Sunday, March 24, 2013

Patti Bartelstein ~ The Project Room

Light ...from Patti Bartelstein 

This past Tuesday evening, I attended to a wonderful charity event at The Project Room located in Chicago’s River North Gallery district. A relatively new space to the district, owner and fine art photographer Patti Bartelstein, has created an environment meant to “inspire action and ignite change to positively impact our world”. Tuesday’s event seemed to do just that.

The event consisted of cocktails, an intimate dinner for thirty, and a book signing. The Dinner and Dialogue reception was for author Steve Pemberton; Chief Diversity officer of Walgreens Inc, a child advocate, motivational speaker, and author of the critically acclaimed book, "A Chance In The World". All proceeds from the event would benefit UCAN… an organization with a mission to heal, educate and empower the trauma-inflicted youth of our communities.

As we sat down to dinner, Pemberton spoke—revealing segments of the story of his life. His basic message was that… Youth who have suffered trauma can become our future leaders. He—in fact—is proof of the possibility.

But the evening was not just about Pemberton’s book and the UCAN organization… the event also offered a peek into Bartelstein’s gallery. A group exhibition titled “Out of Darkness Comes Light” was displayed, creating a wonderful dinning atmosphere. The group exhibition consists of seven international artists who present work that “sheds light on our strong will to not only survive but to rise above adversity and to CREATE in ways that inspire action to positively impact our world.” The artist included in the exhibition are: Jill King, Allison Svoboda, Paul den Hollander, Justin Maxon, Jose Romussi, Marco Nereo Rotelli and Bartelstein herself.

Patti Bartelstein, an accomplished photographer in her own right, creates amazing dreamlike imagery of figures, in white flowing garments, presented in fields of moving gardens. The extended exposure of the subject creates the surreal environment. The artist backlights the image to add to the entrancing effect. In defining the content of her work, Bartelstein explains:
I work from the inside out, using internal narrative as the foundation in which to produce my canvas that reinterprets space, light and form found in the external. How I connect with the external world and then my interpretation of it is the driving factor behind my entire body of work. From all of this, my life’s work became clear, a dedication to what I have titled, “The Study of Connectivity”, an ongoing and constantly evolving portfolio of work.
If you’re in the River North area, check out “Out of Darkness Comes Light” at The Project Room. The Project Room is located at 217 West Huron, in Chicago’s River North Gallery District. Gallery Hours: Wednesday through Saturday 11 am to 6 pm or by appointment.

The Project Room supports emerging and mid-career artists in all media whose work embodies well-executed conceptual depth.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Paula Kloczkowski Luberda and Michael Van Zeyl ~ Gallery 180

Tomorrow night from 5:30 - 7:30, Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago will host the opening reception for the work of Paula Kloczkowski Luberda and Michael Van Zeyl. The exhibition presents Kloczkowski Luberda's abstract stoneware vessels with the classic figure and still life paintings of Van Zeyl.

The Opening Reception will take place on Friday, March 15 from 5:30-7:30 pm... with all work available for purchase. Gallery 180 is located at 180 N. Wabash—at the corner of Lake and Wabash—in Chicago’s Loop. Validated parking is available at the Self Park on the corner of Wabash and Randolph for $14. Enter 1/2 block south of the gallery on Wabash. Ask for a validation ticket when entering the gallery.

The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 8am-8pm, Friday 8am-5:30pm and Saturday 9am-5pm. Additional information can be found at

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Richard Laurent at ZIA Gallery opens Saturday 4-7:30

Richard Laurent, Dogs of War 22" x 28" oil on linen, 2011 

Opening on Saturday, March 9th, ZIA Gallery will host a reception for contemporary master, Richard Laurent. Created with metaphorical imagery, Laurent’s technically superb paintings are cleverly composed to fill each canvas with representational clues for the viewer to explore, consider and resolve. From a statement from his web site, Laurent explains…
"The metaphorical animal continues to intrigue me as subject. As a result of this exploration into metaphorical forms, I have come to understand the natural world from a different perspective and, hopefully, with more clarity. There is always some narrative content that my non-human subjects bring to the work."
 The paintings of Richard Laurent will be presented through April 13th. ZIA Gallery is located at 548 Chestnut Street in Winnetka... 2 short blocks from the Winnetka Metra Station. Additional work by Laurent can be seen at:

Richard Laurent grew up in the West, in Denver, Colorado. He came to Chicago to study printmaking with Misch Cohn at the Institute of Design/IIT and began his career as a designer. After distinguished careers as art director of animated films and magazines as well as editorial illustrator and cartoonist, Richard had a realization that his future lay in the fine arts. Intense self-study followed, eventually leading him to some of the major art museums in the world.  

From this crucible he developed his painting practice. Paintings from the period were described in reviews as "painterly, informed by master work, and metaphorical in content." In 2003, he joined the Fine Arts Building Gallery as a resident artist and began painting out of his studio 922.

Richard has exhibited at the International Museum of Contemporary Masters of Fine Art and has shown his paintings at Oil Painters of America national exhibitions since 2004. In 2006, he was awarded the Dick Blick Prize by OPA.  He mounted a solo show at the Fine Arts Building Gallery in Chicago under the title, "Heavy Petting– The Painted Animal” in 2004. That same year at the National "Animal in Art" Exhibition, juror Ed Paschke awarded his painting “Best of Show in Oil Media.” In 2006, he mounted another solo exhibition at FAB Gallery entitled "Beauty & Beast."  In May 2006 in a visual essay exploring definitions of classical beauty, reviewed the exhibition.  In 2008, his painting "Swimming" was purchased by the Illinois Institute of Art for its permanent collection.  Recently, he was commissioned to paint a large, two-panel painting for Wachovia’s corporate office.  In addition he was commissioned for two large oil paintings for the Schaumburg Convention Center. He has also been a participant at two Chicago and Vicinity exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago. 

Richard's drawings and paintings are included in two monographs: Contemporary American Drawing and Contemporary American Painting, published by Jilin Fine Art, He was also included in an article on Oil Painters of America in American Art Collector (May, 2009). Richard's oil paintings have also been shown in various juried and invitational gallery shows around the country, including NYC and Scottsdale, AZ. When he isn't painting in the studio, Richard teaches in the Art + Design Department at Columbia College.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Michael Van Zeyl ~ Previews Monday at Gallery 180

The Reception, 2013, oil on linen, 30 x 24

"The Reception" is just one of the classic figurative paintings, to be presented in the Michael Van Zeyl / Paula Kloczkowski Luberda exhibition which will open this Monday at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago.

With an obvious love for the human form and numerous portrait commissions to his credit, Michael Van Zeyl's figure paintings are known to capture the subtle nuances of his subject's character. The real beauty of Van Zeyl's work is his depiction of the experience of the subject. He explores how light falls on the planes of the face or hands—the reflection of color from one surface to another. His passion—clearly the creation of realism—is found defining the beauty of a woman or the relationships of elements in a still life. His use of light molds a dimensional portrayal onto the two-dimensional panel or linen surface—defining his subject with passion and with the sense of a moment in time.

The Reception - Detail, 2013, oil on linen

The work of Michael Van Zeyl and Paula Kloczkowski Luberda will be presented at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago through May 2, 2013. Previews begin on Monday, March 4th. An Opening Reception will take place on Friday, March 15 from 5:30-7:30 pm. All works are available for purchase. Gallery 180 is located at 180 N. Wabash—at the corner of Lake and Wabash—in Chicago’s Loop. The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 8am-8pm, Friday 8am-5:30pm and Saturday 9am-5pm. Additional information can be found at

Michael Van Zeyl is a graduate of the American Academy of Art in Chicago. While running his own graphic design studio, Michael took evening and weekend classes here at the Palette and Chisel and in New York at the Art Students League to advance his training as an artist. Michael is now a full-time professional portrait and gallery artist and has been exhibiting work in various shows and galleries across Illinois & the nation. He has received multiple commissions, honors, and recognition from: Portrait Society of America, Portrait Society of Atlanta and American Artist Magazine.