Monday, April 29, 2019

Susan Aurinko - Hofheimer Gallery

Susan Aurinko, Two and One, Paris, digital photography

A few months ago, I was asked to curate an exhibition of recent photographs produced by Susan Aurinko. Aurinko is known for her photographic self-portraits—the hazy reflection of self, amidst artifacts found in storefront windows throughout the world. The reflections—at times—quietly allude to an unknowing passerby, while other images only explore the abstract reflections glistening in the glass. 

In preparation for the exhibition, I reviewed more than three-hundred of Aurinko’s never-been-seen before images. The process was an ideal opportunity to delve into the artist’s evolving creative vision. What I found was an expanded concept of “reflection” referencing private moments of contemplation, introspection and meditation. But there was more.

Many of these images explore the geometry of life as visual vocabulary for these serene moments. Aurinko embraces line, shape, pattern and texture—the repetitive texture of foliage, the sparkling spray of water droplets, the unique patterns of dappled sunlight… all brilliantly presented in what becomes a significant flash in time. 

Susan Aurinko, Idyllique, Paris, digital photography

Aurinko captures these moments, causing us to stop and take notice—a reflecting pond distorting the ornate formality of a park setting; a sea of decorative statues randomly huddled together in a flea market; an aerial perspective of a sun-filled atrium producing shadows of unique shapes and patterns. These compositions force a glimpse into an actual reality which is typically missed. They remind us of the surrounding beauty—often neglected—in a hectic world.

Susan Aurinko, CafĂ© Society, Berlin, digital photography

The title of Susan Aurinko’s upcoming Hofheimer Gallery exhibition is europa europa—referencing the continent on which the work was created. The show will open this Friday, May 3—with a reception for the artist—and continue through May 30, 2019. The reception runs from 5 to 8pm. 

The Hofheimer Gallery is located at 4823 North Damen—on the north side of Chicago in the Ravenswood area. The gallery is dedicated to introducing contemporary fine art in painting, drawing and sculpture from established and emerging artists. Through the year, the Hofheimer Gallery will feature provocative, engaging, solo and group exhibitions.

Susan Aurinko, Selbst, Vienna, digital photography

I will be joining Susan Aurinko at Hofheimer Gallery for an artist talk on Saturday, May 18 from 2-4pm. Please join us for a relaxed discussion about the artist and this wonderful collection of imagery.

SUSAN AURINKO, a photographer and curator, has shown her work in solo exhibitions in France, Italy, and India, as well as in the US. Her exhibition about India, entitled STILL POINT INDIA, opened at Kriti Gallery in Varanasi, India in February 2013, is touring India’s largest cities, and is now available as a book, STILL POINT INDIA, the cover image for which won both a Jury Award and a Public Choice award from Px3 in Paris. Aurinko’s work appears on several book covers, including The Stranger Among Us, Ariel, Scar Tissue, and Slut Lullabies, in the US and UK, and four of her photographs are included in the Museum of Contemporary Photography’s permanent collection. Her photographs hang in private collections in France, Italy, India, Monaco, the UK, and the US. Aurinko is on the Advisory Committees of the International Photography Awards (Lucie Awards) and has been an IPA and Px3 Juror for several years and is on the Advisory Board for Filter Photo Festival.

Aurinko’s preview exhibition for her series SEARCHING FOR JEHANNE –The Joan of Arc Project, at Takohl Gallery in Chicago, was named among THE FIVE BEST PHOTOGRAPHY SHOWS OF 2014, by New City Magazine.

As a curator, Aurinko has created over 250 exhibitions, both at FLATFILEgalleries, the gallery she founded and directed for 9 years, and in a variety of other gallery and museum venues, including IIT and CAC, and exhibitions for both the Japanese and Danish governments. She has led workshops for photographers and artists in the US, Canada, and India. Aurinko is on the Boards of Directors of Universe of Poetry, Chicago Artists Coalition, Apprentice Lab, and the Advisory Board for Chicago Photography Center, for whom she also curated the gallery’s 11 annual exhibitions from 2010 until 2013. Aurinko is also the founder of the f8collective. Aurinko is represented by HILTON/ASMUS FOTO in Chicago and Kriti Gallery in Varanasi, India.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Frances Cox – Hofheimer Gallery

Frances Cox, Summer, oil on canvas, 36 x 38"

A World Apart—the exhibition of vibrantly colorful oil paintings by Frances Cox and Michael Noland—will open with a reception at the Hofheimer Gallery on Friday, April 5th from 5-8 pm. 

I’ve followed the career of Frances Cox for the past decade. I was first introduced to her beautifully-organic imagery, while curating exhibitions for a small upscale gallery in Three Oaks, Michigan. At that time, she was working on a series of paintings related to a recent tsunami disaster. The imagery was powerfully haunting yet beautiful—composed of teal, blue and green organic shapes adorned with elaborate patterns. These luminous elements alluded to the tragedy that occurred in a paradisiacal environment normally bursting with an abundance of brilliant color.

Over the years, I’ve work with Cox on a variety of exhibitions. Generally, her work is botanically-inspired figurative still life, with clear references to Art Nouveau—highlighting organic design motifs including vine tendrils, flowers, and the human form. Cox’s canvases are gracefully composed, offering the viewer layer-upon-layer of detailed nuance. But the beautiful forms that emerge from the complexity are never subtle. They are bold, direct, and demanding of the viewer’s attention.

Cox explains, “When I look at plant forms, I view them as botanical singularities having the characteristics of other living things. I transfer to plants, metaphors for human feelings and appearances.”

As I previewed the exhibition, I found myself drawn to the beautiful complexity of the canvas titled Summer. This 36 x 38-inch composition plays with a variety of contrasts; the use of a complementary color pallette, large open areas juxtaposed with highly detailed modeled patterns, and a popping of light and dark.

In much of her work, Cox utilizes dark outlines to build form and distinguish shape. This technique presents a visual trail leading the captivated viewer through the composition, introducing quiet details. From a distance, yet another surprise emerges. Each canvas melds into the sum of its parts, becoming a completely new and unique abstraction.

Frances Cox, Dancing Tree, oil on canvas, 40"x40"

Dancing Tree is another gem in this collection. The 40-inch square canvas seems to be channeling the essence of Winged Victory with its flowing Grecian gown and wings raised in triumph. But the fluidity isn’t lost on me. References to Art Nouveau and the work of Will Bradley come to mind. Bradley’s poster for The Chap Book, 1895 offers similar forms. In both samples, billowing shapes seamlessly flow into one another—defining edges where none exist, repeating shape for complexity, and challenging the viewer’s perception.

A World Apart, featuring the work by Frances Cox and Michael Noland, opens Friday, April 5, with a reception from 5-8pm. The artists will be in attendance. The Hofheimer Gallery is located at 4823 N. Damen in Chicago [60625]. Gallery Hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 11-5 and by appointment. For additional information contact the gallery at 847.274.7550 or visit …A World Apart continues through April 25, 2019.

Frances A. Cox was raised in Chicago, Illinois, graduated from Marquette University and attended the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has been exhibited nationally, earning Cox well-deserved recognition and numerous awards.