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

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