Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Prolific Creator

I stopped by Nancy Rosen's studio yesterday, to drop off a stack of promotional cards for her upcoming exhibition at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. I always find it intriguing to enter into another artist's space. The artist's environment is typically filled with creative energy, and in this case, it was oozing from Rosen and dripping from the walls.

When I arrived, Rosen was just finishing up a session with a model. As she wiped the paint from her face, I had a chance to look around the room, which was filled with newly-created work. I found myself lost in the gaze of the latest characters, each of whom seemed to project their own individual personality. I realized at that moment that Rosen is—not only—a prolific creator, but she is also a serious observer of the human condition. You can find her work on line at:

The work of Nancy Rosen will be on exhibition at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago July 27 through September 11 with an opening reception on Friday, July 31 from 5:30-7:30. For more information on this and future exhibitions, see

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Metaphysical Symbolism

Lucia Gomez
Elemental Fragments Series "Untitled No. 56", 2008, oil on canvas, 20x20"

I review a number of exhibition proposals each month, for possible exhibition at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. The proposals are sent from all over the country and occasionally from around the world. As I began clearing my desk by opening the numerous sealed envelopes containing samples of artist's work, I came upon a postmark from Colombia. I was intrigued. The proposal was from Lucia Gomez.

As I read the Artist Statement, I found some wonderful passages with which I could identify. Again, I was intrigued. Edited from her statement... "My paintings express metaphysical symbolism and shamanic themes..." "Forms flow ... giving way to ... labyrinths full of mystery and color that emerge from a state of mental relaxation." There seem to be some wonderful ideas here. You can find Gomez's statement in its entirety on her website at:

Friday, June 12, 2009

Nancy Nichols...

I've been selecting and creating exhibitions for—one or both of—the galleries of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago, for the past nine years. I love what I do but there is a downside… I find myself wanting to own many of the pieces that I select for exhibition. Pieces included in the “From Nature” exhibition—currently on display at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago—are no exception.

The show was created as a benefit for the Ragdale Foundation and The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago was committed to acquiring one of the pieces for inclusion to the school's Permanent Collection. We eventually purchased three. Selecting the work to be added to the school's collection was a challenge. And while making those selections, I found myself drawn to an intimate piece that I wanted to personally own. It was the rich and beautiful oil painting by Nancy Nichols titled “skull study with weeds” [shown above]. I made the purchase.

A little background... Nichols has worked as an Assistant Professor of Painting at Indiana State University since 2004. Her work is represented by Susan Maasch Fine Art in Portland, Maine, and Halcyon Contemporary Art, in Terre Haute, Indiana. Take a few minutes to check out her work. She has produced some beautiful things.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Selections have been made...

Frances Cox, Black Apricot Tree, Oil, 34 x 40"

This past April, Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago opened an exhibition titled "From Nature" to benefit the Ragdale Foundation. The exhibition was produced to help call national attention to the Ragdale Foundation and to raise money to support the Ragdale residency program. I've written about the program in past posts but basically the program allows artists—from all over the world—to attend Ragdale and create in a beautiful, serene, and uninterrupted environment.

The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago is committed to supporting the arts as well as to supporting Ragdale by purchasing at least one of the exhibited pieces for inclusion into the school's permanent collection. Actually... the school has chosen to purchase three. The pieces selected for inclusion into the school's permanent collection are: "Black Apricot Tree" an oil on canvas painting by Frances Cox [Wilmette, IL], "Blue Leaf on Stream" an oil painting on canvas by Diane Kunzler [Glidden, IA], and RK Williams' [Denver, CO] Platinum-Palladium Print titled "Fog and Light". Commissions from the sale of these pieces—as well as all other sales in this exhibition—will be donated to The Ragdale Foundation residency program.

Many of the works are still available. If you are in—or passing through—downtown Chicago, please drop by to see the exhibition. Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago is located at 180 N. Wabash, at the corner of Lake and Wabash in Chicago's Loop. You can also review the work on line at

Above: Diane Kunzler, Blue Leaf on Stream, Oil on Canvas, 24 x 24"

Above: RK Williams, Fog and Light, Platinum-Palladium Print, 4 x 5"

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Reception...

I drove downtown—yesterday afternoon—to attend the closing reception of "Serene la Femme" at Palette & Chisel. The exhibition presented the figurative work of Photographer; Ted Preuss, Sculptors; Nancy Pirri & Audry Cramblit, and Painter; Mary Qain. I have worked with Preuss and Pirri, on a number of occasions, and recently became aware of Cramblit when she entered—and was juried into—the "From Nature” exhibition at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago.

The Palette & Chisel exhibition space is housed in one of Chicago's old mansions, located in the heart of the Gold Coast. The building—and its quant but lush garden-covered entry—remains beautiful and inviting.

As I entered the exhibition space, I found myself focused on the works of Audry Cramblit and Nancy Pirri. I was intrigued with Cramblit's attention to detail. In the piece shown above, Cramblit seems to define the character and attitude of a beauty queen who's performance has concluded. Tipped crown and cigarette in hand, she finds that there is no longer a need to present herself as a "lady". Cramblit’s illustrative pieces are charming but my preference was for her abstract torso studies. The pattern-covered forms attract the viewer by recognition, and hold their attention with the use of complex and intriguing patterns.

Both Cramblit and Preuss are currently included in Gallery 180’s “From Nature” exhibition, which continues through July 24.

Torsos by Audry Cramblit

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Serene la Femme

If you are in the Chicago area and looking for a cultural experience this Sunday afternoon, you may want to consider attending the closing reception for the group exhibition, "Serene la Femme", at Palette & Chisel. The four exhibiting artists— Audry Cramblit, Ted Preuss, Nancy Pirri, and Mary Qian—are a highly talented and diverse group, focused on the female form. The exhibition includes sculpture, photography, and painting. The image above is a sculpture by Audry Crambilt.

Palette and Chisel is a wonderful exhibition space—not far from Oak street—at 1012 N. Dearborn. The closing reception is this Sunday, June 7th, from 2-6pm. I hope to see you there.