Month: September 2012

Shooting the Periphery: An all-nighter with Zane Davis

“Following the north branch from the edge of Skokie to the heart of downtown you see the complete transformation from a creek in a forest, to a drain for the city.” —Zane Davis on the Chicago River A dark and sober night makes me pay attention. Shadows hide the distracting details of daily life; the bits of light that are present guide my eyes. I meditate on the details as something seemingly ordinary transforms to something noteworthy. From industrial parks to deer sprinkled mid-western forests, the bridges dispersed along the Chicago River highlight the heterogeneous landscape of the great city. Zane Davis’s series Towards Wolf Point, gives the viewer a chance to see this. He shoots at night and invited me to go along for one of his “all-nighter” photo adventures. The plan for the evening was to jump into the rented convertible, Rosa, and shoot the Chicago River from the bridges on the city’s periphery. Around 10:00 P.M. we started at West 35th  Street and Ashland, the southernmost bridge crossing the Chicago River. Each …

A Spotlight on Michael "Dos Santos" Tousana

Michael Tousana is an up-and-coming musician and artist from Chicago who now resides in Queens, New York. Even though he is no longer in Chicago, his name is still being blown around the Windy City’s underground art and performance world. His work is hard to ignore. Whether it’s pieces like “Radiant Eyes” with vivid tears of color falling or “Higher Reach” which depicts a hand reaching out for something better, his art is more than eye catching. He has shown with the former art collective Chicago Artists Network (CAN), and his pieces have been on display at the Defibrillator in Wicker Park. Tony Jackson: What is your method? Michael Tousana: I don’t like to limit myself to just one outlet. When I have a certain vision I just put them together. For the most part I create them threw graphic design, painting or collaging images of my own or ones that I find. TJ: What types of art do you prefer and who inspires you most? MT: I like all art as a collective. My favorites as …

Did You See Heaven? WYSIWYG @ Peregrine Program

Peregrine Program is poised at a unique threshold of the Chicago art scene. While it’s certainly not an apartment gallery, located inside of an East Garfield Park studio building, the space lacks the sterile snap of a commercial space. The walls are white, but the exhibition space is rather small, best lending itself to one person installations and the viewing of small works. Usually, the openings spill into the hallway where artists congregate, converse and bump into each other while trying to enter the show. The current exhibition, Did You See Heaven: WYSIWYG, is the second of a series of thoughtful curatorial statements by Peregrine proprietor, Edmund Chia, made in response to artist Mary Heilmann’s titular question. The subtitle of the current iteration, WYSIWYG (or What you see is what you get), hinges on the possibility that there may be more to this abstract painting show than initially meets the eye. Now, I can hear you already: “not another 8.5 x 11 abstract painting show,” and usually I would be in agreement. Thankfully though, while …

Apocalypse 2012/Genesis 2013 // Jackson Junge Gallery

You hear a lot about the end of the world nowadays.  It is everywhere: the end of the Mayan calendar, global warming, and foreign conflict.  The apocalypse is a concept that has fascinated humankind for ages, and continues to captivate the imagination of many. Jackon Junge Gallery, located on Milwaukee Avenue in the Bucktown/Wicker Park area has taken that very concept and turned it in to the premise of their current exhibition, “Apocalypse 2012/Genesis 2013”.  The gallery hosted the show’s opening event on September 14.  The show is co-curated by Chris Jackson, Laura Junge, and Anna Vlaminck, and reflects upon the Mayan calendar along with the Nostradamus prediction that the world will end in 2012.  “Often we try to do a couple of shows a year that tie in with current events,” Chris Jackson, co-owner of the gallery, said about the show.  “We thought it would be interesting to do a group show base on those predictions because they are getting a lot of attention.” The show represents over 30 artists, both from Chicago and …

EXPO CHICAGO // An Interview with Tony Karman

This week, the art world’s glitterati will descend upon Chicago for a new contemporary art fair: Expo Chicago, The International Exposition of Contemporary/Modern Art & Design. Occupying Navy Pier’s colossal Festival Hall, the fair showcases a selection of top tier galleries—capped at 100—from around the globe. Also included are EXPOSURE, a section comprising younger galleries; IN/SITU, a presentation of large-scale installations and site-specific and performative works; the conclusion of /Dialogues, a series of panel discussions and conversations; and a VIP Program. Designed by the architecture studio of luminary Jeanne Gang, the fair’s floor plan mimics Chicago’s grid system, boasting gallery-lined streets that allow visitors to view everything in sequence without losing their way, as well as a diagonal avenue on which visitors can view select exhibits and installations. Hanging from the hall’s high ceilings are mammoth mirrored cones. While many may be curious as to whether Chicago can live up to the challenge of hosting such an event, some involved in the lively local art scene have a separate concern: Can the fair get out-of-town …

Caleb Weintraub’s Nightmarish Dreamscapes

Grotesque animals, violent battles, and neon colors–these are the things that nightmares are made of in Caleb Weintraub’s exhibit at the Peter Miller Gallery. Weintraub’s saturated oil paintings wander through mysterious storybook dystopias with motifs that walk the line between Disney and The Lord of the Flies. “To The Death” follows two tribal-clad, ostrich-riding children at war in the desert, the highlight being their painstakingly rendered determined expressions. A few steps away, the viewer is immersed in the terrifying whimsy by a colorful, cluttered, life-sized sculptural diorama called “Snowglobe-A Plastic Dream”—a clear plexiglass dome filled with a crocodile, ostriches, and a Moulin Rouge-style master of ceremonies, while children sporting animal skins peer out desperately for an escape.  The scene is made all the more unsettling by the fact that it is not fully enclosed–when attempting to walk deeper into the gallery the figures spill out of one open side, threatening to follow your path. The show is perhaps not one for the squeamish, but the depths of juvenile anxiety make for a fascinating journey. Caleb …

Black To The Future Series: An Interview with Cauleen Smith

Using a title borrowed from an essay by cultural critic Mark Dery, the Black To The Future Series is a sequence of interviews with artists whose practice has started to define a new generation of work in the realm of afrofuturism and afrosurrealism. Using a pointed series of questions, these interviews have been conducted to spark conversation, to hear various points of view on something that is constantly changing and transforming, and with the hopes of allowing the practitioners to be at the center of determining what these movements are. This week we get some insight from artist and filmmaker Cauleen Smith.  Cauleen has spent the past two years in Chicago researching and digging through the Alton Abraham Papers at the University of Chicago and music archives at the Experimental Sound Studio to find gems from the life of musician and philosopher Sun Ra, a key figure in the conversation around afrofuturism.  The results of her investigation can be seen in A Star Is A Seed, an installation and series of short films at the …

And Then She’s Like/And He Goes—And I Asked: An Interview with Chris Campe

And The She’s Like/And He Goes, an exhibition at A+D Gallery,that juxtaposes text-based and sound-based art to expose the rich layers of the media and content. Chris Campe, artist and curator of the exhibition, recently returned to Germany after completing her Master of Art in Visual and Critical Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In this interview Campe sheds light on curating from abroad, the unique combination of artworks, German compound nouns, and the relationship of letterforms, text and sound in art. Kate Korroch: First and foremost congratulations on the exhibition! Can you tell me a bit about your process in selecting the artists and their specific works? Chris Campe: Thanks! I am very excited about the show – all the more because I moved back to Hamburg before it opened and I haven’t actually seen it yet! The initial selection of the visual artists came about quite naturally – they are all my friends. I love their work and because we all use hand-rendered text in our images I felt …