Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

Review: This May Have Happened/David Weinberg Photography

Photography, River North No Comments »
Shannon Benine. “The Traitor in Room 14”

Shannon Benine. “The Traitor in Room 14”


Behind a streaked and scratched surface, as though we were looking through a distressed pane of glass, we see a man standing in the woods dressed for winter in a heavy coat, jeans, and thick boots. He is holding a long tree branch and appears to be keeping guard next to a sign posted on a tree, reading “PRIVATE PROPERTY KEEP OUT.” An inverted plastic pail covers his head. Paul Thulin’s black-and-white “Cervantes’ Shadow” is the banner image in “This May Have Happened,” the remarkably coherent juried exhibition that is part of the annual Filter Photo Festival. Read the rest of this entry »

Art World’s Big Weekend 2014: Comprehensive Listing of Gallery Openings for September 4–7 [updated]

Andersonville, Bronzeville, Collage, Drawings, Edgewater, Evanston, Fall Preview, Garfield Park, Installation, Lincoln Square, Logan Square, Multimedia, Painting, Photography, Prints, River North, Sculpture, Suburban, Ukrainian Village/East Village, Video, West Loop, Wicker Park/Bucktown 1 Comment »
Andrew Falkowski. "Pink Monochrome," 2014

Andrew Falkowski. “Pink Monochrome,” 2014

Thursday, September 4


Dan Ramirez, painting
Union League Club of Chicago, 65 West Jackson
Opening reception: 5:30pm-7pm, through September 30
(Members only opening, viewing by appointment only)


Anthony Iacuzzi and Christopher Schneberger, photography
Perspective Gallery, 1310-1/2B Chicago Avenue, Evanston
Opening reception: 5pm-8pm, through September 28

Amy Vogel, mixed-media survey exhibition
Cleve Carney Art Gallery at College of DuPage, Fawell and Park Boulevards, Glen Ellyn
Opening reception: 12pm-2pm, through October 25

Taehoon Kim and Barbara Diener, large scale sculpture and photographic installation
Moraine Valley Community College, 9000 West College, Palos Hills
Opening reception: 3pm–5pm, through September 18 and October 23 respectively Read the rest of this entry »

News: Judy Ledgerwood Paintings to Appear on Billboards and Shuttles During Expo

Gold Coast/Old Town, Loop, News etc., Public Art, River North No Comments »
Judy Ledgerwood. "Captiva #2"

Judy Ledgerwood. “Captiva #2″

In conjunction with Expo Chicago, the Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel, a southwest Florida destination, has worked with Chicago-based painter Judy Ledgerwood to create a monumental set of public artworks that will appear on billboards in downtown Chicago, River North, Gold Coast and along major expressways. These works will debut on September 13, and will remain on view around town for four weeks. In addition, components of this project will be featured on the official Expo Chicago shuttles that will transport visitors along routes from Navy Pier to other cultural and shopping destinations around the city. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Summer Home/Schneider Gallery

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Jon Horvath. "Portrait of My Mother, " inkjet print, 2013

Jon Horvath. “Portrait of My Mother, ” inkjet print, 2013


We stare at the image of a perfectly flat tile wall—an obdurate barrier—with red, yellow, brown and mainly blue and blue-gray components. Some of the tiles are chipped, and the upper-center of the mosaic is smeared and discolored. That is one of Jon Horvath’s renditions of home—distressed and implacable, yet attracting. Then we turn to the opposite gallery wall and see a portrait of an older woman standing on snow-covered ground, with a distant line of denuded trees behind her. She is wrapped from head to toe in a white winter coat and she glares at the camera with tight, downturned lips; this “Portrait of My Mother” is another view of home for Horvath. The power of those two images, facing each other in the gallery, creates a force field that threatens to crush the images of the five other gifted artists in this group show reflecting on domesticity. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Sherry Karver/Schneider Gallery

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"Fond Memories," photographic images, oil, narrative text, and resin on wood panel

“Fond Memories,” photographic images, oil, narrative text, and resin on wood panel


In “A Likely Story,” an ingenious visual commentary on the continuities and ruptures of past and present, Sherry Karver has produced composite photographs of crowds of people in public places divided into color depictions of mostly young contemporary people and black-and-white appropriated takes of individuals from decades ago shot in the same spaces. Through the offices of the computer, Karver’s scenes are constructed digitally and seamlessly with the figures from the past, usually in the background, serving as a ghostly chorus appearing to comment on today’s on-the-go cell-phoned streets whose urbanites pursue business and leisure activities just as we are used to seeing them do and even do ourselves. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Elizabeth Ernst/Catherine Edelman Gallery

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"Olivia's Mother," 2014

“Olivia’s Mother,” 2014


Like Diane Arbus and Joel-Peter Witkin, Elizabeth Ernst plays with the grotesque, only she can create with abandon because her cast of characters in the human freak show are dolls that she has made to populate her painted scenario photographs and portraits. It is a circus sideshow that Ernst serves up, but she subverts our normal voyeuristic expectations by making her figures humanly accessible, even warm, so that they beg for connection from the viewer, despite their deviations from the norms of appearance. Even a smiling, snouted, pig-headed figure with her tongue sticking out, sporting red lipstick and lacquered nails, is someone we might comfortably join at a dinner table. Indeed, there is an undercurrent of good-humored wit in Ernst’s images, as when we witness a poker game in which a male and female figure are playing with a bird-headed doll, and only the hands of a fourth participant are visible in the foreground. Playing with the grotesque in Ernst’s case is what anthropologists call deep play, invested with pointed complex psychological import. A male figure in a white shirt and tie emits a Munchian scream as a buxom lady presses against him, determinedly planting a kiss on his cheek. Ernst reports that she has lived with her characters in her imagination for decades and it is obvious that she has come to love them. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Lynn Saville and Reuben Wu/Schneider Gallery

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Lynn Saville, "West 125th St, NYC"

Lynn Saville, “West 125th St, NYC”


The accent is on the aesthetic surface rather than the depiction of the subject in the contrasting approaches of architectural photographers Lynn Saville and Reuben Wu, both of whom shoot structures at middle distance and in color, and each investing their subjects with a distinct sensibility.

A visual commentator on the great recession and its ravages, Saville goes out at night to capture eviscerated stores through their plate-glass fronts, bathed in glowing electric light verging on garish neon; her subjects are not yet ruins, but they could become so if economic recovery does not reach them. The play between the dazzling come-on of the light show and the abandoned commercial spaces creates a pure seductive effect; there is nothing behind the gleaming visual wrapping, no baubles to buy.

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Review: Peri Schwartz/Perimeter Gallery

Painting, River North No Comments »
"Bottles and Jars XXXIII," oil on canvas, 2013

“Bottles and Jars XXXIII,” oil on canvas, 2013


Peri Schwartz likes to paint bottles—not the curvaceous, off-white, mysterious kind painted by Giorgio Morandi, but the straight-edged, clear glass kind that reveals the solid bright colors of the liquid within—predominantly red, orange and yellow. She began her career with confrontational self-portraits back in the 1970s, and she seems to be continuing that project without the outer anatomy. Isn’t each human body an assembly of liquid filled containers? Schwartz’s rectangular containers are tightly ordered, but still there’s a restless quality suggesting that she’s never quite satisfied with them. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Jane Freilicher/Poetry Foundation and Valerie Carberry Gallery

Painting, River North No Comments »
"Portrait of Kenneth Koch,"  oil on linen, c. 1966

“Portrait of Kenneth Koch,” oil on linen, c. 1966


Jane Freilicher is a poet’s painter or at least that’s how her poet friends from the 1950s have characterized her. As the current exhibit at the Poetry Foundation demonstrates, Freilicher returned the favor, rendering portraits of each of them, beginning with a full-figure oil portrait of Frank O’Hara. The year was 1951. Freilicher was twenty seven, O’Hara was twenty five, and avant-garde poetry, jazz and painting were erupting all over the Lower East Side of postwar New York. Frank wrote Jane a letter about an essay that was “really lucid about what’s bothering us both besides sex.” It was Paul Goodman’s manifesto that summer in the Kenyon Review, touting the “advance-guard artist” who is “especially concerned with dissolving the introjected (imperfect, unsatisfactory) society.” That letter, as well as other correspondence and collaborations with poet friends, is now also on display at the Poetry Foundation. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Bill Rauhauser/Carl Hammer Gallery

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"Snake Girl," circa 1960

“Snake Girl,” circa 1960


Back in the day when Detroit was Motown, making Thunderbirds and coating the cosmos with pop soul, Bill Rauhauser was out on the streets with his camera, funky as one can get, shooting freak-show signage, a Shriners parade, teenagers cavorting in the lake, ordinary undignified people and musicians plying their trade, all in black and white, and all with an indulgent tongue-in-cheek smile. Those were the days, it would seem, although the other sixties—the riots and the protests—presaged the post-industrial pit into which the city has fallen, at least in the public mind. Read the rest of this entry »