one of the human rights issues addressed in Laurent’s “Social Justice” exhibition. “Tower of Babel” references the repression of women. The painting offers the viewer many clues to his message of inequality—the most obvious is the title. Laurent begins by using a symbol that defines a hinderance of communication. The Tower of Babel is a biblical story which defines a time when there was a unified human race—all speaking the same language. They decided to build a city—in Southern Mesopotamia—and a tower to reach heaven. God wasn’t thrilled with this idea, so God muddled their speech to hinder communication and scattered humanity throughout the world. 

Laurent’s image presents us with his version of the legendary tower. The centralized twisting tower seems to act as a straitjacket for the unempowered—almost lifeless—head that crowns the structure. A cold and expressionless stare highlights the hollowness of degradation. Stones pave the way for the Assyrian winged bull which seems to guard the figure. Legend has it that the intimidating winged bull, guarded a city gate. It represented the power of the Assyrian King. A second masklike face flanks the central figure—it’s eyes a painful red. Then, floating to the right, is a box that contains a reaching hand, confined within a sphere. Additional stones seem to act as clouds in the upper portion of the composition. 

This series of paintings created by Richard Laurent, are meant to raise awareness of global human rights atrocities. By using the beauty of art to raise awareness of these difficult topics, we can begin dialogue and support those affected by encouraging change—change that can only come from within each culture, change that will be successful when supported by the world. 

The paintings of Richard Laurent will be on exhibition through July 19, 2021. The Artist's Reception is scheduled for Saturday, June 19 from 4-6pm. Georgetown Art Center will also be hosting an Artist Talk event on June 20th at 2pm. The Georgetown Art Center is located at 816 S Main Street in Georgetown, Texas 78626. Entry is free. 



Richard Laurent, Arcidia, oil on canvas, 36 x 36"


Oil painter, Richard Laurent, works out of his studio in the historic Fine Arts Building, Chicago. Originally from Colorado, Richard received his formal visual training at Chicago’s Institute of Design-the Neu Bauhaus School. He has continued his professional studies worldwide. His paintings have been featured in numerous national exhibitions including Oil Painters of America, Salon International Museum of Contemporary Masters, and Chicago Artists Interpret Shakespeare. He has also shown in gallery settings including George Billis, New York; Gallery H, Three Oaks, Michigan; Zia Gallery, Winnetka, Illinois; and Gallery Laluz, Chicago. Laurent’s paintings are included in the permanent collections of the City of Denver, City of Schaumburg, Deloitte Consulting, Encyclopaedia Britannica, The Illinois Institute of Art, Wells Fargo, Bodine Electric, and private collections. His paintings and drawings are included in two monographs: Contemporary American Painting and Contemporary American Drawing, published by Jilin Fine Arts.

The Georgetown Art Center is located at 816 South Main Street on Georgetown’s historic square. The facility opened in October of 2013. Georgetown Art Works is the 501(c)(3) Texas nonprofit organization selected by the City of Georgetown to manage the Art Center and provides innovative, intelligent exhibits and programs that promote visual literacy in the greater community. Our vision is to be nationally recognized as an arts and culture center of excellence.

The Art of Influence: Breaking Criminal Traditions:
Art can go where the law has not. It can lead public policy through the hearts and minds of artists and their audiences. The Art of Influence: Breaking Criminal Traditions is a fine art initiative that calls attention to human rights issues, which kill or maim millions of people each year yet—in some countries—aren't considered crimes. By using the beauty of art to raise awareness of these difficult topics, we can begin dialogue and support those affected by encouraging change — change that can only come from within each culture, change that will be successful when supported by the world. Learn more at: BreakingCriminalTraditions.com



Richard Laurent, Book of Knowledge, oil on canvas, 36 x 36"




Sunday, June 6, 2021

"Field Studies" Adam Fung and Steve Carrelli – Hofheimer Gallery




An exhibition of paintings and collaborative drawings created by
 Adam Fung and Steve Carrelli, opened yesterday at Hofheimer Gallery. The unique quality of this exhibition is that the viewer will first gain insight into each individual artist and then have an opportunity to explore a ten-year long-distance collaboration of nearly sixty 5”x7” graphite drawings on paper.

Each collaborative drawing began with one of the artists drawing a few lines—or a small segment of the composition. The partially completed drawings would be sent between Chicago and Fort Worth, Texas—a few at a time—back-and-forth until each drawing was complete. Each compositional fragment would be reviewed, assessed and contemplated—sometimes sitting for days before the opposing artist arrived at a relevant response to the challenge. Once addressed, the new version of the drawing would be sent back for yet another response. The result of this unique process ranges from humor to destruction.



Analyzing the result of this visual conversation, the viewer begins to notice elements of each artist’s personal work… Plumes of smoke from a rocket launch become smoke pouring into an empty room (Fung), The shadow cast by the open flap of an envelope (Carrelli), or the reoccurring image of a plumb bob (Carrelli). But when these personal elements are incorporated with that of the other, a surreal story begins to be told. That story only seems to exist in the viewer’s mind because this body of work is but a personal conversation… a unique chess match where both players win. And we—as viewers—get to interpret the game as we choose. 

The exhibition continues through June 26. Hofheimer Gallery is located at 4823 N. Damen, Chicago, Illinois 60625. Learn more at: hofheimergallery.com




Adam Fung is an Associate Professor in the School of Art at Texas Christian University. Working primarily as a painter, his nationally exhibited work brings attention to climate change, landscape patterns, and the components of the universe. Exhibited at the national level, His paintings can be found in public art collections at Microsoft, South Bend Museum of Art, and the US Department of Energy’s Fermilab, as well as numerous private collections.


Steve Carrelli is a Lecturer in the Department of Art, Media and Design at DePaul University, Chicago, as well as a Visiting Scholar at the School of Art, Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. His works utilize representational techniques to manipulate the viewer’s perception. His paintings and drawings are included in the collections of the City of Chicago Public Art Program, the Illinois State Museum, the DePaul Art Museum, Northwestern University and Elmhurst College, as well as in numerous other public and private collections.


Hofheimer Gallery is located at 4823 N. Damen, Chicago, Illinois 60625, on the north side of Chicago in the Ravenswood area at Damen and Lawrence. The gallery is dedicated to introducing contemporary fine art in painting, drawing and sculpture from established and emerging artists. The gallery features provocative, engaging, solo and group exhibitions.





Saturday, April 24, 2021

Nova Czarnecki - Bloom at Hofheimer Gallery


It’s the details that make life interesting.

I teach my students, that what they see in art, is based on their life experience. Their reality is grounded solely on their personal experience of the world. In beginning drawing, the student is taught to see… literally. Nothing is taken for granted. Every detail is a new discovery. The student is trained to see how light moves across a surface, exposing the nuance of every object, surface, or subject, within their view. 



As I walked into the Hofheimer Gallery for the opening reception of Bloom, I was instantly drawn to the beautiful complexity of Nova Czarnecki’s paintings. The subject of each canvas is a gorgeously rendered female figure, entangled in foliage and flanked by an array of regal birds and animals. The beautiful dabs of pigment are transformed into an emotional expression of unique storytelling—a subtle message in each detail. The viewer can spend hours exploring the subtle nuance of each bit of the canvas. The symbolism found, is unique for each encounter… again, based on the viewer’s personal history. Quiet moments for observation are required for a poignant journey.


Bloom closes this afternoon at Hofheimer Gallery. The collection hosts a number of beautiful images relevant to the title. Take some time to experience this beautiful exhibition and explore the work of Nova Czarnecki—the newest addition to this amazing stable of Hofheimer gallery artists.

Hofheimer Gallery is located at 4823 N. Damen, Chicago, Illinois 60625 847.274.7550
Learn more at: hofheimergallery.com


Friday, March 12, 2021

There’s always a story… "Tattoo Tattoo" at Hofheimer Gallery

Dianne Mansfield, SuzAnne

The weather in Chicago has finally become comfortable—perfect for getting outside and seeing actual people. With a sunny sky and high temperatures in the 60’s, I couldn’t wait to venture out. And that’s just what I did—this past Saturday—when I visited the exhibition titled “Tattoo Tattoo” at the Hofheimer Gallery. “Tattoo Tattoo” is a group show anchored by the work of George Klauba and Eleanor Spiess-Ferris—two of my many favorites at Hofheimer. 

 

As I explored the space, I came upon a group of black and white photographs documenting full body tattoos. And they seemed to be just that—straight forward documentations. As I continued through the space, I found a second series of photographs, set aside in the back of the gallery. These seemed to be done by the same artist, but they were different. They radiated emotion. The images captured an unabashed reality—a personal moment of self-empowerment. The images are the work of Dianne Mansfield. I asked if Dianne was attending the reception and she was pointed out. Within a minute, we were involved in conversation. 

 

After a brief introduction, we stepped away from a small group, to have a more private exchange. Discussion of the exhibition quickly transitioned into stories about the people represented in her imagery. With sparkling eyes and some colorful language, Dianne revealed another gift—her amazing ability to tell a good story. 

 

A photographer and educator, Mansfield has spent a good portion of her life photographing the world in which she lives. The tattoo culture is an important segment of her world and she has documented the unique personalities within that sector. 


Dianne Mansfield, QM KTK 083, 1982

Referencing one of the images from the show, Mansfield told me of a friend who supported herself as a fully-inked stripper. In the image, a gorgeous woman is presented wearing a sweeping silk robe—exposing her everlasting markings like a hand-painted bodysuit. Incredibly comfortable in her embellished skin—she is dignified, daring judgement from anyone.

Mansfield told many stories that afternoon. In fact—at one point—we stepped outside so that we could continue our conversation without masks. A colorful character with an amazing history, I look forward to our next meeting.

“Tattoo Tattoo” will continue at Hofheimer Gallery through March 27. The group exhibition includes work by George Klauba, J. Adams, Ivan Soyars, Leo Zulueta, Mario Desa, Chad Koeplinger, Danny Reed, Eleanor Spiess-Ferris, and—of course—photographer, Dianne Mansfield. Hofheimer Gallery is located at 4823 N. Damen, Chicago, Illinois 60625  847.274.7550 

Learn more at: hofheimergallery.com

 

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Hofheimer Gallery - The Salon Show


Frances Cox, Brown Tree, oil on canvas, 48″x30″

On Friday, June 12, Hofheimer Gallery opened an exhibition titled, “The Salon Show” featuring a collection of work by gallery artists. Playful, obsessive, and thought provoking, the work included in this exhibition presents an array of elegance with a bit of quirky—highlighting each artist’s unique voice.

 

“Brown Tree” by Frances Cox is composed of painterly strokes of pigment that convey the fluttering of reverberating motion. This fluid abstraction of muted tones manipulates the space in the manner of the Cubists. The use of Implied shadow alludes to the third dimension while the translucent application of paint, infers the sound of rustling sun-soaked leaves. This technique exposes the artist’s journey—revealing areas of underpainting that chronicle the form’s evolution. 


Teresa James offers a new spin on the concept of the glass ceiling, with “My Spirit and I Are One”. James creates the surrealistic image on the inside of a book cover, using mixed media; drawing, watercolor, and collage. The image presents a number of winged hands—a reoccurring symbol in James work—in battle with a pair angry birds, blocked from their given right to soar above the clouds. The unresolved conflict results in the loss of feathers, yet the determination of the birds seems unending. 


Teresa James, My Spirit and I Are One, drawing collage with watercolor on inside book cover, 7 3/4” x 10”

George Klauba uses the style of tattoo art to create intimate canvases that address curious topics. His obsessively painted “They Shall Take Up Serpents” references Mark 16:17-18 and comments on that gospel’s misinterpretation for use as spectacle in religious theatre. As the story goes, in 1910—after preaching this gospel—an illiterate Tennessee preacher pulled a large rattlesnake out of a box with his bare hands. He handled it for a few minutes and then demanded members of the congregation do the same—or burn in Hell. This snake-handling practice became commonplace in the Church of God throughout Appalachia. 


George Klauba, They Shall Take Up Serpents, acrylic on panel, 18″x14″

Referencing this unusual life-threatening custom of the Pentecostals, Klauba defines the narrative through the symbols of tattoo culture. Along with the serpent—representing wisdom, rebirth, and temptation, we find the tortured Christ figure, a dagger—symbolic of betrayal or sacrifice, and a skull—referencing death or mortality. Beautifully painted, Klauba uses a variety of flat color areas, patterns and implied textures, which entice the viewer to continue exploring the charmingly quirky content of his compositions… each one with a unique theme.

All of the work in The Salon Show exhibition can be reviewed online and on site, by appointment. Hofheimer Gallery is planning to reopen to the general public after the Fourth-of-July holiday. Face masks will be required, and social distancing will be practiced.

Hofheimer Gallery is located at 4823 N. Damen, Chicago, IL 60625 | 847.274.7550
View the exhibition at: hofheimergallery.com.

The Salon Show includes work by: Betty Cleeland, Colleen Cox, Frances Cox, Charles Gniech, Teresa James, Mary Jones, George Klauba, Catherine Maize, Michael Noland, Karen Perl, Mary Porterfield, Jeanine Coupe Ryding, Eleanor Spiess-Ferris, Fred Stonehouse, and Chuck Walker. The exhibition continues through July 31st.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Zaria Forman at EXPO CHICAGO


Zaria Forman, Wilhemina Bay, November 23rd, 2018, 2019, soft pastel on paper, 40 x 64"

EXPO CHICAGO—The International Exhibition of Contemporary Art—opened this past Thursday evening at Navy Pier. The show presents artwork from 135 galleries—from 24 countries—highlighting the creations of some three thousand artists. It’s an opportunity to see a cross section of the art being produced around the world—and in some cases—revisit amazing works from the past.

The show was substantial. As I wandered through the corridors, I saw a splattering of contemporary art from the past 70 years although most of the work was fairly current. Represented were familiar favorites; Philip Pearlstein, Robert Lostutter and Clair Zeisler. But there was beautiful new work that was unfamiliar to me. 

The work of Zaria Forman, represented by Winston Wächter Fine Art, New York and Seattle, was a clear standout. Her large-scale pastel drawings are globally relevant and powerfully beautiful. Signage appears with each of the gorgeously executed compositions, defining the project… 
Forman’s latest work is an aerial exploration of some of the most rapidly changing places on our planet. Over the past two years Zaria has travelled with NASA’s science missions to track shifting ice, producing a collection that faithfully captures the range of ephemeral landscapes she observed while flying just hundreds of feet over Antarctica and the Arctic.
While her previous drawings are often recognizable as icebergs and glaciers, Zaria’s proximity to NASA scientists inspired work that is highly precise in its technical execution and yet visually more abstract. With an eye toward communicating the alarming rate that our polar regions are melting, Zaria portrays the vulnerability of thinning ice and heat-absorbing inkiness of the seas with profound detail and inherent drama. Each piece is rich in nuance, imbuing this series with great variation and thematic cohesion. In the sharpness of these birds-eye views drawn in her characteristic large-scale format, Zaria has created deeply intimate portraits of the environments we stand to lose.


I was captivated by the exhibit. Forman’s imagery was stunningly beautiful yet sadly horrifying. And I wasn’t alone. I found myself interacting with other observers having a similar emotional reaction. If the intent was to begin a dialogue, it worked. Winston Wächter Fine Art can be found in booth 414.

EXPO CHICAGO continues through Sunday at 6pm. Tickets are $30 [$50 with tour]. Parking is available on site. For additional information visit: expochicago.com

Friday, September 20, 2019

Mary Porterfield - Hofheimer Gallery

Mary Porterfield, Alice Begins, oil on layered glassine, 36 x 36"

It’s not a secret that Americans have an issue with growing old. Botox, Restylane, Kybella, Chemical Peels… we’re a youth-obsessed society fearing the natural deterioration of the body. In other cultures, elders are honored. Wrinkles are a sign of a life well lived. They signify knowledge and wisdom. When we embrace our elders, we find ourselves honored with the gift of wisdom.

I visit my ninety-two-year-old aunt on a regular basis. When I was a child, she lived in the house next door. A kind and sweet woman, I see her as a second mother. When we talk, the details of her life unfold into a vaguely familiar history with moments of insight—moments that might have been lost forever. 

Mary Porterfield, Waiting, oil on layered glassine, 24 x 60"

This brings me to a wonderful solo exhibition by Mary Porterfield, currently on display at the Hofheimer Gallery in Chicago. The show titled “in:dependence,” fearlessly examines the later stages of life, Inspired by Porterfield’s experiences as a caretaker. Her kind and gentle demeanor is authentic—And that sensitivity is reflected in her imagery.

Porterfield paints her subjects in oil on layered glassine, layered on top of Yupo [Synthetic Paper] and Vellum. This process produces a hazy dreamlike effect which seems to reference fleeting thoughts or foggy memories. Porterfield’s ghostly figures emerge in and out of sterile environments, questioning perception and reality. Is assistance needed? What if it’s not wanted? 

The Hofheimer Gallery will be hosting an artist talk tomorrow, Saturday, September 21 from 2-3pm. Porterfield’s exhibition continues through September 28. Hofheimer Gallery is located at 4823 N. Damen Avenue, in Chicago 60625. Learn more at hofheimergallery.com.