James Jankowiak’s one-person includes paintings and a wall installation constructed from repeated, small, ornate black and red candies. The artist’s intention behind the work in this show is how individuals “express faith through repetitive rituals in our everyday lives.” From the work this concept may not be completely clear, but Jankowiak’s work succeeds on a visual scale alone. When artists venture into novel or new mediums many times it is for the novelty of the medium itself, however the candy Jankowiak has chosen to work with in this show works so seamlessly with his paintings that the candies seem like he created them himself. Jankowiak is a born and raised Chicago artist who has never taken a painting class. He has, however, graduated with honors from the university of Graffiti, beginning his career writing the name Casper. Graffiti, a medium that directly contradicts the laws of commercial art, with its emphasis on innovation, saturation and dynamic visuals, continually produces some of the most commercially successful artists. Jankowiak maintains his past visual creativity and soul while making new work that has mass appeal. It is difficult not to describe his work as “tasty,” especially when he incorporates candy. (Sara McCool)
James Jankowiak, “Southside Spiritual,” shows at 32nd & Urban Gallery, 3201 South Halsted, through February 29.