Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The 5 Artists Project: Darrell Roberts

Darrell Roberts was my first art instructor when I started art classes in 2006. The following year, he became one of bloggers for ArtStyle Blog, where his interview appeared in April, 2007. Starting his career as a figurative painter and then switching to an abstract style about ten years ago, he uses thick applications of oil paint mixed with pumice in multiple layers on relatively small canvasses.

Darrell Roberts. Sidewalk Voyages. 2008. Oil and pumice on canvas, 10" x 8".

"My current series is based on my walks back and forth from my studio and the path I repeatedly take. Each time with the month of the seasons changing like the wind, I encounter new inspiration. While walking I take photos with my cellphone and email them to myself for continued inspiration while painting. It may be a piece of trash that has blown by, weathered by the elements and faded in color, or it may be a pipe sticking out of the sidewalk with faded yellow paint and rusty browns, or a light blue metal frame of a door way, bent and abandoned, but a beautiful line, color and composition to me. Spray painted gray squares, where graffiti has been covered up make a lovely composition to me. The facades of buildings being torn down, the rubble of bricks and wood in dumpsters to the snow and colorful bits of spring vegetation creeping up through the cracks in the sidewalks inspire my art making daily."

Darrell Roberts. Sidewalk Voyages. 2008. Oil and pumice on canvas, 10" x 8".

Although he has said that while most of his inspiration comes from nature and the ongoing activity in the city, he is also captivated by the manmade colors of toys and household objects he finds in stores. He tries to recreate the same manufactured colors in some of his paintings, symbolically juxtaposing the natural and constructed elements he finds in his own environment.

Sidewalk Voyages, detail

The following is a write-up in the Chicago Connection: The 5 Artists Project catalogue, which was published in August, 2008.

Darrell Roberts
Email: darrellkr@gmail.com
Website: http://darrell-roberts.com/

Background - Painter with more than 10 years of professional experience
- MFA, BFA, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; BA, Art History, University of Northern Iowa
- Teaching experience: Taught painting at Hyde Street Art Center, Chicago
- Grants: Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, career development, 12/07; George Sugarman Foundation, purchase of paint and career enrichment, 11/07; Dedalus Foundation, full fellowship to Vermont Studio Center, 11/24-12/21/07; Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, 3/07
- Represented by Thomas McCormick Gallery, Chicago
- Exhibiting since 1997

Selected Exhibitions
Fresh Paint - a group exhibition of Chicago Painters and Abstraction 2008: Summer Group Show, Thomas McCormick Gallery, Chicago, 2008; Luscious, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, 2007; i feel good, i feel great, i feel wonderful, L2 Kontemporary Gallery, with Ana Fernandez, Los Angeles, CA, 2007; Texture and Tone, with Meredith Brickell, Joe Pintz, Lillstreet Art Center, Chicago, 2007; The Texture of Change, with Robert Putnam, Brickton Art Center, Park Ridge, IL, 2007; material + light, with Ana Fernandez, Paola Cabal, Bill Morrison, mn gallery, Chicago, 2007; Urban Landscapes, Noir Gallery, Jacksonville, IL

Growing up in Eldon, Iowa, Darrell Roberts has lived and worked in Chicago since 1997. Influenced by art critic Harold Rosenberg and artist Hans Hoffman, he reveals that his painting process is similar to the “push and pull on the growing metropolis” – the never-ending construction and re-building of buildings and roadways in the city. He started his profession as a figurative painter and then found more enjoyment as an abstractionist.

Working with small canvasses (usually 12” x 12”), he uses oil paints mixed with pumice to build layer upon layer of color, lines, forms, and textures. Inspired by construction sites, nature, and found objects, he takes photos daily with his cell phone during his walks through the city. In his studio, he begins painting with a brush and then progresses to layering with a knife, which is also used to apply the paint-pumice mixture thickly. He constructs/deconstructs his paintings and builds layer upon layer of swirling paints in low relief -- sometimes extending to the sides of the canvas.

The colors in his paintings are very vivid and bring his compositions to life. Influenced by colors in his environment, he sometimes tries to duplicate interesting manufactured colors to include in his pieces. When he works in a series, which he usually does, and arranges the paintings side by side, one immediately senses a lyrical cohesiveness of the entire group. The pieces are tied together like a compelling narrative of the urban landscape. The conscientious viewer is immediately drawn into the paintings to get a closer look at the layers of paint and to uncover the mysteries that lie beneath.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The 5 Artists Project: Iris Goldstein

Left to right, Torso 1, Torso 2, Torso 3 detail

Iris Goldstein appeared in ArtStyle Blog in November, 2007, in an interview by Mirjana Ugrinov, another artist in the show. Mirjana and Iris have worked together as colleagues at ARC Gallery in Chicago, where Iris currently serves as an officer. I met with Iris earlier in the year in her studio, where she showed me her art and process.

For many years, Iris made large sculptures of hard wood and covered them with tiny marks with color pencils, enhancing the texture and color of the wood. Although she still uses color pencils in her drawings on paper, she now uses her current technique -- plaster-aluminum screening -- almost exclusively on her relief sculptures.

Iris Goldstein. Gesture 1, Gesture 2, Gesture 3, Gesture 4. 2008. Aluminum screen, plaster and acrylic paint, 15" x 19" x 4", 15" x 15" x 67", 17" x 13" x 4", 13" x 14" x 6", respectively.

Her process generally involves cutting pieces of aluminum screening, forming organic shapes, using wire to hold the shapes, attaching cheesecloth over the wire, applying wet plaster over the cheesecloth, and finally texturizing and painting the dried plaster.

Gesture, detail

Gesture, detail

Gesture, detail

"My relief sculptures, made of aluminum screening, create presences which explore the connections between surface form and an emotive exploration of color. The repeated patterns of the forms, which are geometric but also sensual, play against the subtle shiftings of the color.

The search is for equilibrium, a balance of formal relationships. The surfaces are rendered to appeal to the sense of touch. Repetitions and change are used to examine the power of texture and color to add to one's sense of well being or disquiet.

Abstraction enlarges one's ability to bring to an artwork personal reactions and experience, and I hope for an enlargement of my ideas and experiences through the reactions of others to my work."

Sometimes to develop the structure of her pieces, she uses a wood backing to provide a strong foundation to help enhance the surface area of the pieces. Visitors have commented that her Torsos remind them of female figures.

Iris Goldstein. Torso 1, Torso 2, Torso 3. 2008.
Aluminum screen, plaster, and acrylic paint, 33" x 17" x 3".

In addition to relief sculptures, Iris enjoys drawing with color pencils. Similar in form and color to her sculptures, the Gesture Grid drawings complement her other pieces in the show.

Iris Goldstein. Gesture Grid. 2008. Color pencil, 22" x 25".

Gesture Grid, detail

The following is a write-up in the Chicago Connection: The 5 Artists Project catalogue, which was published in August, 2008.

Iris Goldstein
Email: IrisGoldstein@sbcglobal.net
Website: http://www.irisgoldstein.net/

Background - Painter and sculptor with more than 20 years of professional experience - MFA, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; AB, Smith College, Northampton, MA. Studied sculpture with Leonard Baskin, also with Cosmo Campoli at the Contemporary Arts Workshop in Chicago - Taught children’s film making classes after school, University of Chicago Lab Schools - Artist-in-Residence, Haguro-Machi, Japan
- Member, ARC Cooperative Gallery, Chicago
- Exhibiting since 1979

Selected Exhibitions
5' by 2', Members Exhibition, ARC Gallery, Chicago, 2007; Muses and Musings, One-Person Show, ARC Gallery, Chicago, 2006; Open Studios, Exchange Exhibit, La Genie de la Bastille, Paris, France, 2005; W.A.S.P.S Chicago Exchange, Patriothall Gallery, Edinburgh,Scotland, 2005; EastWest, Group Show, Liu Haisu Art Museum, Shanghai,China, Catalogue, 2005; Small Objects, Group Show, TZ Gallery, Chicago, 2004; Articulations, Two-Person Show, Atelier Art International, New York, 2003; 30th Anniversary Exhibition, ARC Gallery, Chicago, IL, Exhibition Co-Chair and Installer of the work, Editor of the exhibition catalog, 2003; A Capitol Commute, Gallery 10, Washington, D.C., 2002; ARC in Japan, Matsugoaka Gallery, Haguro-Machi, Japan, Atelier Gym Gallery, Tokyo, Japan, 2001; Wer Weiss Wozo es Gut Ist? GEDOK Gallery, Hamburg, Germany; Art of the Third Coast, Red Head Gallery, Toronto, Canada, 2001

Observing Iris Goldstein’s plaster-relief sculptures, one wonders how the pieces stay upright on the wall, as they look like dense twisted pieces of wood, clay, or stoneware. Using plaster-covered aluminum screening, she creates relief sculptures that not only seem to defy gravity but also have an extra dimension to them with their wave-like and curved formations, similar to organic forms in nature or even wormholes in space.

Earlier in her career, she worked on labor-intensive wood sculptures and then discovered the plaster-over-aluminum-screening method from a friend. The process involves cutting pieces of aluminum screening and shaping them by hand and then using wire to hold the shape, stretching cheesecloth over the shape, painting several coats of plaster on the surface, and then painting and adjusting the shape as the plaster dries. As the piece starts to dry, she sands the surface for a smoother look, carves the surface, or leaves the paint brush texture. Sometimes the shapes are stapled onto a wood backing. After the piece is completely dry, she applies a protective coating on it. In the end, the piece is very durable, light weight, and easily transported.

With a palette ranging from earthy browns and grays to iridescent jewel tones, she explores the “connections between surface form and an emotive exploration of color.” The curvilinear geometric and natural shapes draw us in to take a closer look at the shifting colors, forms, and textures. Providing an almost meditative quality, the shapes sooth us with their undulations and repetitive patterns. Some of the pieces exhibit a subtle aura of sensuality and magnetic energy, and one has an urge to run a finger along the surface to connect to it.

The 5 Artists Project: Frank Connet

I first met Frank Connet when I interviewed him on ArtStyle Blog in July, 2007. Working as a textile restorer for much of his professional career in his studio in Oak Park, Frank has incorporated his intricate knowledge of natural dyes and textiles in his own Shibori-inspired wall hangings and sculptures.

Frank Connet. Estuary II. 2008. Indigo and walnut dye on handwoven hemp, 71.5" x 48.5". Courtesy of The Douglas Dawson Gallery.

"Memories of nature form the basis of my art. The rhythms and patterns of a leaf’s radiating lines, the cycles of growth and decay, the confluence of waters and silted sand created by currents are echoed in these cut and pieced textile hangings.

Line and form are created using the Shibori process. A series of hand sewn stitches are drawn tight to bunch or pleat the fabric into a dense mass which is then dyed. The process permanently alters the surface of the wool, hemp or cotton, creating lines, ridges and washes, both of color and texture. Layered natural dyes of indigo, madder root, cochineal, walnut husks and black oak bark, alone or in combination, create a limitless palette of hue and depth. Dye on fiber creates a density of color that continues to fascinate me.

"My work in textile conservation has deeply influenced my art. Studying and restoring a wide variety of ancient and historic textiles has allowed me the opportunity to appreciate pre-industrial image making and dyeing techniques. The fabric of a Japanese farmer’s patched and repaired indigo dyed kimono, the rhythm in a West African strip woven wrapper or the irregular geometry in a Peruvian funerary tunic provides a continuous source of instruction and inspiration."

His craftsmanship in using natural dyes with textiles such as handwoven hemp is evident in his two pieces -- Estuary II and Rift -- in the show. Using the Japanese Shibori dyeing technique, which uses pulled threads and clamps, he often dyes each piece of fabric up to 30 times to get the desired effects --layers upon layers of hue variations or repetitive pattern formations.

Estuary II, detail

Estuary II, detail

After he completes the dyeing process, he cuts the fabric and creates a collage to complete the composition. The individual elements are machine sewn to form the piece and then hand quilted to create texture. When the sewing is completed, he then attaches a lining to the back of the entire piece and then mounts the piece to a stretcher.

Frank Connet. Rift. 2008. Indigo and walnut dye on handwoven hemp, 46.5" x 78.5". Courtesy of The Douglas Dawson Gallery.

Rift, detail

The following is a write-up in the Chicago Connection: The 5 Artists Project catalogue, which was published in August, 2008.

Frank Connet
Contact: 6140 W. North Avenue, Chicago, IL 60639
Phone: 773.637.7007
Email: Textileres@aol.com
Website: http://www.frankconnet.com/

- Textile restorer and artist with more than 20 years of professional experience
- BFA, Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, MO
- Teaching experience: Penland School of Craft, 2008; Visiting Artist, Kansas City Art Institute, MO; Evanston Art Center, Evanston, IL; Southern Illinois University, Fiber
- Gallery representation: Textile-based work, Douglas Dawson Gallery, Chicago; works on paper, Kate Hendrickson Fine Art, Chicago; Jane Sauer Thirteen Moons Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
- Exhibiting since the mid 1980s; started showing textile work in 1998

Selected Exhibitions
Material Difference, Group Show, Chicago Cultural Center, 2007; Clamped and Bound, Solo Exhibition, Douglas Dawson Gallery, Chicago, 2007; Silk Road Oasis, Illinois Artisan Program, Chicago Tourism Center, 2006; Frank Connet & Jiro Yonezawa, Jane Sauer Thirteen Moons Gallery, Santa Fe, NM, 2006; Fiberart Interantional 2004, Bellevue Art Museum, Bellevue, WA, 2005; Gift, Bequest, and Purchase: A Selection of Textile Acquisitions, 1998-2003, the Art Institute of Chicago, 2004-05; Fiberology: Six Extraordinary Contemporary Fiber Artists, Montgomery College Art Gallery, Rockville, MD; Museum of Arts & Design, New York, 2004; SOFA Chicago 2003, Heltzer, Navy Pier, Chicago

As a textile conservationist, Frank Connet has had the opportunity to study, analyze, and restore museum-quality historic textiles. With this knowledge and his interest in natural dyeing techniques, he creates abstract textile wall hangings that are “quilted” paintings, reminiscent of natural hand-dyed Japanese kimonos or West African strip woven textiles.

His artistic process starts with natural dyes and fabrics, which he sews and pleats and then dyes on average thirty to forty times to achieve the desired colors and patterns. He uses the Japanese Shibori process: “A series of hand-sewn stitches are drawn tightly to bunch or pleat the fabric into a dense mass, which is then dyed. The process permanently alters the surface of the wool, hemp or cotton, creating lines, ridges and washes, both of color and texture. Layered natural dyes create a limitless palette of hue and depth.” After the dyeing process, the fabrics are dried, cut, sewn, and pieced into textile hangings. He also creates Shibori “sculptural” pieces, which are many yards of dyed fabric pulled tightly into a three-dimensional form.

Many of his pieces are inspired by nature – transitions, cycles, patterns, symbols, and structures. His compositions are a series of mainly geometric shapes in monochromatic blues, grays, and browns, sometimes enlivened with a dash of red or yellow. What makes his pieces come alive is his instinctive layering of monochromatic blues, showing hidden depth in the background, and on top of that, a series of rectangles with different colors and line patterns, almost symbolizing windows into the unknown if one dares to look through them.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

October, Chicago Artists' Month: Ossia Fine Arts Space

Chicago Connection: The 5 Artists Project.
Ossia Fine Arts Space. East windows.

As part of the blog installation for Chicago Connection: The 5 Artists Project, showing through November 1, 2008, and to celebrate Chicago Artists' Month, I will be writing a series about the five artists. To start the series, I will be answering questions I get asked quite often about the show. Please note that the following images are overall views of the gallery. Future blogs will depict artists' works in detail.

Chicago Connection: The 5 Artists Project.
Ossia Fine Arts Space. North entrance.

Are you one of the artists?
No, I'm actually the guest curator. I helped to put the show together with the gallery owner and curator, Karen Schulz-Harmon, and the artists (Frank Connet, Iris Goldstein, Darrell Roberts, Mirjana Ugrinov, Dale Washington).

Chicago Connection: The 5 Artists Project.
Ossia Fine Arts Space. Middle of the gallery.

Do you work as a curator?
I work as a freelance writer, editor, and illustrator. I'm currently working on writing and illustrating children's books and adult self-help books. Although this show may be the first and last one I curate, I would consider curating other shows in the future.

Chicago Connection: The 5 Artists Project.
Ossia Fine Arts Space. West wall.

How did the show come about?
Karen as well as all of the artists appeared in my art blog ArtStyle Blog, A Voice for Artists in Chicago, which I created in 2007 and stopped working on in April, 2008. The blog was a venue for artists, whom I thought were talented but the majority needed more exposure. I wanted to have a show to showcase the talent of some of the artists, and so I approached Karen about a show for some contemporary Chicago artists. Since her space is used as a gallery and performance space, we decided to include live musical performances for each reception. We have a reception coming up on Friday, Oct. 10th from 6-9 p.m., featuring singer / songwriter Lisa Danielson.

Chicago Connection: The 5 Artists Project.
Ossia Fine Arts Space. West wall from south.

How did you select the artists?
I realize that art is a very subjective and personal to a lot of people. I can say that it wasn't just because I liked the artists and their art. I also used the following criteria:
- Chicago artists who live and work in the Chicagoland area and who have professional experience and qualifications (education, exhibition / curatorial experience, teaching experience, art community involvement, and so forth)
- Craftsmanship and technical expertise developed over an extended period of time
- Creative use of color, form, and materials in a unique style
- Cultural relevance: representing or expressing Chicago's energy, people, landscape, and so forth; interpreting other art forms or cultural aspects of society
- Connection to the viewer: ability to connect to the viewer on a human level -- mentally, emotionally, and perhaps spiritually

Chicago Connection: The 5 Artists Project.
Ossia Fine Arts Space. South wall.

Why do you call this blog (Happy Faces Chicago) a blog installation?
An art installation uses almost any media to create a specific experience in a specific environment. If I'm going to be blogging specifically about The 5 Artists Project during the duration of the show, why not call it a "blog installation"? While I sit in the gallery every Friday until Oct. 31st, I interview people who come into the gallery by asking them what they think of the show and then I include any information about them in the blog. Of course, I have invited at least one artist every Friday so that we can include different artistic points of view.

Chicago Connection: The 5 Artists Project.
Ossia Fine Arts Space. East wall.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Blog Installation No. 7: Ossia Fine Arts Space

This blog installation is part of Chicago Connection: The 5 Artists Project, showing through November 1, 2008, at Ossia Fine Arts Space in the Fine Arts Building. For the duration of the show, anyone coming into the gallery on Fridays from noon to 4 p.m. will be part of the blog.

Caroline Anderson stopped by the gallery today. Her comments on the show: "I'm interested in art that is not cranked-out mechanically in response to some perceived commercial market. The strength of the show is the connection to humanity. The art is tactile and you want to touch it. You can almost experience the making of the art."

A painter, a digital art professor, and art entrepreneur, Caroline was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN, studied art with the Institute for European Studies in Vienna and Paris, and earned an MFA from Ohio University. Currently teaching at Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago, which has a European study abroad program, Caroline is studying German to be able to teach animation and interactive media classes in Berlin. She is working with a Berlin artist on the Confession Station Project, which is a "confession / gallery / collaboration" artistic hybrid.

Caroline Anderson. Switch Statement. 2008.
Mixed media, 24" x 24".

"My paintings are highly crafted, with very thick layers of paint and texture buildup. The 'handmade' character of the paintings is emphasized and is very apparent when you see them; each successive layer reveals a bit of what went before, as though one could visually excavate through time. The tactile quality of the paintings is in deliberate contrast to the flatland quality of computer-based art and computer generated imagery. I am interested in emphasizing the difference between handmade and machine-generated work."

Caroline Anderson. Spooner 2. 2008.
Mixed media, 24" x 24".

Stylistically, Caroline reveals that her work has been influenced by Kandinsky; Klee; Gee's Bend, Alabama, quilters; Gerhardt Richter; Sigmar Polke; and German neoexpressionists, among others. Reflecting her interests in crafts, travel, geography, language, and humanity, her paintings are mixed-media collages, including acrylic paints and mediums, pumice, building materials, and textiles.

Her recent shows and exhibitions include: 2008 London Biennale, England; Spectrum, North Shore Country Day School, Winnetka, IL, 2008; Caroline Anderson: Paintings, Gallery H, Three Oaks, MI, 2007; Fresh Faces, Judy Saslow Gallery, Chicago, 2007; Thank You, ARC Gallery, Chicago, 2007; Art Against AIDS, Gallery 180, Chicago, 2007; Caroline Anderson: Recent Paintings, Gallery 180, Chicago, 2006. She will be showing her work at Ginny Syke's Studio Rose as part of the Ravenswood Art Walk in early October.

For more information on Caroline and her art, please visit:
Personal website: http://www.carolineanderson.net
Business website: http://artandtechnology.net
Berlin blog: http://www.chicagoartist.blogspot.com

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Blog Installation No. 6: Ossia Fine Arts Gallery

This blog installation is part of Chicago Connection: The 5 Artists Project, showing through November 1, 2008, at Ossia Fine Arts Space in the Fine Arts Building. For the duration of the show, anyone coming into the gallery on Fridays from noon to 4 p.m. will be part of the blog.

Nancy Bechtol, artist and videographer/photographer, stopped by the gallery. She commented, "The pieces show natural formations but you also get the sense of the urban. They are contained within boundaries, like a grid, but there is an expansiveness to them. You are brought into the pieces and they contain their own universe. You see an intensity of craftsmanship and beauty of an intricate nature."

A Chicago artist whose work spans several media and styles over a 25-year period, Nancy is currently getting ready for her upcoming ARC gallery member show (Does It Matter?), which will feature her Light Ride Series of digital photography. For this series, while her husband drove on the expressways and through small towns in Illinois, she sat next to him and "drew with her camera" to capture spontaneous impressions of direct and reflected light from objects around her in the early morning hours. She has also been working continuously since 1999 on another series entitled Freaks: Viruses, Trojans and Other Variants, which includes photographs of people with disjointed features to show them as symbolic viruses (like computer viruses with personalities).

Earlier in her career, she studied painting with Don Baum, artist and curator, and was influenced by the Hairy Who, the early Chicago Imagists. Earning an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she was inspired by pioneering video artist Phil Morton, founder of the Video Area.

Nancy Bechtol. Graphic Woman Walks. 2007. From the UnReal Landscape Series. Digital photo manipulations. Printed on archival paper.
"My art is really a mixed bag. I adapt for my audience, and whatever works for the concept is what I have used or invented. Currently I work in digital photography and video, both experimental and documentary style. As an artist I often reinvent myself."

Her recent exhibitions include: 50 Years of PowWow, American Indian Center, production and postproduction of DVD/video Four Circles of PowWow included in the traveling show presented by the Field Museum of Chicago; Goosetopia, Bartlett Nature Center, James (Pate) Philip State Park, remounted DVD site-specific 3-channel video in collaboration with David Bechtol; Art Vibes, Chicago Access Network TV, 8-part series about peace marches with original content; The Promised Land, Athenaeum Theatre, Chicago, video of fashion show/live event with Fluxcore.

Nancy Bechtol. Moon Rabbit. 2008. From the UnReal Landscape Series. Digital photo manipulations. Printed on archival paper.

For more information on Nancy and her art, go to http://www.absolutearts.com/nancybechtol.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Blog Installation No. 5: Ossia Fine Arts Space

This blog installation is part of Chicago Connection: The 5 Artists Project, showing through November 1, 2008, at Ossia Fine Arts Space in the Fine Arts Building. For the duration of the show, anyone coming into the gallery on Fridays from noon to 4 p.m. will be part of the blog.

Louise LeBourgeois stopped by the gallery today. Her comments on the show: "What I get is the artists' love of materials. Color and material stand out in this show. There is the the sheer joy of color, even with a limited palette."

Born in New Orleans, Louise has traveled the world and has lived in Chicago for 30 years. She earned an MFA in painting from Northwestern University and had the opportunity to study with Maria Tomasula, Ed Paschke, Bill Congor, and Jim Valerio -- artists she refers to as "painters' painters." Working mainly with oils and using reference photographs as a starting place, she focuses on representational imaginary landscapes.

Louise LeBourgeois. Cane Field #353. 2007.
Oil on panel, 24" x 24".

"I paint using many layers of glaze. The end result is a smooth and reflective surface. From time to time, people will mistake my paintings for photos, which always surprises me because my landscapes often seem too dreamy or other-worldly to be photos. There's always an unreal quality to the images I make."

Louise LeBourgeois. Point #357. 2007.
Oil on panel, 24" x 24".

Acknowledging that living in different locals (New Orleans, England, South Carolina, Chicago) has influenced her work, Louise became very interested in how landscapes contain "potent signifiers of place." She believes that although people influence their surroundings, the landscape also dictates how the culture of a place will develop.

She is represented by Dolby Chadwick Gallery, San Francisco, and Gallatin River Gallery, Big Sky, MT. Her recent solo shows include Timescape, Alfedena Gallery, Chicago; Upward: New Paintings, Gallatin River Gallery, Big Sky, MT. Two group shows this year include one at Addington Gallery in Chicago and the other show at the Beverly Arts Center.

For more information on Louise and her art, go to her website www.louiselebourgeois.com.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Blog Installation No. 4: Ossia Fine Arts Space

This blog installation is part of Chicago Connection: The 5 Artists Project, showing through November 1, 2008, at Ossia Fine Arts Space in the Fine Arts Building. For the duration of the show, anyone coming into the gallery on Fridays from noon to 4 p.m. will be part of the blog.

Deirdre Fox, installation artist, stopped by for a visit. This is what she had to say about The 5 Artists Project: "There are two things that tie the show together. The textures are similar in how they affect the space and the eye. And the other thing is that there is a sense of the discovery process. You feel the artist working with the materials and discovering their piece out of their materials. You have the sense that you can get inside the artist's head."

I first become acquainted with Deirdre's art through the Cool Globes project, for which she created a globe called Tapping Geothermal Energy. With a degrees in painting and animation from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and materials science and engineering from Northwestern University, Deirdre specializes in drawing-based installations, using a wide variety of materials such as paper, window screen, yarn, and recycled items.

Deirdre Fox. Perish Into Being(Caro D'Offay Gallery). 2006. Drawing installation.

"I organize my artwork around drawing and painting conventions, expanding from the surface or the wall into physical space or virtual space. My installations are compilations of elements, some or all of which are mutable. Lately, I’ve been finding ways to re-imagine old materials like old wallpaper and newspaper. I am interested in identity, translation, transition, and in-between states, intentionally trying to have my work hover in the in-between, bridging representative elements and abstraction, 2D and 3D, and temporariness and permanence."

She is influenced by rock and cave art imagery, such as the animals in the Lascaux caves, and other art historical references, such as Celtic forms, re-engaging these old forms, which carry cultural and historical meaning in a contemporary context. "I draw structural ideas from Cezanne and from analytical Cubism, Kandinsky’s Point, Line and Plane, and Klee’s Thinking Eye, among others, as well as crystallographic structures.

Deidre Fox. Ponder Re-assembly (Evanston Art Center). 2007. Drawing installation.

Recently participating in New Life Visuals in Berlin and the City of Chicago Open Studio Program, Deirdre is currently involved in an exhibition at the Swedish American Museum (opening October 3rd with a panel discussion on October 5th) as part of Chicago Artists Month. The artists were each commissioned to make a piece of art inspired by an item from the museum's collection. She is creating a drawing-based installation out of balsa wood, depicting horse forms moving up a wall.

Her latest project involves miniature installations made of acrylic boxes containing human forms and imagery from rock art, showing the dialogue of humans and images in a spatial and historical timeline.

For more information on Deirdre and her art, go to her website http://www.artbydado.com/.