Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

News: Final Days of Packer Schopf Gallery

Galleries & Museums, News etc., West Loop No Comments »
Brian Dettmer's current exhibition at a Packer Schopf Gallery, "Antisocial Media." Photo: Sean DiSantis

Brian Dettmer’s current exhibition at a Packer Schopf Gallery, “Antisocial Media.” Photo: Sean DiSantis

After almost nine years working together at Packer Schopf Gallery (PSG), Aron Packer and William Schopf will be dissolving their business partnership as of July 15. Their current exhibition featuring work by Brian Dettmer and Mary Porterfield will be their final project organized together as well as their last show in the West Loop gallery. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Mary Porterfield/Packer Schopf

Painting, West Loop No Comments »
Mary Porterfield. "Fields of Departure."

Mary Porterfield. “Fields of Departure.”


Mary Porterfield paints nice Western landscapes, or at least that’s how her paintings appear from a distance of twenty-five feet. Mountains in the background, dramatic clouds overhead, and a roaring river running through the middle: it’s all quite conventional, suitable for a hotel near a national park. However, when viewed closely, the sky, earth and water are filled with dozens of faint, ghost-like human figures that seem to inhabit a parallel universe. Read the rest of this entry »

Portrait of the Artist: Vesna Jovanovic

Artist Profiles, Gold Coast/Old Town No Comments »
Vesna Jovanovic. "Spinal Cord Stimulator."

Vesna Jovanovic. “Spinal Cord Stimulator,” 2014 ink and graphite on polypropylene, 80″ x 60″

There is a baseball-sized gallbladder stone living inside Vesna Jovanovic’s studio. The stone that once violently grew within an unfortunate party’s body now rests peacefully behind a glass display case on the third floor of the Museum of Surgical Science, where Vesna comes each week to work. As the museum’s artist-in-residence since October 2013, Jovanovic is granted daily access to the abundance of tools and historical objects that reside in the exhibition rooms. While the physicality of the artifacts does in part fuel her study and practice, it is the persons, stories and records behind them that really move her. 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: Michael Dinges, Victoria Fuller, Geoffry Smalley and Karen Savage/Packer Schopf Gallery

Collage, Painting, Sculpture, West Loop No Comments »
Geoffry Smalley. "Catskill Creek, Citi Field," acrylic on inkjet print, 2012

Geoffry Smalley. “Catskill Creek, Citi Field,” acrylic on inkjet print, 2012


The group of shows at Packer Schopf Gallery ruminates on intrusion. There is technological and environmental encroachment, and the intrusive mythos of masculine and feminine ideals.

Michael Dinges’ “Lifeboat: The Wreck of the Invisible Hand” hangs center stage as a retired boat and a lesson. Made with vinyl siding, the scrimshaw declarations ring around this dramatic piece as if conversing with Victoria Fuller’s work across the room. Her piece, “Deep Down,” meditates on the inherent commingling in nature: a snake, an earthworm, and roots rise from the dirt to touch the air. At the same time, some of her materials, like gas pipe and metal tubing, interrupt the state of the nature she presents. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Anthony Adcock/Packer Schopf Gallery

Painting, West Loop No Comments »
"Wood Glue Apophanie," oil on aluminum, 2014

“Wood Glue Apophanie,” oil on aluminum, 2014


Anthony Adcock’s paintings appear so much like the actual sheets of metal or plywood that they represent that I’m not sure I could tell the difference if they were placed side-by-side. Other trompe-l’oeil paintings have never fooled me so completely. In that genre, there’s typically some area, large or small, that says something like, “this is not a pipe—or fly—or candy wrapper.” And even if one cannot sense the brush or paint in Adcock’s work, other trompe-l’oeil artists have used them to establish lyrical modulations of tone and pattern, and a strong sense that this is someone’s private, cherished world.

Adcock’s pieces feel just as impersonal as the panels would have felt before he began painting on them. Or, almost. There is a barely perceptible difference if you look up at the exposed rafters in the low ceiling of the gallery. The rough, dark surfaces of those old beams are so harsh, cold, and unfriendly that, by contrast, you can feel the warmth and softness in the paintings that hang just below them. It’s a very faint softness, but it’s Adcock’s voice—and that makes his paintings more compelling than an entire lumberyard full of actual building materials. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Monica Rezman/Packer Schopf Gallery

Painting, West Loop No Comments »
untitled, charcoal, paint, paper and glue, 2013

untitled, charcoal, paint, paper and glue, 2013


About half of the seventeen pieces in Monica Rezman’s exhibition “The Pollen Path” are straightforward acrylic and charcoal works-on-paper. Those familiar with this Chicago artist’s oeuvre will note that, though her driving obsession with hair is still present, it’s not always front and center. In this show, the black serpentine marks that once appeared to be her works’ sole raison d’être are tempered by the inclusion of flatly colored geometric shapes. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Lauren Levato/Packer Schopf Gallery

Drawings, West Loop 1 Comment »

Screen shot 2013-01-29 at 4.30.32 PMRECOMMENDED

There are few spaces better suited to an encounter with the unknown than the faintly eerie, subterranean chamber at Packer Schopf Gallery. Like the crypt of some secular church, its exposed masonry and weathered cobblestones house curious objects; musings on death and rebirth personified by artist Lauren Levato’s ten spare, graphite-on-paper self-portraits.

Precisely drawn, the works in “Wunderkammer” envisage the body—only superficially the artist’s own—as time’s reservoir; a site where life’s events, both tragic and triumphant, accumulate and transform. Levato’s drawings achieve this emotional resonance by uncynically mining a rich vein of symbolic narrative that’s fast become an endangered species in more academic genres.

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Review: Nancy Mladenoff/Packer Schopf

Painting, West Loop No Comments »



Nancy Mladenoff’s exhibition, “The Ladies,” provides an antidote to the discouraging anti-birth control and abortion disquisitions and the other disconcerting fundamentalist fantasies in the news, like the appalling female submission movement. Mladenoff’s collection of twenty-six portraits of woman mentors reminds us that before there was a woman’s movement and a general cultural push toward emancipation and equality, there were always women who went their own way and acted autonomously in the world. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Bill Harrison/Packer Schopf Gallery

Drawings, West Loop No Comments »


The collapse of the market for stippled illustration might have been the best thing that ever happened to William Harrison, even if it took him more than ten years to realize it. Up until the mid-nineties he made photo-realistic drawings of commercial products for companies like McDonald’s and Burger King. But then his fanatically precise technique of rendering objects with little black dots was replaced by computer software, and like so many other workers in a changing economy, he had to reinvent himself. It didn’t happen overnight, but eventually he discovered a talent for portraiture. The results are breathtaking, and it’s not all about the tiny black dots. He has a real feeling for character and design, as well as an uncommon ability to compose small forms over large ones, so although he shows dozens of tiny facial wrinkles, he doesn’t lose the volume of the head. That’s what masters like Jan van Eyck or Dirk Bouts were doing as they celebrated civic and religious life at the dawn of bourgeois civilization, and it’s no less enjoyable when Harrison applies it to the outlaw bikers of our age. Read the rest of this entry »