Saturday, December 15, 2012

Matthew Runfola ~ Worldview at Gallery 180


i.12 [self absorption]  • formed/fabricated steel • 16.5” x 4.25” x 9.5”

The sculptural work of Matthew Runfola is currently on view in the Worldview Exhibition at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. One of nine artists included in the exhibition, Runfola's metal semi-abstract narratives offer commentary on current social challenges.

As a society, we are struggling with the basic social skills to engage in face-to-face conversation or non-digital interactive communication. Let's face it, it's easier to write a blog, text, and instant message, then it is to stand up in a room filled with people, and lecture... or even to participate in a small group conversation. Has the computer age actually stunted our social skills and forever altered physical human interaction?  Runfola shares the concept behind of his work:
My work focuses on social commentary that explores the symbiosis between humans and our world, and attempts to visualize the cause-and-effect relationship with the two. In my i-Series body of work, I speak to the growing rate of self-absorption in our society, and the effect this has on community. The word community is derived from Latin cum (together) and munus (gift). Modern conveniences are allowing for better efficiencies, more access, and more universal independence. However, our use of these conveniences and lifestyle choices often blinds us to our surroundings; we are not present. At what point is efficiency a detriment?
The Worldview exhibition will be presented at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago through January 10, 2013. All works are available for purchase with a portion of the proceeds donated to Worldview Education and Care. Gallery 180 is located at the corner of Lake and Wabash in Chicago's Loop.

i.3 [self absorption] • formed/fabricated steel • 12” x 13.5” x 7.25” 

Raised in upstate New York farm country, Matthew Runfola was surrounded by humans interacting with the earth. As Matthew’s love for both mechanical objects and nature grew, his sense of the symbiotic association between humans and the world we live in began. Matthew graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a Mechanical Engineering degree. Searching for added creative freedom, Matthew established Runfola Studios with the intent of creating works that explore the relationship between humans and our physical and social world. Runfola teaches at the Evanston Art Center, located in Evanston, IL, where he also heads the Metal Sculpture department.
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Friday, December 7, 2012

Mary Porterfield ~ Nuances of Landscape


Mary Porterfield, Rise and Fall, 2011, Oil on Panel, 48"x 41"

Last night—after work—I took a short ride out to the Koehnline Museum of Art, at Oakton Community College located Des Plaines, Illinois. It’s just a 30-minute ride from downtown Chicago and I knew it would be worth the trip. Mary Porterfield was opening a two-person exhibition titled “Nuances of Landscape”. I’ve worked with Mary in the past and I’ve always been intrigued with the work that she produces. Her imagery possesses a mysterious quality… with dreamlike figures emerging from atmospheric anomalies. Porterfield’s exhibition statement—paraphrased here—reads in-part, as follows:
“My work asks what makes an act “heroic” in the midst of overpowering circumstance—symbolized by natural phenomena such as geysers, storm clouds, and volcanoes… In my paintings, landscapes represent situations beyond my control—literally and figuratively. A closer look reveals that these scenes are actually composed of hundreds of multi-figured narratives. Some depict religious paradigms and saints, whose heroic acts involved giving unconditionally. Other forms represent animals, which symbolize the courage needed to perform a selfless act—and the harm that can result, especially in the midst of futile situations.”
Porterfield’s paintings are presented at the Koehnline Museum with the work of Nina Weiss. It's a beautiful exhibition and well worth the short dive to the suburbs. “Nuances of Landscape” continues through January 25. Oakton Community College is located at 1600 East Golf Road in Des Plaines, Illinois. The Museum hours are Monday-Friday 10-6 and Saturday 11-4. Additional information can be found at oakton.edu. You can also view additional work by Mary Porterfield at: maryporterfield.com.
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Friday, November 23, 2012

Joann Rea ~ Worldview


Tapestry, oil on masonite, 48" x 36"

Joann Rea is one of nine artists currently exhibiting at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago's "Worldview" exhibition. The work included in the exhibition is diverse—presenting a variety of perceptions and interpretations of the subject, Worldview. The two paintings shown by Joann Rea represent the density of lush forestry in early fall. The images are created with a an obsessively  complex buildup of patterns created with tinny brushstrokes. The brushstrokes emerge into a composition of movement reflecting the transitions of life. Rea explains...
Although both “Tapestry” and “Spirals” are luxuriant paintings of leaves and branches, they are also woven patterns of colors and brushstrokes that lead the eye from one curve to another in the painting. In “Tapestry,” especially, the composition winds its way up the middle of the image, with the leafy brushstrokes following the movement. Straight lines of purple tree trunks both create a stark color contrast and prevent the woven patterns from dominating the composition. “Spirals” is not so much the painting of a tree but more the painting of a tree’s vivid gold and red colors swirling through a maze of green leaves, while the branches hold everything together. 
The Worldview exhibition will be presented at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago through January 10, 2013. All works are available for purchase with a portion of the proceeds donated to Worldview Education and Care. Gallery 180 is located at the corner of Lake and Wabash in Chicago's Loop.

Spirals, oil on masonite, 30" x 24"

Joann Rea has been capturing the nuances of nature and the environment for over 35 years, successfully showing and selling her original oil paintings through a number of galleries across the country. Her work was handled by the Dyansen Galleries of New York throughout the late 1980s and 1990s and was shown in Dyansen galleries in Boston, MA; Soho, NY; Arlington, VA; Waikoloa, HI; Tokyo, Japan; and San Francisco, CA. Independent galleries that have shown her paintings include Marin-Price Galleries, Chevy Chase, MD; Southwest Gallery, Dallas, TX; Park West Gallery, Southfield, MI; Kruckmeyer and Cohn Gallery, Evansville, IN; Fisher Gallery, Washington, DC; Main Street Gallery, Annapolis, MD; and the Prince Royal Gallery, Alexandria, VA. Joann currently maintains a studio at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center in Evanston, IL.
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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Murray Hidary ~ The Repercussions of Sandy


Abstract Color Series, Series 17#1 • digital photograph • 40” x 30” 

Producing a national juried exhibition is always a challenge but the stress increases as the work from around the country begins to arrive... or doesn't. Last Saturday morning, as I began hanging the Worldview exhibition in Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago, It was obvious that a create was missing. After a sweep of various storage areas, I contacted the artist's representative. She tracked the create to find that it was in New York... detained and possibly destroyed by super storm Sandy.

I hung the exhibition without the two Murray Hidary photographs... But the story does have a happy ending. As I was standing in the gallery—an hour before the private preview reception was to begin—FedEx delivered the crate containing Hidary's work. With a few minutes before the guests were to arrive, I uncreated the work and placed the images on easels. The following morning, the pieces were  appropriately installed—included into the exhibition before the reception and available for purchase.

The Hidary images are amazing colorfield pieces mounted behind glass and floating just in front of the wall. An explanation of these rich and thought-provoking photographs, was offered by his gallery...
The dilemma between what remains objective in photography and what is transformed by one’s own perceptions is met head on by Murray Hidary’s work. The blurred color fields in his Abstract Color Series as well as his progressively blurred objects series’ challenge how we visually organize the world. By defamiliarizing commonly encountered objects, he creates new realms within his photographs that inspire to transcend our grounded notions of perception and reality.

Hidary chooses to bring attention to that which goes largely unnoticed by us through his bare lens. His work is shot in 35mm using primarily Kodak and Fuji films and printed on a variety of surfaces including photographic and watercolor paper. Filters were not used to achieve any of the colors or effects in the work, and the images have not been digitally enhanced or physically manipulated during the developing or printing processes. Hidary’s work frames an alternative view of the world that remains true to its’ original composition from the point a photograph is snapped to the final print.
The Worldview exhibition will be presented at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago through January 10, 2013. All works are available for purchase with a portion of the proceeds donated to Worldview Education and Care. Gallery 180 is located at the corner of Lake and Wabash in Chicago's Loop. 
 
Abstract Color Series, Series 17#2 • digital photograph • 40” x 30” 

Hidary’s work has garnered wide praise and regularly appears in gallery and museum exhibitions. His work is also held in many private collections. His photography has appeared in myriad group shows including the San Francisco MoMA’s 15th Biennial Auction, at the Guggenheim Museum, and the San Diego Art Institute. Solo exhibitions of Hidary’s work have been featured at Karpeles Museum (Santa Barbara, CA), East Link Gallery (Shanghai, China), and the Nabokov Museum (St. Petersburg, Russia).
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Monday, November 12, 2012

Richard Laurent ~ Worldview


Richard Laurent, Veil of Tears, oil on canvas, 24"x48" 

Friday's reception for the Worldview exhibition at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago was well attended. Richard Laurent is just one of the nine artists exhibited in the show. His work "Veil of Tears" is from a series of paintings that address Criminal Traditions from a visually symbolic point of view. Laurent's statement reads...
"Around the world, millions of females live too close to their bones and too far from their dreams. They are at risk for honor killing, forced childhood marriage, acid violence, female circumcision, and more. These practices go back thousands of years and still continue today even though they result in the maiming and death of thousands of women each year. This happens worldwide, including in the United States. My work is intended to raise consciousness around these issues because consciousness is the first step toward global change."
Pieces from Laurent's series will be included in a upcoming group exhibition that is planned to travel the country with the intention of raising awareness of this multilayered issue and perhaps leading to social change. Additional information about the Criminal Traditions exhibition can be found on the CAA Exhibition Opportunities board.

The Worldview exhibition will be presented at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago through January 10, 2013. All works are available for purchase with a portion of the proceeds donated to Worldview Education and Care. Please join me this friday for the reception, from 5:30-7:30pm. Gallery 180 is located at the corner of Lake and Wabash in Chicago's Loop.

Richard Laurent is widely exhibited, with numerous awards and recognitions. Recent solo venues include the Atrium Gallery, Fine Arts Building Chicago, Gallery H, Three Oaks, Michigan, and the University Club of Chicago. Laurent has also been included in the Oil Painters of America Eastern Regional Exhibition for the past six consecutive years. Richard Laurent is represented by Gallery H, Three Oaks, Michigan.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Opening Friday at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago

Glory Days  • oil on canvas • 36” x 48” 

This Friday, I will be hosting a reception for the Worldview National Juried Exhibition at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. The exhibition is a benefit for Worldview Education and Care... a 501(c)(3) charity that supports education and health care services in the Arumeru District of northern Tanzania.

One of the nine exhibiting artists is Chicago area painter, Anne Smith Stephan. Her beautiful subtle abstract colorfield paintings are calming in presenting their emotionally-driven content. The artist explains...
My work explores the wounds of life. Memories of these moments float in the recesses of one’s mind and then­—suddenly—jarring recollections appear out of nowhere, startling in their depth. Many moments in life are tranquil and beautiful, others are unsettling and horrific. My work approaches the range of memories that make up a life.
The Worldview exhibition will be presented at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago through January 10, 2013. All works are available for purchase with a portion of the proceeds donated to Worldview Education and Care. Please join me this friday for the reception, from 5:30-7:30pm. Gallery 180 is located at the corner of Lake and Wabash in Chicago's Loop.


Bloodlines [top] • oil on canvas • 30” x 40” 
Gone [bottom] • oil on canvas • 30” x 40”

Anne Smith Stephan received her BA in Fine Arts and Philosophy at Barat College in Lake Forest, IL. She has studied at the Contemporary Art Workshop, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Northwestern University, and the Evanston Art Center.

Her work has been exhibited at Woman Made Gallery, Chicago; the James R. Thompson Center, Chicago; Noyes Street Cafe, Evanston; Gallery Mornea, Evanston; and the Evanston Art Center. For several years she was represented by AnamArt Gallery in Naperville. She recently had a solo exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center and is currently in a group show at the Oak Park Art Center.
She was formerly on the faculty of the Evanston Art Center teaching oil painting and is a founding member of the Wilmette Arts Guild. Her work is in many private collections around the country.

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Charles Gniech at ZIA Gallery

Gniech Exhibition installation image provided by Anne Hughes of ZIA Gallery

An exhibition of my latest paintings, opened at ZIA Gallery last weekend. The work is based on the meditative qualities of the stone circles of Great Britain.   

I’ve spent roughly two decades researching and exploring the stone circles of Great Britain. Britain is littered with more than four hundred and thirty of these prehistoric sites. Each site seems to be placed in a strange segment of paradise… whether on the plateau of a mountain in the Lake District or in the back yard of an old farmhouse somewhere in the middle of the countryside. Each site has it’s own charm and personality. Each site is an experience.

This latest body of work is influenced by the meditative qualities of the fluid surface-patterns found on some of these monuments. I have taken artistic liberties in the replication, manipulation and abstraction of the surface patterns, yet the work continues to convey the serene qualities regularly associated with nature, harmony and inner peace.

The exhibition continues through November 24th. ZIA Gallery is located at 548 Chestnut in Winnetka, Illinois. The gallery is open Monday through Saturday from 10-5. Street parking is readily available.
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Saturday, October 20, 2012

James Deeb ~ Subterranean (no.2)

James Deeb, Subterranean [no.2], oil on board, 9" x 11"

There are just two more weeks to experience the James Deeb exhibition at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. Deeb's exhibition of paintings and prints explores the decay of the world utilizing the figure as content. The awkward subhuman characters found in Deeb's work are a dichotomy ... seeming both humorously-goofy yet somehow tragic ...yet all are intriguing. 

The paintings of James Deeb will be presented at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago through November 1.  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.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Carl Holzman "...whispered dialog amid the suspended calm"

Carl Holzman, "Red Ceramic Pot", oil on canvas, 25" x 25" 

While reviewing submissions for the upcoming "Worldview" exhibition, to be presented at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago, I came across the amazing paintings of Chicago Artist, Carl Holzman. Holzman—born and raised in Topeka Kansas—exposes his love for distressed vintage objects within his compositions. Treating the objects like the actors on a theatrical stage, Holzman arranges and lights his subjects to satisfy his obsession with composition and the rendering of a form through the use of chiaroscuro. Holzman explains:
The mid-century imagery, with its utilitarian shapes and weathered, plain-spoken character, undergoes an arresting transformation—a kind of abstraction or sublimation—under the influence of arrangement and lighting. Allusions to the recent past (objects) and the deep past (lighting, technique) are filtered through the sensibility of a contemporary painter, suggesting whispered dialog amid the suspended calm.
Nine artists were selected for the upcoming "Worldview" exhibition, which will benefit Worldview Education and Care. Founded in 2007 by Philanthropists, Ann and Robert Avery, Worldview Education and Care is a 501(c)(3) charity that supports education and health care services in the Arumeru District of northern Tanzania near Mt. Kilimanjaro.

The Worldview exhibition will be presented at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago from November 5, 2012 through January 10, 2013. An Opening Reception will take place on Friday, November 9 from 5:30-7:30 pm. All works will be available for purchase with a portion of the proceeds donated to Worldview Education and Care.

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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Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Different View of The World

Al Denyer, Arctic V, color pencil on paper, 22" x 22"

Save the Date: Friday, November 9th
On Friday November 9th, Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago will host a catered reception for Worldview, A National Juried Exhibition to benefit Worldview Education & Care… a 501(c)(3) charity that supports education and health care services in the Arumeru District of northern Tanzania near Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Founded in 2007 by Philanthropists, Ann and Robert Avery, Worldview Education & Care was initially created to support a small orphanage in the Nshupu Village of Arumeru. Since then, Worldview has expanded to provide education for unwed teen mothers, secondary education and graduate vocational training, as well as scholarship residence for teenagers. Their newest project, “Community Mobilization for Change”, provides HIV/AIDS outreach and counseling, which has already helped several thousand people. Worldview continues to fully support “Precious Orphanage”, which is currently home to nine orphans.

The Worldview exhibition at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago—will present the work of nine artists, each artist offering their specific perceptions of the world in which we live. The list of artists includes: Al Denyer of Salt Lake City, UT; Murray Hidary of Los Angeles, CA; Carl Holzman, Chicago, IL; Richard Laurent, Chicago, IL; Zahra Nazari, Memphis, TN; Sheila Oettinger, Chicago, IL; Joann Rea, Evanston, IL; Matthew Runfola, Chicago, IL and Anne Smith Stephan of Wilmette, IL. I plan to blog about each of these amazing artists in the coming weeks.

Al Denyer is one of the nine artists whose work was selected for inclusion into the Worldview exhibition. His exquisite pencil drawings, display beautifully mesmerizing surface patterns, interpreting one of the planets’ most pristine and unspoiled areas. Denyer explains:
“My work is invested in representing conceptual approaches to mapping, aerial views and the aesthetic created from the observation of the earth’s surface as viewed from above.
As a personal response to the recent environmental changes in the Arctic Region, I have created different bodies of drawings and paintings, which explore the aesthetics presented by the coastline and ice sheets of the Arctic and reference a satellite viewpoint. These works, which play on the aesthetic beauty of the surface and reflective material used, present an interpretation of one of the planets’ most pristine and unspoiled areas.”
Worldview: A National Juried Exhibition will be presented at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago through January 10, 2013. Previews begin on November 5th. An Opening Reception will take place on Friday, November 9 from 5:30-7:30 pm. All works will be available for purchase with a portion of the proceeds donated to Worldview Education & Care.

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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Monday, October 1, 2012

Charles Gniech at ZIA Gallery


Subtle Breeze, acrylic on canvas, 36" x 72" 

A couple of weeks ago, I spent some time talking about my own fine art with Shannon Gallagher of ZIA Gallery in Winnetka. ZIA will be presenting a show of my recent work, opening October 19th with a reception from 5-7:30. Shannon was using our conversation to compose an article, which would offer some insights into my world as a fine artist. The article—titled “The Surface World of Charles Gniech”—is posted on the ZIA Gallery blog at: ziagallery.net/blog

ZIA Gallery is located at 548 Chestnut in Winnetka, IL. The exhibition runs through November 24. 
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Saturday, September 1, 2012

James Deeb ~ Reception Friday

James Deeb, "Royal Mayan, Naked"  2009, oil on board, 15" x 12"

Today, the paintings and prints of James Deeb were installed in Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. Although the work is inspired by the decay of the world around us, the imagery is typically figure-based, which seems to raise the question of the mortality of humanity, society and self. The paintings are created in a thick impasto—resulting in a low relief surface with brushstrokes that flicker. The monoprints are haunting—produced in a flat graphic fashion. They're amazing images.

The paintings of James Deeb will be presented at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago through November 1. Previews begin on September 4th. An Opening Reception will take place on Friday, September 7 from 5:30-7:30 pm. 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..

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Art of Human Rights ~ ZIA Gallery

Foreground: Sheila Ganch, "Stature", stoneware with mason stains,  12 x 18 x 12"

I spent this past Sunday hanging "The Art of Human Rights" satellite exhibition at ZIA Gallery in Winnetka. The show opened today and will be on display through September 1st. All work is available for purchase. This beautiful exhibition includes; paintings, drawings, mixed media, photography and sculpture. 

“The Art of Human Rights" will be on display at ZIA Gallery, located at 548 Chestnut Street, Winnetka, IL 60093, through September 1. A catered reception will take place on Thursday, August 30 from 5-8:30. The exhibition is free and the work sold will benefit Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights



The gallery is open from Monday through Saturday from 10-5. Additional information can be found at ziagallery.net or by calling 847.446.3970.
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Monday, August 13, 2012

Gallery H, Three Oaks, MI

Gallery H: Sheila Ganch sculpture, Charles Gniech: Anomaly, 40 x 60", acrylic on canvas

A number of years ago, I presented a series of large figurative paintings in a solo exhibition at the Fine Arts Building Gallery. The space included a secondary “members gallery” that presented one piece of work from each of the affiliated artists. After my solo show closed, I moved one the recently shown pieces—“The Actor Sleeps” to the “members gallery”. The substantial painting was eight-feet tall, four-feet wide, and dominated the space.

At the reception for the following exhibition—the work of Grace Cole, if I remember correctly—I was working the front desk. And that’s when I met Nancy Hoffman.

A beautiful woman approached me and asked about the very large painting in the members gallery. She asked me who the artist was and I smiled, extended my hand, and introduced myself. She responded in kind, and after some conversation, Nancy scheduled a meeting to see additional work. She later purchased “The Actor Sleeps” and with a common love for art, we became friends.

Nancy Hoffman is the Director of Gallery H in Three Oaks, Michigan. After seeing my recent exhibition at Gallery 180, she requested some of my work for her Michigan gallery. I was happy to be included. 

Gallery H: Sheila Oettinger, sculpture, Charles Gniech "Rise" 40 x 40" acrylic on canvas

I drove up to Three Oaks last week to deliver the work. Three Oaks is a little town located a few minutes over the Indiana – Michigan Border. The surrounding area is inhabited by the summer homes of Chicago’s affluent. The perfect getaway, Harbor Country offers its residents a quick and peaceful retreat from the chaos of their busy lives in the city. The area includes the beautiful Lake Michigan beaches, plenty of restaurants, antiques, and—or course—fine art.

Being a Curator, I helped to install the current exhibition at Gallery H, which includes the work of Deanna Krueger, Richard Laurent, Sheila Ganch, Audry Cramblit and Andrea Harris. The various paintings and sculptures work seamlessly to create a space of peaceful contemplation. The superior quality of the fine art presented, has resulted in a stellar reputation for Hoffman and her gallery. If you have an opportunity to head up to Harbor Country, take the time to explore Gallery H located at 15 S. Elm, Three Oaks, Michigan. It’s worth the trip. 

Gallery H: Sheila Ganch sculpture in the foreground Charles Gniech paintings
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Thursday, August 9, 2012

James Deeb ~ Coming Soon to Gallery 180


Liar, oil on canvas, 20" x 20"

Save the date: Friday, September 7th 5:30-7:30
Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago will present the dark and macabre works of James Deeb. The exhibition of oil paintings and monotypes will run from September 3 through November 1 with a catered reception on Friday, September 7 from 5:30-7:30.

Intrigued by the decay of the world around us, Deeb presents images inspired by the surface of a rusting paint-chipped girder or crumbling mortar and falling bricks. Although the work is inspired by the decay of the world around us, the imagery is typically figure-based, which seems to raise the question of the mortality of humanity, society and self. Deeb explains:
“My work is invested with [a] sense of fading, even when I’m working with a human face or figure. The painted skin is as chipped and scabbed as any weathered door.” “…And as absurd as it may sound, I don’t find this negative or ‘dark’. It’s a release… One that is more comic than tragic.”
The paintings of James Deeb will be presented at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago through November 1. Previews begin on September 4th. An Opening Reception will take place on Friday, September 7 from 5:30-7:30 pm. 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.


Daughters of Hecate, oil on board, 15" x 12"

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Schiff and Tansley ~ Reception Friday



The reception for the Valerie Schiff and Jim Tansley exhibition at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago will be held this Friday from 5:30-7:30. The show is amazing. It is a mixture of Schiff’s passionate figure studies in stoneware, and abstract figures in bronze, combined with Tansley’s boldly painted colorful abstractions and elegant charcoal drawings… all inspired by nature. It’s a peaceful exhibition… and one that shouldn’t be missed. I hope to see you at the reception.

The paintings of Jim Tansley and the sculpture of Valerie Schiff will be presented at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago through August 30. A public reception will take place on Friday, August 3 from 5:30-7:30 pm.  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 29, 2012

Igor & Marina ~ Chicago Cultural Center



Walkers XVI (Rhinoceros), 2008, oil on canvas, 68 x 48"

Knowing that the shows had changed, I dropped by the Chicago Cultural Center this weekend, to see what was new in the Michigan Avenue Galleries. The Michigan Avenue Galleries are three exhibition spaces on the main floor of the Cultural Center. They typically show though-provoking work by some local artists.

When I entered, I was greeted by an unexpected surprise… Making my way to the second of three galleries, I was faced with paintings by the painting duo, Igor & Marina. I had been introduced to the work of Igor Kozlovsky and Marina Sharapova roughly ten years earlier, when I juried one of their paintings into an exhibition presented at The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. Since then, I have followed the work of this husband and wife collaborative team—mostly via the Thomas Masters gallery on North Avenue. The artists seem to have left Master’s Gallery and are currently represented by KL Fine Arts Gallery in Chicago.

The five paintings in the Igor & Marina exhibition are from the “Walker” series, which references various segments of the history of fine art. Movement has been a subject in art throughout time. The presentation of movement was attempted within cave paintings and Egyptian sculpture, through the onset of photography and into film. The subject of motion continues in fine art today. From the artist statement…
“Our project, “Walkers,” is meant to open a new chapter in the long history of painterly images of motion. We propose to build on a series of works we have been creating over the past 4 years, works that in their painterly technique synthesize many past epochs of artistic achievement in new and compelling ways. In particular, our exploration of the paradoxical relationship of motion and stasis is paralleled by a simultaneous consideration of the relationship between abstract and figurative art and between conventionality and verisimilitude. 
If you’re in Chicago, take some time to see this work. While in the Cultural Center, there is also a truly interesting photography show by Patty Carroll, in the adjacent gallery. Carroll’s show is titled “Anonymous Women”. That work is also pretty amazing.

        

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Maggie Meiners ~ ...Day to Day Life



Maggie Meiners, "Great Grandmum"

There are just a few days left to see the Maggie Meiners exhibition, "Vignettes of Day to Day Life", at ZIA Gallery in Winettka. The show presents a series of compositionally-exciting unconventional portraits observed from Meiners' everyday life. The images are large, creating strong visual impact. Meiners' defines the work on her newly-revised web site and I've included it—in part—here...
Every person has aspects of their life that they would prefer to deny or disguise. Here, each vignette is filled with the accoutrements of my day-to-day life. While I greatly admire the works of Cindy Sherman and Tina Barney, I have chosen to capture the events around me as they happen, rather than setting a stage or directing. These works remain personal observations commenting on my own life story, while nodding toward the multiplicities that comprise the totality of every human experience.
As an artist in an unexpected socio-economic construct, I have found that my journey and those of my peers, is no different than those who may be from a different demographic.  Looking clearly and unapologetically at these various roles has afforded me a larger view of the human condition; and an awareness of the self we expose and the self we keep private.
Don't miss this exhibition. "Vignettes of Day to Day Life" continues at ZIA Gallery through July 28th. ZIA Gallery is located at 548 Chestnut Street in Winnetka, IL. The gallery hours are Monday through Saturday from 10-5. Additional work by Maggie Meiners can be seen at: maggiemeiners.com

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Schiff and Tansley at Gallery 180


Foreground: Valerie Schiff, "Between a Rock and a Hard Place", stoneware, 20" x 11" x 11", $2,800

This past weekend, I installed the Valerie Schiff and Jim Tansley exhibition at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. Being the fishbowl that it is—with great exposure to both Lake Street and Wabash—the installation was repeatedly interrupted by interested passersby. Inquisitive patrons would wonder into the gallery to get that “first look” at the work… even though it was still resting on the floor—awaiting final placement. The numerous conversations resulted in a commission for Schiff and a probable sale for Tansley.

But then again, it’s expected… the show is amazing. The included work is a mixture of Schiff’s passionate figure studies in stoneware, and abstract figures in bronze, combined with Tansley’s boldly painted colorful abstractions and elegant charcoal drawings… all inspired by nature. It’s a peaceful exhibition… and one that shouldn’t be missed.

The paintings of Jim Tansley and the sculpture of Valerie Schiff will be presented at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago through August 30. A public reception will take place on Friday, August 3 from 5:30-7:30 pm.  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.



Foreground: Jim Tansley, "Dialog of Hemispheres", acrylic on canvas, 48" x 72", $6,500

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Art of Human Rights at ZIA Gallery, Winnetka




Audry Cramblit, “Paris”, bronze, 7” tall, $1,400.

Save the Date: Thursday, August 30th, 5-8:30
Once again, I've compiled some of the most amazing established area artists into an exhibition to benefit Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights. With the support of ZIA Gallery of Winnetka—the location of this satellite event—this group invitational exhibition offers something for everyone.

“The Art of Human Rights” exhibition includes; paintings, drawings, mixed media, photography and sculpture created by twenty-two hand-selected, established fine artists. The commissions from the work sold—priced from $450 to $18,000—will directly benefit the charity. Funds raised through The Art of Human Rights will support the work that Heartland Alliance does to ensure that everyone has a roof over their head, access to health care, the opportunity to earn income to support themselves and their families, and to be treated fairly and with justice.

With a variety of imagery and objects available—whether it is an elegant object to finish a room or a room-defining statement—this exhibition presents amazing pieces of thought-provoking Fine Art.


John Vlahakis, “Sanctum”, photograph, edition of 5, 15” x 15”, $750.

The work of photographer, John Vlahakis, captures the drama and beauty of the natural world. His brilliantly colorful floral images—which are almost abstract—explore light and define a quiet moment in time. Vlahakis points out that… “Visually I am drawn by the color and light that each living organism reflects...”


Roland Kulla, “Ben Franklin II”, acrylic on canvas, ”60 x 36”, $9,500.


Roland Kulla’s work presents hyper-realistic acrylic imagery, defining segments of various bridges. Kulla explains:
“I’ve used bridges as my primary inspiration for the last twenty years. Based in Chicago, I began my exploration with the world’s largest collection of bascule bridges. In 2006, I began to branch out to other “bridge cities” including Boston, New York City, and Pittsburgh. In 2011, I explored the bridges in Berlin, Germany. 
I select certain design elements and eliminate background context in order to emphasize form. What may appear to be a random arrangement of bolts and rivets has, on close inspection, a rigidly patterned logic. Abstracted from their surroundings, the bridges take on new aspects. Some look dangerous, others elegant. The forms are presented in “natural” bridge colors in bold contrast to the voids that they span. They float in light that plays across the surface details. I paint an idealized version of reality on a scale that allows the viewer to enter into the structure and appreciate the monumentality of the form.”


Audry Cramblit, “Paris”bronze, 7” tall, $1,400.

Audry Cramblit is one of four incredibly talented sculptors included in the exhibition. She presents two bronze figurative sculptures… “Paris” and “The Artist”. Both of these tactile figures are adorned with the layering of contemporary designs, symbols and words, forming a complex surface of information. Through the experimentation of materials, Cramblit has developed techniques as unique and varied as her one-of-a-kind sculptures.

There are twenty-two exhibiting artists in “The Art of Human Rights” exhibition. They are: John Benedetto, Jenny Chi, Frances Cox, Audry Cramblit, Jane Fulton Alt, Sheila Ganch, Charles Gniech, Andrea Harris, Paula Kloczkowski Luberda, Deanna Krueger, Roland Kulla, Richard Laurent, Maggie Meiners, Rebecca Moy, Didier Nolet, Nancy Pirri, Ted Preuss, Nancy Rosen, Lorraine Sack, Jim Tansley, Michael Van Zeyl, and John Vlahakis.

This satalite exhibition of “The Art of Human Rights®” will be presented at ZIA Gallery, located at 548 Chestnut Street, Winnetka, IL 60093, from August 26 through September 1. A catered reception will take place on Thursday, August 30 from 5-8:30. The exhibition is free and the work sold will benefit Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human RightsThe gallery is open from Monday through Saturday from 10-5. Additional information can be found at ziagallery.net or by calling 847.446.3970.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Carol Luc ~ Vestiges

AM Interlude, oil on canvas, 30 x 24"

A wonderful exhibition opened this past weekend at the Chicago Cultural Center. Located in the Renaissance Court Gallery, Carol Luc presents a series of introspective and thought-provoking paintings and drawings. The show—titled “Vestiges—presents architectural studies exploring segments of environments defined by the light that moves through them. The images reflect a quiet—inspiring—moment in time, the kind of moment when you find yourself daydreaming… staring at dappled light dancing across a window-lit stairway.

In defining the work, Luc’s statement points out that…
“Paradoxically, it is within the nothingness of empty space that the most substance is found. The element of light is filled with a psychological weight that demands the viewer’s attention. In exploring the relationships between light and space, objects and emptiness, the work strives to make the viewer conscious of the links between the material world and the intangible by expressing quiet and reflective emotional states.”
“Vestiges” runs though August 26th at the Chicago Cultural Center located at 78 East Washington Street in Chicago. Luc will be at the Renaissance Gallery on Wednesday August 1 at 11:30am-12:25pm—to talk about the exhibition. The lecture and exhibition is free. Exhibited work is available for purchase, with only one exception. Visit carolluc.com to see additional work.

Remnant, oil on canvas, 30 x 24"

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Tansley and Schiff at Gallery 180

Jim Tansley, “Dialog of Hemispheres”, acrylic on canvas, 48” x 72”


Save the date: Friday, August 3rd... 

Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago will present the colorful abstract paintings of artist, Jim Tansley, along side of the figurative forms of sculptor, Valerie Schiff.  Both Chicago area artists came to fine art later in life… and both explore their media from an instinctual perspective.

Jim Tansley began painting in 2000, after a forty-year career as a graphic designer. His “order from chaos” approach to painting results in the creation of unique abstract imagery that hints at nature and the human form. Tansley explains…
“The paintings have their origins in my fascination with the abstract qualities and rhythms of natural forms. I view the elements of nature (animal, vegetable, mineral) in terms of their relational aspects. There are obvious visual similarities throughout nature. For example, our blood stream and tree sap. Branches and rocks suggest muscles and bones. Tree trunks are reminiscent of the human torso. This interconnectedness of natural form suggests an evolving process of universal development: molecules assembling, vapor forming, new forms arising, life beginning and mutating. These ideas of similar rhythmic and structural forms existing across disparate natural elements, inform my paintings.”

Valerie Schiff, “Venus”, bronze, 27” x 6.5” x 9”

Valerie Schiff also came to fine art later in life. With accolades including numerous awards and multiple “Best in Show” prizes, Schiff’s powerfully emotional figurative forms emerge from an internal and deeply intuitive place. Her materials, bronze or terracotta, are used simply as a vehicle to express an emotional—very human—experience. After carful examination, the soul of the sculpture begins to reveal itself. Schiff explains, “A piece is successful if it has an inner life… It’s thrilling to me if I can capture, in clay, a gesture or a moment in time.”

Schiff defines her process:
“When I begin a new sculpture, I build the forms quickly, my knife slashing through the clay. I leave my surfaces raw, rough, and exposed, so the clay takes on the imperfections of real life. Making art is an internal journey of choices and solutions. I find myself open to how each piece evolves. Art is truly a journey that the artist travels, allowing this mysterious process to occur. Having come to sculpture later in life, my process is still revealing it self to me. It’s internal and deeply intuitive.”
The paintings of Jim Tansley and the sculpture of Valerie Schiff will be presented at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago through August 30. Previews begin on July 23rd. A public reception will take place on Friday, August 3 from 5:30-7:30 pm.  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.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Nancy Pirri ~ Contour


Next Saturday, May 5th, Natural Elements Salon will be hosting a reception from 6-9pm for Nancy Pirri as she presents "contour". Pirri has been included in numerous exhibitions, as well as presenting work at the recent "... Art of Human Rights" event to benefit Heartland Alliance. Her figurative sculptures incorporate  beautiful symbolic patinas. Pirri explains:
The theme of my work is about woman’s struggle to find emotional balance. Each one of us is born with strength, compassion, and the incalculable ability to endure, fulfilling complex roles as mother, daughter, sister, friend, lover or wife, where we are called upon continually to put others before ourselves. Add to that society’s expectations, calling for poise and grace, the women I create openly reveal themselves, showing depth, emotion, and even scars from past experiences. Using texture, expression, attitude and gesture, I primarily sculpt in clay, a.k.a. Mother Earth. I employ a variety of deliberate techniques to further enhance a sense of earthiness and antiquity. Random yet controlled applications of colored slips, glazes, and various firings including soda reduction, further enhance these textures, as if you could suddenly unearth them from history.
Nancy Pirri's exhibition continues through June 5th. The Natural Elements Salon is located at 2212 North Lincoln Ave., in Chicago. Check out Pirri's web site at: npgraphx.com and link to her blog for additional updates.


Nancy Pirri was born in Brooklyn, NY, and currently lives in Chicago, IL. She has dabbled in every art form since childhood, discovering clay to be her true passion in 1991. She just finished a solo show titled “Reflection,” in Lafayette, IN, followed by a 3-person show at the Beverly Arts Center in Chicago, IL with Pop Artist, Peter Mars and Urban Artist, Erik DeBat. Pirri received an Honorable Mention award from the Rockford Art Museum for her printmaking on clay work. She exhibits at many different venues including galleries, charity auctions, private homes, and group shows. Nancy Pirri is represented by Studio b in Three Oaks, Michigan.
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Friday, April 20, 2012

Deanna Krueger at ZIA Gallery

Deanna Krueger, "Merope" 36 x 36" acrylic monotype, staples and MRI film

One of my favorite artists, Deanna Krueger, is going to be exhibiting some new work at the ZIA Gallery in Winnetka. The exhibition runs from May 4 through June 16 with an Opening Reception on Friday, May 4 from 5-7:30... so save the date. Deanna Krueger will be presenting her Acrylic monotype-mixed media pieces, along side the Pop-inspired, mixed media works on paper, created by Carl Wilen. It should be a wonderful exhibition.

If you don't know of Krueger's work, she produces powerful mixed media forms created from recycled medical diagnostic film layered with monotypes. The film is torn, repositioned, and then stapled together to create multi-faceted surfaces. These semi-reflective surfaces create a mesmerizing, gem-like appearance. Krueger explains:
I work abstractly at the juncture where sculpture and painting intersect. The resulting pieces are hybrids. The process for my current series begins with recycled medical diagnostic film layered with acrylic monotype prints. The film is then torn apart and the shards are reconnected into new configurations using thousands of staples. The visual aesthetic is at once high-tech and primordial. It evokes a multitude of associations: aquatic life forms, otherworldly geological formations, surreal vegetation, scientific images of the miniscule, visions of the cosmos. I am interested in humanity’s search for meaning in this life, and in the pleasure to be found in the various manifestations of that search.

Don't miss this exhibition. The ZIA Gallery is located at 548 Chestnut Street in Winnetka. Additional information can be found on their web site at ZIAgallery.net
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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Charles Gniech & Corinne D. Peterson ~ May 11

Charles Gniech, Detail of “Grounded”, 60 x 40”, acrylic on canvas, 2011


Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago will become a meditative setting of reflection as it presents the intriguingly-intricate paintings of Chicago artist, Charles Gniech, alongside the bold and fascinating sculpture of Corinne D. Peterson. With decades of research between them, the work of these two fine artists focuses on markers of time and transition influenced by the prehistoric stone circles and megaliths found throughout Europe.

Charles Gniech, “Grounded”, 60 x 40”, acrylic on canvas, 2011

Charles Gniech’s work has been influenced by the megalithic stone circles of Great Britain for more then twenty years. This latest body of work explores the meditative qualities of the fluid surface patterns found on many of the monuments. Like that of Agnes Martin and Mark Rothko, the imagery conveys the serene qualities of meditation and inner peace. Gniech explains…

I have spent the past two decades exploring the meditative qualities of the prehistoric stone circles of Great Britain. Britain is littered with more than four hundred and thirty of these prehistoric sites... most people are familiar with Stonehenge, yet there are areas concentrated with megalithic structures as far to the north as the Scottish Islands, and as far to the south and west as Cornwall.

My latest body of work is influenced by the meditative qualities of the fluid surface-patterns found on some of these monuments. I have taken artistic liberties in the replication, manipulation and abstraction of the surface patterns, yet the work continues to convey the serene qualities regularly associated with nature and inner peace.


Corinne D. Peterson “Walled Interior”, 18 x 10 x 10”, stoneware

Corinne D. Peterson's work is also inspired by the architectural structures of ancient Europe. Peterson explains…

...art making is a force for exploring connections: between past and present, between opposing forces of nature, between intellect and subconscious, and between myself and clay.

I draw inspiration from architectural and natural structures, such as the ancient standing stones I’ve seen in France and England. As I sculpt the clay, I attempt to be open to the universal forces behind their existence. I do this in an effort to understand how such forces shape contemporary experience. My sculptures with openings to the inside give me an opportunity to contemplate complexities of interior life in contrast to the outer form.

Nature has always been a primary source of pleasure in my life. Working with clay connects me to my early roots of growing up on a Minnesota farm. Cracks, fissures, scars and pools of glaze are all part of my personal artistic vocabulary. The colors I use come primarily from rocks, leaves, and other bits of nature I’ve collected and studied since childhood. I use layers of color and often fill the cracks with dark tones for a sense of age. I intend for each work to expose the evidence of its own history, much as people reveal an accumulation of their experiences.

The paintings of Charles Gniech and the sculpture of Corinne D. Peterson will be presented at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago through July 19. Previews begin on May 7th. An Opening Reception will take place on Friday, May 11 from 5:30-7:30 pm. 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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