Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

Review: Luis Gonzalez Palma/Schneider Gallery

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Luis Gonzalez Palma. "Mesa Rio," 2009  digital print on transparency, gold leaf on board, red paper

Luis Gonzalez Palma. “Mesa Rio,” 2009
digital print on transparency, gold leaf on board, red paper

RECOMMENDED

As the veteran globalized A-list Guatemalan photographer Luis Gonzalez Palma enters his late fifties, he persists in his lifelong struggle to overcome the sadness in his heart through enduring a long series of unsuccessful attempts to affirm life fully by expressing his agonies and contradictions in his photo-art. His latest body of work, “Mobius,” leaves him where he started, only, as always through each iteration, more intense and more accomplished. Still posing native Guatemalan models for deep gold-toned portraits on which he sometimes strategically and elegantly paints, and setting up telling magical-realist scenarios, Gonzalez Palma has simplified his representations of his subjects by taking head shots of them that accentuate the moods and expressive emotions with which he endows them. 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


LOOP

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)

SUBURBS

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: 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

RECOMMENDED

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

RECOMMENDED

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: Lynn Saville and Reuben Wu/Schneider Gallery

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Lynn Saville, "West 125th St, NYC"

Lynn Saville, “West 125th St, NYC”

RECOMMENDED

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: Nancy Newberry/Schneider Gallery

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"09 11 19, 2010," from the series "Mum"

“09 11 19, 2010,” from the series “Mum”

RECOMMENDED

Straight out of the Lone Star State, hyper-postmodern Texas photographer Nancy Newberry turns her sophistication back on its kitschy roots, offering staged color scenario portraits of subjects enacting the ritual of wearing American-pop-baroque ornamented garb or crowded-collaged corsages dominated by mums for events like homecoming day. The enactment of Newberry’s concept could take myriad forms: a dignifying humanist treatment (impossible for her), the former with tongue in cheek, a sarcastic stereotyped put down, and so on. Newberry’s particular sensibility is centered in a gentle sense of the ridiculous that allows her to save her postmodern conscience and creds, and to stay on the nice side of the line between irony and mockery. A good example of Newberry’s brand of visual wit is her scenario of a young adolescent girl standing erect on a sloping shingled roof, barefooted and draped in her flowing, consuming corsage with its copious ribbons covering her; the expression on her face betrays some apprehension that has not yet become panic, a sense of unsteadiness that is quite understandable given her situation. With that image, Newberry alerts us that she has placed herself at the antipodes of the cultural documentary and the humanist portrait, opting for postmodern play with the cultural practice, emptied of reverence and nostalgia. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Jennifer Greenburg/Schneider Gallery

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"My dreams came true the day I did hair for a fashion show," 2013

“My dreams came true the day I did hair for a fashion show,” 2013

RECOMMENDED

Jennifer Greenburg is the Cindy Sherman of our post-feminist times. A consummate performance photographer, Greenburg has all of Sherman’s wit and irony, put to the purpose of a girl just trying to have fun. Of course, post-feminism was around way before that term came into fashion; think Cyndi Lauper. Greenburg has a different and decidedly visually delectable way of parading her seemingly inexhaustible personae. Make no mistake, the black-and-white images in her project of “revising history” put her as the star in her scenarios, with the other members of the cast playing supporting roles, though they never would have known that they would be drafted for that duty. What Greenburg has done is Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Surface Tension/Schneider Gallery

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Laura Hart Newlon

Laura Hart Newlon

RECOMMENDED

Subversion of photographic conventions and the expectations that they engender in a viewer is the name of the game for the four photo-artists in this summer group show—Ben Alper, Daniel Hojnacki, Diane Meyer and Laura Hart Newlon. Alper appropriates anonymous black-and-white snapshots of ordinary people, puts them through the computer, and comes up with images of freaks, like a grinning little boy with a grotesque oblong-shaped head; so much for sentimentality. Hojnacki prints on paper on which he has placed tape and spackle so that his images are broken up and partially decomposed, as in his stunning color scene of a truck plowing through a chaotic storm of detritus. Diane Meyer reduces her embroidered photographs to images resembling wavering graph paper. Laura Hart Newlon, who achieves the most striking subversion, places Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Pablo Soria and Caleb Charland/Schneider Gallery

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Pablo Soria, "Una cama  y el entramado de posibles sueños," 2012

Pablo Soria, “Una cama y el entramado de posibles sueños,” 2012

RECOMMENDED

Photography lends itself to surrealism more than any other visual medium does, by virtue of its manifold possibilities for representing a scene. Argentinian photographer Pablo Soria does the trick of defamiliarizing the ordinary by shooting large-format, sharp, starkly illuminated nighttime color images taken under long exposure times, producing brilliant dreamlike studies of his native San Miguel de Tucuman. Sometimes Soria moves into the frame as the film remains exposed, so that he appears as a ghostly presence; but he is most successful and fixates our attention when he envelopes us in intimate woodland sites in which he places an empty bed or chair, disturbing sparkling pristine nature with some uncertain human artifact and purpose. A rude wooden bench sits on the rough brown ground at the very bottom of the frame as stalks of semi-tropical plants, some of them sere, tower above it into the impenetrable darkness. This is a place for nocturnal dwarves; no doubt, one of them—in his own mind—is the artist. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Mel Keiser and Martina Lopez/Schneider Gallery

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Mel Keiser

Mel Keiser

RECOMMENDED

Back in the heyday of feminist photography, a quarter century ago, its practitioners often effaced, blurred, cut or otherwise mangled their ubiquitous self-portraits in an orgy of agonized self-rebirth and transformation, and then it stopped. Now Mel Keiser has picked up the neglected practices, taking color images of herself and hacking out substantial parts of them producing swirls, tangles and shards that cover her body and its surroundings in an expressionistic storm. Keiser’s intent is revealed in the title of her series, “ecorches”—flaying the flesh for the purposes of torture, science or both. Yet although the agony is unmistakable in the photo-works, they are too vibrant, dynamic and densely lush to suppress an ecstatic participation in them, whatever the psychic consequences might be. Covered in sharp-edged shards of glass, her face and torso horrifically scarred and pocked, in the colors of dried blood, it still seems as though Keiser is breaking out of a prison and preparing to rule the world. Read the rest of this entry »