Sunday, September 15, 2013

the art of influence... Breaking Criminal Traditions

 Richard Laurent, "Small Change", oil on canvas, 36 x 36"

Save the Date:
Reception: Thursday, October 10,  5:15-8:15pm

IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, Gallery
3rd floor, 565 West Adams Street, Chicago

The Art of Influence: Breaking Criminal Traditions is an exhibition that calls attention to ongoing ancient rituals that kill or maim millions each year—yet aren’t considered crimes. This approachable yet provocative fine art exhibition debuts at the IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, with an opening reception for the public on Thursday, October 10 from 5:15 to 8:15 PM.

I curated the exhibition, which features 38 pieces of fine art—in a variety of mediums—representing several prominent artists. The pieces selected for this exhibition are intriguing—with many levels of interpretation. Conscious of the human rights issues outlined by Executive Producer, Cheryl Jefferson, I selected beautiful imagery that contains multiple levels of meaning. Most of the pieces were not created specifically for this show, yet they were chosen because the content alludes to the issues at hand. Each piece has its own voice but the viewer will bring their own interpretation.

The Art of influence: Breaking Criminal Traditions is a visual exploration of human rights. The exhibition is designed to begin a dialogue and raise consciousness, which is the first step toward preventing the continuation of these horrifying acts.

The exhibition includes fine art by: James Deeb (Evanston, IL), Sheila Ganch (Chicago, IL), Andrea Harris (Chicago, IL), Paula Kloczkowski Luberda (Naperville, IL), Richard Laurent (Chicago, IL), Zoriah Miller (New York, NY, Paris, France), Nancy Rosen (Chicago, IL), Lorraine Sack (Indianapolis, IN), Valerie Schiff (Chicago, IL), Barbara Simcoe (Omaha, NE), and Anne Smith Stephan (Wilmette, IL)

The Art of influence: Breaking Criminal Traditions will be on display through February 3. Previews begin on October 7th. A public Opening Reception will take place on Thursday, October10 from 5:15-8:15pm. The gallery is located on the 3rd floor of the IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, located at 565 West Adams Street in Chicago [the corner of Adams and Jefferson]. The gallery is open Monday-Thursday 7:30am-11pm, Friday 7:30am-9:30pm, and Saturday 8:30am- 6pm. Most of the pieces included in the exhibition are available for purchase. Additional information can be found at

Co-producer Richard Laurent is an award-winning painter who exhibits in galleries and shows nationwide. Oil Painters of America has honored him with the prestigious national Blick Prize and he is the recipient of numerous other awards as well. Laurent teaches throughout the Chicago area.

Laurent grew up in the West, in Denver, Colorado. He came to Chicago to study printmaking with Misch Cohn at the Institute of Design/IIT and began his career as a designer. As an art director of animated films and magazines as well as an editorial illustrator and cartoonist, Laurent had a realization that his future lay in the fine arts. Intense self-study followed, eventually leading him to some of the major art museums in the world.

Laurent has exhibited at the International Museum of Contemporary Masters of Fine Art and has shown his paintings at Oil Painters of America national exhibitions since 2004. In 2006, he was awarded the Dick Blick Prize by OPA. He mounted a solo show at the Fine Arts Building Gallery in Chicago under the title, "Heavy Petting-The Painted Animal" in 2004. That same year at the National "Animal in Art" Exhibition, juror Ed Paschke awarded his painting "Best of Show in Oil Media." He mounted another solo exhibition in 2006 at the Fine Arts Building Gallery entitled "Beauty & Beast." In May of that same year, in a visual essay exploring definitions of classical beauty, reviewed the exhibition. In 2008, his painting "Swimming" was purchased by The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago for the school's permanent collection. He has also been a participant at two Chicago and Vicinity exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Laurent's drawings and paintings are included in two monographs: Contemporary American Drawing and Contemporary American Painting, published by Jilin Fine Art, He was also included in an article on Oil Painters of America in American Art Collector (May, 2009). Laurent's oil paintings have also been shown in various juried and invitational gallery shows around the country, including NYC and Scottsdale, AZ. When he isn't painting in the studio, Laurent teaches in the Art + Design Department at Columbia College.