Five Shows in Chicago

The first weekend of November I was in Chicago, where I took in a raft of gallery shows in River North. Then I visited the new wing of the Chicago Institute, crossing the Renzo Piano-designed bridge from there to Millennium Park, where Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate, aka "The Bean," was attracting hoardes of artists and tourists. In an end-of-year roundup I’ll show you images from those latter venues, but in this post I’m focusing on the gallery shows —five of them, many still up.

My primary intention was to see the new paintings of my good friend Julie Karabenick, editor of
Geoform, which I've mentioned numerous times as an international online gathering of abstract geometric art. Her solo of ordered and harmonious geometries is in the small space at Melanee Cooper Gallery, where another friend, Kathleen Waterloo has the main exhibition space. Both shows are up through December 30.

On the way over I stopped into Perimeter Gallery, where Lia Cook’s work held the large front gallery. Then, just around the corner from Melanee Cooper, I stopped in at Jackie Tileston’s show at ZG Gallery (through December 31) and then Eric Blum (through January 2) at the David Weinberg Gallery.
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Jackie Tileston at ZG Gallery
Tileston’s show, Mesocosmos II, consists of paintings, photographs and drawings. The photographs, taken in India, relate to and in some instances appear to have influenced the paintings. The installation reflects these relationships. I’ve written about the Philadelphia-based Tileston before, so here I would just add that her work embraces beauty, mystery and transcendence without ignoring the harsher realities of earthly life.

Peeking into the just-below-street-level space: The Transcendent Who Superintends Reality of the Highest Three Heavens Jade Talisman and Contractual Writ of the Unifying Circlet, oil and mixed media on linen, 72 x 60
Detail below:

Entering the gallery:
Cosmographic Tendency, oil and mixed media on linen, 48 x 60, above; with closer view of the photograph, below
(I love the fiery orange that appears in both images)

Installation view in the second gallery
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Kathleen Waterloo at Melanee Cooper
The Chicago-based artist is on a mission, as the title of her show, Map Quest, suggests. Using her studio as a starting point, Waterloo has Mapquested the directions to some two dozen art museums around the country in which she would like to be shown. Then she created paintings and neon sculptures that incorporated the trail. Wishful thinking, perhaps. But then the journey of 1000 miles begins with one step, doesn't it? Here those first steps are paintings and neon sculptures.

Looking up into the gallery
Below: Waterloo Mapquests her way via paint and neon

Waterloo: BAM (Boise Art Museum), 2009, encaustic on panel, 42 x 48 inches; with Karabenick show in the gallery beyond

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In Just Around the Block, Ann Arbor-based Karebenick’s work has taken a Mondrianic turn. Always rigorous, here it channels boogie-woogie energy but with a meditative palette, so that as you view the work you get a sense of movement in slow motion. The grid is the basis of each painting, which is divided into more-or-less equal quadrants; within each quadrant are shifts in hue and value that ignite a retinally kinetic quality, like lights that blink. My suggestion: pull up a chair and spend the afternoon in this small gallery so that you can experience an ecstatic mind meld with the work.

Above and below: Two views of the gallery with Julie Karabenick's paintings, all from the Composition series

Karabenick: Composition 81, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 30 x 30 inches

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Lia Cook at Perimeter
With Dollface, Cook’s show at Perimeter Gallery which ended on November 14, you think you’re seeing large-scale digital prints. They’re not. They're weavings. But they are digital. Loom technology allows pixels to be translated into the under/over construction of cloth, so that image and textile are one. West Coast-based Cook draws from snapshots and family memories.

Installation view from gallery entrance. All work recent, woven in cotton and linen. (Sorry about the lack of info. I don't have a checklist and the gallery doesn't provide information online)

Closer view of the work on the far wall, above, with a detail:

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Eric Blum at David Weinberg Gallery
In an exhibition titled Infuse (with Hunt Rettig), the New York-based Blum shows atmospheric paintings that capture and diffuse light. Painted with beeswax on silk on panel (don’t ask; I'm not reporting on technique), the works suggest city lights photographed through mist at night—luminous and mysterious, a window into a little chunk of infinity.

N. 578, 2009; watercolor, beeswax and silk on panel, 51 x 77 inches
Detail below:


Catherine Carter said...

You've profiled some of my favorite artists here, Joanne, and introduced me to a few new ones. Thank you for the report!

Robert Holmgren said...

CJ Pyle's show at the Carl Hammer Gallery was a delight.


Lynda Cole said...

Joanne, I know of your work from the encaustic conferences I have attended. I've enjoyed following the art path you've taken. In the show at the Arden Gallery I especially like Vicolo 56 and 37. I hope to get to Chicago to see Julie Karabenick's work. Thanks for the information.

S. Gilchrist said...

I spoke to Eric Blum, who said he painted on silk with watercolor. Amount of wax he uses is minimal.