All posts tagged: West Loop

Geoffrey Todd Smith and Josh Mannis at Western Exhibitions

Western Exhibitions opened two corresponding exhibits this month– Looker, a collection of Geoffrey Todd Smith’s intricate geometric paintings, and Fashion, a hypnotic video installation by Josh Mannis. Smith painstakingly works acrylic, gouache, and ink into colorful optical candy reminiscent of spirograph drawings and beadwork. Whimsical titles like Indecent Docent and The Flirtation Station provide the abstract works with an extra layer of intrigue. Some of the works sport neutral color schemes like cream and camel flirting with repetitions of black. The more color-saturated pieces are seldom consistently bright, but instead feature unexpected accents of subdued shades. The most captivating are the compositions with meticulous gel pen linework over  elliptical patterns, like the red-and-purple-schemed Gentlemen Crawler (Detail shown above. Image courtesy of Western Exhibitions).   Josh Mannis’s Fashion inhabits the second exhibit space deeper within the gallery. The domineering work features a dancer in a tracksuit and an altered Bob Gates mask cutting loose with no holds barred to catchy, scratchy house music. His plethora of party-appropriate dance skills is multiplied and layered in bouts of …

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 …

People Don’t Like to Read Art || [and they’re missing out]

Honestly, people don’t like to read in general. Art, specifically? From Jenny Holzer’s aphorisms projected throughout New York City to Kay Rosen’s recent Go Do Good installations in Chicago’s Loop, text-based art tends to grab viewers’ attention due to its relatively brazen nature. Contemporary art that is purely image-based is often met with objections of “I don’t get it,” or “Well, maybe the artist statement will explain this.” For those in search of a quick answer, text can provide that instant gratification. The written word, however, doesn’t always make things simpler, as Western Exhibitions’ latest show illustrates. With pieces that extend beyond the short phrases pervasive in contemporary art—guests are invited to peruse full-length novels, among other items—People Don’t Like to Read Art stretches the function of the gallery space and explores ways in which one can establish a more intimate connection with art. After attending the exhibition’s opening reception on July 9, I spoke with gallery director Scott Speh about the show and asked the artists for further insight into their works. People Don’t Like to …

Angelbert Metoyer at G.R. N’Namdi Gallery

G.R. N’Namdi Gallery is known for displaying works by most of the master artists of the African Diaspora that you should hear about in your art history classes. Regulars on their walls and in their inventory include Ed Clark, Norman Lewis, Robert Colescott, Richard Mayhew, Charles White, and Chicago’s own McArthur Binion–to name a few. Their most recent exhibition of works by Angelbert Metoyer is a perfect example of how this West Loop gallery places the top contemporary masters into context with the legacies left by their foundation artists. G.R. N’Namdi Gallery from Tempestt Hazel on Vimeo.