Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

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


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 »

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 »

Review: Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison/Catherine Edelman Gallery

Photography No Comments »
Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison, "Thief of Paris," 2013

Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison, “Thief of Paris,” 2013


Among the top scenario photographers on today’s scene, the team of Robert (the actor in the still dramas) and Shana (who “choreographs” the performance and takes the shots in black and white) ParkeHarrison impressively combine wit, whimsy and deep-cutting visual commentary in their crowded yet compact images. In their latest series, “Gautier’s Dream” (a bow to French artist Theophile Gautier, who “inspired” them), the ParkeHarrisons continue their reflection on the human puzzlement with nature, but this time they are no longer out to pinpoint the ironies attending “saving” our benighted planet; they are now at a more fundamental level of problematizing conventional beauty—in this case, flowers and butterflies. You’ll experience the Notebaert Nature Museum’s living butterfly wing differently than you might have after you have seen Robert, legs askew and hands outstretched, struggling on the floor after falling off a chair, besieged by a cloud of Lepidoptera. Or your botanical proclivities might be disturbed by the sight of Robert sporting a daisy in the lapel of his jacket, his head replaced by an unkempt bouquet of wild flowers that turn him into an ominous floral monster. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Frieke Janssens/Catherine Edelman Gallery

Photography, River North No Comments »


Fascinated by a viral video of an Indonesian kid smoking cigarettes like they were, to say the least, going out of style, Frieke Janssens assembled a bunch of four-through-nine year-old tykes and shot them puffing up a storm on simulated cancer sticks billowing candle smoke, in order to depict the complex meanings and feelings that make up contemporary responses to the pleasure-poison. It is just as well that the subtleties that Janssens desires to depict get lost in the fun. These kids are as cute as any of William Wegman’s dogs were or the ubiquitous kittens that grace, well, whatever kind of card you think you have to send. A little girl blowing smoke rings makes you glad that you opened a pack and indulged back in the day (or even now); smoking really does have something that makes some of us glom on to it. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Holly Roberts/Catherine Edelman Gallery

Photography, River North No Comments »
Woman with Crow, 2012

Woman with Crow, 2012


One of the most important postmodern photographers, who from the beginning painted on base photographic images to depict mythical and existential themes, Holly Roberts has now reached the point at which her expressive imagination almost fully dominates any traces of realistic representation. Always mordant and cutting in constructing her take on existence, Roberts has achieved a more intense level of focus in her latest series, which sets up complex relations between the crow (a raptor), the coyote (a predator) and the human form—all of which populate the land and folklore of her beloved American Southwest. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: What I Was Thinking/Catherine Edelman Gallery

Photography, River North No Comments »


Celebrating her twenty-fifth anniversary as the guiding force of the longest-running Chicago photo gallery, Catherine Edelman has put together 125 images by seventy-seven artists that she has shown over the years in “What I Was Thinking.” Since the gallery has exhibited a variety of genres and styles—and pretty much all of them are included here—the images are neither unified aesthetically nor by theme or approach. The photos are not identified by artist or title on the walls, leading to a sense of being lost. That doesn’t mean that many of the individual images aren’t eminently eye-worthy; they just aren’t linked and must be looked for according to the viewer’s taste and standards. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Terry Evans/Catherine Edelman Gallery

Photography, River North No Comments »

Terry Evans, “Slag Processing, Indiana Harbor, August 31,” 2006


Best known for her color aerial photography of the land, often after it has been pillaged, scarred and furrowed by extractive industries or worked over by agriculture, Terry Evans also gets down to ground level for her shots. In this reprise of her work of more than three decades, we see a variety of landscapes, from the Midwest prairie, where she began, to icy Greenland. Yet wherever she goes, Evans’ images always reveal a rough and ragged complexity that defies conventional expectations of pastoral bliss or awesome sublimity. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Installed/Catherine Edelman Gallery

Photography, River North No Comments »

Elizabeth Ernst, “Frank and Kitty,” 2012


Among the four intensely serious photographers here, Elizabeth Ernst is the boldest and deepest, plumbing the recesses of psychological distress by shooting images of grotesque doll-like figures that she has sculpted and placed in scenes, and then painting over the prints so that they take on enhanced emotional resonance. In a scenario that is hideous and humorous at the same time, a big buxom fat lady presses her lips against the cheek of a slight man who lets out a Munchian scream. Whose nightmare-fantasy are we witnessing? There is something that we can only call cute in Ernst’s work, which only makes it all the more disturbing. We may remember that Chicago’s very own John Gacy moonlighted as a clown. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Shelby Lee Adams/Catherine Edelman Gallery

Photography, River North No Comments »


Covering the last twenty years, Shelby Lee Adams’ black-and-white group and individual portraits of families in Appalachia’s backwoods “hollers” drive home the point that the Third World is alive and maybe not so well deep in the heart of the U.S.A. Whether they are young or old, male or female, or sustaining themselves or barely scraping by, Adams’ subjects seem to be no different than we might have seen their forebears a century ago—dressed pretty much the same (fashion has entirely passed them by), and innocent of contemporary technology except for a ramshackle truck here and there. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Daniel Beltra/Catherine Edelman Gallery

Photography, River North No Comments »


The Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010 spewed oil into the Gulf of Mexico, ruining fish and wildlife stocks, and polluting waterways and beaches. It also had the collateral advantage of creating patterns in a palette of thick iridescent colors—reds, blues and greens—that Daniel Beltra photographed from high above in an airplane. In these images, the waters resemble thick daubs of paint dotted with miniature clean-up boats and the famous busted drilling platform sits in a miasma of greens, like a delicate little toy. Read the rest of this entry »