Tuesday, June 30, 2009

TimeOutChicago reviews Carl Hammer show Primal

Until July 22, Columbia College's gallery, Leviton A+D Gallery, is exhibiting works from Midwestern contributors of BLAB! Magazine. One of those artists is C.J. Pyle. I am happy to present here a review by Lauren Weinberg, art critic at TimeOut, of the Carl Hammer show Primal that features C.J. Pyle. I will be putting up a video tour of the gallery and the show Midwestern BLAB! next week. Keep a look out for that.
Art review


Carl Hammer Gallery, through Jul 3.
C.J. Pyle, Sugar, 2008.

Thanks to Carl Hammer Gallery’s emphasis on self-taught and visionary artists, several of the works in the sprawling “Primal: Drawing as the Mirror of Self” explore their makers’ psyches with panache—particularly Joseph Yoakum’s fantastic paintings of places he supposedly visited and devout Christian Stephen Palmer’s lovely, intricately patterned portraits of Mary and Jesus. Other pieces don’t fit the show’s introspective theme so neatly, such as Marc Dennis’s confrontational nudes and George Widener’s depiction of Megalopolis 2012, a bustling city dominated by birdlike airplanes. Still, Widener’s work, which the autistic artist has carefully organized and crammed with details, is fascinating.

The many superlative examples of drawing represent the show’s greatest strength: Three blue-penciled boards by Chris Ware offer insight into the comics artist’s process and poignant stories. In four drawings on album covers, C.J. Pyle calls forth miracles with a ballpoint pen, achieving exquisite shading and gradations of tone in weird, dreadlocked figures (pictured) whose faces appear inside-out, as though their musculature sits on the surface of their skin. Marilyn Murphy’s The Time Jumper and The Lost Glove, two pencil portraits of women shown only from the waist down, combine a luscious, photorealistic aesthetic with surreal hints of feminine anomie.

Yet one of our favorite pieces isn’t a drawing: Cow Girl, an unknown artist’s wood carving, depicts a redhead clad only in a hat, boots and suggestively placed holster. The artist knows exactly what he likes—and there’s something charming about his eagerness to immortalize it.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Layer Cake: Tales from a Quinceañera

image: Life on the Block, Adriana Lopez Sanfeliu, 2009

For young Latino girls, the Quinceañera is one of the most important moments in their youth. Like the Debutante Ball, the Cotillion and the "coming out" rituals that many young girls around the world participate in, the Quinceañera is uniquely Latino. Opening at Columbia College Chicago's C33 Gallery on September 8, Layer Cake: Tales from a Quinceañera is an exploration of the tension, delight, embarrassment, desire, joy, pride, confusion and beauty inherent in the Quinceañera. The exhibition features five to seven compelling stories – real or imagined – that speak to some facet of the greater Quinceañera narrative.

Image: Mexican Quinceanera, Javier Ramirez, Limon

Dating back to the Aztec and Mayan Empires and Spanish colonialism in the Americas (mainly Central and South America), the event ceremonially marked the time when a young girl would leave her family home to marry and begin her own family – around the age of 15.

Image: Mexican Quinceanera, Javier Ramirez, Limon

If asked what the Quinceañera means, a celebrant will likely answer: “I’m going from being a girl to being a woman,” but in today’s America of mixed moral, spiritual and cultural messages, coming-of-age is as complicated as ever. And so it comes down to the birthday girl, left to reconcile her own expectations and promises of womanhood with those of her family and community at large - rejoicing and lamenting in her newfound status.

Curated by Camille Morgan, Layer Cake: Tales from a Quinceañera has gathered artists who can capture this fantastic confusion through personal engagement - artists who can make transparent the layers of the poufy dress, the many-tiered cake, and the pomp and circumstance to reveal the truths beneath. Viewers will be drawn in and realize that this is not only an Hispanic tradition but a human one.

Image: Mexican Quinceanera, Javier Ramirez, Limon

Media is open to artist interpretation and can include painting, sculpture, photography, site-specific installation, performance and new media.

image: Juana Alicia, Don't Be So Tough, 2008

The exhibition will coincide with Columbia College’s National Latino Heritage Month (FOCO) and Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations.


Interactive Exhibit Wall – Photo Collage
Throughout the course of the exhibit, students, the rest of the Columbia College community and the public will be invited to submit personal photos from quinceañeras they have attended, participated in, had, crashed, etc. This supports the exhibit’s focus – artist’s exploring the theme of the quince through personal engagement.

image: Road Kill Series, Adriana Carvalho, 2009

"I am hoping people will enjoy displaying their crazy, funny, poignant, ridiculous and beautiful photos, " says Camille Morgan, the show's curator. "I am sure everyone will love to view them too. The purpose is to make the exhibit feel like a party everyone is invited to...a place where their experience counts and is important to the celebration of Latina womanhood."


WHEN: September 8 – October 28, 2009

Artwalk Reception: September 10, 2009, 5-8pm

Official Reception: September 15, 2009, 4-8pm (to feature a real quince cake and Mexican food)

WHERE: C33 Gallery

33 East Congress Pkway @ Wabash

  • Curator Talks (by appt) at 312.369.7663 or cmorgan@colum.edu
  • Shifting meaning of the quinceañera
  • The shifting definition of “tradition”
  • Religion and faith in terms of cultural ritual
  • Issues surrounding immigration and societal status
  • How colonialism affects “history”
  • Feminist issues in a patriarchal society

Image: Judithe Hernandez, 2009

WHEN: September 8 – October 28, 2009

Artwalk Reception: September 10, 2009, 5-8pm

Official Reception: September 15, 2009, 4-8pm (to feature a real quince cake and Mexican food)

PANEL DISCUSSION: Thursday, October 22, 3pm at Hokin Annex, 623 S. Wabash
Steve Caballero (Community Christian Church in Pilsen), Priscilla Mills (author of Quinceanera Connections) and Yolanda Nieves (Artistic Director of Vida Bella Ensemble).

WHERE: C33 Gallery, 33 East Congress Pkway @ Wabash

COST: Free and Open to the Public.

CONTACT: Camille Morgan at cmorgan@colum.edu or 312.369.7663

PRESS INQUIRIES: Elizabeth Burke-Dain at eburkedain@colum.edu or 312.369.8695

Monday, June 22, 2009

More Images from Midwestern BLAB! at A+D Gallery

CJ Pyle, Been A Long Time, (c)2009, 13 1/4" x 12 1/4", ink, colored pencil, and graphite on cardboard; to appear in BLAB! 19

Image: Don Colley, miscellaneous sketchbook drawing, (c)1996, 11 3/4" w x 10" deep, ink and watercolor on paper

Image: Teresa James, (c)2000, No Chance Meetings from "The Old Haunts" by Jeffrey Steele; 1 15/16" x 8", color etching, originally appeared in BLAB! 11

Image: (c)2004, Tom Huck; Race of the Wheelbarrow Brides; 24 3/8" x 12 9/16"; hand-colored linoleum cut on paper; originally appeared in BLAB! 15

WHEN: June 18 – July 22, 2009

WHERE: Columbia College Chicago’s Leviton A+D Gallery

619 S. Wabash Avenue

Gallery hours: Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 5pm, Thursday 11 am – 8 pm

COST: Free and Open to the Public


INFO: Gallery Coordinator, , 312.369.8686

Press Inquiries, 312.369.8695

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tim Long Talks About Burnham in the Phillipines

Image: Tim Long, Daniel Burnham building in Manila (2008)

Tim Long, Chicago photographer, will present an exhibition of photographs that were taken in Manila in 2008. These photographs delve into the rift created by the United States' ambition to create a democratic state in a vastly distant and different culture. See ArtSeen's earlier post here. The name of Long's exhibition is ironically named, Daniel Burnham's Enduring Vision for the Phillipines and will be located at The City Gallery from September 4 - to mid December, 2009. Below is some insight into Long's approach to Burnham's work in the Phillipines.

Image: Tim Long, Manila, Phillipines (2008)

I stumbled across Burnham’s work in the Philippines while doing research for an ongoing photography project about the long shadow the U.S. casts over it’s smaller less powerful neighbors. The U.S. took possession of the Philippines, after the Spanish American War, as they did Cuba (temporarily), Puerto Rico, and Guam. Though I was familiar with some of our history with the Philippines during and after WWII (my father was based there during the war) I hadn’t realized how tangled our relations were from the start. More reading revealed a number of parallels between our efforts to establish a commercial foothold and a democracy in the Philippines and our trials and tribulations in Iraq.

When I went to Manila in 2007 I expected to find the buildings and streets built to Burnham’s plan to be obliterated by development or boarded up or simply in ruins. My simple intention was to somehow engage the futility and damage done by American imperialism in the pictures. What I found was both more complicated and more interesting.

Manila, or Metro Manila, as the entire urban entity is now known, is a mega metropolis suffering tremendous pressures of scarcely controlled development, under-built infrastructure, massive over-population, and extraordinary poverty. In the midst of this deeply chaotic place, in old Manila, stand the park and the core of the street system that Burnham drew and a dozen or so buildings designed by DB’s architects in familiar Beaux Art and early Art Deco styles. Many of the buildings are in use (city hall, hospital, post office, etc) and Rizal Park is well maintained and well used. Rather than the intrusive presence that Burnham’s work must once have had, in today’s reality this thoughtfully designed area provides a much needed respite from an overwhelmed and overwhelming urban environment.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Accidental Mysteries Blog Writes About Fred Stonehouse

Check out Accidental Mysteries where Fred Stonehouse's work is featured. Fred will be featured in Columbia College Chicago's Leviton A+D Gallery's Exhibition Midwestern BLAB! curated by BLAB!'s creator, Monte Beauchamp. Show opens on June 18! For more info on this show, go to my blog entry: here.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Re-Figure: A Contemporary Look at Figurative Representation in Art

Media Contact: Elizabeth Burke-Dain, 312.369.8695
June 5, 2009
Images are Available.

Image: Amber Hawk Swanson, To Hold, Pinball, 2008, c-print

New technologies and innovative use of traditional media have changed the ways in which we view the body – from the Sims to Facebook to YouTube, our lives are inundated with new interpretations of, and uses for, figurative representation. The art exhibition RE:figure explores the common ground between new and old media representations of the human form, as well as the different uses of figurative representation. RE:figure features artists working in a diverse range of media, such as video game screen captures, photography, sculpture, collage and drawing. The works will show a range of body types, as well as explore different relationships between the artist and his or her subject. Betsy Schneider’s “Quotidian’ series of photographs, for example, document in large grids of drugstore photos the physical development of her small children while simultaneously giving the viewer insight into the power structure between parent and child. Don Doe’s mixed-media drawings, modern-day interpretations of the Madonna, give a much darker view of motherhood. Amber Hawk Swanson’s photographic series ‘To Have, To Hold and To Violate’ of her doppelganger Realdoll ™, a lifelike sex doll she had created in her own image, provides a disturbing look into the ways in which likenesses can be abused. Stacia Yeapanis’ ‘Glitches Are Signs’ gives a more lighthearted view of the same subject, through screen captures of her own Sims ™-likeness apparent physical disintegration.
Re-Figure was curated by Cole Robertson.

Confirmed Artists (more are anticipated)
Edna Dapo http://bit.ly/cu2Ny
Don Doe http://bit.ly/Izs3g
Robert Flynt http://bit.ly/FgmPA
Jason Salavon http://bit.ly/4OWYa
Betsy Schneider http://bit.ly/nm9fu
Amber Hawk Swanson http://bit.ly/nm9fu
Stacia Yeapanis http://bit.ly/6CKin

WHEN: September 8 – October 30, 2009
Opening Reception: Thursday, September 10, 5 – 8pm

WHERE: Columbia College Chicago’s Glass Curtain Gallery
1104 S. Wabash Avenue, 1st floor
Gallery Hours: Mon-Wed, Fri: 9:00am – 5:00pm, Thurs: 9:00am – 7:00pm,
Sat. by appointment

COST: Free and Open to the Public.

MORE INFO: Gallery Coordinator: Mark Porter, 312.369.6643 or mporter@colum.edu
Press Inquiries: Elizabeth Burke-Dain, 312.369.8695

Some images:

Sabrina Raaf, Blood, Rags and Da Bomb, photograph

Don Doe, New Mother, No. 142 (cover story), 2008, gouache, ink and pastel on prepared paper

Ashley Hope, Can Opener, 2005, oil on panel

Edna Dapo, Impermissible, acrylic on canvas
Robert Flynt, New Year Baby, 2008, collage

Su-en Wong, Mighty Hymn, 2007, graphite on paper