By Hand

At Carrie Secrist Gallery 835 West Washington Blvd. Chicago, IL ‘By Hand’ the group show currently on display at Carrie Secrist Gallery is a collection of wall hung objects (paintings, drawings, embroideries and one wall drawing) seeking to display multiple interpretations of artistic ‘skill’.  While there is a great deal of variation in the works subject matter and execution all artists are united by process, they work with their bodies unassisted by digital processes. This is somewhat of an anomaly in the current fine art climate and has been for some time.  With so many fabrication-based possibilities to explore the focus for many young career artists is to become as versatile as possible rather than specialize and build a sophisticated understanding of one medium.  Neither approach is superior, art is a vast landscape of practices and this show is a reminder that there is value to be found in slowness. Skill is not the ability to bluntly impress viewers and leave them unchanged, for an artist skill is the capacity to design experiences both overwhelming and feather light that hopefully facilitate analysis and reflection.  The work in this show is small scale for the most part, but very precise.  There was clearly a fastidious eye overseeing its creation, these artists understand what they want and more importantly they understand how to communicate that with an audience.  This is they type of work that runs the risk of being passed by in the contest of more involved installation work  but it now has a chance to exist in a sparse but rich space. The show will be up until April 30 th and all work is for sale.  Work on the lower end of the price spectrum sits at $1,500 and peaks at just over $9,000. This show is a reflecting pool for any veteran gallery attendee, questions of taste, trend and bias are addressed with work dealing with what is thought by many to be the antiquated processes of painting and drawing.  Do not miss your chance to form an opinion, Recommended. Ciar O'Mahony E-mail, ciar.omahony@gmail.com Date Reviewed: March 25, 2016   … Read more

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Spring BFA show

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Sullivan Gallery 33 South State Street, 7th floor, Chicago, IL Young talent on display Every year the senior undergraduate class from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) commandeers the largest gallery space located on campus for their thesis show, and every year it is a total riot. Running until April 1st with over 280 artists on view there is no rhyme or reason tying the work together. Instead it’s a sort of circus cum salon with all types of objects and all types of ideas packing the vast gallery space to capacity. The diversity of the work is what’s truly exhilarating with sophisticated displays of painting, drawing, photography, video, sculpture, installation, text and ever more indiscernible things. Student work of this caliber is uncommon which is what makes the show so worth investigating. These are not artists who have been taught to be impressive for the sake of nothing, critical is what characterizes this work which is why despite the density of the show it still manages to feel light. Work is delicate and understated, impact without being crass and this is all due to the confidence of the artists have in themselves and their audience . Education cultivates a voice and the ability to make decisions sparingly according to the material and content and this show is definitely a victory for SAIC and it’s graduating class. Work is not explicitly made for sale at this event but the name and contact information of the artists are made available with prices being negotiable upon request. For anyone who is interested what young artists are making, or what arts education looks like this show is: Highly Recommended. Ciar O'Mahony E-mail, ciar.omahony@gmail.com Date Reviewed: Friday March 18th 2016… Read more

Don’t hold on to your bones

A photography show by Leonard Suryajaya  Friday March 11, 2016  Chicago Artists Coalition  217 N. Carpenter Street, Chicago,  IL   Chicago artists coalition , one of the many galleries dotted throughout the west loop is currently hosting a solo show for artist Leonard Suryajaya which will run until March 24 th .  The show entitled Don’t hold onto your bones is multifaceted, primarily containing photography while also displaying video pieces and having a strong element of installation.  The room is small and unassuming squeezed into the back of a larger gallery space however it is bursting with content and energy, Suryajaya favoring a maximalist aesthetic.  The white walls and floor of the space have been covered in a colorful printed pattern creating a frantic and chaotic environment that is not typical in an art viewing context.  This pattern causes the images to blend seamlessly into the wall because they are equally dense, filled with human figures and fabric .   They seem like some sort of re staging of an ancient Greek sculptural frieze.   This treatment of space and composition ties in beautifully with what the show is dealing with conceptually.  Suryajaya is interested in notions of self and identity, topics he has struggled with personally throughout his life due largely to feeling like an outsider in the culture he was raised in.  His photographs and videos do that struggle justice being highly personal but also filed with tension.  Since Chicago artists coalition is very concerned with providing artist with experience in selling their work all photographs are available for sale with prices ranging from $1,800.00 to $5,200.00.  For anyone who is interested in emerging Chicago artists,  photography or less traditional art shows this is a must see.  Highly Recommended . Ciar O'Mahony e-mail: ciar.omahony@gmail.com Date Reviewed: March 11, 2016 … Read more

The Lost Artists Show – Art Opening / Reception

The artwork in the studios consisted of painting and drawing, with heavy Chicago Imagists influence. The vibrant colors and patters in these paintings have that hometown feeling. Participating Studio Artists include: Walter Fydryck, Adam Helman, Frank Mascenic, Kirk Rohrbaugh, James Vellner, Luke Carlson. Participating Visiting Artists include: David Bechtol, Nancy Bechtol, Brian Garay, Bohdan Gernaga, Ken Hirte, John Tyszko, Kat Van Horn, Chelsea Witherby. Read more

Found Photos in Detroit

Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Cambria","serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}  At The Museum of Contemporary Photography  Archeology in a broken city and relics of animosity. Failed seems like a harsh word to describe a city that millions of people still live in, but Arianna Arcara and Luca Santese bring heart wrenching evidence of Detroit’s brokenness in their project Found Photos in Detroit , 2009- 10. Damaged photos, as neglected and abandoned as the parts of Detroit where they were taken, will fill the viewer with questions about the lives to whom these snapshots once belonged. From bruises on sullen faces to bloodstained bodies, this collection secretes the stench of numerous violent crimes, and raises more questions when considering the nature of how these photos and letters were obtained. The Italian artists: Arianna Arcara and Luca Santese focus on the shifting conditions of contemporary urban life through effects of changing global economies. The artists spent time in Detroit to paint a picture of the well know desolation of this motor city who has lost its industry. Arcara and Santese found many abandoned photos, letters, and other personal items during their visit. The artists selected the most powerful and moving items from what they found, and reclaimed them as photography. Arianna Arcara and Luca Santese have raised a lot of question in Found Photos of Detroit , about property and privacy rights because the photos were Police files, and crime scene evidence.   All of these found objects had been neglected and abandoned. If the state had wanted to keep all of these files and evidence confidential, it could have instead of abandoning it. The fact that this sensitive material was so carelessly abandoned, points to the state’s attitude of neglect. Photography can be a very deceptive art form, for while the photograph is a quicker and more reliable device for recording, it by no means can prevent staging fictitious scenes and scenarios. So much is staged, that it is hard to trust photography as being as honest as it might appear to be. When photography is used in applications other than art, its nature changes. These photos have clearly been taken as recording devises for crimes, and this adds a lot of weight to the content. While the reclamation of this work is controversial, it is strong social statement, which is only strengthened by the very thing which make it controversial. Viewing the aftermath of violence, even in a day and age where media desensitizes the masses from violence, can still have a powerful effect, especially when it becomes evident to the viewer, that what they are looking at raw snapshots into an atrocious reality. This exhibition draws its power from the fact that these images were not staged by the artists, but were found photographs from crime scenes, and have been abandoned by the negligent local authorities. The content in these photos is enough to demonstrate the destitution of Detroit, but the photographs as found objects are in their physical form, artifacts and testaments to neglect, disrespect, and abandonment. Found photos as art, can add a whole new level of truth to photography.  A well curated show, very worthwhile  Highly recommended. Samuel Erza Fisch Museum of Contemporary Photography, 600 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60601… Read more

Blue Man Group Announces the Winners of 2013 Chicago Art Competition

In conjunction with the Chicago Expo Art Week, the Blue Man Group announces the six winners of their art competition for 2013 at the Briar Street Theatre. The art competition, open to professional and emerging artists, is centered around the Blue Man Group’s mission statement: celebrating creativity, connectedness, and making art accessible to all. Read more

Maeve Young Erickson

Maeve Young Erickson The 11 th Annual One of a Kind Show at the Merchandise Mart Dec 1 st – Dec 4 th 2011 There will be over 600 artists showcasing and selling their work at the The 11 th Annual One of a Kind Show at the Merchandise Mart, (starting Thursday December 1 st and ending Sunday December 4 th ), but there will be only one Maeve Young Erickson. A local encaustic painter, Erickson is showing in the city of Chicago for the first time…which is long overdue. Encaustic painting is one of the most ancient of all mediums. Oil paint is added to bees wax, melted, and applied to heat resistant materials such as wood or masonite board. Since hot wax dries so rapidly, the artist must work quickly and accurately if they want to achieve certain effects. Erickson has developed a masters hand for this, as she has been creating pieces exclusively in encaustics for the past 50 years. But it’s not so much her technical proficiency that makes her special, rather it's her talent for constructing the ultimate ephemeral landscape. Simultaneously naturalistic and abstract, Erickson's work gives the viewer a lot to take in. The multiple layers of color coupled with highly tactile surfaces give Erickson's pieces a somber, yet promising, dream-like quality. The Seiche, is not unlike being caught in a blizzard. Large swathes of white blind the viewer, only to expose some sort of mystical oasis on the horizon. Look closer and you'll see faint traces of hot colors coming through the surface, giving the viewer hope in an otherwise desolate landscape. Erickson is not exclusive to these muted pieces, as seen in Nebulae . A large burst of blue crashes upon a multitude of bright colors, as if an ocean wave were enveloping a coast line. Again, there’s a calming quality in this piece despite its sense of “disaster”…much like what you’d experience in The Seiche. Please take the time to visit booth # 2133 and soak in some of this truly unique work. Be sure to introduce yourself and ask questions. If anything you'll learn more about an extraordinary artist working in art form that is as fleeting as the vistas in her work. Similar Artists: Rothko, Avery, Monet Highly Recommended John B. Reinhardt The 11 th Annual One of a Kind Show at the Me rc handise Mart / 222 Me rc handise Mart Plaza Chicago , IL 60654/ Dec 1 st thru Dec 4 th / Multi Day Tickets $12 – Seniors / Students $9… Read more

The 26th Annual Bucktown Arts Fest

The 26th Annual Bucktown Arts Fes t came to a close last Sunday. For those of you who have never had a chance to take it in, the festival is an end of summer celebration of Chicago artistry. There's always good food, drinks, and music...even things for the kids to do. I urge you to check it out, along with the other art and literature festivals the city has to offer. Here are the Art Beat favorites from the 2011 Bucktown Arts Fest. 1. Hiroshi Ariyama Constructed, broken down to its tonal basics, then re-constructed and screen printed. That's how artist Hiroshi Ariyama creates these wonderfully colored prints of Chicago's most popular icons. http://ariyamastudio.com/home.html     2 . Beth Cummings Extremely witty textiles.  (i.e. pillows, caps, bow ties, etc...)  Cummings makes art that is to be used in our everyday lives. Pillows made from Eco-Felt, which is 100% recycled plastic bottles...very cool. www.diffractionfiber.etsy.com       3. Judy Hinkes Zeddies Zeddies is a print making specialist with disciplines spanning from wood cut reliefs to delicate collagraphs with chine colle. (and all points in between.) Her upcoming schedule is here. http://www.judyzeddies.com/schedule.html     NOTE: Be sure to come with questions, as Ms. Zeddies is more than hospitable to the inquisitive passerby/collector. John B.… Read more