Thursday, August 27, 2009
Currently on display, at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago, is a wonderful exhibition of mixed media pieces by Nancy Rosen. This exhibition of figurative works—with complex patterned backgrounds—opened on July 27 and will continue through September 10th. I've written at length about the beauty and depth of this show in past posts. It's an amazing body of work and people seem to be drawn into the space, after catching just a glimpse from the street.
Well, September will soon be here and the Rosen show will be removed to make way for the National Juried Exhibition titled "red". And while Rosen collects the current work from Gallery 180—or at least the pieces that remain—she will also be dropping off yet another incredible piece... "Lady in Red".
Rosen's "Lady in Red" can be seen—along with the works of thirteen other artists from around the country—at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago from September 14 through November 11. The Reception for "red" will take place on Friday, October 9th from 5:30-7:30. Gallery 180 is located at the corner of Lake and Wabash in Chicago's Loop. The exhibition is free to the public and all works will be available for purchase. Additional work by Nancy Rosen can be found at nrosen.com
Image: Nancy Rosen, "Lady in Red" mixed media, 38x50", $9,500
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Maggie Meiners has been selected to receive the Ragdale Prize from her participation in the "From Nature" exhibition at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. The winner was selected by a committee of Ragdale Administrators who attended the opening reception to review the work. Meiners' subtle high-key composition, titled "Snow Abstract", got the committee's attention. Meiners will receive a two-week residency at Ragdale, where she will have the time and space to work on a project of her choosing. I look forward to the opportunity of reviewing the work she creates. Additional work by Meiners can be found on her web site: maggiemeiners.com. Take a moment to look through her work. There are some wonderful images.
A little background on Ragdale... from the Ragdale website:
At Ragdale we believe that time and space are not luxuries but necessary elements for creating important new work. Ragdale provides these necessities to artists in the form of two- to eight-week residencies. Add eleven other creative individuals to the mix, acres of idyllic prairie, a family-style dinner each night, and you have Ragdale.
Ragdale artists come from all over the country and around the world to create, write, experiment, research, plan, compose, rejuvenate, brainstorm, and work. Residents' uninterrupted time at Ragdale is their own. In this community of unique individuals, Ragdale also offers the possibilities of dialogue and connections with other artists.
Located at the historic summer home of Arts and Crafts architect Howard Van Doren Shaw, Ragdale exists in a peaceful setting adjacent to over 50 acres of prairie. Residents reside in live/work spaces in the Ragdale House, Barnhouse and Friends' studios. Ragdale is located one mile from downtown Lake Forest, and just 30 miles (only one hour by train) from downtown Chicago.
Additional information on the Ragdale Residency Program can be found at: ragdale.org
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Roland Kulla is one of fourteen artists to be included in "red" the upcoming National Juried Exhibition at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. This weekend, I had the opportunity to visit Kulla in his painting studio. His newly constructed light-filled space is stacked with new works-in-progress for an upcoming solo exhibition. But he took some time to have a cup of coffee and talk with me about his work.
A prolific and somewhat obsessive artist, Kulla has been painting bridge imagery since 2000. He began by taking a closer look at the bridges of Chicago and then moved on to imagery based on the structures in Boston, New York and Pittsburgh. The Chicago bridge series, titled "Constructs", focused on tightly cropped design elements, which forced the viewer to explore the individual components of the massive structures. As Kulla explains... "What may appear to be random patterns of bolts and rivets, have a rigidly patterned logic. Stripped of their context, the bridges take on new aspects."
"Meridian"—presenting a similar perspective to the Chicago series—was created while exploring the Boston structures. This was Kulla's first venture into painting bridges outside of the Chicago area. This body of work titled "Elemental Boston", continued to focus on a tightly cropped segment of the structure but now Kulla began to explore basic geometric shapes and a primary palette. Kulla explains...
"I focus on primary elements. At the most obvious level, the images capture a part of a much larger whole. Basic geometric shapes – circles, triangles, squares – are combined in a myriad of configurations. Red, yellow and blue—the primary colors—are featured. Each subject required no more than five or six colors to create very complex images. The play of light and dark, the contrast of surface and void are also key aspects of the work."
Kulla's "Meridian" can be seen—along with the works of thirteen other artists from around the country—at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago from September 14 through November 11. The Reception for "red" will take place on Friday, October 9th from 5:30-7:30. Gallery 180 is located at the corner of Lake and Wabash in Chicago's Loop. The exhibition is free to the public and all works will be available for purchase. Additional work by Roland Kulla can be found at RolandKulla.com. Kulla's work is currently represented in New York at the George Billis Gallery, and in Pittsburgh at the James Gallery.
Image: Roland Kulla, "Meridian" acrylic on canvas, 36x60", $8,500
Saturday, August 22, 2009
I've always been intrigued with the paintings of Indianapolis Artist, Lorraine Sack. Over the years, I've juried Sack into a number of exhibitions and I'm always astonished with her superior technique and the brilliant imagery she produces. Sack submitted some of her recent pieces to "red" the National Juried Exhibition to be presented at Gallery 180 beginning in mid September. I selected this wonderfully symbolic still life to be included in the show. The piece—titled "Sea Captain"—is an oil painting depicting two ceramic pots, organic pods, and a red bowl positioned on a wooden table. A small painting of a seascape is hung on a beautifully patterned wall behind the unusual grouping. In an email, Sack explained…
I've always loved the character and attitude the teapot holds. It has such a feeling of movement, like a sea captain standing at attention on his ship with his trusty mate (the matching smaller pot) near by. The authoritarian red and earthy tones seem to be the natural choices for color ...The background a stormy neutral, and the red highlighting the ship behind the Captain. The pods add an organic element, reminiscent of sails. The stems of the pods flow in a wave pattern which imply the presence of water.
Lorraine Sack’s “Sea Captain” can be seen during the “red” exhibition presented at Gallery 180 from September 14th through November 11th. A reception will be held on Friday, October 9th from 5:30-7:30. Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago is located at 180 N. Wabash in Chicago's Loop. Additional work by Lorraine Sack can be found at: lorrainestudios.com
Image: Lorraine Sack, Sea Captain, oil on linen, 18x24", $3,600
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
I recently completed the selection process for "red" a National Juried Exhibition to be presented at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago from September 14 through November 11. During the process, I found myself overwhelmed by the number of entries containing destructive and/or dark religious imagery. Looking for the bright side of this situation, I found work that contained some of that same messages but took it a step further. The content was much more cerebral. The symbolic imagery of Richard Laurent's "Kingdom" fits into this category. Like the symbolist painters of the early 19th century, Laurent's style is refined, elegant, subtle, and intellectual.
I met with Laurent an few days ago and asked him to tell me about his work. Over dinner, he explained that "Kingdom" was created while working on the series of oil paintings titled "Eve without Adam". Laurent later went on to describe "Kingdom" in an email...
The imposing green apple references Adam and Eve in Genesis. In this scenario, however, Eve is alone. In the biblical story, Adam and Eve are cast out from the Garden of Eden after partaking of fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. Is the serpent, then, the agent of corruption or is it the revelation of knowledge itself?
In this painting, the curtain pulls back on Eve to reveal her crimson vestments. She is poised to reveal herself to the world. The crimson garment represents her passionate disposition, the disposition of youth. Red is the dominant color. It mirrors her own red heart which, by extension, she has 'poured out' already.
Young Eve must choose between dualities: knowledge or ignorance, temptation or security, chastity or sexuality, future or past. It is time for her to discover her pathway in a hazy and unfamiliar environment.
A green apple is often thought of as more sour than sweet. So, too, the green apple of knowledge may seem bitter when compared to affairs of the heart. Shall Eve leave this kingdom for another based on her heart's desire alone?
The beauty of this work is that the symbols found within the story can be attributed to all of our lives. It causes us to question past temptations, choices, and then ponder the consequences of our actions.
Laurent's "Kingdom" can be seen—along with the works of thirteen other artists from around the country—at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago from September 14 through November 11. The Reception for the exhibition will take place on Friday, October 9th from 5:30-7:30. Gallery 180 is located at the corner of Lake and Wabash in Chicago's Loop. The exhibition is free to the public and all works will be available for purchase. Additional work by Laurent can be found at: laurentart.com
Image: Richard Laurent, "Kingdom" oil on canvas, 18"x 18", $1,800
Sunday, August 16, 2009
By the end of last week, I had finally finished reviewing the submissions for the "red" exhibition. The exhibition will be presented at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago from September 14 through November 11 with a reception on Friday October 9th from 5:30-7:30.
Well, when I first began the review of work, I was a little concerned that a high percentage of the submissions were focused on death and destruction. With me, a little of the dark side goes a long way. But as I continued to open the submissions, there were some amazing works of art... various styles, various media, and a variety of themes. I found myself selecting images presenting complexity and interesting content. The show still includes some imagery containing pain and suffering, which seems to be a reaction to the current state of our country, but it's not the focus of the exhibition.
The above image by Kathy Liao of Seattle Washington, is one of the pieces that has been selected for the show. Intending to bring consciousness to the evolving definition of femininity, Liao explores color and aggressive mark making to convey her ideas. "De-Mask"—a 54" square oil painting completed in 2008—conveys the frustration of a child [or a nation]. The title implies that we all wear masks, which we can alter but can't remove. It's an impressive piece for a young up-and-coming Artist.
A full list of the accepted Artist and their works will be available for viewing at gallery180.com in the next few days. The show opens September 14th with a reception on Friday, October 9th. Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago is located at 180 N. Wabash in Chicago's Loop.
Image: Kathy Liao, "De-Mask, oil on canvas, 54x54", $3,000
Saturday, August 8, 2009
The entry deadline for "red" the national juried exhibition, has passed.
When I woke up this morning, I poured myself a cup of coffee and sat down with a mailbag filled with entries. I begun to open the envelopes... logging in each entry as I sipped my coffee. I tend to log in all of the entries before going back to review the work... eventually editing the images to the pieces to be exhibited. I found myself occasionally peeking... like a child on Christmas Eve. As I got through the first twenty—or so—entries, I began noticing an unexpected theme emerging. Not all, but many of the pieces were focusing on death and destruction with some bloody religious content mixed in. I truly didn't expect this... It made me wonder if art truly does imitate life. Are we really that far gone?
Image: Georgia O'Keeffe, Poppy, 1927