Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Art of Human Rights ~ March 10

Francine Turk, “Francesca”, mixed media including antique French ledger, oil stick, lacquer ink and charcoal, 65” x 52”

On Saturday, March 10th from 7-10pm, Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights will present “The Art of Human Rights,” an invitational exhibition featuring silent and live auctions with wine, gourmet fare, and live music. The event, taking place in the 2,500 square foot Coalition Gallery at 217 N. Carpenter Street [west loop], presents; paintings, drawings, photography and sculpture created by twenty-four hand-selected, established fine artists. The commissions from the work sold—priced from $400 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.

The exhibition—which I curated—has something for everyone. 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.

Included in this exhibition, is the work of fine art sensation, Francine Turk. Her piece [above], “Francesca”—a large scale, figurative, mixed-media work—is classic Turk. This elegant reclining female nude is created with the used of graceful contour line. Francesca redefines space and transforms the well-known subject into an exploration of emotion and passion. The work is created with a mixture of media, including antique French ledger, oil stick, lacquer ink and charcoal. Pieces from this body of work are testaments of timeless elegance.

John Vlahakis, “Monet”, photograph, edition of 5, 30” x 30”

Photographer, John Vlahakis, captures the drama and beauty of the natural world. The 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, “Legget II”, acrylic on canvas, 60” x 40”

Roland Kulla presents a series of hyper-realistic paintings 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”, clay / work in progress, 24” tall

Audry Cramblit is one of seven incredibly talented sculptors included in the exhibition. Cramblit presents a variety of work, two in bronze and another in clay. “Paris”, a twenty-four inch high figurative clay sculpture, is an obvious focal point in the exhibition. The tactile figure is 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-four exhibiting artists in “The Art of Human Rights” exhibition. They are: Christopher Andres, John Benedetto, Jenny Chi, Audry Cramblit, Jane Fulton Alt, Sheila Ganch, Charles Gniech, Andrea Harris, Vesna Jovanovic, Paula Kloczkowski Luberda, Deanna Krueger, Roland Kulla, Richard Laurent, Maggie Meiners, Rebecca Moy, Didier Nolet, Nancy Pirri, Ted Preuss, Nancy Rosen, Valerie Schiff, Tom Torluemke, Francine Turk, Michael Van Zeyl, and John Vlahakis.

On Saturday, March 10th from 7-10pm, The Art of Human Rights will be presented at the Coalition Gallery, located at 217 N. Carpenter Street in Chicago. Work sold at this Fine Art exhibition will benefit Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights. Tickets are $125 in advance and $150 at the door. Tickets may be purchased on line at artofhumanrights.com or by calling Michelle Marvin at 312.660.1339.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

human ~ Adrian Cox

The average snowfall in a Chicago winter is 38”. We had eight of those inches on Friday, January 20th …. the night of the opening reception of the human exhibition at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. Surprisingly, the reception was jam-packed. Artists and patrons had driven for up to five hours—over snow-covered highways—for a look at this collection. Two of the Artists from St. Louis even attended.

“human” is a national juried exhibition with the commissions from the sale of work to benefit Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights. The show is comprised of work by twenty artists from around the country. Recently, I was asked if there is a common thread that ties the work together. The obvious answer is that the work relates to the human form or the human condition. But after thinking about the question for a minute another response emerged. The work—ranging from strangely grotesque to classically beautiful—seems to be about the unconscious. The images seem to reference how we perceive the human condition while we sleep. Dreams and nightmares are the common subject of the work contained in “human”.

One of the twisted—nightmarish—pieces that I was enthralled with when selecting the exhibition, was an untitled painting by Adrian Cox [above]. Cox refers to the figures presented in this recent body of work as “…horrific, violating every natural state as their borders undergo deformation… …intended to mitigate reactions of fear and disgust.” And I’m intrigued. Below is another sample from the new series. This small piece, titled "Coagulation", seems to be a highly distorted self portrait. The image makes subtle visual reference to the artist's physical appearance with clear distortions. The artist's statement talks of the disappearance of the exterior physical shell... a place where the interior and exterior of the flesh mingle... having no boundaries. You can find the artists statement in its entirety—along with this and other images from his recent body of work—at: adriancoxart.com.

The untitled piece by Adrian Cox, as well as thought-provoking work by nineteen other artists can be seen at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago, through March 1st. Gallery 180 is located at 180 N. Wabash [at the corner of lake and Wabash] in Chicago’s Loop. All work is available for purchase with commissions donated to Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights. The show can also be seen online at gallery180.com.