Art & Culture in Chicago

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Posts Tagged ‘west loop

Robyn O’Neil @ Tony Wight Gallery

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(This was originally published on 10/08/09 on Gapers Block.)

Tony Wight Gallery is very quiet right now, like the stark silence after a tornado passes through, but the scene is much less cluttered.  In the front room, Robyn O’Neil’s giant graphite drawings hang on the walls, floating in clean, white frames, with plenty of breathing room between them. They depict post-apocalyptic scenes, which, without a familiarity with her previous work, might just look like textural investigations of hair and water.  In the back room, her small drawings continue the same style and theme, but more intimately, and an upside-down ship and a cluster of pyramids are added to the mix.

O’Neil’s previous work, part of a saga which was executed over the past eight years, features wintery landscapes and seascapes.  Dramatic and drably unwelcoming, the scenes are usually populated by groups of little men in matching sweatsuits.  In the early work, the men congregate together, enjoying each other’s company over marshmallows, hugs, and calisthenics, oblivious to the storm clouds looming overhead.  In the later work, they struggle to stay alive, hanging from ropes and rafts.  When there aren’t little men, there are usually horses or birds, often dead or dying themselves, but always at least an allusion to a landscape.  The work is reminiscent of Bruegel and Darger, but not as literal as either.  It does not follow a clean narrative.  Instead, it creates a mood. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Kelly Reaves

October 25, 2009 at 10:42 pm

Vacant Beauty

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standishviagraRobert Standish’s paintings are beautiful.   

They make painters happy, not only because they’re well rendered but also because their commercial success is a sign that painting is not dead.Not even close.

Standish currently has a solo show of his new large-scale photorealistic paintings at Carrie Secrist gallery. Although the subjects vary, an urban theme is pervasive.

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Written by Kelly Reaves

November 15, 2008 at 6:25 am

Cosmic Slop

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White people love Rashid Johnson.

 They love him because he’s a black artist who makes art about identity politics without assuming the role of a victim or pointing fingers. His art also makes white people feel like they understand black people, which delights them, but it is a dubious understanding because his work is intentionally ambiguous. It is anything but didactic, and it is refreshing. And it is refreshing, but not satisfying.

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Written by Kelly Reaves

October 20, 2008 at 6:51 am

Trendsetter

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Amy Mayfield is turning a lot of heads.  

She has exhibited her paintings throughout Chicago at Gahlberg Gallery, The Hyde Park Art Center, Bucket Rider and Zolla Lieberman Gallery, and Franklin Parrasch in New York. In 2007 she exhibited in the MCA 12×12 series, a program designed to exhibit the work of local, emerging artists.  Just this September her work was part of the “Ahh… Decadence” exhibit at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s new gallery, her paintings being referred to in a Newcity review of the show as having the most “luxurious surfaces of all.”  In the current issue of CS Interiors, art collectors are encouraged to invest in “meteoric talents like Amy Mayfield.”

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Written by Kelly Reaves

October 20, 2008 at 6:47 am

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Nature

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The sunsets in Chicago are unbelievable.

Most of us probably don’t see them because we live tucked down in a thick grid lined by enormous stone buildings, but if you’ve ever taken 290 west as the sun sets, you’ve probably had the pleasure of seeing the phenomena. The bloated radioactive pink orb slowly sinking into the industrial lava, the orange contrails stretching behind Jets and through the stratosphere, through the thick atmospheric mush of car exhaust, wrapping Chicago like Christo and Jeanne-Claude would.

Ah, nature. The simplest and most wondrous pleasure we enjoy.We love nature so much, we can even find beauty on a day in the city when the air quality index is extra low.

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Written by Kelly Reaves

October 7, 2008 at 6:42 am

Interview with John Phillips, artist and social butterfly

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Q: How would you describe yourself?

A: I walk both sides of the fence. good boy, bad boy. Sincere & transgressive.  I’m a polarity.
Q:  How would you describe your work?
A: A tug of war between indulgence and intelligence.  And that pretty much sums me up.
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Written by Kelly Reaves

October 2, 2008 at 6:49 am