Classical Music Series - Aether Ensemble

Friday, February 16, 2018 - 8:00pm

Aether Ensemble joins us at Heaven Gallery to perform works by Ravel, Milhaud, Koechlin, Francaix, and Joplin.

Performers include: 
Jenny Shin, flute
Mika Allison, oboe
Jessica Smith, clarinet
Emma Sepmeier, horn
Midori Samson, bassoon

Suggested donation: $10

Doors open at 7:30pm

Formed in 2016, Aether Ensemble is a Chicago-based woodwind quintet committed to bringing quality performances of wind chamber music to the Chicago music community. They have performed with a variety of Chicago organizations, such as Make Music Chicago and RefugeeOne. Members of Aether have diverse backgrounds, holding degrees from Depaul University, Northwestern University, Boston University, The Juilliard School, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In addition to their love for chamber music, Aether musicians are established orchestral players, having performed with such groups as the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Northbrook Symphony, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Quad City Symphony, West Michigan Symphony, Elgin Symphony, Chicago Composers Orchestra, and Peoria Symphony Orchestra. Musicians of Aether Ensemble are also passionate educators, dedicated to involvement in various community outreach programs as well as maintaining active private teaching studios. To learn more about Aether Ensemble, please visit their Facebook page.

Gallery Talk

Sunday, February 25, 2018 - 1:00pm

Sunday, February 25

HEAVEN IS A PLACE is proud to present a halo of talks, presentations and performances on and for other exhibitions and contexts. Including but not limited to Ross Jordan, Hope Esser, Lorelei Stewart, Tamara Becerra Valdez, Stella Brown, Ruslana Lichtzier, Kathe Bowen, Brandon Alvendia, Anna Showers-Cruser, Becky Bivens and Danny Floyd, our bill includes artists, art historians, curators and critics drawing from and on and into the great beyond, a multitude of media and mediums, feminist futures and what an art is even for. Or from. Doors open at 12, performances start sharply at 1. Be there or -ware.

Coffee donated by Starbucks.

There is also a film screening at the Nightingale Tuesday, March 6 at 8PM

Heaven Is a Place

Friday, January 26, 2018 - 7:00pm

Heaven is a Place
January 26 - March11
Alex Chitty, Anna Showers-Cruser, Sherwin Ovid, Danny Floyd, Jory Drew, Allison Yasukawa, Josh Rios, Stella J. Brown, Brandon Alvendia, Meg Nafziger, Lauren Edwards
Curated by Jesse Malmed


Most of the words used in this text have been used thibsing’d of times. Aside from the occasional neologism, they’re generally used and well used and, like so many luxury goods, we don’t own them, we’re just their temporary steward. It's hard to imagine an exhibition that isn't site-specific. If the works work in a vacuum, well that's about as specific a place as we can imagine. You will have to trust that every word in this sentence was not typed but pasted from a sprawling series of fascinating and far better texts.

Heaven Is a Place brings together a banker’s dozen of artists each making work for a specific show, just not the same one. Each work constitutes a(n art) historical insertion and a speculative citation and a wormhole to another exhibition. Featuring some of Chicago’s sharpest, this exhibition offers the opportunity for a bit of historical re-vision-ing, in which the august museum group show from our birth year—first discovered through a tattered library copy of the exhibition catalogue—finally includes our work; where the hot new show at the cool new space in the temperate old town that included every idea you have but not the name you use gets rectified; where the doodle in the margin becomes canon with the blithe affect of a butterfly. 

Artist Talk
Sunday February 25th

Princess Kazayah: New Years Meditations & Reggae Music

Saturday, January 13, 2018 - 9:00pm to 11:00pm

Join Heaven Gallery and Dove Muzik for a musical performance with Princess Kazayah featuring Wadadah and Ras I-Dre.
Gather your closest friends and celebrate the new with positive vibes.

Princess Kazayah's aims to touch as many hearts as possible and point them to a better tomorrow. Through her music, she wishes to show the people a positive way to live and to look at life no matter what circumstance they are facing. Her music brings light, joy, and most of all peaceful vibrations. With the voice of an angel mesmerizing her audience with soothing sounds & harmonies, she causes automatic “feel good” vibrations and thought provoking meditations. Her music is one of a kind and is a blend of R&B, Gospel, Roots-Reggae, Lovers Rock & Dub.

Doors open at 9
Performance at 9:30pm
$10 suggested donation
Refreshments provided

Shanelle Mitchell "Princess Kazayah" was born & raised in the city of Evanston that borders Chicago. She was born to two Jamaican parents and grew up in the 7th Day Adventist Church from her youth. That has given Kazayah a deep spiritual essence in her music. She is used to singing at her church from a very young age. After connecting with local producer Ras Wadadah II, who exposed her to original roots-reggae, she found a deep love for the King's music. Her music is regarded as angelic when hearing her soft melodic voice and her uplifting lyrics in praise of the Most High.

Kazayah is busy working with D.O.V.E Muzik's band as well as working hard in D.OV.E Muzik studio on projects of her own as well as collaborations with various artists. In Summer of 2014 she released a mixtape entitled, "Troddin: The DubTape" with 12 songs on the project. She then went on to be featured on a new release by D.O.V.E. Muzik & Riddim Yut Productions called "Chimurenga." She has even indulged in the craft of producing her own music as well as others for her musical family.

After performing live for the first time in 2013 locally in Evanston she has went on to perform on stages all around the Chicagoland area as well as Jamaica, Belize, Mexico, California etc. In 2015 she performed alongside some of Reggae music's top up & coming artists such as Dre Island, Cali P, Micah Shemaiah, Mr. Williamz, Keida, Exile Di Brave, Suns of Dub, Pentateuch, The Uprising Roots Band, Kelissa McDonald and more. Recently in Chicago Kazayah has performed at the Wild Hare, "the reggae capital of the Midwest," alongside her D.O.V.E. Muzik family. Since the she has performed at various shows around Chicago, also opening up for Sizzla along side her D.O.V.E muzik family when he came to Chicago. Most recent Kazayah has teamed up with Warrior King for a single (remix)/ music video that was released on June 9th 2017 distributed by VPAL music.

The Finger is Also Pressed by the Stone Opening 12/1

Friday, December 1, 2017 - 7:00pm

The Finger is Also Pressed by the Stone
Soo Shin and Kate Hampel

Binaries are useful. They provide structure, they help us say firmly, “This is this and that is that.” They simplify a world that is chaotic, obscure, and largely unchartable. Paying attention to such clean, definitive lines allows us to put on socks and shoes in the morning, to live our orderly lives.

The cost of wearing shoes, though, is not knowing the feeling of the ground under one’s feet. The heavy cost of certainty is flatness. To be positioned too definitely in pragmatic order is to miss the richly indeterminate space where “this” and “that” become question marks, pulses, flows. This gray area, where multiple gravities compete, is a conceptual staging ground for Kate Hampel and Soo Shin.

In their work, both artists suggest body as the foreground where the dynamics of power, seeing/being seen, and knowing/not-knowing is constantly challenged. These works are at home in a day-to-day world of indeterminacy. They invite the viewer to move around them to look at and consider them, and to slowly walk into the borderless landscape that they engender. The finger is also pressed by the stone is a space of ambiguity where the rough, textured surface of the ground can be truly felt.


Kate Hampel examines the aesthetics of violence, from the individual to the institutional. Her current projects draw material from geopolitical power struggles, with all their attendant implications for the gendered or othered body, as well as from sensationalized narratives. Text works, sculpture and installations speak with multiple voices and implicate the viewer through their presence in the space.

Soo Shin (b.1981, based in Chicago) investigates the psychological experience of uncertainty and vulnerability in our search for certainty and translates these into bodily experiences. In her work, the idea of uncertainty has been emphasized as a potential space for new understanding and acuity. Her work provides physical space for the body and is presented as physical conditions for viewers. By suggesting work as a mixture of internal and physical experiences, she explores body as an abstract agency where objectivity and subjectivity is inseparable.

The viewer’s own physicality has a presence in the show, reflected in textures and activated by scale. These gestures are deliberate on both artists’ parts—for Hampel, as an examination and undermining of contemporary understandings of the gendered body, while for Shin the body serves as a locus for internalized struggle.

Alchemist Opening 12/1

Friday, December 1, 2017 - 7:00pm


Cole Pierce, Esau McGhee, Kelly Kaczynski 

Presenting three alchemical practices, each focusing on construction and speculative philosophy, working intuitively to transmute materials and language into the experiential equivalent of turning lead into gold. Coming from different contexts and conceptual bearings, these artists begin with base elements: simple geometry, primary colors, and raw materials.

Pierce implements a relief painting process by taping off geometric-based grids and applying several bold gradients of acrylic. The tape is removed to reveal rigid layers of accumulated paint that have formed triangle, square, and circular shaped patterning across the canvas. Although his use of geometry is informed by the Op Art movement of the late twentieth century, he dedicates his practice to confronting the expectations of the errorless, measured precedent set by Op Art. His subtle inconsistencies and evident brushstrokes violate this expected, calculated abstraction and lend itself toward a more unpredictable form. The interruptions circumvent the viewer’s perception and create a phenomenological experience by challenging the viewer’s ephemeral transition between comprehension and delusion.

Esau’s studio practice represents an archive. Years of accumulated and excavated material rest throughout the space similar to an anthropological study. This approach allows Esau’s work to move through materials and work across multiple mediums to invent new ways to give material form to language. Dealing with current concerns ranging from displacement to systemic violence on those deemed as other… There is a misnomer that through project “completion” some ideas are laid to rest, but over time these things are always present as material and remnants or actions are reassessed and reintroduced, catalyst are created between works from the past and present ideas.

Kelly Kaczynski is an artist working within the language of sculpture.


Cole Pierce received his MFA from Northwestern University and received his BSS in Art and Sociology from Cornell College. He has recently exhibited at THE MISSION, Roman Susan and Johalla Projects. He received a DCASE (Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events) grant in 2016 and was a SÍM (Association of Icelandic Visual Artists) resident in Reykjavík, Iceland. He recently completed a 60’x11’ mural in the Rogers Park neighborhood, funded by the 49th Ward. He lives and works in Chicago, IL.

After receiving an MFA from Northwestern University in 2013, Esau has gone on to be a HATCH resident at the Chicago Artists Coalition. He’s also turned out challenging exhibitions such as Economy of Movement at Harper College, Blackitolism at Sector 2337 and 80 Blocks From Tiffany’s at Elastic Arts. Esau has also exhibited in New York and Los Angeles.

Kaczynski received an MFA from Bard College, NY and BA from The Evergreen State College, WA. She has taught with Northwestern University, University of Chicago, University of Illinois, Chicago, University of Pennsylvania and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Kaczynski is currently a Lecturer with the School of the Art Institute, Chicago, IL.

This project is partially supported by an Individual Artists Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, as well as a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a state agency through federal funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Façades Artist Talk

Sunday, October 22, 2017 - 1:00pm

Walk-through of Façades with Ella Wearing and Frances Lightbound. 

Façades Opening Reception

Friday, October 20, 2017 - 7:00pm


An exhibition by Frances Lightbound and Ella Wearing

Ella Wearing and Frances Lightbound are UK-born artists who have been residing in the US for the past three years - Frances in Chicago, and Ella in New Jersey and New York. Centring upon a shared interest in notions of the façade - as it relates to appearance, perception and reality, as well as in the architectural sense - this exhibition shows recent sculptural, installation, and lens-based works by each artist, as well as works on paper. Having previously collaborated in 2014 on a three person show in London, in which they explored connections between their immediate urban environments of London and Glasgow respectively, the two artists come together to find new points of conversation amongst their approaches to urban space in their specific, but potentially disparate, locations. 

On recent trips back to London in 2017, Ella Wearing has been re-engaging with her home neighbourhood, which has featured as a point of research in previous work. She seeks to grapple with memories of home amidst ferocious urban change, and begins to look further back into the rich local history of her neighbourhood, and the monuments that have survived - namely a 151 foot Victorian clock tower that stands at the centre of it all. She uses google maps to create drawings and videos, which become virtual simulations of a memory, such as the walk to school. This once recurring route is mapped out onto its present architectural configuration of the area, since its past one is no longer accessible. By using devices of repetition and cyclical patterns in her work, as well as visual layering, merging, and fragmentation of architectural forms, Ella attempts to piece together some of the complex attitudes and associations we have towards our urban surroundings, and how these relate to other places we might have inhabited with varying degrees of intimacy; nostalgia, alienation, detachment, powerlessness, order, design, pathos, play - all become intertwining thoughts that drive her work. 

Frances Lightbound’s work examines objects, structures and materials that effect and enforce divisions of space with varying degrees of subtlety – barriers, fences, thresholds, window shades. Remaking, fragmenting and shifting the context of these familiar forms, she produces two- and three- dimensional work that employs degrees of abstraction to encourage multiple associations while retaining a critical subtext. Her work is driven by an interest in the spatial, social and linguistic roles of objects and structures: how elements of a built environment produce space in both the physical and psychological senses of the word, and how these objects materialize (and support the functioning of) more abstract systems such as law, capital and property ownership. Recent works combine domestic references with those drawn from urban space, introducing elements of uncertainty to delineations between personal and public spaces and considering the varying degrees of agency we may or may not have over our surroundings. 

Ella Wearing has exhibited in and curated various group exhibitions in the UK and the US, and was most recently included in an exhibition at Ille Arts in Amagansett, NY in April 2017, and an exhibition in London called Monopoles in October 2016. In 2014 she was a contributor for Central Saint Martins academic arts journal ‘Unknown Quantities’, before moving to the US to pursue her MFA at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, where she graduated in 2016. She obtained her BA (Hons) in Painting and Printmaking from The Glasgow School of Art in 2012.

Frances Lightbound is based between Chicago and Glasgow, Scotland. Her work has been exhibited in venues in the US and UK, including a solo exhibition at DEMO Project, Springfield, IL in 2017, and she has recently curated projects for Kruger Gallery (Chicago) and the Terrain Biennial at Enos Park (Springfield, IL). Frances has been awarded the Luminarts Visual Arts Fellowship, Field Notes Fellowship, EAGER Grant and the New Artists Society Award, and is a 2016–2017 HATCH Projects artist resident at Chicago Artists’ Coalition. She earned her MFA in Printmedia from School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2016, and a BA (Hons) in Painting and Printmaking from The Glasgow School of Art in 2012. 

Image, Provisional Construct I, by Frances Lightbound.

Not Knowing Artist Talk

Sunday, October 1, 2017 - 1:00pm

An artist embarks on her task without knowing what to do. There is some kind of energy that she is manifesting as she works, and it has a larger form. To know in advance as to what that form is, is to reduce it.

--George Saunders on Not Knowing

Panel discussion with Claire Ashley, Karen Azarnia, Robin Dluzen, Dan Devening, Andreas Fischer, Celeste Rapone, Melody Saraniti, Ann Toebbe, Noah Vaughn, and Gwendolyn Zabicki.

Not Knowing

Friday, September 1, 2017 - 7:00pm to 11:00pm

Not Knowing

Writing is a process of dealing with not knowing, a forcing of what and how. We have all heard novelists testify to the fact that, beginning a new book, they are utterly baffled as to how to proceed...At best there is a slender intuition, not much greater than an itch.
--Donald Barthelme, Not Knowing

An artist embarks on her task without knowing what to do. There is some kind of energy that she is manifesting as she works, and it has a larger form. To know in advance as to what that form is, is to reduce it.
--George Saunders on Not Knowing

When inspiration strikes, it feels as if it comes from outside oneself. The process of making art involves a kind of subtle foreknowledge, an awareness of the work before it exists, and communication with neurological processes deep within the wordless mind. In the search for answers, an artist finds more questions lingering in that uncomfortable place of not knowing. The result of that discomfort, according to Barthelme, is the possibility that the artist might show the viewer, “the as-yet-unspeakable, the as-yet unspoken.” 

Good art is hard. An artist can over-think and become paralyzed, but to Barthelme, “Problems are a comfort” because it is through problem solving, or making choices, that the artist moves from not knowing to finding a unique and defining style. Take for example, the story of one of Chicago’s great culinary achievements-- the Italian beef sandwich. Essentially, poor entrepreneurs on Maxwell St. figured out how to turn salt, cheap cuts of meat, and stale bread into an inexpensive, delicious meal. They were constrained by cost and by what ingredients were readily available. Similarly an artist responds to and creates constraints, imposing limitations or rules within the work. Paradoxically, it is within these constraints where freedom and innovation are found.

Being an artist is to live within a series of constraints and limitations. Today, an artist must make her way in the world within structures that are in the process of collapsing, dissolving, or becoming irrelevant. The rigid gender roles of the past, normative definitions of family and caretaking, are all being renegotiated. The particular methodologies parent artists (and female parent artists in particular) have to come up with in order to continue to work while parenting are not yet standardized or obvious. They must be hammered out individually. The artists in this exhibition make a different kind of work-- thoughtful and contemplative art made alongside working, teaching, and raising a family. Overlapping limitations and opportunities define their style. They embrace “not knowing” in the way they make their work, but also in the uncertainty and the freedom of living in this state. They are: Claire Ashley, Karen Azarnia, Clarissa Bonet, Robin Dluzen, Dan Devening, Andreas Fischer, Celeste Rapone, Melody Saraniti, Ann Toebbe, and Noah Vaughn.

Artist Bios and Websites

Claire Ashley was born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland and now lives and works in Chicago, Illinois. She teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the Department of Contemporary Practices, and Department of Painting and Drawing. She has an old husband, three children, two dogs, and a cat.
Her recent work investigates inflatables as painting, sculpture, installation and performance costume. She mines the language of painterly abstraction, monumental sculpture, slapstick humor, and pop art to transform mundane industrial materials into inflatable painted sculptures and performative props.

Karen Azarnia is a Chicago-based artist, educator, and curator. She received an MFA in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. Solo exhibitions include Terrain Exhibitions, Oak Park, IL; the Union League Club of Chicago, IL; The Riverside Arts Center, IL; with group exhibitions at the Chicago Artists Coalition, IL; Elder Gallery, Nebraska Wesleyan University, Lincoln, NE; and the Evanston Art Center, IL. She is a grant recipient from the Illinois Arts Council and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, and her work has been included in Hyperallergic, the Huffington Post and Newcity. She is a Lecturer in the Department of Painting and Drawing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Clarissa Bonet Lives and works in Chicago. Her current work explores aspects of the urban space in both a physical and psychological context. She received her M.F.A. in photography from Columbia College Chicago in 2012, and her B.S. in Photography from the University of Central Florida.
Bonet’s work has been exhibited nationally, internationally, and resides in the collections of JPMorgan Chase Art Collection, the University of Michigan Museum of Art, The Museum of Contemporary Photography’s MPP collection, the Southeast Museum of Photography, and the Haggerty Museum of Art. Her work has been featured on CNN Photos, The Wall Street Journal, The Eye of Photography, Photo District News, Juxtapoz Magaine, and many other notable online and print publications internationally. Bonet has received recognition and support for her work from the Individual Artists Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events and Albert P. Weisman Foundation. Recently, she was chosen as one of PDN’s 30 New and Emerging Photographers to Watch in 2015 and selected as a 2016 Flash Forward Emerging Photographer by the Magenta Foundation.

Dan Devening is an artist, curator and educator living in Chicago. He’s currently an Adjunct Professor of painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Since the mid-1980s, his paintings and works on paper have been featured nationally and internationally. In the United States, his work has been featured at Autumn Space, Roy Boyd Gallery, Chicago Cultural Center, Terra Museum of American Art, ebersmoore gallery, Threewalls and Julius Caesar in Chicago; Kinkead Contemporary in Los Angeles and Launch F18 and Printed Matter, Inc. in NY among many others. Recent projects include exhibitions in Germany at the Kunsterverein Recklinghausen, Museum Kurhaus in Kleve, galerie oqbo and Scotty Enterprises in Berlin, dok25a in Dusseldorf and Renate Schroeder Gallery in Cologne. Other international group exhibitions include shows at Art Metropole in Toronto; De Appel in Amsterdam; Secession in Vienna and Galerie des Multiples in Paris.

Robin Dluzen earned her BFA from Adrian College and an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2010. Her work has shown at The Hyde Park Art Center, Burt Green Fine Art, Harper College, and the Chicago Artists Coalition. She has written for Art F City, the New American Paintings blog, New City, and the Reader. She is currently the Exhibitions and Operations Manager at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art.

Andreas Fischer is a Chicago-based painter and Assistant Professor of Painting and Drawing at Illinois State University (Normal, IL). Over the past ten years, his work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in New York and Chicago, including a 12 x 12 solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. He received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, an MFA and MA in Art History from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and studied at the Universität der Künste Berlin. He was awarded an Artadia artist grant in 2004. His most recent solo show was The Ghost in Your Shoe at Andrew Rafacz Gallery in 2015.

Celeste Rapone Celeste Rapone was born in 1985 and raised in New Jersey. She received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2007 and her MFA in 2013 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has been in group and solo shows at Zolla Lieberman Gallery in Chicago, Expo Chicago, The Hyde Park Art Center, Roots and Culture (forthcoming), and the Union League Club of Chicago. Her work was featured in the 2013 New American Paintings Catalogue. She currently teaches painting and drawing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Melody Saraniti grew up in Ohio and has a BFA in painting from Kent State University. She received an MFA in 2009 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has exhibited her work in Illinois at the Union League Club of Chicago, Thomas Masters Gallery, Riverside Arts Center, Hyde Park Art Center and Comfort Station. She has received six grants from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and has been the artist in residence at SIM in Iceland, Jentel in Wyoming, Oxbow in Saugatuck, Michigan and Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont. Her work has been reviewed in Art LTD. Magazine and on the Bad at Sports website. In 2014 she began a curatorial project called Trigger where she invites one artist to select and write about another artist who has informed or challenged their practice. She curates their work together to create a heightened dialogue about the influential relationships that shape artistic practice. The first iteration of this project took place at Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago.

Ann Toebbe was born in 1974 in Cincinnati, OH. She earned her MFA from Yale University in 1997 and her BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1995. In Chicago, she has shown at Threewalls, EBERSMOORE, The Suburban, and The Hyde Park Art Center. In New York she has shown at Monya Rowe Gallery and Joshua Liner. In 2015 her solo show was reviewed by Roberta Smith for the New York Times. She currently lives and works in Chicago, IL.

Noah Vaughn earned his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1993. He has exhibited throughout Chicagoland and has been interviewed for Chicago Magazine, Belt Magazine, BLDGBLOG and North by Northwestern. He mostly keeps to himself.

Curated by Gwendolyn Zabicki 

Artist talk
October 1