Sunday, November 29, 2009

"Snapshots" ...Surrounded by art

Last night, I went downtown to a book release celebration. The book, titled “snapshots”, is the work of my friend, Jan Baiden. The book is comprised of a series of wonderfully written short stories—with beautiful imagery—exploring insights and observations of select encounters of her life. And it’s not the typical life. The book begins with a series of accounts from a period of time, while living in Iran.

I spent a couple of hours—on this rainy morning in Chicago—lost in the first sixty pages of Jan’s book… reading each segment and then gazing at the accompanying photographs. The stories not only transport the reader to another place in time, but they invoke a moment of reflection of one’s own life. It’s a wonderful read… I look forward to exploring the coming pages.

You may ask, “What does this have to do with fine art in Chicago?” The answer is twofold. ...As we walked into the party last evening, I was reminded of the wonderful collection of art, which adorns the walls of the Jan’s home. Her husband, Shelly Kirshner, is a serious collector with major pieces by—among others—Ed Paschke, Robert Lostutter, and William Conger. I found myself so drawn to the collection of modern masters, that it was difficult to focus on causal conversation. The collection is stunning.

And as for the book... If you're interested in acquiring "snapshots"—and meeting Ms Baiden in person—a public book signing party is being planned. It should take place this summer at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. The event will be held in conjunction with a national juried exhibition titled “Narrative… the art of story telling”. I will elaborate on both events in future posts.

Images from Kirshner's collection were not available, so as a reference, I'm presenting a Lostutter piece from my own collection.
Image: Robert Lostutter, “Lepanthes Velifera”, 1998.
10-color lithograph. Edition of 50. Image: 6" x 7-1/2". Sheet: 14" x 15-1/2".
See Printworks Gallery for details.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Start of Something Wonderful...

This image was captured, last Friday evening, as the reception for the Michael Jankowski exhibition at Gallery 180 got underway. The show, titled "Hidden Relics", is a wonderful exploration of past memories created with subtle high-key paintings and energetic charcoal drawings. If you haven't had an opportunity to view the exhibition, make the effort. "Hidden Relics" continues through January 15th. 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. All of the work in this exhibition is available for purchase.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Jankowski's Sanctuary

I awoke early on Monday morning to complete the installation of the Michael Jankowski exhibition at Gallery 180. As I finished hanging the last painting on the freshly painted accent wall, it became obvious that the gallery had become a bit of a sanctuary. The art and the architectural elements of the space—stone floors, walls of glass and meditative wall color—calm the inhabitants from the city’s chaos, literally just a few steps away. The quiet imagery of the paintings are contrasted with subtle but energetic line work of the accompanying drawings. The pieces work together to create a wonderful meditative environment. The space becomes a place to loose ones self in a memory triggered by the loosely implied renderings of an attic filled with symbolism.

The exhibition, "Hidden Relics" is now open to the public. A catered reception, in honor of the artist, is scheduled for this Friday from 5:30-7:30. The exhibition is free to the public and all work is available for purchase. 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.

Image: Michael Jankowski at Gallery 180, as he previews the exhibition.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Michael Jankowski... "Hidden Relics"

I spent a few hours yesterday painting some accent walls in Gallery 180, in preparation for the installation of the subtly-dramatic “Hidden Relics” exhibition. The exhibition of fifteen paintings and drawings—created by Chicago Artist, Michael Jankowski—opens this week with a catered reception on Friday November 20th from 5:30-7:30. The imagery focuses on the significant objects in our lives, which evoke memories of the past. For those interested in a preview, the installation of the show should be complete by Monday afternoon. All work is available for purchase. Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago, is located at 180 North Wabash—the corner of Lake and Wabash—in Chicago’s Loop.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Art of Human Rights - Call for work

Over the past nine years, Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago has presented a variety of exhibitions, which have highlighted the work of regional, national, and international artists. I consider myself very lucky to have had the opportunity to review, select and present pieces from the wide variety of proposed work.

Following is yet another opportunity to expose your work to the public. This January, at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago, we will present the Preview Exhibition for “The Art of Human Rights”. The exhibition will be on exhibit from January 19 through February 11, and pieces for this exhibition will be selected from those donated to “The Art of Human Rights” benefit. A catered reception will be held at Gallery 180 on Friday, January 22 from 5:30-7:30. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the work will go directly to Heartland Alliance.

At the close of the exhibition—if the donated work has not yet sold—it will be placed on auction at the main event held at the River East Art Center on February 19th. A donation of artwork entitles the artist to a complimentary ticket to “The Art of Human Rights” benefit. There will be a great deal of publicity surrounding the Preview Exhibition as well as the benefit. Both venues will bring recognition to the participating artists. I hope that you will consider donating a piece of your work to this very important cause. Information regarding the benefit can be found on the Heartland Alliance web site and you can download the donation forms at on the schedule page of the site.

I hope to have the opportunity to review your work for this and future exhibitions.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Igor and Marina at Thomas Masters Gallery

I started my position as “Exhibition Curator” roughly nine or ten years ago. That was when I was given the opportunity to manage the gallery for The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. The gallery has gone through a variety of changes… relocation and then the addition of a second space. When the second space emerged, Gallery 180 was born.

But, back in the beginning …back when I began my career as a Curator, I was given another wonderful opportunity. The President of the school—at that time—asked me to create a collection for the school. With that, he gave me a relatively small annual budget… but I was inspired. I thought about ways to obtain additional funds for acquisitions. Among other things, I began the school’s annual “Acquisition Exhibition” …a juried show with multiple purchase awards. That brings me to Igor and Marina.

A painting by Igor and Marina was included in the first Acquisition Exhibition. I loved the work and—back then—I knew that the husband and wife team would do very well. The content and quality of the work was beautiful and intriguing. Igor produced the patterns and textures while Marina focused on the figurative elements. The painting seemed to be from the past with a twist of contemporary flare.

Well, I was right about their success. The team is currently represented by a number of gallery’s throughout the world. In Chicago, Igor and Marina are handled by the Thomas Masters Gallery. I dropped by the Thomas Masters gallery today to view the latest pieces created by the husband and wife team. I was once again impressed. The power, beauty and elegance of the imagery left me fascinated. The exhibition includes some of the preparatory pencil drawings, side-by-side with the canvases. Though not as “finished” as the canvases, the drawings have a subtle elegance of their own. It’s a show that shouldn’t be missed …and it closes on the November 15th. If you’re in Chicago, make the effort to see this exhibition. The Thomas Masters Gallery is located at 245 W. North Avenue, in Chicago.

Above: Igor and Marina, Africa, Oil on Canvas 48 x 60"
Below: Igor and Marina, Little Squares...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Just a few more days to see the "red" exhibition

The National Juried exhibition, titled "red"—currently on display in Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago—will be coming to a close in just a few days. If you have not yet had the opportunity to visit the gallery, make the time to see this relatively small but very beautiful show. Consisting of fourteen artist from around the country, this show delivers something for almost everyone. The selected pieces range from the cleverly symbolic paintings of Lorraine Sack and Richard Laurent to the powerful, geometric, color-saturated photographs of Jennifer Jackson and steel sculpture of Michael Stanley. The show includes two beautifully painted still life studies by, Catherine Maize as well as a breathtaking photorealistic portrait by Ming Zhou. The amazing diversity of work—presented in this exhibition of national fine artists—provides a beautiful and creative look at the use of the color "red".

The show is free to the public and the exhibited work is available for purchase. Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art is located at 180 North Wabash—at the corner of Lake and Wabash—in Chicago’s Loop. The exhibition will conclude on November 11th.

Image: Michael Stanley "Red" steel and paint, 10x7.5x6", $800

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Save The Date... Michael Jankowski

Friday, November 20th 5:30-7:30

Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago will be presenting "Hidden Relics", an exhibition of new work created by Chicago artist, Michael Jankowski. Jankowski’s high key paintings and intense gestural drawings evoke a range of emotion. The subtle and faded forms seem to be relics from the past or faded memories, which attempt to re-emerge from our cluttered realities. Assumed to be documentation of Jankowski’s life, the beautifully produced quiet renditions seem to connect with each viewer’s personal history. Clearly influenced by the drawings and paintings of the Swiss Artist, Albeto Giacometti [1901-1966], Jankowski brings forth a contemporary flavor to the content and gestural line-work of his attic-inspired imagery.

This exhibition opens on November 16 and runs through January 15, 2010. A catered reception will be held on Friday, November 20th from 5:30-7:30pm. Entry is free and the exhibition is open to the public. Works are available for purchase. Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art is located at 180 N. Wabash—at the corner of Lake and Wabash—in Chicago’s Loop. The gallery hours are Monday through Friday 9-6 and Saturday 9-5.

Image: Michael Jankowski, "Mother Can You Hear Me", Charcoal, 24 x 17" $950.