Tuesday, July 30, 2013

...Breaking Criminal Traditions

Barbara Simcoe, "She Shall be Repaid", oil on wood panel 9 x 14

"The Art of Influence: Breaking Criminal Traditions" is an exhibition that was created to raise awareness of the global atrocities that have become traditions in various cultures. The exhibition is meant to begin a dialogue, which will lead to additional dialogue between the US and citizens of effected nations—supporting those citizens as they work for the cultural change that can only come from within.

The exhibition will open at the IIT-Chicago, Kent College of Law on October 10th. The gallery will present work by James Deeb, Sheila Ganch, Andrea Harris, Paula Kloczkowski Luberda, Richard Laurent, Zoriah Miller, Nancy Rosen, Lorraine Sack, Valerie Schiff, Barbara Simcoe, and Ann Smith Stephan. The imagery presented ranges from photo realism to abstraction but all works relate directly or conceptually to the issue at hand.

Author, Cheryl Jefferson is the driving force behind the exhibition. Her knowledge of Criminal Traditions has allowed her to speak at the UN and present a TEDTalk. Jefferson's passion is obvious...  and the injustice perverse. She explains:
Worldwide women live too close to their bones and too far from their dreams, the victims of criminal traditions. Criminal traditions are ongoing, centuries old rituals that kill or maim millions each year yet aren't considered crimes. They include honor killing, acid attacks, bride burning, forced childhood marriage, female genital mutilation and other violence that is not illegal because the perpetrators are relatives who are doing "what's best" for the girl or "defending" their family's honor.
"The Art of Influence: Breaking Criminal Traditions" will run through February 6th. Many receptions are planned. I will be blogging about them in future posts. Additional information will also be available at BreakingCriminalTraditions. com

Barbara Simcoe has been a working artist for more than thirty years. Her formal art training was at the University of Illinois, Urbana and the University of North Texas, Denton. She lived and worked in Dallas 16 years where she was very involved in the art community and in exhibiting her work. Currently residing in Omaha, NE she is a Professor on the faculty of Art and Art History at the University of Nebraska and has taught painting and drawing since 1998. Barbara has shown widely in nationally and in European venues in many invitational and juried exhibitions. She has had numerous one person exhibitions, awards and grants, in 2004 she received a Fulbright Grant for which she lived, taught and made artwork in Lithuania. She traveled to Israel summer 2005 to participate in an international exhibition in the city of Akko. Academic year 2006-07 she was on sabbatical, the focus of which was working in the studio and a trip to Poland where she had a solo exhibition of her digital photos at the Albert Gallery in Krakow. Most recently she had a one person exhibition in the Czech Republic for which she showed digital photo collages influenced by a trip to France summer 2008. Barbara’s work consists of oil paintings, graphite and ink drawings and digital photography. Stylistically she works with realistic figuration inhabiting psychological and symbolic spaces. Her website may be found at barbarasimcoe.com.


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Charles Gniech ~ Callanish at ZIA Gallery

Charles Gniech, “Callanish 9808”, Color Photograph, 1/1, 19.5”x12.75” 1998

First exhibited in 1998 at Kavi Gupta’s "Vedanta" Gallery, "Callanish 9808" was presented in a solo show titled "Sanctuary". At that point in my career, I was focused on the physical qualities of the prehistoric sites found throughout the United Kingdom. The Sanctuary exhibition mixed the photographic documentation of various sites, and rock surface details, with painted geometric abstract interpretations of the sites. Some of the photographic surface details were the genesis of my current paintings.

In 1998, after flying from Chicago to London, I hopped a train north to Inverness… a bus to Uilapool… and then a ferry to the little town of Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. Stornoway is a little harbor town seemingly two blocks long and two blocks wide. As the ferry approached, I could see an old castle on the hill behind the harbor. I arrived with no accommodations. Back then I enjoyed living in the moment… “showing up” and allowing destiny to intervene. I still try to live my life like this but I’ve found that it becomes more difficult with age and responsibilities. I never ended up sleeping on the street, but I did come close, just once. I always seemed to be taken care of… always having what was needed; a warm bed, food, or an interesting conversation. I’m currently in the process of compiling the stories of my experiences, and of the people I encountered through my exploration of the megalithic structures, traveling throughout the UK. I’m sure segments of these stories will end up in future posts.

In any case… Two original color photographs—Callanish 9808, and Callinash 9809—will be available through ZIA Gallery in Winnetka. The two prints are one-of-a-kind… with my signature hidden under the mat. The upcoming “750 show” will include work from a variety of the gallery artists as well as that of some invited artists. All works—very affordable—under $750… hence the name.

ZIA Gallery is located at 548 Chestnut in Winnetka, Illinois... 17 miles north of Chicago. The gallery is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00am–5:00pm. The opening reception for the 750 show is Saturday, July 27, 4:00–7:00pm. Stop by and check it out.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Meditative Surfaces ~ Fort Wayne Museum of Art

Charles Gniech, Watching Waves, acrylic on canvas, 36" x 60"

This fall, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art will be presenting the three-person exhibition titled "Meditative Surfaces". Meditative Surfaces is a powerfully inspirational exhibition focusing on meditative surface patterns. The exhibition brings together the work of Mixed-media Artist; Deanna Krueger, Photographer; Maggie Meiners and my surface paintings. All of the included work was inspired by our own—very different—individual passions, yet the work comes together to present a united statement of introspection.

I've spent more then a two decades exploring the serene qualities of the prehistoric stone circles that are found throughout Great Britain. 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. The largest complex of circles is just to the north of Stonehenge, at Avebury.

I am inspired by the patterns found on the massive prehistoric megaliths. I reference and manipulate these patterns to create tranquil imagery. My latest body of work is influenced by the meditative qualities of the fluid surface patterns found on these monuments. I have taken some artistic liberties, in the replication, manipulation and abstraction of the surface patterns found on these massive stone slabs, yet the work continues to convey the serene qualities regularly associated with nature and inner peace.

The two other artists presented in this exhibition are Mixed Media Artist, Deanna Krueger and Fine Art Photographer, Maggie Meiners.
Deanna Krueger 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 various multi-faceted surfaces. The semi-reflective surfaces create a mesmerizing, gem-like quality. Krueger’s given titles hint at the conceptual nuances, which imply humanity’s collective search for meaning. Krueger explains:
“I am interested in humanity's collective search for meaning in the absurdity that is this life, and in the pleasure to be found in the various manifestations of that search.”

“…Serving as a marker of this time of transition, the materials speak to the recent evolution of information storage. When virtual documents replace paper, the lowly staple will become an artifact of an earlier information age. Modes of diagnostic imagery are shifting as well: X-Rays and MRI scans are increasingly being recorded solely in the digital realm.”
The large-scale abstract photographs of Maggie Meiners come from her “Childhood Contemplations” series. The mere size of these forty-inch square digital c-prints, allows the viewer to become engulfed by the imagery and to explore their inner mind. The various color patterns are meant to trigger memories on which to contemplate. In defining this body of work, Meiners explains:
“Although the use of blurred imagery seems to defy logic, this intentional shift in focus is meant to transfix and then transport the viewer to a mind space where memories run wild. Various spectrums of color are used as a guide to revisit and explore memories of the past.”
"Meditative Surfaces" will be exhibited at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art from November 13 through January 14th with a panel discussion scheduled for Friday, November 15th. More on that in future posts.