Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

Portrait of the Artist: William J. O’Brien

Artist Profiles, Ceramics, Collage, Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Lincoln Park, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Painting, Sculpture No Comments »
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Portrait of William J. O’Brien in his studio, circa, 2013. /Photo: Robert Chase Heishman.

Weaving his way gracefully around shelves brimming with colorful sculptures and past an in-progress colored pencil drawing tacked onto the wall, William J. O’Brien guides me into the ceramics section of his large, ground-floor studio. The room smells of clay and incense, and three large tables are packed with drying clay bodies draped in fogged plastic. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Chris Bradley and Alex Chitty/Shane Campbell Gallery

Design, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Lincoln Park, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Sculpture No Comments »
Chris Bradley and Alex Chitty. Installation view at Shane Campbell Gallery-Lincoln Park, 2015. /Photo: Evan Jenkins

Chris Bradley and Alex Chitty. Installation view at Shane Campbell Gallery-Lincoln Park, 2015. /Photo: Evan Jenkins

RECOMMENDED

Alex Chitty once said in an interview that she arranges found objects in her work so “they seem to have always belonged together.” On display in Shane Campbell Gallery’s domestic project space, her sculptures look very much at home. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Kishio Suga/Shane Campbell Gallery

Galleries & Museums, Lincoln Park, Media & Genres, Multimedia No Comments »
Kishio Suga. Installation view, Shane Campbell Gallery, 2015.

Kishio Suga. Installation view, Shane Campbell Gallery, 2015.

RECOMMENDED

Mono-ha (“school of things”) is a group of contemporary Japanese artist-philosophers who manipulate things just enough to make some of their physical properties a noticeable object of contemplation. Instead of craft, they cultivate awareness, and indeed the craft on display in the Kishio Suga exhibit would barely meet the standards of a high-school shop class. Read the rest of this entry »

Portrait of a Gallery: Emanuel Aguilar and Julia Fischbach, Patron Gallery

Gallerist profile, River West No Comments »
Julia Fischbach and Emanuel Aguilar. / Photo: Sara Pooley.

Julia Fischbach and Emanuel Aguilar/Photo: Sara Pooley

As I stroll slowly into Patron Gallery, Emanuel Aguilar walks briskly up to greet me. With partially unpacked artworks leaning against the walls and the smell of fresh paint lingering in the air, the storefront gallery reeks of transition and anticipation. Read the rest of this entry »

Art 50 2015: Chicago’s Visual Vanguard

Art 50 1 Comment »

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Long heralded as a mecca for alternative practices, collectivity and socially engaged art, Chicago increasingly finds itself among the most visible international art destinations precisely because of its distinct character and openness to change and growth. What makes this city fertile ground for launching new talent and sustaining confirmed genius? A complex and ever-changing network of curators, collectors, administrators, critics, dealers, educators and other enthusiasts cultivate Chicago’s artistic vitality and diversity. The Art 50 is Newcity’s annual snapshot of Chicago’s art ecosystem. This year, we track the power players who shape the terrain in which we thrive.

The Art 50 was written by Elliot J. Reichert, Maria Girgenti, Abraham Ritchie, Kate Sierzputowski and B. David Zarley.

Cover and interior photos by Joe Mazza/Brave Lux on location at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Mimi Lauter/Shane Campbell Gallery

Drawings, Galleries & Museums, South Loop No Comments »
Mimi Lauter. Installation view of "A Carnival of 'Musical Echo,'" 2015. / Photo: Evan Jenkins.

Mimi Lauter. Installation view of “A Carnival of ‘Musical Echo,'” 2015./Photo: Evan Jenkins

RECOMMENDED

The works in Los Angeles artist Mimi Lauter’s “A Carnival of ‘Musical Echo'” are a rare combination of frenzied, physical immediacy tempered by meticulous formal complexity, and feature an elusive narrative with roots in modernist literature and biblical allegory. These gorgeous, large-scale pastel drawings seduce with a seemingly endless supply of visual delight and symbolic intrigue. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Shio Kusaka/Shane Campbell Gallery

Ceramics, West Loop No Comments »
Shio Kusaka. Installation of ceramic pots currently on view at Shane Campbell Gallery.

Shio Kusaka. Installation of ceramic pots currently on view at Shane Campbell Gallery.

RECOMMENDED

Japanese-born, American-trained ceramicist Shio Kusaka appears to be standing in both worlds. Formally, she’s one-hundred percent Japanese, making the cups and bowls of conventional Japanese pottery with a simple, gentle, flowing, balanced, slightly off-kilter, understated sense of design and craftsmanship. Every detail is rewarding—from the firm footing, through the delicate thin walls, up to the inviting, sharply drawn orifice. But conceptually, she’s a contemporary American artist, hunting for that mysterious, ever-alluring boundary between tiresome banality and unique revelation. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Major expansions for Kavi Gupta and Shane Campbell galleries

News etc., South Loop, West Loop No Comments »
Kavi Gupta Gallery's new production studio in Little Village

Kavi Gupta Gallery’s new production studio in Little Village

Two of Chicago’s most prominent galleries—Kavi Gupta and Shane Campbell—are expanding into larger spaces. Kavi Gupta has added an additional building to their Chicago properties, situated in the Little Village neighborhood. Shane Campbell Gallery will be relocating to the South Loop next spring. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: New Image Painting/Shane Campbell Gallery

Painting, West Loop No Comments »
Nick Schutzenhofer. "Untitled," 2014, egg tempura on paper mounted to canvas, 29 1/8h x 23 1/8w in.

Nick Schutzenhofer. “Untitled,” 2014, egg tempera on paper mounted to canvas,
29 1/8h x 23 1/8w in.

RECOMMENDED

Featuring fifteen artists and an incendiary press release that decries what it sees as the preeminence of “soulless” and “anemic” abstraction, “New Image Painting” at Shane Campbell Gallery is a stinging riposte to the kind of contemporary abstract painting that merely serves as “a placeholder for value” and “needs to get out of the way.” In its place, the show presents an alternative vision of art’s recent past that locates figuration and personal narrative front and center.

Many of the thirty paintings on display are self-consciously “bad” in the sense that multiple artists’ seek spatial and proportional “incorrectness” as a means of arriving at visual authenticity. Henry Taylor’s “Where are my brothers keepers” and Torey Thornton’s “Barged Gator” are ham-fisted in their depiction of figures, boats and busses. But their superficial clumsiness, which can be traced back to Matisse via Guston, belies a compositional sophistication that is studied and—paradoxically—abstract. Similarly, William J. O’Brien’s playful works on paper trade in the kind of frenzied “my kid could do that” aesthetic that baffles casual viewers, but delights connoisseurs of gestural abstraction. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Greg Gong and Jon Pestoni/Shane Campbell Gallery

Painting, West Loop No Comments »
Jon Pestoni. "Tracksuit," oil and mixed media on panel, inset into wood frame, 2014

Jon Pestoni. “Tracksuit,”
oil and mixed media on panel, inset into wood frame, 2014

RECOMMENDED

California-based painters Greg Gong and Jon Pestoni have, through unifying abstract forms over a variety of ground materials and techniques, developed complementary methods that result in layered, petrified paint. They do well to show together as the stakes over which they struggle are not only a work’s surface but what physically lies beneath. Read the rest of this entry »