Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

Review: Jillian Mayer/Aspect/Ratio

Digital Art, Multimedia, Photography, Video, West Loop No Comments »
Jillian mayer. Still from "Touchers," 2015  single channel video, 5:39 minutes, unique installation, dimensions variable

Jillian Mayer. Still from “Touchers,” 2015
single channel video, 5:39 minutes, unique installation, dimensions variable

RECOMMENDED

“Touchers” at Aspect/Ratio and Jillian Mayer’s first solo exhibition in Chicago, highlights the loneliness of seeking affection through a cold screen, the impossibility of human touch across monitors. The artist herself is present in each piece, her hands seen within photosensitive prints on plexiglass and fabric in the front of the gallery, while her image and words exist within the central piece, a video installation in the darkened back room. Read the rest of this entry »

News: UIC to Create Chicago-centric Collection of Latin American Art

Digital Art, Multimedia, News etc. No Comments »
Ceramic artist Jesus Torres creates pottery at Hull-House in the early 1930s. Photo: Wallace Kirkland, UIC, Jane Addams Memorial Collection.

Ceramic artist Jesús Torres creates pottery at Hull-House in the early 1930s. Photo: Wallace Kirkland, UIC, Jane Addams Memorial Collection.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has awarded a $20,000 grant to the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) to create a Chicago-focused online collection of Latin American and Latino art, which will be the Chicago Latino Art Now! Virtual Gallery. The UIC-based Inter-University Program for Latino Research, an association of universities nationwide committed to increasing Latino scholarship, will support this project.

“The Chicago Latino Art Now! Virtual Gallery is a permanent digital space for art that will showcase a survey of Chicago art and visual culture since the 1930s,” says Olga Herrera, the principal project investigator, in an email interview with Newcity. For instance, artists closely associated with the Hull-House Kilns such as Jesús Torres, Miguel Juárez and José Ruiz will be featured on the gallery. Additional examples include Mario Castillo, Ray Patlan and Marcos Raya, among others linked with the 1970s mural movement. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Woman Made Gallery Releases Study on Gender Disparities in Commercial Art Galleries

Activist Art, Digital Art, News etc., Prints, West Loop No Comments »
Sydney Snyder's poster for Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago

Sydney Snyder’s poster for Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago

To coincide with their current exhibition “The Gallery Tally Poster Project,” Woman Made Gallery (WMG) has issued the release of a report conducted in 2013 regarding gender representation in US commercial galleries. The exhibition is organized by executive director Claudine Isé and Los Angeles artist Micol Hebron and is a social engagement art project, which includes the work of more than 180 artists from all around the world. They not only collected data concerning the ratios of female and male artists in top contemporary art galleries but also visualized it in the form of art, in any medium of their choosing.

Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Ian Pedigo/65GRAND

Digital Art, Installation, Photography, Sculpture, West Loop No Comments »
Ian Pedigo, "Lights Have Gone Out," 2015 bone, plastic, metal, wood, paint, carpet, 60" x 65" x 30"

Ian Pedigo, “Lights Have Gone Out,” 2015
bone, plastic, metal, wood, paint, carpet, 60″ x 65″ x 30″

RECOMMENDED

Using found quotidian materials, Ian Pedigo assembles sculptural installations that lyricize banal details of our domestic and built environments. In his exhibition at 65Grand, “The Arrows Like Soft Moon Beams,” the New York-based artist reveals three larger-than-human-size totems which nod to Surrealism and resonate particularly well in Chicago, with its rich culture of spaces (6018North) and makers (Alberto Aguilar, Edra Soto) who turn the domestic into the poetic. In “From the Crown to the Earth” a six-foot-tall panel of black stone grounds the playful figural arrangement of a green plastic bowl lampshade with dangling disco ball earrings. Another grouping converts disembodied chair legs into a wing-like form, hung from a floorboard suspended upside down with a backdrop of blinds. “Lights Have Gone Out” features a candelabra painted matte-black which is simultaneously real, faux, classic and kitsch. Pedigo combines elements from different time periods and vacillates between natural and artificial materials, resulting in both visual stimulation and a sense of suspended timelessness.
Read the rest of this entry »

Eye Exam: Hard to See

Digital Art, Drawings, Installation, Loop, Multimedia, Performance No Comments »
Salvation Army in South Africa anti-abuse campaign image

Salvation Army in South Africa anti-abuse campaign image

By Matt Morris

Seeing is not a solitary activity, and it’s not simple. Perception is first of all dependent on context, not only because the specificities of an experience are ascertained through contrast, but also due to the ways each of our unique acculturations informs how we see. Comprehending visual information then turns out to be a social activity, evidenced most clearly in the debates that arise when we don’t see things the same way. And of course, these turbulent discourses around what is perceived are at the expense of appreciating just how much goes unseen—through suppression, movement beyond our sensory faculties, or systemically strategic elisions in how the seen social is structured. This then is one of the often tacit but urgent responsibilities of visual culture and art: to pressure and interrogate the boundaries of perception, to render the invisible visible. Changing how we see is first perceptual but actually political work, and it’s being done across viral Internet memes, sharp-witted turns in how organizations understand multicultural diversity, and artistic research into invisibility. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Identify/Catherine Edelman Gallery

Digital Art, Installation, Photography, River North No Comments »
Garth and Pierre. "HEAD(S)," 2014 photographs mounted to bank pins

Garth and Pierre. “HEAD(S),” 2014
photographs mounted to bank pins

RECOMMENDED

Among the four wildly diverse approaches to representing the human body photographically on display here, Heather Dewey-Hagborg’s is the most inventive, although not the most meaningful. Dewey-Hagborg picks up cigarette butts and discarded chewing gum off the city sidewalks (depicted in her color shots), subjects the detritus to DNA analysis, runs the genetic profiles through a facial algorithm, and produces 3D resin portraits that presumably resemble the people who left the remains of their consumption for the scavenger-artist to appropriate (the droppings also grace her mini-installation). The three particular subjects whose faces look out at us from the gallery wall are all young, attractive and relentlessly clean, with an airbrushed appearance that belies the butts and gum from which they have been reconstructed. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: EXODUS/Arts Incubator

Digital Art, Installation, Multimedia, Sculpture No Comments »
Alexandria Eregbu. "Zion," 2015 drywall, track spikes

Alexandria Eregbu. “Zion,” 2015
drywall, track spikes

RECOMMENDED

This joint exhibition of new works by recent SAIC graduates Alexandria Eregbu and Alfredo Salazar-Caro is a deft combination of divergent practices fused at a fertile point of departure. As the exhibition title implies, movement begot by conflict and political turmoil is the underlying theme of the work on hand and sets the stage for interpretation. Although each artist draws from their own backgrounds—Salazar-Caro addresses immigration and the United States-Mexico border while Eregbu seizes on a constellation of issues touching on the legacy of slavery, the rise of Boko Haram and stereotypes of African athleticism—the works appear contiguously in the gallery with a rhythmic harmony that unites the sculpture and video (and video game) therein. Visual continuities set side-by-side link Salazar-Caro’s “From Space There Are No Borders,” a vinyl printout of a satellite image of the United States-Mexico border hung from floor to ceiling, with Eregbu’s “Zion,” an oblong slab of drywall set upright against the street-facing window bank covered in a pattern of track shoe spikes. Together the formal beauty of the shiny, textured pattern of spikes and the colorful composition of digitally stitched satellite pictures belie the sinister implications of violence and exclusion folded carefully into these works. Read the rest of this entry »

Portrait of the Artist: Jeff Gibson

Artist Profiles, Digital Art, Installation, Prints, West Loop No Comments »
Jeff Gibson. "Product (detail)," 2014,  ink-jet wallpaper, dimensions variable

Jeff Gibson. “Product (detail),” 2014,
ink-jet wallpaper, dimensions variable

Jeff Gibson culls images from the internet’s massive store, choosing JPEGs of products silhouetted against white backgrounds, highlighted perfectly by their surrounding vacuous atmosphere. When combined, the images call out to each other in a fashion not immediately recognizable, playing against the objects’ shiny machinery or garish design. “My roots are in pop and conceptualism so a lot of my subject matter is from popular culture and bears that stain, and I am only happy to rub the world’s nose in,” says Gibson. Gibson views all his images as products, calling attention to the aesthetics of consumerism via visual taxonomies. Read the rest of this entry »

Big Art Issue 2014 – Guest Project by Puppies Puppies

Collage, Digital Art, Multimedia No Comments »

Puppies Puppies New City_FINAL_web

Wherever artist Puppies Puppies exhibits, he has a knack for sensitively responding to the conditions and qualities of that context while bringing forward his own nuanced fascinations with Internet memes, popular culture and fantasy. Whether on his irrepressibly funny Facebook page or in recent exhibitions in Chicago, Oaxaca, Los Angeles and Japan, Puppies draws together signs of our times to be repackaged and redistributed in a spirit of generosity that also usually compels him to bring a few of his friends in to collaborate with him or appear in his stead. He never shies away from the weird; uncanny juxtapositions are central to his milieu.
Read the rest of this entry »

Review: glitChicago/Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art

Digital Art, Multimedia, Ukrainian Village/East Village No Comments »
Alfredo Salazar-Caro. “I Don’t Need Power at the Cost of Spilled Blood (Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité),” 2014

Alfredo Salazar-Caro. “I Don’t Need Power at the Cost of Spilled Blood (Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité),” 2014

RECOMMENDED

A booming drone engulfs you as you enter the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, a vicious vibrating to the chest and inner ear. This omnipresent noise is the first sensation in GlitChicago, an exhibition of Chicago glitch art—work surrounding the errors seen in digital systems—and showcases the work of twenty-two artists. Many of the works are interactive, expressing core tenants of Glitch Art, including “0P3NR3P0,” 2014, a project that allows anyone to submit their own Glitch work to the open-source database, put on by Nick Briz and Joseph YOlk Chiocchi. Jon Cates’ piece “?4\/\/?(?)H?!\/?,” 2014, displays a bricked sculpture holding a USB drive that contains a compressed archive of Glitch Art for free download—data in which Cates has collected and archived for the last fifteen years and contains more than 113.13 GBs. The data has never been shared publicly before this exhibition, and contains media such as photos, videos and emails, adding a further digital layer to the hyper-focused new media-centered exhibition. Read the rest of this entry »