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

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.


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:

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

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.

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.