Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Valerie Schiff and The Art of Human Rights


Last week, I received an email from Valerie Schiff. The message had an interesting subject line. Normally, if the sender is not familiar to me, the email is trashed. But this subject line read: “Two Artists THOUGHT WE SHOULD MEET”. I was intrigued. Who was Valerie Schiff? And which two artists suggested that we meet?

Of course I googled Schiff and found a web site filled with figurative sculpture in terracotta or bronze. Again, I was intrigued. We scheduled a meeting and met yesterday morning in her Evanston studio.

When I arrived, a seasoned sculptor greeted me. Her work surrounded us. The scale of the pieces caught me off guard…they were much larger then they appeared on line. I spent some time wondering around the room exploring the various nuances’ of each piece, before sitting down to chat. Even in mid-conversation, I was drawn to yet another subtle gesture incorporated into one of the forms. I found myself up—out of my chair—again, wondering around the room, while continuing our discussion.

As I explored, I found that Schiff’s work was not a study of the human form but a study of the human soul. The emotion found in her work, emits a connection with the viewer. The viewer is drawn into the form—whether realistic or abstract—they are emotionally moved.


I invited Valerie Schiff to present a few of her works in the upcoming “The Art of Human Rights” event. It is an event that benefits Heartland Alliance—a charitable organization that I’ve worked with for the past few years. This year, I am chairing the affair, which will take place at the Coalition gallery [217 N. Carpenter, Chicago] on Saturday March 10th —followed by “coffee with the artists” on Sunday morning. Commissions from the sale of work will be donated directly to Heartland Alliance. Tickets for the event can be purchased at: heartlandalliance.org or by contacting Michelle Marvin directly at 312.660.1339 or mmarvin@heartlandalliance.org. I hope to see you there… save the date! Saturday, March 10th 7-10pm.

In the coming weeks, I will be writing about "The Art of Human Rights" event as well as the artists who were invited to participate.
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Friday, December 23, 2011

Sheila Ganch ~ human

Image: Sheila Ganch, "Clustered" • stoneware, aluminum, limestone • tallest form 21” each base is 3” x 3” • 2011

I received a shipment of exhibition catalogs for the "human" exhibition, from the printer today. Iv'e work with Modern Postcard for a number of years and they always seem to do an amazing job... and they did it again. The twenty-four page 8.5 x 11", full color catalog, documents the various artists selected for this exhibition. After the pieces were selected, each of the artists were ask to provide a short statement and a one-hundred word biography. This information was used to create the catalog, which will be used to promote the show and to help with the sale of the work.

The "human" exhibition was produced as a benefit for Heartland Alliance. Commissions from the sale of work, will be donated directly to Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights, which provides life changing opportunities to people who are homeless, seeking safety or living in poverty. Copies of the catalog will be sent to my collector base and will be available during the exhibition at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. The exhibition opens to previews on January 16, 2012.

One of the sculptors included in "human" is Sheila Ganch. Her grouping of abstracted figures titled 'Clustered", has elements of stoneware and aluminum. In talking about her work, Ganch explains:
A string of challenges are considered and resolved in the creation of these clay forms. The material is sculpted, coaxed, textured, low fired, pigmented, and finally high fired to produce the stoneware sculpture. The final form is mounted on limestone. A single figure in the grouping is cast aluminum, which was sand casted from one of my original stoneware forms.

A reflection of my process, these pieces emerge from an intuitive level that evolves when the clay, stone and metal merge to create what is a thought provoking artistic form. This final form does not exist within a vacuum, but can only be seen as a result of the process. “Clustered”, is the result of a this process. It seeks to capture a sense of community that is missing from our present social and political environment. These figures are gathered to share and honor their differences.
Gallery 180 is located at 180 N. Wabash—at the corner of Lake and Wabash—in Chicago’s Loop. The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 8am-8pm, Friday 8am-5:30pm and Saturday 9am-5pm. Additional information can be found at gallery180.com. Other work by Sheila Ganch can be found at: sculpturebysheilaganch.com

Sheila Ganch received her degree from Ohio State University, but considers her postgraduate training with other fine sculptors to be the reason for her success. Her work has been exhibited at the Bellevue Washington City Sculpture Show, The Fort Wayne Museum of Art; Fort Wayne, IN, The Chicago Cultural Center, The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago, The Harold Washington Library; Chicago and Veridian Gallery; New York. Ganch is currently represented by Gallery H; Three Oaks, Michigan, and The Chicago Art Source Gallery; Chicago.
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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ted Preuss ~ human


Image: Ted Preuss, "Recline", Silver Gelatin Print, 17" x 22", edition of 10

One of the amazing artists, selected to exhibit at the upcoming "human" exhibition, soon to be presented at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago is photographer, Ted Preuss. Preuss, a Colorado native, is currently living and working in Chicago. His work is not new to me. I've followed his career for the past six or eight years. His imagery has always been tasteful and exquisitely elegant. Three pieces will be included in the exhibition. Preuss defines his work:
The subject matter in which I photograph is not unique. It is what captures my mind’s eye and imagination. As an artist, I have always been interested in the human form and its many interpretations. I believe there is something inherently beautiful about the human body.

Through my lens I seek to capture the elegance and natural beauty of the female form, yet secretly wishing to leave traces of their identity forever. My images are studies in light and form, which blend formal and sensual qualities, radiating the individuality of my subjects through their emotion-laced gestures. Consequently the images I have captured have a warmth inner beauty with a poetic and distinct elegance.
Join us for "human", which opens to previews on January 16th. An opening reception is scheduled for Friday, January 20th from 5:30-7:30. The "human" exhibition is a national juried exhibition benefiting Heartland Alliance. Commissions from the sale of work, will be donated directly to Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights, which provides life changing opportunities to people who are homeless, seeking safety or living in poverty.

Gallery 180 is located at 180 N. Wabash—at the corner of Lake and Wabash—in Chicago’s Loop. The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 8am-8pm, Friday 8am-5:30pm and Saturday 9am-5pm. Additional information can be found at gallery180.com. Other work by Ted Preuss can be found at: preussphotography.com

Ted Preuss, a self-taught photographer, was born in Colorado in 1962. He picked up his first camera at the age of seven and instantly became obsessed with the nature of the medium. His passion for photography led to a career as a freelance architectural photographer for a decade in Boston and San Francisco. Today his work is primarily fine art B&W photography using vintage view camera with century old lenses. The process of making prints is as important to him as the practice of creating photographs. Preuss chose hand coated platinum-palladium as a medium for its distinct vintage quality and archival properties. His work been featured in Zoom Magazine, Focus Magazine, and Large Format Magazine.
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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Kenju Urakubo ~ the human exhibition


The work of Kenju Urakubo will be included into the upcoming "human" exhibition at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. Opening to previews on January 16th—with an Opening Reception on Friday, January 20th from 5:30-7:30—the human exhibition is composed of work created by twenty artists from around the country. Commissions from the sale of work will be donated to Heartland Alliance. Two of the paintings included in the exhibition are from New York painter, Kenju Urakubo. His work—images of the female nude reflected onto mirrored walls of beveled glass—are beautifully painted. Urakubo explains:
Willem de Kooning’s painting “Pink Lady” has always hunted me in my mind. I am especially interested in the chaotic relation between the human figure and the straight line of the door and window, found in this painting. Influenced by de Kooning’s work, I create paintings that explore relationships between the organic human form and the sharp, hard edges of the environment. My paintings emphasize the contrast between these elements. The portrayal of a hard-edged glass wall, surrounding the human figure, is not typical of the traditional western painting—rather—it relates to the landscape found in conventional Japanese wood cut prints.
Join us for "human", which opens to previews on January 16th. Gallery 180 is located at 180 N. Wabash—at the corner of Lake and Wabash—in Chicago’s Loop. The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 8am-8pm, Friday 8am-5:30pm and Saturday 9am-5pm. Additional information can be found at gallery180.com.

Kenju Urakubo came to the United States in 1970 after studying oil painting and graduating from Tama University of Fine Arts, in Tokyo, Japan. Urakubo’s exhibition list begins in the early 1960’s—being widely exhibited and having earned numerous awards. Some recent exhibitions include, a 2008 four-artist invitational at the Art Association of Harrisburg, and solo exhibitions at The Hoyt Institute of Fine Art in New Castle , Pennsylvania [2006] and The International Museum of Art at El Paso, Texas [2005]. Urakubo’s work is in the collections of Chase Manhattan Bank, NY, Nippon Express USA, NY and The International Museum of Fine Art, El Paso, TX. Urakubo is represented by Gallery H in Three Oaks, Michigan.

Image: Kenju Urakubo, Cora I • oil • 23.5” x 23.5” • 2009
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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Nicole McCormick Santiago ~ the human exhibition

Indulgence II • oil on canvas • 36.5” x 32” • 2011

"human" will be the second time that Nicole McCormick Santiago will be included into an exhibition at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. Her beautiful brightly-painted narratives become a bitter reminder of the comma our over indulgent society will face, lacking moderation. A similar theme is addressed by Pamela Michelle Johnson's glutinous super-sized paintings of confectionary delights currently on exhibit at Gallery 180. McCormick Santiago's two paintings... "Indulgence" and "Indulgence II" have been selected for the "human" exhibition, opening for previews on January 16th. McCormick Santiago explains the intent of her paintings:
As the title implies, “Indulgence” and “Indulgence II” are images, which reference excess. These images are loosely based on Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s work, Land of Cockaigne, wherein Bruegel depicts a land of opulence and ease, far from the truly discordant reality. By overindulging in the surrounding goodness, Bruegel’s inhabitants fall into a gluttonous stupor, no longer useful or productive. I am contemplating some of the same ideas of bounty, immoderation, gluttony and sloth in the Indulgence images. Not unlike the inhabitants of Bruegel’s image, the figures “Indulgence” and “Indulgence II” have surrendered to their surroundings, becoming inactive as a direct result of their immoderation and excess.
"human" opens to previews on January 16th with an Opening Reception scheduled for Friday, January 20th from 5:30-7:30. All work will be available for purchase with commissions donated to Heartland Alliance. Gallery 180 is located at 180 N. Wabash—at the corner of Lake and Wabash—in Chicago’s Loop. The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 8am-8pm, Friday 8am-5:30pm and Saturday 9am-5pm. Additional information can be found at gallery180.com.

Indulgence • oil on canvas • 33.75” x 32” • 2011

Nicole McCormick Santiago received her BFA from Indiana University and her MFA from the University of New Hampshire. She currently holds the position of Assistant Professor of Studio Art at the College of William & Mary. Her work has been featured in such publications as the Artist’s Magazine and the International Painting Annual 1 (INPA-1). Nicole has shown in over 70 group, juried, and solo exhibitions. She is currently represented by First Street Gallery in New York.
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Friday, December 16, 2011

Brandon Briggs ~ human

On January 16th, Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago will open “human” …an exhibition of fine art, from around the country, that explores the human form as well as the human condition. The exhibition includes a variety of painting, drawing, photography and sculpture.Two beautiful paintings by Brandon Briggs are included in the exhibition. His statement describing the work follows.
"My work’s primary concerns are steeped in the traditional fundamentals of figurative painting: creating the feeling of weight, mass, solidity, and character. A perfect marriage of the image and its making is the primary challenge, with the relationship between image and viewer being strengthened by a narrative implied by the scale, gaze, and vulnerability of the subjects. These works are part of a larger group of nine paintings addressing the implications of allegiance in the face of sociocultural discrimination. The paintings are an investigation of the self and its relation to the group. Groups of people who share common values function simultaneously as separate individual energies, as well as a collective group force that acknowledges its own vulnerability, yet is still empowered by commonality. The paintings serve as a physical embodiment of this phenomenon by functioning as individual works with rhythms particular to their design, while harmonizing with one another to allow a greater statement to present itself."
The Human Exhibition includes work by twenty highly-talented artists from around the country. All work will be available for purchase. Commissions from the sale of work will be donated directly to Heartland Alliance to help with their work supporting Human Rights and needs. The exhibition will run through March 1st with an opening reception scheduled for Friday, January 20th 5:30-7:30. Gallery 180 is located at 180 N. Wabash—at the corner of Lake and Wabash—in Chicago’s Loop. The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 8am-8pm, Friday 8am-5:30pm and Saturday 9am-5pm. Additional information can be found at gallery180.com.

Brandon Briggs earned his BFA in Drawing and Painting from Indiana University in South Bend Indiana in 2007 and an MFA in Drawing and Painting from Bowling Green State University in 2011. Briggs’ work has recently been on view at the Toledo Museum of Art in Toledo Ohio, The Midwest Museum of American Art in Elkhart Indiana, and Thaddeus C. Gallery in Laporte Indiana. Briggs is currently a full time instructor in the School of Art at Bowling Green State University. His work is included in numerous private collections as well as the permanent collection of the Midwest Museum of American Art.

images: Kristen, 20 [left] • oil on canvas • 28” x 19” • 2011
Lindsey, 25 [right] • oil on canvas • 28” x 19” • 2011
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Monday, November 28, 2011

E. Thurston Belmer ~ human, January 20th

On January 16th, Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago will open “human” …an exhibition of fine art, from around the country, that explores the human form as well as the human condition. The work includes a variety of painting, drawing, photography and sculpture. In the coming weeks, I'll be highlighting some of the pieces selected for the show... with a little background on the artists that created them.

E. Thurston Belmer contributes an intense, large-scale painting to the exhibition. The painting measuring 138” x 78”, is titled “Jean Porter Green.” Belmer explains the painting as a presentation of embodied trauma. He continues…
“…The scarred green background against the stark black fabric of the figures emphasizes the distance between the figures and the psychological space in which they inhabit. This image is overbearing in its scale, and like the presence and shock-realization of a traumatic experience, “Jean Porter Green” inhabits and recalls painful psychological states. The painting mimics that which we endure; it is the hardships and unavoidable trials that inform who we become. The figures function as a representation of each individual viewer, or a vacant body where experience fills out and completes each form. “Jean Porter Green” operates much like daily interactions between intimate bodies. These moments are fundamentally abstract and intangible, as “Jean Porter Green” presents an emotional and fragmented reality.”
Commissions from the sale of work, included in this exhibition, will be donated directly to Heartland Alliance to help with their work supporting Human Rights and needs. The exhibition will run through March 1st with an opening reception scheduled for Friday, January 20th 5:30-7:30. Gallery 180 is located at 180 N. Wabash—at the corner of Lake and Wabash—in Chicago’s Loop. The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 8am-8pm, Friday 8am-5:30pm and Saturday 9am-5pm. Additional information can be found at gallery180.com.

E. Thurston Belmer was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He currently lives and works in Saint Louis, Missouri. Belmer’s work was recently featured in national publication Direct Art Magazine with a six page spread and the back-cover. Belmer’s work has been exhibited nationally including: New York, Chicago, Missouri, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Virginia. Recently Belmer exhibited at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky. He has also exhibited at the Danforth Museum of Art, in Framingham, Massachusetts in Boston Printmakers Biennial 2011, which was juried by Jim Dine.

Image: “Jean Porter Green”, Oil on Canvas, 138” x 78”, 2011
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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Beautiful Indulgence - Pamela Michelle Johnson

Pamela Michelle Johnson / Sugar Cookies / 52"x52" / oil on canvas / 2008

Save the date: Friday, November 11... Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago will present the mouth watering, super-sized paintings of Pamela Michelle Johnson.

The imagery presented, on the appropriately expansive canvases soon to be lining the walls of Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago, will illustrate the wonderfully indulgent snacks and desserts commonly ingested by the American public. These masterful culinary icons represent the flavors of our childhood but the scale and content also address the overwhelming gluttony of our society. Pamela Michelle Johnson explains…
The heightened realism of these paintings serves to remind viewers that this is a mirror to our culture. Overbearing scale and gluttonous quantities, juxtaposed against foods that are both tempting and comforting, examine the conflict between enjoying the highly processed, artificially flavored bounty of American life and the progression to overindulgence and gluttonous excess.
The paintings of Pamela Michelle Johnson will be presented at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago through January 12, 2012. Previews begin on November 7th. An Opening Reception will take place on Friday, November 11 from 5:30-7:30 pm. All works will be available for purchase. Gallery 180 is located at 180 N. Wabash—at the corner of Lake and Wabash—in Chicago’s Loop. The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 8am-8pm, Friday 8am-5:30pm and Saturday 9am-5pm. Additional information can be found at gallery180.com.


Pamela Michelle Johnson attended California Polytechnic State University is San Luis Obispo, California, and graduated with a B.S. in Civil Engineering and an art minor with honors. After graduation, she continued to pursue ceramics, painting and figure drawing independently while working for four years as an engineer in the construction industry. In 2003, she was awarded an artist in residency at The Institute of Ceramic Studies at Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park in Shigaraki, Japan. This experience was influential in her development as an artist and decisions regarding her career path.

Shortly after her return from Japan, Johnson decided to seek new direction in her life and to focus on art as a career. She uprooted from her native California, left her career in engineering, and made a new home in Chicago. There she found a thriving emerging artist culture that provided her with opportunities to continue to develop her own work within a community of other working artists. She became a member at the Palette and Chisel Academy of Fine Art to work on her figure drawing in open workshops, and began exhibiting her work in galleries and art festivals. Her body of work continues to evolve through her most recent American Still-Life series.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Jason Bax - Filter Photo Festival

Jason Bax image
I spent Sunday reviewing photographic portfolios during the final day of the Chicago Filter Photo Festival. This was my second year as a Festival Reviewer. At last year’s event, I was introduced--and inspired by--the work of Chris Raecker, currently on exhibit in Gallery 180.

This year, the festival reviews took place at the Central Loop Hotel on Adams Street. Just as last year, the participants signed up for twenty-minute face-to-face reviews with the intention of receiving candid critiques of their work. Prior to the event, the reviewers were given the names of the participants they would be critiquing. Like a child at Christmas, I googled each of the names to sneak a glimpse at the work and to read a little about each of the artists I would be meeting. Generally, the work was good… but there were some standouts.

Just before our lunch break, a tall young man with a deep voice approached my table and introduced himself as Jason Bax. He sat down and opened his portfolio. As our conversation began, I saw a little of my younger self emerge. I was reminded of the inquisitive and fearless adventurer I was in my youth.

Through our discussion, I learned that Bax is drawn to far away places… places in the world, where life is lived in a very different way from what we know. His work focuses on the beauty of everyday life… faces, environments and textures of a culture. His images represent the soul of Nepal.

Jason Bax image

You can see more work by Jason Bax on his web site: Jasonbaxphotography.com
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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Chris Raecker - Artist Talk at Gallery 180

Erin Hoyt Image
The Filter Photo Festival opened this past Wednesday with a reception at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. The current photographer on exhibition - Chris Raecker - stepped up to talk about his body of work titled "A Midnight Carnival". The exhibition continues through November 3rd. Gallery 180 is located at the corner of Lake and Wabash in Chicago's Loop.

Erin Hoyt Image
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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Opening of Filter Photo Festival at Gallery 180


The Filter Photo Festival opens tomorrow with an evening reception at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. The exhibition—presenting the photography of Chris Raecker and the sculpture of Audry Cramblit—opened on September 5th and continues through November 3rd. This second reception is scheduled for tomorrow… Wednesday, October 12 from 5-6:30. Gallery 180 is located at 180 N. Wabash in Chicago’s Loop.

Image: Chris Raecker, Time to Go

A little back ground about The Filter Photo Festival... from the web site:

Filter is an organization dedicated to producing the Midwest’s premier photography event, the annual Filter Photo Festival. The Festival’s ongoing mission is to connect emerging, mid-level, and professional photographers from across the country with gallerists, educators, curators, editors, and other elite photo professionals, focusing particularly on those of the Midwest.
Filter’s goal is to not only facilitate a dialogue between members of the burgeoning Midwestern photo community, but also to extend this dialogue beyond to the north, south, and both coasts.

The 2011 Festival will take place from October 12th-16th during Chicago Artists Month, and programming will encompass a variety of events, including workshops, lectures, tours, panel discussions, networking events, and of course the portfolio reviews that remain at the heart of the Festival. The majority of our events will take place in Chicago’s downtown Loop, a vital metropolitan area famous for its world-class cultural institutions.

We are proud to be offering private tours of both the Museum of Contemporary Photography and the Art Institute of Chicago’s respective collections, and to be working with Columbia College and the Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago to co-host some of our events.
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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Where Chicago Magazine


Both of the artists currently exhibiting in Gallery 180, Audry Cramblit and Chris Raecker, have received some wonderful press for their photography and sculpture show which opened September 5th.

A few days ago, I received this wonderful digital tear sheet for a piece that "Where" Chicago published in their September issue. Above is an image of the page... following is the written content.

Dark Riders
For most of us, carnivals conjure up a rainbow of happy childhood memories, from sticky-sweet cones of pink and blue cotton candy to that first thrilling coaster ride. Photographer Chris Raecker sees something darker, as evidenced in his new exhibition A Midnight Carnival. In his striking, stark images of the annual National Cattle Congress fair in his hometown of Waterloo, Ia.—created by using day-for-night lenses and selective blurring techniques—the midway takes on a sinister air, as Ferris wheels and kiddie rides spin under surreally darkened skies. Trust us—you’ll never look at a Tilt-a-Whirl the same way again.

The Raecker / Cramblit exhibition continues through November 3rd with a second reception on Wednesday, October 12 from 5:30-7:30. The special reception—during Chicago Artists Month—will also kick off the Chicago Filter Photo Festival. Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago is located at 180 N. Wabash in Chicago's Loop. The gallery is open to the public and all work exhibited is available for purchase.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Opening the Fall 2011 Gallery Season at Gallery 180


Last night’s opening reception for Audry Cramblit and Chris Raecker at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago was one of the highlights of the 2011 Fall Gallery Season in Chicago. The exhibition—which runs through November 3rd—presents an amazing mixture of elaborate bronze figurative sculptures and haunting, large-scale digitally enhanced photographs.


There will be a second reception during October – Chicago Artists Month - Wednesday, October 12, 5-6:30pm. Chicago Artists Month is a citywide, event showcasing Chicago visual artists and their work throughout the month of October. Coordinated by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events in partnership with the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture, Chicago Artists Month showcases over 200 events, ranging from exhibitions to open studio tours and neighborhood art walks presented by museums, galleries, cultural centers, artist collaboratives, and other organizations throughout the city. The primary goal of Chicago Artists Month is to raise awareness of the extraordinary quality and depth of our visual arts community. Additional information can be found at: chicagoartistsmonth.org


If you missed last night’s event, feel free to drop by the Gallery 180 Monday through Thursday from 8am-8pm, Friday 8am-5:30pm and Saturday 9am-5pm. All works are available for purchase. Gallery 180 is located at 180 N. Wabash—at the corner of Lake and Wabash—in Chicago’s Loop.


Additional information can be found at gallery180.com.


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Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Labyrinth and A Midnight Carnival

Image: Audry Cramblit, “Agatha” 2010, bronze

Audry Cramblit ~ “Labyrinth”
Chris Raecker ~ “A Midnight Carnival”
September 5 - November 3
Reception: Friday, September 9, 5:30-7:30
With a special Second Reception: Wednesday, October 12, 5-6:30

Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago presents the figurative sculpture of Chicago artist, Audry Cramblit, alongside the moody, digitally-enhanced photography of Chris Raecker. Combining the work of these two amazing fine artists brings the mystery of surrealistic fantasy to Gallery 180.

In the body of work titled “Labyrinth”, Sculptor Audry Cramblit creates stunning textural surfaces and exquisite patinas that adorn her intimate figurative forms of clay and wax. The final pieces—ceramic or bronze—address the mind and body of humanity, paying homage to the psyche and physical elegance of the human form. Each figure is uniquely embellished to define Cramblit’s intention: The meandering but purposeful journey toward self-reinvention.


Image: Chris Raecker “Disk”, 2007, digitally enhanced photography

Perception is manipulated in the body of work titled “A Midnight Carnival” created by Chris Raecker. In these photographs, Raecker presents moody, digitally enhanced imagery of the annual mid-September fair called the Cattle Congress. The event—Located in Waterloo, Iowa—has a midway with bizarre contraptions and activities. Upon his first encounter, Raecker knew that this environment was perfect for creating imagery flavored with joy and modified to expose a darker side. His photographs only begin to tell a story that touches on childhood memories, perception and the surreal impression of the psyche.

The sculpture of Audry Cramblit and the photography of Chris Raecker will be presented at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago through November 3. Previews begin on September 5th. An Opening Reception will take place on Friday, September 9 from 5:30-7:30 pm …with a special second reception on October 12th from 5-6:30pm. This second reception will be in conjunction with the events of Chicago Artists’ Month, as well as to kick off this year’s Filter Photo Festival. This exhibition is free and open to the public. All works are available for purchase. Gallery 180 is located at 180 N. Wabash—at the corner of Lake and Wabash—in Chicago’s Loop. The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 8am-8pm, Friday 8am-5:30pm and Saturday 9am-5pm. Additional information can be found at gallery180.com.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

ZIA Gallery celebrates its first anniversary


In Winnetka—on Chicago's Northshore—there is a wonderful storefront gallery that opened its doors about a year ago. Marking this anniversary, ZIA Gallery will be presenting an exhibition comprised of the ZIA Gallery Artists. The work ranges from the self-analytical photography of Maggie Meiners, and the hyper-real bridge paintings of Roland Kulla to the highly conceptual, meditative surface paintings, which I’ve been producing for the past two decades. The Reception for this group exhibition will take place on Friday, July 29 from 5-7:30pm. Information follows… I hope that you’re able to attend.

ZIA|Gallery celebrates its first anniversary
with a Group Exhibition showcasing all of its artists.


The creative impulse is fundamental to being human. Compelling art engages the mind and spirit. From an intuitive process to a deliberate, analytical approach and every combination in between, ZIA’s artists bring their diverse expressions to life. Come see the strength and individuality inherent in their artwork.

The exhibition includes work by: Mary Burke, Clyde Butcher, Michael Cutlip, Marc Dimov, Rick Dula, Holly Farrell, Charles Gniech, Karina Noel Hean, Anne Hughes, Bob Krist, Deanna Krueger, Roland Kulla, Maggie Meiners, Julie Meridian, Josh Moulton, John Musgrove, Matt Schofield, John Vlahakis, Kathy Weaver, Carl Wilen, and Beverly Zawitkoski

The public is invited to attend the opening reception July 29, 5–7:30. A number of our artists will be in attendance pleased to welcome you and answer any questions while you take in their works and enjoy a beverage and delicious, appetizers. The exhibition runs Friday, July 29 through August 31, 2011.

Group Exhibition of ZIA|Gallery Artists
Opening Reception: July 29, 5pm - 7:30pm.

ZIA Gallery
548 Chestnut St. Winnetka, IL 60093
847-446-3970
ziagallery.net

Image: Charles Gniech, Meditation II, 48 x 36"

Monday, June 27, 2011

human ~ a national juried exhibition



Above is an image of Young Suk James Kim's "Expulsion" which was just one of the pieces acquired for The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago's Permanent Fine Art Collection. It became a part of the school's collection as a purchase award during a show titled "The Human Form" which was presented at Gallery 350 from July 31 - September 6, 2006. Well, It's time to explore figurative imagery, once again, with "human" a national juried exhibition, which will run at Gallery 180 from January 16 through March 1, 2012. The Deadline for entry [received] is Saturday, October 15.

This National Juried Exhibition is open to all artists, living or working in the US. Work must be original. All media except video and installation are eligible. Sculpture is encouraged. No size restrictions. Each artist may submit up to 3 pieces for the entry fee of $30.

The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago will purchase at least one piece from the exhibition for inclusion into the school’s Permanent Collection. The collection is diverse and can be viewed online at gallery180.com. The Purchase Award/s will be selected by committee and will be announced at the opening reception.

All submitted works must be for sale. The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago will retain a 50% commission from all purchases made during the exhibition. A portion of the commission will be donated to Heartland Alliance for their work in Human Rights. The exhibition will be highly publicized. A color exhibition catalog will be produced to help promote sales.

You can download the Exhibition Prospectus on the home page at gallery180.com

Image: From The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago Corporate Collection: Young Suk James Kim, "Expulsion" oil, 56" x 66"
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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tom Torluemke ~ Precious and Few



Tom Torluemke's exhibition, titled "Precious and Few", will open at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago on August 5th. This incredible body of work is filled with imagery laced in surrealistic fantasy. Torluemke uses this strange and beautiful realism to convey his thoughts on current events as well as presenting the emotions that define humanity. Torluemke writes:

"With the exception of the two paintings each depicting a couple kissing, my works are motivated or inspired by the desire to combine ideas, thoughts, emotions and feelings for the creation of a painting so that those thoughts and emotions, etc. are turned expressively into a material form.

Life's complicated. Its range is vast. I don't understand it, I only sense there's some rhythm to it. Much of which is near invisible, or at least I can't describe it with words. So I choose to use images, color and shapes to come as close as I can to the mystery of life. Once I think I'm close to it, it's like it was a mirage, I rub my eyes to see if it's real and it's gone again.

Back to the kissing paintings, what I do best. When life gets too difficult, I think of a tender, loving moment. That's why I make those."

The paintings of Tom Torluemke will be presented at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago through August 31. Previews begin on July 26th. An Opening Reception will take place on Friday, August 5 from 5:30-7:30 pm. This exhibition is free and open to the public. All works are available for purchase. Gallery 180 is located at 180 N. Wabash—at the corner of Lake and Wabash—in Chicago’s Loop. The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 8am-8pm, Friday 8am-5:30pm and Saturday 9am-5pm. Additional information can be found at gallery180.com.

Image: At Home 2007, [kissing], oil on canvas, 70 x 54.5", $12,000.00

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Roberta Kozuch ~ Layers


Opening June 8th for preview, Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago will present the multi layered paintings of Roberta Kozuch.

Influenced by the International Style of design, each piece in this series of paintings references a strong grid system. Much of the imagery is created by combining strips of re-purposed paint-splashed canvas, found typography and found imagery. The paintings are then reevaluated and reworked into powerful statements of pattern and texture. Kozuch explains...
“The paintings become representations of the experiences we encounter as we move through our lives—and the layers of experiences, which make us who we are.”

The work of Roberta Kozuch will be presented at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago through July 22. An Opening Reception will take place on Friday, June 10 from 5:30-7:30 pm. This exhibition is free and open to the public. All works are available for purchase. Gallery 180 is located at 180 N. Wabash—at the corner of Lake and Wabash—in Chicago’s Loop. The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 8am-8pm, Friday 8am-5:30pm and Saturday 9am-5pm. Additional information can be found at gallery180.com
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Friday, April 22, 2011

George Billis Gallery at Art Chicago


April 29 - May 2, 2011, Opening Preview April 28
The Merchandise Mart, 12th Floor

The George Billis Gallery [New York and LA] will be representing my work, this year, at Art Chicago. Art Chicago, the annual international fair of contemporary and modern art, brings together the world's leading emerging and established galleries. Art Chicago offers curators, collectors, artists and art enthusiasts a comprehensive survey of current and historic work, from cutting-edge to modern masters in a wide variety of media including: painting, photography, drawings, prints, sculpture, video and special installations.

The show runs through Monday, May 2. Tickets are valid for Art Chicago, NEXT, and the Merchandise Mart International Antiques Fair. Adults: $20 daily or $25 multi-day pass... Seniors, Students or Groups: $15 multi-day pass, Children 12 and under are free. It's an amazing event... wear comfortable shoes!

Image: Charles Gniech, "Quiet Surface I", 24" x 24", acrylic on canvas
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Vintage Polish Poster Exhibition at CONNECT


The Spring CONNECT Graphic Design Conference will be held at the Merchandise Mart Conference Center on Thursday and Friday, May 5 & 6. The event kicks off at 6pm on Thursday evening with a screening of the documentary, "Freedom on the Fence". Executive Producer and Prominent collector of Polish posters, Martin Rosenberg, will introduce the film and further discuss the topic at the film's conclusion.

Freedom on the Fence is a 40-minute documentary about the history of Polish posters and their significance to the social, political and cultural life of Poland. The film examines the period from WWII through the fall of Communism, and captures the paradox of how this unique art form flourished within a Communist regime. The documentary contains interviews with older and younger generations of poster artists, examples of past and current poster work, historic and current film footage of where and how the poster is viewed, and commentaries from both American and Polish scholars and artists on the significance of the Polish poster as a cultural icon. Directed by Glenn Holsten and Andrea Marks, Executive Producer: Martin Rosenberg, Producer: Andrea Marks.

The CONNECT conference concludes on Friday evening with a reception for the Vintage Polish Poster exhibition at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. The reception is from 5:30-7:30pm. Gallery 180 is located at 180 N. Wabash—corner of Lake and Wabash—in Chicago's Loop. Posters included in the exhibition are available for purchase. All of these events are free to the public.

You can find additional information on the CONNECT Graphic Design Conference at ai-connect.com
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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tom Torluemke ~ Save the Date


I first became aware of Tom Torluemke’s work while attending a dinner party at a friend’s home. Looking at two large canvases in the host’s personal collection, I was intrigued. I was introduced to the artist at another social event, which allowed me an opportunity to connect a face with the work that had captured my interest. It seemed obvious to me that we would be working together in the future. Since then, I kept Torluemke's work on my short list for exhibiting at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. A few weeks ago, I finally had the opportunity to visit with Torluemke at his amazing home and studio in Indiana.

Torluemke is an intriguing artist. After showing me around his space, we sat in his studio and talked about the work. We eventually began exploring the stacks of paintings, which surrounded us.

Torluemke’s canvases are composed of multiple-layered components. Surreal in a dreamlike collage of imagery—one element melting into the next—the work thrusts the viewer into an environment of psychological and social commentary. Torluemke's aesthetic transcends the concrete and allows for a fully developed voice within the context of his concern for truth and expressions of deep emotion, feeling and spirituality.

The work of Tom Torluemke will be on exhibit at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago from July 26 through August 31. A reception is scheduled for Friday, August 5, 5:30-7:30. Gallery 180 is located at the corner of Lake and Wabash in Chicago's Loop. The exhibition is free and all works are available for purchase. Save the date... It's going to be an amazing show!
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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Marc Dimov and Carl Wilen at ZIA Gallery


This Friday, March 25th, ZIA Gallery will be opening an exhibition by artists Marc Dimov and Carl Wilen from 5-7:30pm

Marc Dimov is exhibiting a series of photographs dealing with the subject of fish and sustainability. Through an artist's residency, Dimov photographed fish at a a wholesale seafood distributor. Approaching the warehouse, with 5 photographic prints of fish, he expressed that he wanted to photograph their inventory. Once he mentioned that the work was about sustainable fishing practices, they immediately gave him charge of their facility. Each fish was photographed individually with the fins meticulously spread open to highlight the beauty of the animals. It's interesting work... a—must see—exhibition.

Carl Wilen has been creating art for more than 45 years. The ZIA Gallery exhibition gives a taste of the artist's imaginative range of two and three-dimensional—evocative and clearly personal—fine art.

The exhibition continues through April 30th. The gallery is open Monday-Saturday, 10 - 5. It is located 2 blocks from Winnetka's Metra Station. ZIA Gallery is located at 548 Chestnut Street in Winnetka, Illinois. You can also find ZIA online at: ziagallery.net
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Corinne D. Peterson ~ Markers


A huge fan of her sculptural work, I bookmarked Corinne Peterson’s web site months ago …A couple of weeks ago, I contacted her to request a studio visit. One morning last week, I met with Corrine Peterson at her studio in Ravenswood.

When I arrived at Peterson’s studio in the Lillstreet Art Center, I met a woman who—I knew—had a story to tell. As she offered me a seat on one of her sculptures, I could see the knowledge of an incredible lifetime peering out through her eyes. I asked her to tell me about herself and about the work she had created. She sat down on a nearby sculpture, slipped on sweater and began to share the stories of how she arrived at this particular point in her life. As we spoke, I found myself exploring the room filled with a variety of works from the recent past. The works were spiritual and introspective. The tactile qualities of the meditative ceramic monoliths define a place in time from prehistory—a topic reflected in my own work. I was intrigued. I had found an artist with a perspective, similar to my own, with a three-dimensional outcome.


Peterson began her journey roughly 25 years ago. Working as a psychotherapist, and now a successful Chicago-based sculptor, Peterson tapped into Jungian analysis to find her way to making her amazing monuments. Jungian analysis is a type of therapy that encourages attention to dreams and art in exploring one’s life. Peterson’s dreams stem from growing up on a farm in Minnesota, with fond memories of a nearby clay bank. The clay—and the influence of markers found in the French countryside—eventually evolved into ceramic monoliths representative of the mile markers of Peterson’s life. In a 2007 article in Ceramics: Art and Perception [issue 69], Peterson points out that she is still working with her dreams which allows her to stay acutely aware of the border between the conscious and unconscious, while exploring both.

I plan to present an exhibition of Peterson’s work early next year. Perhaps, I will be exhibiting with her. Until then, you can find her work at: cdpeterson.com

Friday, March 11, 2011

Pamela Michelle Johnson ~ Abundance

"It's the taste of America. It is what we eat. It is who we are. The insatiable American appetite is set on a path of consumption. Devouring to the point where we are left with nothing, nothing but the consequential garbage. Quintessentially American, junk food is not just part of our diet, it epitomizes our cultural ideals and social norms. Through my work, I strive to invoke reflection on a culture focused on mass-consumption and mass-production, where the negative aspects of overindulgence are often forgotten or ignored. The work questions a culture that equates fulfillment, pleasure and happiness with what we consume." ~ Pamela Michelle Johnson

I first became aware of the work of Pamela Michelle Johnson while reviewing entries for a juried exhibition. Johnson's work wasn't appropriate for that group show but I knew that I would eventually present her work in a solo exhibition at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. At that time, I sent her a note telling her how much I enjoyed the work and that I would be in contact.

After connecting a few times via e-mail, I stopped by Johnson's Wicker Park studio yesterday afternoon. I was looking forward to seeing the large-scale canvases and to finally meeting the artist in person. I was greeted by a charming smile—and after exchanging pleasantries—I was asked to take a seat in the living room while she acquired the large canvases from an adjoining storage area. Each time she reemerged, I was confronted with another amazing image. Much like exploring a Chuck Close painting, the imagery comes into crisp focus from a distance yet the loose application of oil paint is obvious upon close inspection. The gooey layers of decadence are intriguing.

"...Overbearing scale and gluttonous quantities, juxtaposed against foods that are both tempting and comforting, examine the conflict between enjoying the highly processed, artificially flavored bounty of American life and the progression to overindulgence and gluttonous excess. The work is both gross and enticing" ~ Pamela Michelle Johnson

The work of Pamela Michelle Johnson is appropriately scheduled to be presented at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art during the upcoming holiday season. Until then, You can find her work online at: pamelamichellejohnson.com

Above: Pamela Michelle Johnson, Ice Cream I, oil on canvas, 54"x34"
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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Audry Cramblit ~ Labyrinth


I arrived at the studio of Audry Cramblit [and Ted Preuss] shortly after ten o'clock this morning. Being familiar with Cramblit's past sculptural work, I scheduled a studio visit to experience the most recent pieces from a body of work titled "Labyrinth". As I entered the space, I was confronted with a three-quarter life-size clay figure, adorned with patterns and textures similar to a dimensional body mehndi. As we hovered over the beautiful reclining figure, I learned a little more about Cramblit's creative process and discussed the conceptual meaning of the work. The title—Labyrinth—references the elaborate designs Cramblit uses to embellish her intimate forms. She elaborates on her web site... "The ancient pattern of the labyrinth weaves and circles into itself and then back out again... [it] is a meandering but purposeful journey toward self-reinvention; [The work is] a sculptural expression, not only of my personal voyage as an artist but also... an affirmation that we are on our right path."

Not all of Cramblit's pieces are almost life size. In fact, many of the pieces stand only 12-14 inches high... and the ornate details are amazing. Cramblit works both in clay as well as wax. Many of the pieces are cast in bronze [as additions or one-offs] adorning beautiful patinas. Audry Cramblit's work will be presented at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago, this fall. Until then, you can explore additional imagery on her web site: audryc.com
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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Lorraine Sack ~ Bird Lore


Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago presents the oil paintings of Lorraine Sack. This still life and figurative exhibition—complete with subtle representations of perfectly rendered birds—defines Sack’s delight for the feathered creatures, as well as her passion for painting. Influenced at an early age by her mother’s enthusiasm for birds, Sack learned—and was inspired by—stories of their magical capabilities, their unique songs, and their beautiful markings. Sack explains…
“…This fascination led me to begin a dialog—in paint—exploring bird lore. The theme is rich. The wealth of birds used in mythology, folklore, religion, poetry, proverbs, and lyrics make it both easy and challenging to choose what to create…” Sack continues… “I am a painter because I can't imagine otherwise. The process of designing and painting the figure or still life is what makes me eager to work in the studio everyday. I work only with natural light and from life—allowing me to capture the subtle shifts of light and subject. The process and the creation of the image is intoxicating.”

Amazing to look at, Sack has devised a method of painting using oil on linen without turpentine or mediums. The result is a pure and vibrant painting. She weaves together various colors, using line and shape as visual guides within the work.

The paintings of Lorraine Sack will be presented at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago through May 2. An Opening Reception will take place on Friday, March 11 from 5:30-7:30 pm. This exhibition is free and open to the public. All works are available for purchase. Gallery 180 is located at 180 N. Wabash—at the corner of Lake and Wabash—in Chicago’s Loop. The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 8am-8pm, Friday 8am-5:30pm and Saturday 9am-5pm. Additional information can be found at gallery180.com.

Image: Lorraine Sack, "Kingfisher" oil on linen, 36x24, $6,900.
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Friday, March 4, 2011

Combining Work ~ Tansley and Jovanovic?


I’ve spent the past few weeks scheduling studio visits with a variety of artists… attempting to compile the exhibition schedule for Gallery 180 through 2012. My intention for future presentations, is to combine the work of a two and a three-dimensional artist for each exhibition… finding a common thread within the work.

Early last week, I had the opportunity to visit Jim Tasley in his studio at the Fine Arts Building on Michigan Avenue. I’ve worked with Tansley in the past—exhibiting pieces included into group exhibitions. I was excited by the new paintings posted on his web site so I wanted to experience the work in person.

When I arrived at Tansley’s studio, I found the walls covered with work, hung salon style. The fourteen-foot ceilings allowed placement for numerous images from his current body of work as well as some smaller framed pencil drawings exploring the creation of his visual language. Moving on to the rich colorful canvases, I was intrigued by the layers of chaos becoming organized into beautiful flowing organic forms. It seemed that the composition created obvious contrasts of tensions with areas of rest, symbolic of the cycles of daily life. There was something pulling me into each canvas… urging me to further explore the complex patterns of shape, texture and color. I found these images intriguing and plan to include Tansley's work in a future exhibition at Gallery 180. You can view some of Tansley’s work at: jimtansley.com


Interestingly enough—yesterday afternoon, I met with another artist whose work seems to merge seamlessly with Tansley’s imagery. Vesna Jovanovic has a studio in Lincoln Square where she begins her drawings by dripping ink onto paper, hanging them on the wall and exploring the random forms until she sees the beginning of an image. The process continues… She draws into the random drips, creating an organized—and sometimes subtly political—composition through the buildup of beautifully executed organic line. The funny thing is that I was actually there to see Jovanovic’s sculptural work.


The vessels—most standing three to four feet tall—are again, based on somewhat random exploration. The pieces are begun with a process of coiling clay on a potter’s wheel and—prior to being fired—the walls of the vessels are cut to expose a variety of interior surfaces... exposing beautiful hidden forms beneath the—once solid—exterior shell. The forms shift as they are fired, offering an element of chance to the final presentation. Perfect in their imperfection, the vessels are fired at extreme heat [cone 6], and the final surfaces are often an unexpected surprise. Additional work by Vesna Jovanovic can be found on her web site: vesnaonline.com

It seems obvious that the work of these two artists should be seen together. Watch for the future exhibition at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago.
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Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Wonderful Event ~ The Art of Human Rights


Last night’s “The Art of Human Rights” event, was wonderful. The event was packed with Artists as well as Collectors supporting Heartland Alliance. This annual event helps Heartland Alliance to provide housing, healthcare, economic security, and legal protections services to more than 200,000 people whose lives are threatened by poverty and danger, including those living with HIV and AIDS. The after work cocktail party and art auction—both live and silent—was produced by the Junior Board headed by Stephanie Scherra and Kristin Weiss… both amazing women.

The event provided me with an opportunity to connect with the array of Artists that I’ve worked with over the years. This generous group of painters, photographers and sculptors are the people who offered their talents to generate the financial donations. Without the support of these Artists, the Collectors would not have anything to collect—and this Heartland Alliance event would not exist.

The above image is a painting donated by Indianapolis Artist, Lorraine Sack. I’ve been lucky enough to work with Sack for—roughly—the past ten years. I first came across her work when I produced a show titled “Naked or Nude” for the Fine Arts Building Gallery. Not only does Sack produce beautiful still life imagery, she is also an amazing figure painter. If memory serves, I believe that two of her pieces were included in that Fine Arts Building Gallery exhibition ...and both sold.

A Master Painter, Sack has developed a technique of painting with oil paint on linen, without turpentine or mediums, creating a pure and vibrant painting [paraphrased from her web site]. The paint is applied in layers—weaving together colors and values. The works are amazing. And yes—last night—I purchased the wonderful painting shown above, during the live auction.

If you're still interested in purchasing work to support Heartland Alliance, you can do so by visiting the photo ’11 exhibition at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. All commissions from the sale of work will be donated directly to Heartland Alliance for their Art of Human Rights benefit. All of the imagery from the exhibiting photographers can be seen at gallery180.com The exhibition closes March 3rd.


Above: Just one section of the crowd from last night’s Heartland Alliance event at Gruen Gallery, Chicago.
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Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Art of Human Rights: Friday, February 25th


Join me on Friday, February 25th for "The Art of Human Rights" [formerly Art Against AIDS], hosted by the Junior Board of Heartland Alliance. This charitable event features live and silent fine art auctions with a variety of work created by local and national artists. Donating artists include: Frances Cox, Ted Preuss, Maggie Meiners, Audry Cramblit, Paula Kloczkowshi Luberda, Sheila Ganch, and Carol Luc. This is just a partial list of the generous and wonderfully talented participating artists. Follow this link to review the available work.

This after-work cocktail party and fine art auction will benefit Heartland Alliance in providing housing, healthcare, economic security, and legal protections services to more than 200,000 people whose lives are threatened by poverty and danger, including those living with HIV/AIDS.

This year's event will take place at Gruen Galleries located at 226 West Superior Street in Chicago. The festivities begin at 6:30pm. Tickets can be purchased online at www.artofhumanrights.com starting at $125.
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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sheridan Road ~ ZIA Gallery


It’s always nice to receive recognition for the work you create as an artist. About a month ago, Maggie Meiners, Deanna Krueger and myself met with writer, Laura M. Browning and photographer, Jim Prisching at the ZIA gallery to discus our upcoming exhibition. Browning and Prisching work for Sheridan Road Magazine and were meeting with us to learn about “Reflections” the three-person exhibition presented at ZIA Gallery through March 19th.

The wonderfully written single-page article—complete with color images—gives a little insight into our individual bodies of work and concludes by pointing out that each of us is actually just attempting to find peace within the chaos of modern life. Browning concludes the article by pointing out, “…Each artist’s work is about fragmentation and about reflection, about giving something back to its audience.” The article is beautifully written and the portrait by Prisching is wonderful. Images from the exhibition are available at ZIAgallery.net
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Saturday, February 12, 2011

ZIA Gallery ~ The Missed Reception


It’s highly unusual that I don’t make it to the opening reception of a local exhibition that includes my own work. In fact, I think that this was a first.

Last Friday, ZIA Gallery in Winnetka, opened a three-person exhibition titled “Reflections”, which presented my acrylic paintings along side of the photographic imagery of Maggie Meiners and the mixed media pieces of Deanna Krueger. Painfully, a respiratory infection kept me in bed. Feeling miserable, I knew that there was no way to attend the event. Waiting until the last minute—hoping that I might feel better, I made a call to the gallery and my apologetic words came out sounding a bit like a toad… they understood.

The following day, I received a few calls from supporters concerned at my absence. I was told that the reception was well attended and that the exhibition looked great. So today—a week later and feeling a bit better—I headed up to ZIA Gallery to experience the show for myself. I was pleased. Anne Hough, the Gallery Manager, did a wonderful job presenting the work. We chatted for a bit and discussed the variety of press that the show received. I’ll be sharing some of that in future posts.

If you have an opportunity to head up to the north shore of Chicago, visit ZIA Gallery at 548 Chestnut. The show continues through March 19th.
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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Gina Randazzo ~ photo '11


Gina Randazzo is another of the artists who's work is currently being presented in the "photo '11" exhibition at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. The simplistic beauty of Randazzo's repetitive patterns emerging from darkness, are used to comment on a society focused on acquisitions. Randazzo elaborates:
This series of images is an expression of my feelings about living in a society where so much emphasis is placed on shopping. Sometimes it seems to me that consumerism is the main component of American culture, now exported around the world. (I photographed malls in India that look like Sherman Oaks, CA.) While I am extremely thankful that I am able to procure the goods and services I need to live comfortably, I aim to question the constant pressure I feel to enter and engage in the commercial marketplace.

I photographed consumer environments with an eye towards examining the architecture and design that invite consumption. I depict my psycho-physical reactions to the surroundings by removing the mid-tones from the photographs, causing the environment to disintegrate. My framing highlights the disorientation caused by visual overload. I attempt to display the subtexts of sexual desire and religious awe that the consumer is subliminally exposed to. The resulting images explore the emotions evoked by my experience of consumerism.

Gina Randazzo is one of ten artist exhibiting in photo '11 at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. Commissions from sales will benefit Heartland Alliance in their Human Rights efforts. The entire exhibition can be seen at gallery180.com The exhibition continues through March 3rd.


Shopping 2 [top] Archival Pigment Print, open edition, 12.5 x 18.5, framed at 17" x 23", 2010, $600.
Shopping 4 [above] Archival Pigment Print, open edition, 12.5 x 18.5, framed at 17" x 23", 2010, $600.

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Reflections: Opening This Friday at ZIA Gallery


Opening, this Friday at Zia Gallery in Winnetka, Illinois, is a three-person exhibition titled "Reflections". The show is the culmination of work by Maggie Meiners, Deanna Krueger and myself. From the press release, Anne Hughes [Gallery Manager] defines the exhibition...

Each artist employs a different process and medium to develop bodies of work, which involve reflection. The photographic imagery of Maggie Meiners depicts direct, symbolic constructs of self, while Gniech uses both the process of painting and his abstracted interpretations of previously human-interpreted natural forms to evoke meditation. Deanna Krueger combines a high-tech, medical diagnostic film with a hands-on, seemingly crude manipulation of materials to arrive at a sophisticated, shimmering reconstruction.

“Reflections” will be presented at ZIA Gallery through March 19. The Opening Reception will take place on Friday, February 4, from 5-7:30pm. Zia Gallery is located at 548 Chestnut Street in the village of Winnetka — just seventeen miles north of Chicago with easy access from the Winnetka Metra Station.

ZIA Gallery specializes in contemporary American photography, painting and works on paper. The gallery represents established and emerging artists in a range of styles and media with eight exhibitions annually. For additional information, contact Anne Hughes, Gallery Manager, at 847.446.3970 or via ZIAgallery.net
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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Debbie Yost ~ photo '11


Debbie Yost is relatively new to the world of fine art photography, yet her work is stunningly beautiful and sophisticatedly consistent. Yost presents the beauty of fresh frozen plant life trapped in a geometric crystallization of ice. The imagery brings to mind our youth-obsessed culture with its fears of the aging process and its preoccupation with Botox. The budding artist freezes her subjects before the wilting and imperfections begin. Yost's doesn't make reference to the use of metaphor, Instead, she focuses her comments on the visual aesthetic created by the natural and reoccurring patterns found within the imagery. Yost explains:
My inspiration for this series comes from the photographic work of Karl Blossfeldt (Urformen Der Kunst), as well as the work of Edward Weston, and the allure of nature itself. I’m interested in the variety of forms, details and patterns naturally occurring in all botanicals and organics. The intricate detail within the structure of plants is captivating, providing an abstract view of nature through the repetition of shapes and patterns. I’m inspired to investigate this diverse but orderly world that sometimes goes unnoticed or taken for granted. Plants should be valued for their aesthetic, architectural structures, and my photographs depict the appearance of these structural elements. They are displayed in ice. With the density, opacity and texture both on the interior and on its surface, ice provides an interesting medium within which to observe the plants. Furthermore, the division of space, light and shadow accentuates nature’s details, while the silhouettes highlight the structure and texture. The detail present in these organic forms ultimately reveals the fundamental structure of the natural world.

Yost is one of ten artist exhibiting in photo '11 at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. Commissions from sales will benefit Heartland Alliance in their Human Rights efforts. The entire exhibition can be seen at gallery180.com The exhibition continues through March 3rd.



Images:
[top] Sunflowers in Ice
Silver Gelatin Print, edition of 20, 12.5” x 10", 2009

[above] Anthurium in Ice
Silver Gelatin Print, edition of 20, 12.5” x 10", 2009
Crabapples in Ice
Silver Gelatin Print, edition of 20, 12.5” x 10", 2009

Each image is available for $400.
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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Christopher Shoup ~ WKCC radio interview


Christopher Shoup, one of the ten artists who’s work was selected to for inclusion into the photo ’11 exhibition at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago, was featured in a nine minute NPR radio story this past weekend. The interview gives insight into Shoup’s process and a little background information on the selection process of the photo '11 exhibition.

"photo ’11" opened this past Friday with a catered reception, courtesy of the Institute’s Culinary School. The exhibition continues through March 3rd and the commissions from all sales will be donated directly to Heartland Alliance for their work toward Human Rights. The exhibition can also be viewed online at gallery180.com

Please feel free to contact me directly for purchase inquires.

Image: foreground: Christopher Shoup, Rock Pile, Purple Asters, Salina Township 24” x 24” • 2010 [edition of 10] $700.

Background images: Debbie Yost… More on Yost in future posts.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Christopher Shoup ~ photo '11


I started my day—yesterday—meeting with Heather Claborn, a Producer and Reporter for WKCC Public Radio in Kankakee, Illinois. Claborn is doing a story on Christopher Shoup—one of the ten Artists participating in photo '11, the National Juried Exhibition which will open at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago on the 21st. The exhibition presents a snapshot of the imagery currently being produced with—or through—the photographic process. The show is produced in conjunction with the annual Art of Human Rights® event to benefit Heartland Alliance. Commissions from work sold will be donated directly to Heartland Alliance to help with their work in supporting human rights. Proceeds will help Heartland Alliance provide housing, healthcare, economic security, and legal services to more than 200,000 people whose lives are threatened by poverty and danger, including those living with HIV/AIDS.

Claborn is a beautiful and charming woman with a very large portable microphone. We sat down in a room, adjacent to Gallery 180, to discussed the importance of the Heartland Alliance, the photo '11 Exhibition—and specifically—the inclusion of a piece by local Artist, Christopher Shoup. The interview was an interesting experience. I rarely explain how exhibitions are created and why specific works are selected. In the case of Shoup's "Rock Pile, Purple Asters...", I was drawn to the peaceful repetitive qualities of the abstracted imagery.

Shoup photographically isolates details found in nature then repeats the image—altering, flipping as well as adding new imagery modules to a grid—creating a geometric pattern similar to that of a kaleidoscope. The final image is a culmination of complex segments resulting in an intriguing and approachable visual experience.

An exhibition catalog for the "photo '11" exhibition was produced to help in the promotion of this benefit show. Included is Shoup's statement and it reads as follows:

A drive through my native Salina Township in rural Illinois reveals blocks of farm fields interspersed with fragments of nature and remnant farmsteads. But a stop, followed by a closer exploration, reveals a complex ecology thriving within man’s landscape. There is rich soil, composed of thousands of year’s worth of prairie flora’s decomposition; there is sand, blown from the bottoms of past sloughs; farm rock piles contain granite boulders that were carried from Canada on the backs of the last glaciers, and creek beds cut through submerged limestone formations—records of ancient coral reefs.

Rock Pile/Purple Asters is one piece in a growing body of work that captures the vestige beauty of Salina Township. Its hand-tiled construction, select points of focus and impressionistic background highlight my use of the camera as a painter’s brush more than a fine arts instrument.

The Christopher Shoup interview is scheduled to air on WKCC 91.1FM, on Thursday January 20th.

Please join me for the opening reception of "photo '11" on Friday, January 21st from 5:30-7:30. Gallery 180 is located at 180 N. Wabash—at the corner of Lake and Wabash—in Chicago’s Loop. The exhibition is free and open to the public. All works are available for purchase and commissions will be donated to Heartland Alliance. The entire exhibition can also be found at: gallery180.com

Image: Christopher Shoup
Rock Pile, Purple Asters, Salina Township, 24 hand-tiled 35mm photographs; perfect mounted on MDS; sealed with polyurethane, 24" x 24", 2010, $700



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Friday, January 7, 2011

photo'11: A Photography Exhibition to Benefit Human Rights

Image: Jeff Phillips
"Tourist Crowd Encounters Storm", Inkjet / Pigment Print, open edition, 24” x 65”, 2008

January 17 – March 3
Opening Reception: Friday, January 21, 5:30-7:30 pm
Gallery Hours: Monday-Thursday 8am-8pm; Friday, 8am-5:30pm; Saturday, 9am-5pm

Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago presents “photo ’11”. This exhibition is the result of a national call for artists and presents a snapshot of the imagery currently being produced with—or through—the photographic process. The show is produced in conjunction with the annual Art of Human Rights® event to benefit Heartland Alliance. Commissions from the sale of work included in this exhibition, will be donated directly to Heartland Alliance to help their work in supporting human rights. Proceeds will help Heartland Alliance provide housing, healthcare, economic security, and legal protection services to more than 200,000 people whose lives are threatened by poverty and danger, including those living with HIV/AIDS.

Exhibiting Artists that are local to Chicago include: Jennifer Jackson [Chicago], Maggie Meiners [Winnetka], Jeff Phillips [Chicago], Ted Preuss [Chicago], Christopher Shoup [Bradley], and Debbie Yost [Park Ridge]. Additional Artists include: Ginny Mangrum [Walnut Creek, CA], James Mullen [Brunswick, ME], Gina Randazzo [Hastings-on-Hudson, NY], and Barbara Simcoe [Omaha, NE].

When the show selections were finalized, each accepted artist was asked to submit a statement defining their work. A catalog composed of the various Artist’s statements—as well as images of the included work—is available at the exhibition.

Image: Ted Preuss
"Virtue", Silver Gelatin Print, edition of 10, 14 x 20”, framed size 22” x 28”, 2006

With work featured in Zoom Magazine, Focus Magazine, and Large Format Magazine, Chicago Photographer, Ted Preuss defines his depictions of the human body as being inspired by the figurative work found in Ancient Greece as well as Renaissance, Italy. Pruess explains:
I believe there is something inherently beautiful about the human body. Using traditional techniques and a large format view camera with century old lenses, I seek to capture the elegance and natural beauty of the female spirit. My images are studies in light and form, radiating the individuality of my subjects through their emotion-laced gestures. Consequently, the images capture the subject’s warm inner beauty with a poetic and distinct vintage feel.

Jeff Phillips is fascinated by the random arrangements of public gatherings. Phillips explains:
As my crowd-spotting series evolves [image at top of post], I become better at identifying opportunities: a crowded tourist attraction, a busy intersection, and a packed subway car are all opportunity-rich environments. I look for animated characters within separate groups of people who—absorbed in their own moments—are often completely unaware of the contribution they are making to the larger scene.


Image: Jennifer Jackson
"Fuller Lane", Archival Print from Film, edition of 125, 16” x 20”, 2010

Jennifer Jackson reveals inhabitable spaces from her past. Her words and her work—poetically—tells the story:
My household turned from five to four when I was still new to this world. The home on Washington Street that makes up my first moments of life, and the only memories of my father living with us, is where my obsession with architecture began. The next three residences we inhabited; Reading Court, Fuller Lane, and Route 59, marked significant turning points in our lives.

Knowing that we would never occupy a particular space for long I grew increasingly obsessed in how one occupies a space, where they place their belongings, and how they design their environment and create a home. For me, this act of nesting mimics the manner in which one archives moments from their past. In most cases, one chooses how to store their memories as a method of coping or remembrance; we bury them to protect ourselves from pain, or they remain as fresh as the day they were created, or time picks away at the once richly layered imagery, until it fades. When one may least expect it, a memory resurfaces when confronted with a familiar smell, color, or sound. These elements trigger the memory deep within our mind until it is brought back to our consciousness.

I hope that you will have the opportunity to view this incredible collection of work—and perhaps purchase a piece to support Human Rights as well as one of these amazingly talented artists.

Photo ‘11 will be presented at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago through March 3. An Opening Reception will take place on Friday, January 21, 5:30-7:30 pm. This exhibition is free and open to the public. All works are available for purchase. Gallery 180 is located at 180 N. Wabash—at the corner of Lake and Wabash—in Chicago’s Loop. The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 8am-8pm, Friday 8am-5:30pm and Saturday 9am-5pm. Additional information can be found at gallery180.com.

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