September 11 - October 18, 2015
Opening Reception: 7-11pm, Friday September 11th.
"The sky above the port was the color of television tuned to a dead station."
-William Gibson, first line of Neuromancer
We never see the natural world exactly as it is; we see it as we hope it will be or fear it might be. Chrome Green features contemporary artists who engage with nature and explores how different minds experience and relate to their natural environment in an era of technological wonders and ecological anxiety.
Chrome Green is curated by James Kao and Laura Mackin and features the following artists:
ANDREW CHUANI-HO’s color pencil drawings depict everyday scenes populated with anthropomorphized animals. A blue dog dressed in a No. 33 Knicks jersey, a disguised depiction of the artist, plays protagonist. Chuani-Ho uses this dog as self-portrait to portray human identity through a symbolic and animalistic lens.
SHAWN DECKER's electro-acoustic audio installation recreates naturalistic sounds with electronic equipment. Speakers and metal rods vibrate with sounds that make visual a familiar, natural environment and immerse his audience in an illusion of peaceful nature—one that is both observed and felt.
PAMELA FELDMAN produces natural dyes from plants and fixes the otherwise ephemeral, natural colorants to woolen yarn. Feldman weaves her colors together on a loom in her studio that overlooks her garden of dye plants. “For me,” Feldman says, “the art of making color and the process of weaving with those colors represent a record of my existence.”
HOWARD FONDA's paintings explore the experience of nature with emotional intensity. In Fonda’s abstract paintings, clump-like arrangements of color suggest forest landscapes that hover at the edge of formlessness.
In JO HORMUTH’s multi-panel color installations, each monochrome photograph represents a small section of a plant, distilling the natural color. Light refracting through face-mounted acrylic produces a gem-like glow.
ISABELLA KENDRICK appropriates images of cows from cattle catalogs, where the vernacular photography captures each animal with precise uniformity. Kendrick composes groupings of these images in systematic sequences that suggest a framework of meaning and sense-making that liberates the cows from their context as commodity.
LILLY MCELROY’s photographs and videos investigate our instinct to control. With a sense of playfulness, McElroy enacts fantasies of control over natural phenomenon. In Pushing Down a Sapling, a dual video, McElroy violently hurls herself at a tree until she and her inert opponent are both visibly damaged.
DAVID ROBBINS produces videos that, unlike most television, put visuals ahead of story. In The County Line (2011/2015), Robbins animates musing conversations from a camping trip, in a video that blends recorded footage with images and text. Another series of videos appropriates the format of public service announcements to alert us to aspects of our constructed reality. These short and punchy videos question cultural precepts about the imagination, the garden, the avant garde, and the suburbs.
Questions about the nature of knowledge and observation form a continuous undercurrent in NATHANIEL ROBINSON’s work. Repose (2015), a cast resin sculpture resembling an architectural model, depicts a simple building beside two piles of a granular substance, similar to dirt. The title alludes to the angle of repose theory, a method for calculating the shape a pile of granular material will assume depending on its density, surface area, and friction. The pile’s form is dictated by its nature.
CLAIRE SHERMAN makes large-scale landscape paintings of unoccupied nature that express its sublime and fearsome beauty. Sherman’s Dirt paintings suggest claustrophobic views of a tumultuous natural world. The paintings’ weighty materiality and poverty of color evoke a sense of brooding dread.
Document and Heaven Gallery are pleased to present Works on Floor, a group exhibition by artists Laura Letinsky, Nazafarin Lotfi and Suara Welitoff. The artworks in Works on Floor focus on themes of time, death, and the body, and its influence on sculptural and video based works. The term “Lay to rest” evokes a stoppage of that unknown time, a burying of an object, a thing eventually brought to a close.
The works in the exhibition consist of handmade white porcelain urns (Letinksy), neutral paper-mache forms (Lofti) and looping black and white appropriated clips of vintage films (Welitoff). The absence of color in the exhibition heightens the sparse installation and lends itself to a fading or fleeting image that occurs over a duration. The title of the exhibition plays on the term “Works on Paper” usually referring to drawings, watercolors, prints, posters, or photographs which are generally seen as less significant works in relation to painting and sculpture.
In metaphorically removing the wall and placing works on the gallery floor, can ceramic, paper, and film hold a relationship that normally is seen as very separate?
The exhibition consists of six parallel 4’x8’ white wood panels laid directly on the floor of the gallery acting as blank frames for the works to lay and create minimal dioramas.
The floor panels are split into two groups of three, half in the east gallery and half in the west gallery and run perpendicular to the diagonal wall that separates the two spaces. Taking works that are normally hung on a wall or propped up on a waist high pedestal and laying them to rest on the floor allows the wall works and pedestal works to lay, lean, and interact in a way that normally would be separated by the gallery space itself.
Laura Letinsky (Canadian, b. 1962) received her BFA from the University of Manitoba, 1986, and her MFA from Yale University School of Art, 1991. Previous shows include the Getty Museum, Los Angeles; The Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography; Ill Form and Void Full, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; The Photographers Gallery, London; Laura Letinsky: Still Life, Denver Art Museum, CO; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and The Renaissance Society, Chicago. Collections include the Art Institute of Chicago; Hermes Collection, Paris, France; The Microsoft Art Collection, Seattle, WA; The AMon Carter Museum; The John Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; The Musee de Beaux-Arts, Montreal, QUE; The Museum of Fine Art, Houston, TX; and The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Letinsky is a Professor at the University of Chicago, Department of Visual Arts.
Nazafarin Lotfi (Iranian, b. 1984) received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2011 and her BA from the University of Tehran in 2007. Lotfi’s work has been included in exhibitions nationally and internationally, including Italy, South Korea, Hungary, Germany, and Iran. Recent exhibitions include Poiesis at Fenrwey Gallery, Chicago, IL; White Light at Andrew Rafacz Gallery, Chicago, IL; Pattern Recognition at Ana Cristea Gallery, New York City, NY; and Not Safe for Work at DUVE Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
Suara Welitoff (b. 1951, Jersey City, NY) lives and works in Cambridge, MA. Welitoff has shown work nationally at Barbara Krakow Gallery, Boston, Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, Tony Wight Gallery, Chicago, the De Cordova Sculpture Park and Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. She has shown in group shows around the world in Milan, Frankfurt, Berlin, Los Angeles, and New York. She is a recipient of the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award, the Rappaport Prize, the Maud Morgan Prize and is in the Collection of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Worcester Art Museum and Deutsche Bank New York.
View with a Room
Opening Reception Fri. March 20th 7-11pm
March 20th ~May 3rd
Heaven Gallery proudly presents, new paintings by Mika Horibuchi and Dan Rizzo-Orr in View with a Room.
Horibuchi and Rizzo-Orr are painters who understand painting’s ability to deliver a picture; they know too that the window of space a painting depicts is but an ephemeral illusion. Rather than despair at painting’s difficult ontology, these two artists revel in the space between painterly picture and contemporary art object.
Rizzo-Orr simultaneously seduces with both articulated figures and gestural marks while Horibuchi glides between geometric abstraction and trompe l’oeil painting. Each work in View with a Room showcases this painterly range. The singularity of their practices dissolves into a shared interest in the abstract illusions. Working together in a single studio, their seemingly disparate images reveal the unexpected possibilities that may shift across a painting’s surface. This is their View with a Room.
Both Mika Horibuchi and Dan Rizzo-Orr are Chicago-based artists and hold BFA degrees from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Horibuchi was born in 1991 in San Francisco, CA and Rizzo-Orr was born in 1989 in Phoenix, AZ
“The body is our general medium for having a world.” - Maurice Merleau-Ponty
How do we move forward in the world where there is no definite answer or direction ahead? Often we have to reason and grasp at reality through the debris of our own darkness in which we cannot see our path. The exhibition The Height Below presents Chicago-based artists Liz McCarthy and Soo Shin’s recent works that explore the fear of uncertainty, and the struggle in having faith in something we cannot prove. This collection works reference body and ritual as mediums in search for small epiphanies in the unknown path ahead of them.
Liz McCarthy is an artist and arts organizer based out of Chicago. Her work combines photography, sculpture, and performance to explore our psychological framing of experience. She regularly shows work throughout the Midwest, most recently at the Comfort Station in Chicago. She has participated in residencies such as Atlantic Center for the Arts, ACRE, and High Concept Laboratories, and has been honored with fellowship support from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, Illinois Arts Council, and Chicago’s Department of Tourism.
Soo Shin was born in Seoul, Korea and currently lives and works in Chicago. She holds an MFA from the School of Art Institute of Chicago. She is interested in the uncertainty in having faith in the unknown and turns the psychological struggle into physical experience through the latency of body in her sculpture, painting, and drawing. Her work has been shown in various locations in the states as well as abroad.
Artist featured include:
Benjamin Zellmer Bellas
Jinn Bronwen Lee
Mindy Rose Schwartz
Curated by: Paul Hopkin
Chicago redesigned itself after the Great Fire. That was just the first rebirth of its cultural scene. More recently, there was the grand fire that devastated the River North gallery district in 1989 that gave rise to dirtier, scrappier, more independent artist venues. Other fires, other afters. After always tries to be better.
Sometimes we get impatient. We want better sooner. We want to redo the f****d up parts so the sewage doesn’t back up into our bathrooms. To fix that deeply, we have to clear away.
The fires of our history were terrible accidents that devastated who and what was there. It's an entirely different beast that sets the blaze in defiance. Does the end justify the means? We hardly think so. No guarantee that our end will approximate our better intention, just as likely paving the undesired path.
New work by:
In the land of thieves and ghosts
Historically, the proto-science of alchemy signified an effort to sublimate base metals into gold, distill life-extending elixirs, and divine universal solvents out of common, household items. Alchemy is a “sciencey” practice that deals in paradox, wonder, and the transmutation of the mundane into the miraculous. Similarly, artists are in the business of creating works that transcend their material origins, pose nebulous questions, and embrace the improbable.
The alchemists of the old world shrouded their work in mystery and mysticism. Alchemical texts, like some artworks, are notoriously inscrutable, often written in a language of symbols only decipherable to their authors. Alchemical artists are not explicitly invested in the practice of being obscure or secretive, but they do encourage speculation concerning the overall meaning of a particular work. Alchemical artists conjure more than they create, summoning unfamiliar apparitions from familiar materials.
Not unlike the specters in one of Etienne Gaspard Robertson’s 19th century phantasmagoria, F.W. Murnau conjured demons and magic for the screen in his 1922 film, Nosferatu. (The phrase, “In the land of thieves and ghosts,” is taken from a title card in the film and refers to the homeland of Nosferatu’s vampiric antagonist, Count Orlok). The flickering of light and shadow in Murnau’s film transports viewers from the black cube of the cinema to a land that is both wondrous and alien. IN THE LAND OF THIEVES AND GHOSTS has similar goals in mind.
Like Murnau, artists Buki Bodunrin, Bea Fremderman, Christopher Ottinger, and Matthew Schlagbaum create works that are at once familiar and strange and that elicit something ethereal from the materials they use in their artistic concoctions. Fremderman and Schlagbaum, for example, frequently make use of construction materials and kitsch artifacts, creating ghostly forms out of readymade objects and images. Bodunrin and Ottinger, conversely, deal more with the interplay of light and shadow, optics and illusion. The spirits they summon function as non-corporeal foils to Fremderman and Schlagbaum’s concretized ghosts.
A contemporary notion of alchemy—mandala-wielding metaphysicians and mystics aside—signifies an impulse towards experimentation and discovery unencumbered by the restrictions of institutionalized thinking. Likewise, the images and objects here are not designed to satisfy a particular hypothesis or prove a theory. Rather, these works represent the unexpected results that can emerge from free-form experimentation and play. Though varied in form, the mark of the alchemist is present throughout the exhibition, lurking in the shadows like the iconic and haunting silhouette of Count Orlok himself.
work by Robert Burnier, Aron Gent, Heather Mekkelson, Robert Chase Heishman and Jessica Taylor Caponigro
An excursion longer than the journey. A mudslide over a mountain pass. A road sign blown over by the wind. Something taken, put back, and taken again. A badly worn fragment of carpet. An archipelago.
Aron Gent is an artist, photography printer and art organizer residing in Chicago, IL. He received a degree in photography from Columbia College Chicago. Gent is a co-founder of MDW Fair, Director/Founder of printing/exhibition space DOCUMENT and Board member for the ACRE Residency. His photographic work is built around project-oriented investigations including images of family, familial settings, self, and intimates that are both poignantly quotidian and quietly surreal. Gent’s work is in the collection of the Milwaukee Art Museum and has been exhibited at the Hyde Park Art Center, Houston Center for Photography, Chicago Cultural Center and the Kohler Arts Center. His curatorial experience includes Transparent Reflect (2009), an exhibition of nine artists exploring portraiture and self-portraiture, and Hic et Nunc (2008), a survey of new guard photography. He currently teaches photography at the School of the Art Institute and Columbia College Chicago.
Heather Mekkelson lives and works in Chicago. Solo and two-person exhibitions include Now
Slices at 65GRAND, Invisible Apocalypse at Roots & Culture; Heather Mekkelson at +medicine
cabinet; Limited Entry at Old Gold; Debris Field at threewalls; and Out Land at STANDARD (all
Chicago, IL.) Her work has also been in group shows at The Museum of Contemporary
Photography (Chicago, IL), The Figge Art Museum (Davenport, IA), The Poor Farm (Manawa,
WI), Raid Projects (Los Angeles, CA), and Vox Populi (Philadelphia, PA). Mekkelson's work has
been written about in Art Journal, Broadsheet, Time Out Chicago, New City, Chicago Tribune,
Artforum.com and others. In 2012 she became an Artadia Award Chicago awardee.
Robert Burnier is an artist and writer who lives and works in Chicago. He is an MFA candidate in Painting and Drawing at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania. He is currently represented by Andrew Rafacz Gallery, Chicago, and has shown his work in numerous exhibitions in Chicago, New York, Miami and Los Angeles. He writes for Bad at Sports and Chicago Artist Writers, and has lectured at several Chicago area universities.
Born in 1984, Robert Chase Heishman completed his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute in 2008 and his MFA from Northwestern University in 2012. Utilizing photography, sculpture, and video, his artwork explores self-referentiality, conditions of framing, flatness, and the peripheral. He has collaborated with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company as a Décor Artist on the work, Split-Sides, provided artwork for Icelandic band Sigur Rós’ album BA BA TI KI DI DO, in addition to exhibiting both nationally and internationally. Heishman's work is held in the collections of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Walker Art Center. He currently lives and works in Chicago, Illinois.
Before receiving her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Jessica Taylor Caponigro attended Bryn Mawr College where she earned her BA in the History of Art. She has taught classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Olive Harvey College and currently teaches at Harold Washington College. Caponigro is also the director of Andrew Rafacz Gallery. In addition to solo and group shows in Chicago, her work has been exhibited in Long Beach, Philadelphia, and Rome. Her work is in the permanent collections at California State Long Beach and the Joan Flasch Artists’ Books Collection. More of her work can be seen at www.jtaylorcaponigro.com.
Heaven Gallery and DOCUMENT are pleased to present, Layered and Exposed, a group exhibition with artist’s Elizabeth Atterbury, Scott Cowan, Owen Kydd, Phillip Maisel and Erin Jane Nelson.
Layered and Exposed is a group exhibition exploring collage in contemporary video and photographic practices. The artists in the exhibition vary from studio-based constructions, digitally made collages and visual assemblages made using the camera.
A collage is a work of art composed of numerous materials, such as paper, newsprint, photographs, ribbons or other objects attached to background support, such as plain paper. A collage can even be made with physical materials or electronic images, attaching them to a digital background. Originating from the French word "coller", meaning "to glue", the collage allows you to experiment with a wide range of materials to achieve amazing end results. This article provides a sample of the many possibilities limited only by your creativity and imagination.
1- Choose a style of collage. By definition, a collage should be made up of several different pieces. Those pieces can be made of all sorts of items, such as paper, yarn, fabric, stamps, magazine cut-outs, plastic, raffia, foil, labels, lids, matchsticks, corks, natural items (bark, leaves, seeds, eggshells, seashells, twigs, etc.), buttons, and so forth. You can either choose one medium such as paper or fabric, or you can make an eclectic mix, such as paper, buttons and foil
2- Choose a suitable backing. While a paper or cardboard backing is the usual choice, the backing can be anything you consider will work well. For example, a backing could be blotting paper, card stock, fabric such as a piece of hessian (burlap), newspaper, old book covers, wood, smooth bark, plastic, etc. If the surface is usable and items can be stuck to it, you can probably use it for making a collage.
3- Hoard the materials for future collages. As you become more proficient at and enthused about making collages, you'll probably start seeing opportunities in all sorts of materials. Be sure to keep a special collage materials box for collecting the pieces in.
Elizabeth Atterbury received her MFA from MassArt in 2011. She has shown her work recently at Bodega (Philadelphia), Tyler School of Art (Philadelphia), The Center for Maine Contemporary Art, and the Chelsea Art Museum (New York, in conjunction with The Collectors Guide, Vol. 2, Humble Arts Foundation). She lives and works in Portland, Maine and is currently a Visiting Lecturer in Art at Bowdoin College.
Scott Cowan lives in LA and is pursuing a masters degree in theology and philosophy. Scott was born in 1986 in Kansas City (he grew up on the Kansas side). His interests include political theology, cultural criticism, philosophy of mind, and investigating the social structures of language. Previously Cowan completed a BA in photography.
Owen Kydd lives and works in Los Angeles. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver and a Masters degree from UCLA. His works have been exhibited in soloexhibitions at the Vancouver Art Gallery and Nicelle Beauchene Galleryin New York, and in group exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Galleryin Vancouver, the Surrey Art Gallery, and the Daegu Biennial in SouthKorea.
Phillip Maisel was born and raised in Chicago. He graduated from McGill University in Montreal with a B.S. in Psychology and from California College of the Arts in San Francisco with an MFA in Visual Arts. He is the only two-time recipient of the Yefim Cherkis Scholarship for Photographic Excellence. His work has been shown in galleries both nationally and internationally and is included in multiple collections. Phillip resides in San Francisco, and he teaches photography at California College of the Arts and The Nueva School.
Erin Jane Nelson is an artist and writer based in Oakland, California. She studied at The Cooper Union School of Art, Malmö Art Academy (Sweden), and Oxbow School (Michigan). Recent Projects include Kantan An Libe Tavleau at Forever & Always (Chicago), Love's Labor's 1 at Important Projects (Oakland), Broon published by Gottlund Verlag (Los Angeles), and www.stilllifelive.com.
Center of the Circle: Sarah Belknap & Joseph Belknap +
Everything You Need Is Already Here: Stacia Yeapanis
Opening Reception: January 17, from 7-11pm
Exhibition Dates: January 17- February 16, 2014
An exhibition of work by Sarah Belknap and Joseph Belknap explores a shared experience with the cosmos, as described by the artists themselves:
“All of us grow up with the sense that there is some personal relationship between us, ourselves, and the universe.”
The first meteorite we physically encountered was at the Hayden Planetarium. It was the Willamette meteorite- steeped in history, controversy and legend. We hugged it and it felt like magic and our hearts were won over and we started making work that looked at the cosmos. In this new body of video, photography and sculpture we try to recreate that magic- we are looking at the moon, meteorites, comets, the myths and romance they produce, and our love of the wild
A solo exhibition by Stacia Yeapanis exploring repetition, desire and impermanence.
Everything You Need Is Already Here (2014) explores the spiritual predicament of desire, the presence of impermanence in everyday life and the possibility of responding to it with wonder and play, as opposed to anxiety. This solo exhibition brings together works from Specimens (2013), a series of pinned, shadowbox collages made of advertising images collected from glossy magazines, with an improvisational sculptural installation assembled on the floor of Heaven Gallery.
Stacia Yeapanis highlights the nature of impermanence in an installation that only lasts the length of the exhibition. One Day to Install (Heaven Gallery, Chicago) (2014) is inspired by the sites and relics of the human pursuit of a spiritual life—shrines and altars, mandalas, rock gardens and cairns, stupas, rosary beads, icons. The thousands of individual components, which will be reconfigured in future installations, are byproducts of the artist’s private meditation practice. The repeated gesture of coiling, winding, rolling easily-accessible materials, which results in an accumulation of empty centers, becomes an embodied metaphor for presence. Yeapanis selects both manufactured goods and collected detritus of her life as an artist, a consumer, a cultural participant and a waitress, because these materials represent an acceptance and engagement with what is, rather than a striving towards what should/could be.
Wild Dream: Re-imagining the Ballet Russes
Renovar Spring 2014
"We are witnesses of the greatest moment of summing up in history, in the name of a new and unknown culture, which will be created by us, and which will also sweep us away"
The Ballet Russes was the impresario Serge Diaghilev's wildest dream. He created an art enterprise that manufactured excitement and celebrated modernism. His theatrical spectacles combined traditional narrative with emerging art, enabling him to promote his taste and making him reputable to his collaborators. He was neither a composer or artist, yet he managed to assert an unprecedented influence on art in the early 20th century.
Serge Diaghilev started his career as an art exhibitor, curating a show of 4000 works in St. Petersburg. He later was part of a collective that created the art journal Mir Iskusstva (World of Art) and held art lectures and discussions. Later he applied his curatorial eye to the ballet, in association with the migration of artists and nobility that fled Russia from the Bolshevik revolution, Diaghilev exported Russian culture and artists to Paris. In 1909 his Ballet Russes was a instant sensation, beginning his legendary collaborations with artists, composers, choreographers and fashion designers. Among his collaborators were Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Henri Matisse, Joan Miro, Leon Bakst, Sonia Delaunay, Jean Cocteau, Coco Chanel, Vaslav Nijinsky and Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. The Ballet Russes unification of all mediums made it much more than the ballet, with Picasso's cubism applied to set design and Chanel's simplicity to costume, it gained international fame. With glory also came controversy. Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring", inspired by Pagan rituals to spring, met with outrage for it's primitive dance and jolting score that ignited the infamous riot in 1912.
Over a hundred years later the cultural phenomenon of the Ballet Russes continues to intrigue with exhibitions popping up all over the world. Recent exhibitions included, When Art danced with Music at the National Museum in Washington D.C 2013, Elegance in Exile:Between Fashion and Costume, the Diaghilev Era at the Palazzo Moceniza Museum in Venice 2011, Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballet Russes 1909-1929 at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London 2010, and Ballet Russes Art of Costume at The National Gallery in Australia 2010, all showcasing the elaborate costumes and visuals from the rich history of The Ballet Russes.
Wild Dream, Renovar's Spring 2014 collection gives in to the daydream of becoming a modern ballerina, inspired by the explosive and kinetic costumes of The Ballet Russes. While maintaining a contemporary context, Renovar pairs sumptuous blasts of color with whimsical styles to recreate spectacle. The costumes are both thrilling and shocking with bold geometry and dripping pearl