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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