Friday, September 19, 2014

Jordan Scott ~ Structures from Silence at the Judy A Saslow Gallery

Jordan Scott, Royals 2, 2013, UK postage stamps and resin on canvas, 36 x 36"

If you’re in town for "Expo Chicago", and you need to experience just a little more fine art, find your way over to the Judy A Saslow Gallery at 300 West Superior in the River North Gallery District to see the Jordan Scott exhibition.

Jordan Scott has a fascination with "the sum of the parts". As a child, he accompanied his mother on a “press check”. A press check is the review, and color approval for commercially printed work. At that time, Scott was introduced to a tool called a printer’s loupe which is a kind of magnifying glass that allows the printer to see the detailed series of dots that make up an image. Viewing an image from a distance, the eye mixes the smaller parts, blurring the dots and blending color to create what the viewer sees.

That childhood experience became a metaphor for Jordan Scott’s work. It began the exploration of the parts to understand the whole… perhaps a global view… or perhaps the interconnectedness of the universe. From Scott’s artist statement:
The postage stamp collages [are] each composed of hundreds or thousands of similar elements, … [creating] an interconnected and interdependent whole much greater than the sum of its parts.
With a love for using materials out of context, Scott produces mesmerizing canvases with the repetition of postage stamps. The intricate surfaces of these canvases present beautifully repetitive patterns from a distance, with a subtle surprise as the viewer approaches.

The Jordan Scott exhibition continues through October 31st. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday 11-6 and Saturday 11-5. The Judy A Saslow Gallery is located at 300 West Superior in the River North Gallery District, Chicago, Illinois. Additional information can be found at: 

Jordan Scott, Beyond Worlds, 2014, USA postage stamps and resin on canvas, 30 X 30"

The Judy A Saslow Gallery: Originally a gallery exclusively showing art created by extraordinary European self-taught and outsider artists, the Judy A Saslow Gallery has for the past several years been incorporating contemporary art by established and emerging artists. In addition to outsider art, the gallery has a stunning array of tribal, ethnographic artifacts and jewelry collected from all parts of the globe. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fonzo ~ Alphabet Soup / part 2

 Sebastian "Fonzo" Napoli, "All Spaced Out: Moonbats & Spacecrafts Two", Ink - Detail 

This past Friday, I was invited to the opening reception of “Alphabet Soup part 2” …Letterform and design as seen through the eyes of the street artists. The invitation came from a colleague who makes his living as a commercial designer but has a history as “Fonzo”, a graffiti writer. Some of his current drawings were included in the exhibition.

Doing a little research before the show, I found that Galerie F specializes in silkscreen gig posters, art prints, and street art. When I hear “street art”, I think graffiti… an image spray painted on a wall or in an ally. At times the images are amazingly beautiful, like some of the buildings covered in the Wynwood district of Miami… and sometimes it just appears as unimpressive tagging. I wanted to experience the show with an open mind.

We arrived at Galerie F to a room swarming with the “hipster” crowd. As we made our way through the room, the work on the walls explored a variety of themes with elements of graffiti, expressive linear compositions, and vibrant color. We approached Fonzo’s work and I was intrigued at how the imagery of Napoli’s alter ego continues to be inspired by the world of his past yet utilizing the current hand of a seasoned professional. The imagery is humorous with dark undertones of the grotesque. The line work is amazing. The entire show is well worth exploring.

Galerie F is located at 2381 North Milwaukee Avenue, in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago. Hours are Tuesday through Sunday 11am-6pm. Learn more at:

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Dominic Sansone ~ "Away From This Inverted World"

An exhibition titled “Away From This Inverted World” just closed at the Bridgeport Art Center. Michiko Kobayashi curated the show. Kobayashi selected a variety of pieces that explore issues inflicted on humanity. The artists included were: Cleveland Dean, Dominic Sansone, Lara Nguyen, and Corinna Button.

Lelde Kalmite, Curator of the Bridgeport Art Center, alerted me of the exhibition—urging me to see the show before it closed. She wanted me to experience the exhibit due to its connection to a traveling exhibition that I’ve been curating, titled “…Breaking Criminal Traditions”. So last Friday, I took a ride out to Bridgeport.

When I entered the gallery, I was enthralled. The work was beautifully presented—creating an opportunity to pause before moving on to explore the next visual statement. I’ve work with Corinna Button on the BCT show and was very familiar with her work, but this was my second exposure to the sculpture of Dominic Sansone. Sansone’s pieces slap the viewer in the face with their brutally direct interpretation of the world in which we live and the society that we’ve become. Sansone’s statement in part reads:
Through my current body of artwork I explore the violence of humankind and the role each of us play in facilitating an endless cycle of barbarity. Americans, in particular, have seemingly become addicted to the state of war, in part, due to our desensitization at the hands of the media we consume. From video games glorifying killing, to twenty-four hour coverage of conflicts, to real time video of smart bombs dropping down chimneys, we have an endless supply of stimuli to numb ourselves. The pain and suffering endured by others becomes nothing more than flickering images on a screen.
The work is brilliantly honest. I hope to include Sansone's work in future presentations of “Breaking Criminal Traditions”. I’ll keep you posted.

Dominic Sansone is a native of Chicago Illinois and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign and a Master of Fine Arts from the Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis. After completing his BFA studies, he spent two years working for an aerospace company producing fabrication and assembly drawings for satellites, military aircraft, and mobile artillery units. He next spent over a decade in the tradeshow industry and has overseen worldwide exhibition programs for major multinational corporations. Dominic has exhibited in group and solo exhibitions across the United States and he is represented by Baang + Burne in New York City, Minan Gallery in Los Angeles, and Fulton Market Gallery in Chicago; in addition to teaching at the Evanston Art Center.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

James Deeb: Breaking Criminal Traditions at The Art Center-Highland Park

James Deeb, "Silent Witnesses" Monotype, 30"x22" 

Save the Date: Friday, November 7th

Opening November 7th at The Art Center of Highland Park is, The Art of Influence: Breaking Criminal Traditions. This fine art exhibition, features the work of fifteen artists from around the country, calling attention to the ongoing ancient rituals that kill or maim millions each year—yet are not considered crimes. The exhibition utilizes the beauty of high-quality fine art to raise awareness of human rights issues and—in doing so—begin a dialogue that may encourage change.

This provocative yet engaging exhibition debuted in 2013 at the IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, putting the shadowy topics of honor killing, child marriage, acid violence—among others—directly in front of current and future law makers. Since the show debuted, new art pieces have been added. The show has evolved into the unique presentation designed specifically for The Art Center of Highland Park.

The pieces selected for this exhibition are intriguing—with many levels of interpretation… Conscious of the human rights issues outlined by Executive Producer, Cheryl Jefferson, I selected beautifully intriguing works of art that contain multiple levels of meaning. Each piece was chosen to allude to the issues at hand… the meaning ultimately defined by the interpretation of the viewer. For example, "Silent Witnesses" by James Deeb, is a 30x22” Monotype, that was developed from Deeb’s interest in medical and dental x-rays. I found it appropriate for inclusion due to the implied content; the use of figurative abstraction with an emphasis on the bones of the mouth—a graphic image that alludes to the silencing of the repressed. Deeb explains...
 “… After I finished it [Silent Witnesses] and the other pieces in the series, I realized that they were less about human interaction with medical technology and more about taboo subjects often left unspoken. This fits particularly well with the theme of Breaking Criminal Traditions. Speaking out against these crimes almost always leads to violent reprisals. The victims’ coerced silence helps give these “traditions” and their perpetrators an air of normalcy that allows the vicious cycle to continue. I want Silent Witnesses to point out the need to give a voice to the voiceless.”
The exhibition includes works of art by: Corinna Button, James Deeb, Sheila Ganch, Claire Girodie, Sergio Gomez, Andrea Harris, Paula Kloczkowski Luberda, Richard Laurent, Kathy Liao, Zoriah Miller, Nancy Rosen, Lorraine Sack, Valerie Schiff, Barbara Simcoe, and Anne Smith Stephan.

The public Opening Reception will take place on Friday, November 7 from 6:30-9pm. The Art Center of Highland Park is located at 1957 Sheridan Road, Highland Park, IL 60035. The gallery is open Monday–Saturday 9am-4:30pm. Most of the pieces included in the exhibition are available for purchase. Additional information can be found at

James Deeb was born behind the wall in Berlin, Germany. He received his undergraduate degree from Indiana University South Bend in 1988 and earned a Master of Fine Art degree from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo in 1994. Deeb’s first one-person show was ‘Dislocated Media’ in 1988. Since then, he has shown his work in numerous competitive, group and solo exhibitions. James lives and works in Evanston, Illinois.