Saturday, November 23, 2013

Toshiko Takaezu ~ Perimeter Gallery

Toshiko Takaezu, “Form C”, 2001, ceramic, 32 x 20 x 19 inches

Yesterday afternoon, I spent some time wandering around Chicago’s River North gallery district. It's been a month or two since I had an opportunity to visit the neighborhood so I’ve been anticipating this time to explore. The trip was well worth it… I saw some wonderful work.

Perimeter Gallery, located at 210 W. Superior Street, is presenting a beautifully-peaceful exhibition of ceramic vessels by Toshiko Takaezu (1922-2011). The gallery becomes a garden of vessels mimicking a walk through a forest or nature preserve. The vertical vessels emerge from the floor as though growing from the hardwood. Smaller pieces—resting on platform ledges—offer a vision of vines cascading from a garden wall. The clean form of the vessels mimic the crisp environment of the gallery while the beautifully adorned surfaces add a natural element of intrigue with brushstrokes and drips of neutral tones… peaceful and meditative. 

Also, don’t forget to visit Perimeter's lower level gallery. There is a wonderful—very meditative— installation piece by Keiko Hara that should be experienced.

The Toshiko Takaezu exhibition continues through December 31st. Perimeter Gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:30 to 5:30. Additional information can be found at:

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Frances A. Cox ~ Still Life Portraits

Frances A. Cox, Conversation, oil on canvas, 24" x 28"

Save the Date: Friday, December 13th 5-7pm

Last week, I received an email from Frances Cox inviting me to her Rogers Park studio. The invitation was an offer to preview a series of paintings that she created for an upcoming exhibition. I accepted.

The solo exhibition—titled “Still Life Portraits”—will be presented at the Renaissance Court Gallery of the Chicago Cultural Center from December 13th through January 26th, 2014. The Opening Reception is scheduled for Friday, December 13th from 5-7pm. You should plan to attend. This is a “must see” exhibition.

Cox—a prolific painter—utilizes plant forms as metaphor for human emotions. She openly points out…
“When I look at plant forms, I view them as botanical singularities having the characteristics of other living things.”
Her ornate images guide the viewer on a journey through the picture plane—exploring gestural botanical forms and structures alluding to humanity. The images are sometimes a singular “figure” while others define relationships.

The most current images are brilliant. Cox has pushed her color palette to explore stronger contrasts—making the images pop off the surface of the canvas. The glistening oil shimmers with fluid emotion created through a combination of silhouette and beautifully modeled forms. The mixture of modulation lends to the complexity of the elaborate compositions.

Frances A. Cox, Two Eccentric Vases II, oil on canvas, 28" x 34"

Join me at the opening reception of Still Life Portraits on Friday, December 13th from 5-7pm. The Renaissance Court Gallery is on the first floor of the Chicago Cultural Center, located at 78 East Washington Street in Chicago.

Gallery Hours: Monday through Thursday; 9am–7pm, Friday; 9am–6pm, Saturday; 9am–6pm, and Sunday; 10am–6pm

Frances A. Cox, White Vase with Hanging Pear, oil on canvas, 28" x 30"

Frances A. Cox was raised in Chicago, IL, graduated from Marquette University and attended the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has been exhibited in many state group shows as well as regional juried exhibitions across the Midwest and has earned numerous awards from Midwest Museums of Art.

​Solo Exhibitions of her work have been held at the Freeport Museum of Art in Freeport, Illinois as well as the South Bend Museum of Art in South Bend, Indiana.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Meditative Surfaces ~ ArtScene ~ Fort Wayne Museum of Art

I spent this past Friday night with Maggie Meiners and Deanna Krueger, at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, speaking about our Meditative Surfaces exhibition currently on display in the museum's Regional Artists Gallery. The exhibition space is pristine yet approachable and the  presentation of the work is beautifully curated. About twenty local art enthusiasts attended the lecture—wanting to learn more about the show's genesis as well as our individual artistic journeys.

Meditative Surfaces continues through January 19th at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. The Museum is located at 311 E. Main Street in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10-6, Thursday 10-8, and Sunday 12-5. Admission is free to members, $7 for adults, $5 for students and seniors 65 and over. The museum offers free general admission every Thursday from 5-8 and Sunday. Learn more at:

Friday, November 8, 2013

Jane Fulton Alt: The Burn Book Release

Last night, I attended the book signing reception for The Burn, a newly published book presenting the work of award-winning photographer, Jane Fulton Alt. The event took place at the DePaul Art Museum and was hosted—in part—by the Ragdale Foundation. The DePaul Art Museum is relatively new to the city—it opened in the autumn of 2011. Located on Fullerton Avenue in Lincoln Park, the museum is easily accessible by public transportation [CTA brown and red line trains] and street parking was abundant. If you have the opportunity, take the time to experience this venue.

To give a little background... The Burn series of photographs are a mystical journey into the place between life, death and rebirth. The images depict the beauty, violence and regenerative power of controlled prairie burns. Alt first experienced a prairie burn during an artist residency at Ragdale in 2007. Since then, she has documented the Lake Forest prairie burns each spring and fall.

Last night's book signing event was beautifully choreographed. When we arrived, we were confronted with a larger-than-life video presentation of a prairie burn. The images flickered across a large wall and the crackle and snapping of burning wood was heard in surround sound. The numerous people in the room, sipping wine and conversing, created a surreal experience... As though we were attending a cocktail party in the burning wilderness.

The evening paused to include a presentation by Alt, defining her journey as a photographer. Clearly inspired by the mysteries of life and death, Alt began her talk by presenting a projected image of a face emerging from a pool of water. She pointed out that the image represented both the emergence of life—the first breath, as well as the cold, lifelessness of a death mask.

Alt's journey has taken her from photographing the birth of children to the last days of hospice patients... slaughterhouses and autopsies... exploring the holy cremation site of Varanasi and the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico. She has even photographed the result of Hurricane Katrina. But each of her images seems to include an element of hope and rebirth.

If you missed last night's event, Jane Fulton Alt will be speaking in Evanston, Illinois at Perspectives Gallery on Sunday, January 12th at 4:30 pm. If you have an opportunity, try to attend. You won't be disappointed. Jane Fulton Alt is multifaceted, has a powerful story and is an amazing public speaker. December Book Release / Speaking Engagements include venues in San Francisco and New Orleans. Additional information can be found at

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

North Central College visits Breaking Criminal Traditions at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law

Last Tuesday morning, North Central College Gallery Director, Nickole Lanham-Murray lead a small delegation of students from the Naperville campus to the Breaking Criminal Traditions exhibition at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. Executive Producer; Cheryl Jefferson, Co-Producer/Exhibiting Artist; Richard Laurent, and myself, met the group to walk them through the exhibit, answer questions about the included artists, and the criminal traditions that the work was selected to represent.

The exhibition calls attention to ongoing ancient rituals that kill or maim millions each year—yet aren’t considered crimes. It is a visual exploration of human rights designed to begin a dialogue and raise consciousness, which is the first step toward preventing the continuation of these horrifying acts. In the past few weeks—since Breaking Criminal Traditions has opened—it seems to be doing just that.

The enthusiastic group spent more than a couple of hours exploring the show. Jefferson and Laurent offered stories of the criminal traditions as the group moved through the exhibition space. At times, it was obvious that the viewers were touched with emotion.

The exhibition includes work by:  James Deeb, Sheila Ganch, Andrea Harris, Paula Kloczkowski Luberda, Richard Laurent, Zoriah Miller, Nancy Rosen, Lorraine Sack, Valerie Schiff, Barbara Simcoe, and Anne Smith Stephan.

The Art of influence: Breaking Criminal Traditions will be on display through February 3. 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]. Street Parking is abundant.

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—and upcoming events—can be found at