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

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"

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

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.

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.