Friday, April 25, 2008

Artropolis™ delivers a knockout

Chicago's citywide celebration of arts, antiques and culture, Artropolis™ started off with a sexy preview. I describe the preview as sexy because I believe the preview-- as a whole-- was HOT compared to last year. There was a certain energy in the air during the preview... it rejuvenated me after my long drive. In other words, though tired from the drive I was not about to throw in the towel. The preview showed me-- once again-- that the Chicago art scene is not about to throw in the towel either!

Last year there was some concern about Chicago's place in the art market. I can remember members of the press and art bloggers doubting Chicago's place in the artworld. I think this year proved-- without a doubt-- that Chicago is still kicking. I'd go as far as to say that the exhibits in the Merchandise Mart came to the fight swinging uppercuts! There was some powerful work on display. Art Chicago and NEXT can be credited with the hardest hits. In my opinion, Art Chicago could go blow for blow against any art fairs I've observed as of late.

For those who don't know, Artropolis™ attracts thousands of visitors to Chicago. For the visitors’ convenience and enjoyment, The Artist Project will run concurrently with Art Chicago, The Merchandise Mart International Antiques Fair, NEXT, and The Intuit Show of Folk and Outsider Art – all within The Merchandise Mart. Educational programs, guided tours, music, theatre and dance performances are planned at a variety of venues throughout the city: from major museums to small galleries, from world-class concert halls to cutting-edge clubs, from lakefront parks to exclusive private parties.

In my rush I found time to stop by The Artist Project briefly. I was very pleased to discover that Jane Fulton Alt, Connie Noyes, and Ted Stanuga-- all members of the community-- were included on the roster of artists involved with the exhibit. The Artist Project is Artropolis’ key event dedicated to the independent artist. This year The Artist Project featured over 300 established and emerging artists who are currently unaffiliated within the gallery community. The exhibit offers collectors a rare opportunity to discover and obtain interesting and affordable art. It is always great to observe artists representing themselves in this manner.

Jane Fulton Alt
Connie Noyes
Ted Stanuga

(Nohra Haime Gallery-- SOPHIA VARI: PLENITUDE DE L'AIR, , bronze, black patina & blue oil, ed. 1/3, 50 3/8 x 17 x 15 3/4 in. 128 x 43 x 40 cm. JIM DINE: BLAZE FURY, 2007, acrylic on canvas, 40 x 40 in. 101.6 x 101.6 cm.)

While at Art Chicago I stopped by booth 12-647-- the Nohra Haime Gallery. I have interviewed several of the artists represented by Nohra Haime (Carol K. Brown, Margeaux Walter, Valerie Hird and Hugo Tillman) and I've long admired the quality of art that is displayed at the gallery. The booth at Art Chicago was a joy to view. You can find the interviews I mentioned at Also, Valerie and Margeaux are members of the community--,

Cedar River 3 Michigan-- Casey Rae

Wildwood Press returned to Art Chicago this year. Wildwood Press featured 15 new giclee print images by Casey Rae. Those who attended Art Chicago last year may remember that Casey Rae's haunting photographs of the Great Lakes in winter captivated viewers. I was told that the artist Valerie Hammond would be on hand to discuss her work, but in my rush I missed her. I was really impressed by what Wildwood Press had to offer.
Guirlande-- Valerie Hammond
Garland-- Valerie Hammond

At NEXT I was very interested with RONMANDOS booth. RONMANDOS presented work by four very gifted Dutch artists: Silvia B., Katinka Lampe , Levi van Veluw and Meinbert Gozewijn. These four artists create work that I can only describe as deceptively wonderful.

Here is the run down on the four:

Angel-- Silvia B.

"The meticulously and patiently crafted sculptures of Silvia B. are in the first instance highly attractive, luring the viewer to come and take a closer look. It is then that their disquieting aesthetic becomes apparent as it is realized that their beauty is of no ordinary kind. These figures are hybrid beings: between man and beast, doll and robot, confusing gender and age."

Untitled (605810)-- Katinka Lampe

"Katinka Lampe strives to create images that agitate and unsettle the viewer. She first photographs child models in specific poses and attire. It is at this point that she starts to paint and any concrete link with reality is lost: these figures appearing in unlikely but also disturbing ways, wearing such socially loaded attire as headscarves, capes, balaclavas or with suggestive make-up. Katinka Lampe ’s portraits are visual statements; a collection of pictorial fragments systematically combined to confront the viewer and disrupt his or her normal modes of perception."
Carpet-- Levi van Veluw

"Levi van Veluw´s photo series are all self-portraits, drawn and photographed by himself: a one-man-process. His works constitute elemental transfers – modifying the face as object – combining it with other stylistic components to create a third visual object with a large visual impact. The work you see therefore is not a portrait, but an information-rich image of colour, form, texture, and content. The image contains the history of a short creative process, with the artist shifting between the entities of subject and object. Assigning familiar elements such as a ballpoint-line a new context results in a confusing conflict between the objects normal associations and the novel values given to it in this new context. "

"In his project 'Trophyheads', Meinbert Gozewijn uses photos of CEOs, randomly downloaded from the internet via search-terms such as 'CEO', 'chairman' and 'president'. These drawings are portraits of the photo itself, the portrait of an image rather than the portrait of a per son. The title 'Trophyhead' refers to the tradition in some older cultures to safe keep the head of an enemy or ancestor as a holy or magical object. The title also refers to the word 'headhunter'; someone who identifies and approaches suitable candidates to fill often high profile, business positions."

(I'll have more to report soon. I will be adding more to this post throughout the day. I need to track down some images as well)

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin

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