Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Yasemin Kackar-Demirel - A Virtual Artist Talk - 09.15.21 @12 noon

Yasemin Kackar-Demirel, Windmills yin your mind, 2020, 19.25 x 19.25

Please join Suzanne Gorgas, Gallery Director of the Laura A. Sprague Art Gallery of Joliet Junior College, on Wednesday, September 15, at 12pm (CST) for an Artist Talk with Yasemin Kackar-Demirel. Kackar-Demirel will be speaking about her Virtual Exhibition, titled Windmills of Your Mind, currently presented, virtually, at Joliet Junior College. The discussion will be presented via Zoom (Meeting ID 884 9298 6505  Passcode 476729). This is a free event sponsored by the Fine Arts Department of Joliet Junior College. 

A multi-talented artist, this exhibition focuses on the Kackar-Demirel's ongoing series of thread paintings.  In describing this mixed-media, textile work, artist Yasemin Kackar-Demirel's explains that this show includes a selection of thread paintings composed on upcycle fabrics. The embroidery is overlaid with image tracings, chosen from personal architectural photographs. With an obvious interest in abstraction, the artist seems drawn to unique and shifting perspectives. The imagery incorporates seemingly random stains of paint to reinforce architectural structure and guide new patterns and forms. 


Yasemin Kackar-Demirel's exhibition, “Windmills of Your Mind,” will continue through September 17 at the Laura A. Sprague Art Gallery of Joliet Junior College. You can also view additional imagery—in various media—on Kackar-Demirel's website... yaseminkackar.com

Yasemin Kackar-Demirel, You will find your way, 2018, 16.5 x 18.5

Yasemin Kackar-Demirel was born in 1978, in Istanbul, Turkey. She works in a range of mediums from paintings to mixed media drawings and works on textiles. Her work is a manifestation of her lived experiences in urban and natural environments; remnants of her mental and physical presence in the various places she visits. Through abstraction, she explores an array of concepts including freedom, boundaries, belonging, adaptability, residuals, and memory. Kackar-Demirel has received her MFA and a Museum Studies Certificate from Northern Illinois University (2004), and her BFA from Mimar Sinan University, Istanbul, Turkey (2001). She has had solo exhibitions at The Yard: City Hall Park, New York, Mooney Center Gallery, The College of New Rochelle, New Rochelle, NY, C.A.M. Gallery, Istanbul, Turkey, Courthouse Gallery, Lake George Arts Project, Lake George, NY, and McLean County Arts Center, Bloomington, IL, among other venues. Her works have been exhibited in group shows across the United States as well as internationally in Israel, Italy, and Turkey. She has attended the residency programs at the SVA in New York and AreaOdeon in Monza, Italy. In 2006, she was the recipient of Moon and Stars Project’s exhibition award. Her works have been featured in various catalogs and periodicals including Dovetail, Pikchur, New American Paintings, The Woven Tale Press (Digital), Fresh Paint, INPA 2 by Manifest Gallery. She lives with her son and husband and works in Cortlandt Manor, New York.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Sarah Krepp in "Relentless" at Hofheimer Gallery

Sarah Krepp, Detail - White Noise: Interference (614)

The group exhibition—RELENTLESS—opened at the Hofheimer Gallery last Friday evening. This uncompromising collection showcases the work of artists, Ann E. Coulter, Colleen Cox, Frances Cox, Nova Czarnecki, Sarah Krepp, Karen Perl, Joyce Marcus, Emily Rapport, Jeanine Coupe Ryding, and Eleanor Spiess-Ferris. With each artist presenting a sampling of their current work, the show offers a variety of powerful imagery connected with a subtle thread of darkness. In most cases, the artist’s personal truth is offered through symbol or metaphor.

As I drifted through the space, I was continuously pulled to an abstract mixed media work by Sarah Krepp. Titled “White Noise: Interference (614),” the painting is a culmination of found objects inferring the misfortune of a highway accident. Predominantly white with minute elements of black, red, and caution-tape yellow, the image includes wire, frayed tire treads, and recovered objects stitched or adhered to the surface. Glistening globs of silvery-white paint conceal areas of a background, composed of meticulously hand-written notes. Upon closer inspection, the words become random… symbolic of a message lost in translation. 

Lisa Wainwright of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago wrote an essay about Krepp’s work for a solo exhibition at the Rockford Art Museum in 2016. In the essay, Wainwright offers a bit more personal insight into Krepp’s work. After referencing similarities to the bold marks of the Abstract Expressionist painters of the 1960’s, she explains that instead of paint, Krepp creates her marks “…from the scraps of found materials holding personal meaning for the artist.” She goes on to explain that several years ago, Krepp witnessed a highway accident involving her son. “…and while the highway material has served as a kind of fetishistic tokenism ever since, the back story quickly gave way to a much larger viewpoint (Wainwright).

That viewpoint touches on an array of current social issues. The imagery highlights the sins of our society—missing the mark and drifting off course like a driver falling asleep behind the wheel. As a society, we’re closing our eyes to actual science and putting our faith in magical thinking, turning our backs on people who seem to be different, and ignoring uncomfortable topics. From the artist statement… “I seek to question our indulgent contemporary society, as well as present an aesthetically dynamic experience. And she succeeds.

Hofheimer Gallery is located at 4823 N. Damen Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60625. For additional information, contact the gallery at 847.274.7550 | info@hofheimergallery.com The exhibition continues through July 30.

Sarah Krepp, White Noise: Interference (614), text, oil, mixed media on linen, 48″x60″

With an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sarah Krepp has been a noted Chicago artist for more than 25 years. She has shown nationally and internationally, and her work is included in many corporate and private collections. She is a Professor Emeritus of Art and former Chair of the Painting Program in the School of the Art and Design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has over 20 years of teaching experience at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Southern Illinois University, the Burren College of Art (Ballyvaughn, Ireland), as well as the University of Illinois. She has taught freshman through graduate level courses in drawing, painting, sculpture, interdisciplinary and site-specific practice, and interdisciplinary critique. Many of her students have gone on to achieve significant success as practicing artists, art educators, and curators.


Monday, June 7, 2021

Richard Laurent - "Social Justice" at the Georgetown Art Center

Richard Laurent, Tower of Babel, oil on canvas, 36 x 36"

An Exhibition of paintings titled “Social Justice” by Chicago Artist, Richard Laurent, will open at the Georgetown Art Center on June 18, 2021. This exhibition of conceptual paintings references today’s social challenges. Laurent masterfully uses symbol to offer an approachable, yet thought-provoking, perspective. 

Having worked with Laurent on The Art of Influence: Breaking Criminal Traditions initiative for more than a decade, I’ve gained some insight into the work of this creative genius. His brilliance is not limited to his ability to perfectly render a form with a swipe of his brush. His brilliance stems from the complexity of his message. Each of Laurent’s canvases offers a puzzle for the viewer to solve. But, as always, the viewer will see what they want to see. 

There are still places in the world where women are expected to fill their mouths with stones prior to leaving the home. This practice is intended to hinder the ability to speak. In some cases, the stones are inserted for her. It is believed that the tone of a woman’s voice will seduce men. The stones will quiet women from having a voice—an opinion. In these cultures—women are held responsible for the cruel and brutal actions of the male population. And if a woman reports crimes against her, she may be stoned alive. 

Gender inequality is but one of the human rights issues addressed in Laurent’s “Social Justice” exhibition. “Tower of Babel” references the repression of women. The painting offers the viewer many clues to his message of inequality—the most obvious is the title. Laurent begins by using a symbol that defines a hinderance of communication. The Tower of Babel is a biblical story which defines a time when there was a unified human race—all speaking the same language. They decided to build a city—in Southern Mesopotamia—and a tower to reach heaven. God wasn’t thrilled with this idea, so God muddled their speech to hinder communication and scattered humanity throughout the world. 

Laurent’s image presents us with his version of the legendary tower. The centralized twisting tower seems to act as a straitjacket for the unempowered—almost lifeless—head that crowns the structure. A cold and expressionless stare highlights the hollowness of degradation. Stones pave the way for the Assyrian winged bull which seems to guard the figure. Legend has it that the intimidating winged bull, guarded a city gate. It represented the power of the Assyrian King. A second masklike face flanks the central figure—it’s eyes a painful red. Then, floating to the right, is a box that contains a reaching hand, confined within a sphere. Additional stones seem to act as clouds in the upper portion of the composition. 

This series of paintings created by Richard Laurent, are meant to raise awareness of global human rights atrocities. By using the beauty of art to raise awareness of these difficult topics, we can begin dialogue and support those affected by encouraging change—change that can only come from within each culture, change that will be successful when supported by the world. 

The paintings of Richard Laurent will be on exhibition through July 19, 2021. The Artist's Reception is scheduled for Saturday, June 19 from 4-6pm. Georgetown Art Center will also be hosting an Artist Talk event on June 20th at 2pm. The Georgetown Art Center is located at 816 S Main Street in Georgetown, Texas 78626. Entry is free. 

Richard Laurent, Arcidia, oil on canvas, 36 x 36"

Oil painter, Richard Laurent, works out of his studio in the historic Fine Arts Building, Chicago. Originally from Colorado, Richard received his formal visual training at Chicago’s Institute of Design-the Neu Bauhaus School. He has continued his professional studies worldwide. His paintings have been featured in numerous national exhibitions including Oil Painters of America, Salon International Museum of Contemporary Masters, and Chicago Artists Interpret Shakespeare. He has also shown in gallery settings including George Billis, New York; Gallery H, Three Oaks, Michigan; Zia Gallery, Winnetka, Illinois; and Gallery Laluz, Chicago. Laurent’s paintings are included in the permanent collections of the City of Denver, City of Schaumburg, Deloitte Consulting, Encyclopaedia Britannica, The Illinois Institute of Art, Wells Fargo, Bodine Electric, and private collections. His paintings and drawings are included in two monographs: Contemporary American Painting and Contemporary American Drawing, published by Jilin Fine Arts.

The Georgetown Art Center is located at 816 South Main Street on Georgetown’s historic square. The facility opened in October of 2013. Georgetown Art Works is the 501(c)(3) Texas nonprofit organization selected by the City of Georgetown to manage the Art Center and provides innovative, intelligent exhibits and programs that promote visual literacy in the greater community. Our vision is to be nationally recognized as an arts and culture center of excellence.

The Art of Influence: Breaking Criminal Traditions:
Art can go where the law has not. It can lead public policy through the hearts and minds of artists and their audiences. The Art of Influence: Breaking Criminal Traditions is a fine art initiative that calls attention to human rights issues, which kill or maim millions of people each year yet—in some countries—aren't considered crimes. By using the beauty of art to raise awareness of these difficult topics, we can begin dialogue and support those affected by encouraging change — change that can only come from within each culture, change that will be successful when supported by the world. Learn more at: BreakingCriminalTraditions.com

Richard Laurent, Book of Knowledge, oil on canvas, 36 x 36"

Sunday, June 6, 2021

"Field Studies" Adam Fung and Steve Carrelli – Hofheimer Gallery

An exhibition of paintings and collaborative drawings created by
 Adam Fung and Steve Carrelli, opened yesterday at Hofheimer Gallery. The unique quality of this exhibition is that the viewer will first gain insight into each individual artist and then have an opportunity to explore a ten-year long-distance collaboration of nearly sixty 5”x7” graphite drawings on paper.

Each collaborative drawing began with one of the artists drawing a few lines—or a small segment of the composition. The partially completed drawings would be sent between Chicago and Fort Worth, Texas—a few at a time—back-and-forth until each drawing was complete. Each compositional fragment would be reviewed, assessed and contemplated—sometimes sitting for days before the opposing artist arrived at a relevant response to the challenge. Once addressed, the new version of the drawing would be sent back for yet another response. The result of this unique process ranges from humor to destruction.

Analyzing the result of this visual conversation, the viewer begins to notice elements of each artist’s personal work… Plumes of smoke from a rocket launch become smoke pouring into an empty room (Fung), The shadow cast by the open flap of an envelope (Carrelli), or the reoccurring image of a plumb bob (Carrelli). But when these personal elements are incorporated with that of the other, a surreal story begins to be told. That story only seems to exist in the viewer’s mind because this body of work is but a personal conversation… a unique chess match where both players win. And we—as viewers—get to interpret the game as we choose. 

The exhibition continues through June 26. Hofheimer Gallery is located at 4823 N. Damen, Chicago, Illinois 60625. Learn more at: hofheimergallery.com

Adam Fung is an Associate Professor in the School of Art at Texas Christian University. Working primarily as a painter, his nationally exhibited work brings attention to climate change, landscape patterns, and the components of the universe. Exhibited at the national level, His paintings can be found in public art collections at Microsoft, South Bend Museum of Art, and the US Department of Energy’s Fermilab, as well as numerous private collections.

Steve Carrelli is a Lecturer in the Department of Art, Media and Design at DePaul University, Chicago, as well as a Visiting Scholar at the School of Art, Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. His works utilize representational techniques to manipulate the viewer’s perception. His paintings and drawings are included in the collections of the City of Chicago Public Art Program, the Illinois State Museum, the DePaul Art Museum, Northwestern University and Elmhurst College, as well as in numerous other public and private collections.

Hofheimer Gallery is located at 4823 N. Damen, Chicago, Illinois 60625, on the north side of Chicago in the Ravenswood area at Damen and Lawrence. The gallery is dedicated to introducing contemporary fine art in painting, drawing and sculpture from established and emerging artists. The gallery features provocative, engaging, solo and group exhibitions.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Nova Czarnecki - Bloom at Hofheimer Gallery

It’s the details that make life interesting.

I teach my students, that what they see in art, is based on their life experience. Their reality is grounded solely on their personal experience of the world. In beginning drawing, the student is taught to see… literally. Nothing is taken for granted. Every detail is a new discovery. The student is trained to see how light moves across a surface, exposing the nuance of every object, surface, or subject, within their view. 

As I walked into the Hofheimer Gallery for the opening reception of Bloom, I was instantly drawn to the beautiful complexity of Nova Czarnecki’s paintings. The subject of each canvas is a gorgeously rendered female figure, entangled in foliage and flanked by an array of regal birds and animals. The beautiful dabs of pigment are transformed into an emotional expression of unique storytelling—a subtle message in each detail. The viewer can spend hours exploring the subtle nuance of each bit of the canvas. The symbolism found, is unique for each encounter… again, based on the viewer’s personal history. Quiet moments for observation are required for a poignant journey.

Bloom closes this afternoon at Hofheimer Gallery. The collection hosts a number of beautiful images relevant to the title. Take some time to experience this beautiful exhibition and explore the work of Nova Czarnecki—the newest addition to this amazing stable of Hofheimer gallery artists.

Hofheimer Gallery is located at 4823 N. Damen, Chicago, Illinois 60625 847.274.7550
Learn more at: hofheimergallery.com

Friday, March 12, 2021

There’s always a story… "Tattoo Tattoo" at Hofheimer Gallery

Dianne Mansfield, SuzAnne

The weather in Chicago has finally become comfortable—perfect for getting outside and seeing actual people. With a sunny sky and high temperatures in the 60’s, I couldn’t wait to venture out. And that’s just what I did—this past Saturday—when I visited the exhibition titled “Tattoo Tattoo” at the Hofheimer Gallery. “Tattoo Tattoo” is a group show anchored by the work of George Klauba and Eleanor Spiess-Ferris—two of my many favorites at Hofheimer. 


As I explored the space, I came upon a group of black and white photographs documenting full body tattoos. And they seemed to be just that—straight forward documentations. As I continued through the space, I found a second series of photographs, set aside in the back of the gallery. These seemed to be done by the same artist, but they were different. They radiated emotion. The images captured an unabashed reality—a personal moment of self-empowerment. The images are the work of Dianne Mansfield. I asked if Dianne was attending the reception and she was pointed out. Within a minute, we were involved in conversation. 


After a brief introduction, we stepped away from a small group, to have a more private exchange. Discussion of the exhibition quickly transitioned into stories about the people represented in her imagery. With sparkling eyes and some colorful language, Dianne revealed another gift—her amazing ability to tell a good story. 


A photographer and educator, Mansfield has spent a good portion of her life photographing the world in which she lives. The tattoo culture is an important segment of her world and she has documented the unique personalities within that sector. 

Dianne Mansfield, QM KTK 083, 1982

Referencing one of the images from the show, Mansfield told me of a friend who supported herself as a fully-inked stripper. In the image, a gorgeous woman is presented wearing a sweeping silk robe—exposing her everlasting markings like a hand-painted bodysuit. Incredibly comfortable in her embellished skin—she is dignified, daring judgement from anyone.

Mansfield told many stories that afternoon. In fact—at one point—we stepped outside so that we could continue our conversation without masks. A colorful character with an amazing history, I look forward to our next meeting.

“Tattoo Tattoo” will continue at Hofheimer Gallery through March 27. The group exhibition includes work by George Klauba, J. Adams, Ivan Soyars, Leo Zulueta, Mario Desa, Chad Koeplinger, Danny Reed, Eleanor Spiess-Ferris, and—of course—photographer, Dianne Mansfield. Hofheimer Gallery is located at 4823 N. Damen, Chicago, Illinois 60625  847.274.7550 

Learn more at: hofheimergallery.com