Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

Review: Iterations/Alibi Fine Art

Galleries & Museums, Photography, Ravenswood No Comments »
Asia Kepka. "Flowers 2," 2013. Digital archival print, 20 x 24 inches.

Asia Kepka. “Flowers 2,” 2013.
Digital archival print, 20 x 24 inches.


Approaching photographic art as a philosophy of life, curator Adam Holtzman brings together three self-portraitists: Allison Barnes, a twenty-something; Rachel Hulin, who is in her thirties and recently gave birth; and Asia Kepka, who is at mid-life in her forties. His aim is to show how each artist understands herself in visual form at her present “iteration.” For Holtzman, life is a process in which each of us makes and undergoes changes in ourself that retrospectively coalesce into autobiographical periods. In this group show, each body of work is intentionally individualized, so the artists here provide intimate revelations of particular experiences, not generalized reflections on the stages of life.

The most accomplished, rich and resonant series is Kepka’s, which is marked by a cutting wistfulness about the fading of life’s bloom. In her most probing image, we see her nude torso from behind and her head tilted in slight profile. She is wreathed in an unsteady garland of flowers around her neck and a single red rose petal on her back. Her head is bent, and she stands before a vase filled with flowers, petals of which have fallen on the table on which the vase rests. The work is one of profound visual poetry that intensely personalizes one of the great themes of existence.

At the other side of the arc of adulthood, Barnes offers muted black-and-white studies that radiate despondency and uncertainty. In one, she sits in the opening of a shed next to a potted plant, most of which is denuded. Hulin, shooting in lush color befitting the prime of her life, portrays herself as nearly Amazonian in her head shot, and glorying in the life of her baby in the others. In the next room of the shared gallery space, Manifold presents Polly Yates’ collection of found, vintage black-and-white snapshots in which she has effaced the subjects, rendering them ghostlike. The show goes on with new players. (Michael Weinstein)

Through October 31 at Alibi Fine Art, 4426 North Ravenswood

Review: Carole Feuerman/KM Fine Arts

Galleries & Museums, Gold Coast/Old Town, Sculpture No Comments »
Carole Feuerman. "Miniature Quan (Green Cap)," 2013. Oil on resin, 11 x 11 x 7 inches.

Carole Feuerman. “Miniature Quan (Green Cap),” 2013.
Oil on resin, 11 x 11 x 7 inches.


Carole Feuerman’s hyperrealist sculpture is too elegant to feel like a joke, and no more critical of its subject matter than if it presented floral arrangements instead of attractive young women. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Tactical Formations/National Veterans Art Museum

Activist Art, Collage, Comics, Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Painting, Photography, Portage Park, Prints, Sculpture No Comments »
National Veterans Art Museum.

John Plunkett. “Battle (Left),” 1981. Graphite on canvas, 40 x 54 inches / National Veterans Art Museum.


“Your mind may be a thousand miles away. But your eyes and ears are right here!” reads the caption of “Night Listening Post” a mixed media piece by Dale Samuelson of the Vietnam Veterans Arts Group. The graphite sketch above the quote shows two soldiers lying flat on their stomachs, staring off into nothing as they listen, blending into the night. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Exhibition of Rare Works by Camille Pissarro Closes Thursday

Galleries & Museums, Michigan Avenue No Comments »
Camille Pissaro. "‘Kew Gardens’ (London)", circa 1892. Watercolor on paper.

Camille Pissarro. “‘Kew Gardens’ (London)”, circa 1892.
Watercolor on paper.

Fall is a vibrant and busy season for art in the city. With EXPO Chicago just behind us, enticing exhibitions can be spotted at many galleries and L’Alliance Française de Chicago (AFC) is in on the festivities. The cultural institution is currently hosting a one-week-only exhibition featuring rare works on paper by French Impressionist Camille Pissarro. Read the rest of this entry »

Opportunity Knocks, and Knocking: The State of the Arts in Hyde Park

Hyde Park No Comments »
Ebony magazine, August 1967.

Ebony magazine, August 1967.

By Luke A. Fidler, Ph.D. candidate, Art History

In 1967, a group of students from Hyde Park High School performed a musical piece called “Opportunity Please Knock” together with members of the Blackstone Rangers gang. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Ania Jaworska/Museum of Contemporary Art

Architecture, Design, Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Prints, Sculpture, Streeterville No Comments »
Ania Jaworska. "Saint," 2015. Screen print on folio paper; 30 x 22 inches.

Ania Jaworska. “Saint,” 2015.
Screen print on folio paper; 30 x 22 inches.


Chicago, priapic King-Hell capital of exceptionalist, heaven-penetrating architecture; birthplace of The Reach, there could be no better place—and no better museum—for Ania Jaworska’s exploration of how our monuments commune with ourselves. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Alex Bradley Cohen and Steve Ruiz/Roots & Culture

Comics, Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Noble Square, Painting, Prints, Sculpture No Comments »
Steve Ruiz. "Deep Street Breathing," 2015. Gouache, ink and ename on paper, 11 x 7.5 in.

Steve Ruiz. “Deep Street Breathing in New Orleans,” 2015.
Gouache, ink and enamel on paper, 11 x 7.5 in.


This two-person show is a perfect exhibition to check out as summer slowly comes to an end. Cohen and Ruiz are two rising, Chicago-bred artists who both use warm, vibrant colors and landscaped scenes to evoke memories of hot days spent outdoors. Read the rest of this entry »

EXPO Special Coverage: Critics’ Picks, Lee Ann Norman

Art Fairs No Comments »
Sung Jang, In-Situ at EXPO Chicago 2015.

Sung Jang, In-Situ at EXPO Chicago 2015.

Newcity will run selective live coverage of EXPO Chicago: The International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art throughout the weekend of the fair, September 17-20, 2015.

1. Von Lintel Gallery/Booth #302
Von Lintel specializes in the standard mediums of painting, photography and other works on paper, but the art presented is anything but average. The gallery’s artists explore the possibilities of material and method, creating otherworldly images through abstraction and a focus on detail. Edward Burtynsky’s C-print “Colorado River Delta #6, Salinas, Baja, Mexico” (2012) is akin to a hand-drawn map, while Canan Tolon’s painting “Untitled 8.3” (2013) could easily pass as a meticulously structured collage. The booth provides a good mix of artists creating subtle abstractions and visual surprises that are worth a longer look. Read the rest of this entry »

EXPO Special Coverage: Daniel Buren’s EXPO and the Conceptual Abstraction that Accompanies

Art Fairs No Comments »
Daniel Buren at EXPO Chicago.

Daniel Buren at EXPO Chicago.

By Matt Morris

When I find myself cringing at the brutalizing means of display paintings suffer at expansive art fairs like EXPO, I have to remind myself that what we call “salon style” hanging of artworks recalls the crammed walls of the Salon de Paris of yesteryear. Or think of Jean-Antoine Watteau’s “L’Enseigne de Gersaint,” 1720-1721, when a well-dressed group looks at pictures hung edge to edge, and in some places stacked in front of one another. In the centuries since, one could trace painting’s shift toward a defiant posture, one that argues a position of autonomy (or at least the appearance of it) within the bustling arts-and-culture (or do I mean arts-and-entertainment?) spheres in which these canvases circulate. Read the rest of this entry »

EXPO Special Coverage: Modern Masters at the Fair

Art Fairs No Comments »


Wifredo Lam. “Untitled–[Arcane Dreams],” 1955.

Newcity will run selective live coverage of EXPO Chicago: The International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art throughout the weekend of the fair, September 17-20, 2015.

It was still possible in 1956, the year I was born, to produce pictures based on moral conviction. Johns and Rauschenberg were little known, Warhol was a successful designer (and that’s all), and Lichtenstein was teaching at Ohio State University. Irony was a minority rhetoric, and the most ambitious art aspired, as Rothko said, to the condition of the “tragic and timeless.” It wasn’t that the Abstract Expressionists represented fraught subjects but that they painted as if the fate of mankind hinged on their every brush stroke.

There were dozens of other artists nearly as achieved as Rothko, de Kooning, Pollock, Newman, Kline and Motherwell, who never gained the same renown. Many of them happened to be on exhibition in EXPO Chicago this year. Their names are evocative of the rich, immigrant mix of New York from the 1930s to sixties and the legacy of European modernism: Robert Natkin, Michael Goldberg, Hans Burkhardt, Friedel Dzubas, Theodoros Stamos, Conrad Marca-Relli, Louis Guglielmi, Perle Fine and others. Read the rest of this entry »