Saturday, December 15, 2012

Matthew Runfola ~ Worldview at Gallery 180

i.12 [self absorption]  • formed/fabricated steel • 16.5” x 4.25” x 9.5”

The sculptural work of Matthew Runfola is currently on view in the Worldview Exhibition at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. One of nine artists included in the exhibition, Runfola's metal semi-abstract narratives offer commentary on current social challenges.

As a society, we are struggling with the basic social skills to engage in face-to-face conversation or non-digital interactive communication. Let's face it, it's easier to write a blog, text, and instant message, then it is to stand up in a room filled with people, and lecture... or even to participate in a small group conversation. Has the computer age actually stunted our social skills and forever altered physical human interaction?  Runfola shares the concept behind of his work:
My work focuses on social commentary that explores the symbiosis between humans and our world, and attempts to visualize the cause-and-effect relationship with the two. In my i-Series body of work, I speak to the growing rate of self-absorption in our society, and the effect this has on community. The word community is derived from Latin cum (together) and munus (gift). Modern conveniences are allowing for better efficiencies, more access, and more universal independence. However, our use of these conveniences and lifestyle choices often blinds us to our surroundings; we are not present. At what point is efficiency a detriment?
The Worldview exhibition will be presented at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago through January 10, 2013. All works are available for purchase with a portion of the proceeds donated to Worldview Education and Care. Gallery 180 is located at the corner of Lake and Wabash in Chicago's Loop.

i.3 [self absorption] • formed/fabricated steel • 12” x 13.5” x 7.25” 

Raised in upstate New York farm country, Matthew Runfola was surrounded by humans interacting with the earth. As Matthew’s love for both mechanical objects and nature grew, his sense of the symbiotic association between humans and the world we live in began. Matthew graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a Mechanical Engineering degree. Searching for added creative freedom, Matthew established Runfola Studios with the intent of creating works that explore the relationship between humans and our physical and social world. Runfola teaches at the Evanston Art Center, located in Evanston, IL, where he also heads the Metal Sculpture department.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Mary Porterfield ~ Nuances of Landscape

Mary Porterfield, Rise and Fall, 2011, Oil on Panel, 48"x 41"

Last night—after work—I took a short ride out to the Koehnline Museum of Art, at Oakton Community College located Des Plaines, Illinois. It’s just a 30-minute ride from downtown Chicago and I knew it would be worth the trip. Mary Porterfield was opening a two-person exhibition titled “Nuances of Landscape”. I’ve worked with Mary in the past and I’ve always been intrigued with the work that she produces. Her imagery possesses a mysterious quality… with dreamlike figures emerging from atmospheric anomalies. Porterfield’s exhibition statement—paraphrased here—reads in-part, as follows:
“My work asks what makes an act “heroic” in the midst of overpowering circumstance—symbolized by natural phenomena such as geysers, storm clouds, and volcanoes… In my paintings, landscapes represent situations beyond my control—literally and figuratively. A closer look reveals that these scenes are actually composed of hundreds of multi-figured narratives. Some depict religious paradigms and saints, whose heroic acts involved giving unconditionally. Other forms represent animals, which symbolize the courage needed to perform a selfless act—and the harm that can result, especially in the midst of futile situations.”
Porterfield’s paintings are presented at the Koehnline Museum with the work of Nina Weiss. It's a beautiful exhibition and well worth the short dive to the suburbs. “Nuances of Landscape” continues through January 25. Oakton Community College is located at 1600 East Golf Road in Des Plaines, Illinois. The Museum hours are Monday-Friday 10-6 and Saturday 11-4. Additional information can be found at You can also view additional work by Mary Porterfield at: