A Group Exhibition in Celebration of WMG's 25th Anniversary
CHICAGO —Woman Made Gallery (WMG) is proud to present ‘Reunion II,’ the second group exhibition in 2017 featuring WMG artist members in celebration of WMG’s 25th Anniversary year.
WMG Co-founder, Beate Minkovski, selected the work of 51 artists for ‘Reunion II’. A reflection on the growth of WMG from 1992 to 2017, ‘Reunion II’ is a salute to WMG member artists across the years and the growing visibility of women’s art in the world.
Reunion II artists include: Setsuko Aihara; Jan Brandt; Fran Bull; Wanrudee Buranakorn; Cathleen Clarke; Dawn DaViera; Patsy R. Davis; Melanie Deal; Ruth Eckstein; Yolanda Fernandez-Shebeko; Alison Gates; Stacey Lee Gee; Jessica Gondek; Michelle Graves; Shirley Guay; Tracy Ostmann Haschke; Barbara Herring; Ellen Holtzblatt; Susan Intner; Audra Jacot; Shelly Jyoti; Beverly Keys; Mary King; Helen R. Klebesadel; Pauline Kochanski; Rosalie Koldan; Haeley Kyong; Mary Madison; Shawn Marshall; Bert Menco; Dana Nechmad; Carol Neiger; Anne Nordhaus-Bike; Joan Painter-Jones; Mary Phelan; Ann Quinn; Gina Lee Robbins; Kathy Blankley Roman; Kat Rosaen; Fran Sampson; Mary Saran; Fern Shaffer; Joan Shapiro; Michele Silvetti-Schmitt; Sharon Swidler; Merle Temkin; Devon Thompson; Arlene Turner-Crawford; Georgia Weithe; Marjorie Woodruff; Jia Qi Zhen.
The opening reception for ‘Reunion II’ is on Friday, July 7, 2017 from 6 to 8 p.m. Works are on display through August 12, 2017. All events are free and open to the public.
Woman Made Gallery, 685 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60642.
(Banner Image: artwork by Beverly Keys)
oil on linen
32 x 26 in.
Born and raised in Japan, I was as a university language instructor. I began drawing and painting in my mid-thirties after making an existential decision in favor of aesthetic existence. I worked for many years in Honolulu, Boston, and Ireland, and currently live and work in Vienna, Austria. After taking a course in painting in the Venetian method, but have been self-taught since then.
As a member of society I am concerned to understand the human condition, and to express images from what I understand or do not understand. Having gone through many phases of self-liberation and challenges from racial and gender discrimination as an Asian woman in the United States, images often come from my dreams. My concerns range from the philosophical and depth-psychological, through the social, environmental, and political (especially the liberation of women), to human emancipation in general.
‘Bog Queen’: I was inspired by poems, Punishment and Bog Queen by the Nobel Laureate Irish poet Seamus Heaney. The image of the black bog body is associated with the tribal punishment of tarring and feathering performed to Northern Irish young women who had sexual relationships with British soldiers during the time of political conflict. My image of a bog girl is a quiet protest against sexual injustice that still prevails in many culture
mixed textile media
60 x 30 x 6 in.
Disparate textiles, such as donated clothing, pompoms, and muslin are hand-stitched into three-dimensional, hybrid assemblages. An organic, obsessive process drives this intricate work evoking growth and accumulation. The assemblages are displayed as mutating within and edging out from wooden hoop “Petri dishes”.
Brandt’s work represents a confluence of art and science through the process of feminist artistic traditions including stitching and textile use as media. These assemblages question the definition and classification of art and craft while suggesting the interpretation of biological concepts. The physicality of these capsular works offers a macroscopic expression of cellular growth, whimsical and disconcerting at the same time.
Self-Portrait as a Black Woman
mixed media on canvas
30 x 24 in.
My painting, Self-portrait as a Black Woman was banned from the show “She Persisted” (Soho20 Bushwick, April 21-May 20). I was informed on April 21 by the Board of directors, that the subject of the art was too inflammatory and controversial. It was suggested to me that showing the piece could have serious consequences for the organization. I argued, “but this is what we artists do. Our mission is to explore life at the edges. We discover what needs to be brought to consciousness; we take on the wounds; we risk offending in order to expose other ways of seeing and understanding. We trust that art itself can be an instrument of healing and reconciliation.
There have been some high profile controversies recently around the “rightful” ownership of subject matter. The artist Dana Schutz has been targeted for having co-opted what is viewed as subject matter belonging to the Black community and attempts were made to remove it from The Whitney Museum. Schutz has been accused of profiting monetarily from the pain of people who do not enjoy the privileges of “whiteness” and affluence in our now broken and divided culture. A similar argument was made in relation to my painting.
Essentially, Self-portrait as a Black Woman posits both a “what if” and an “as if”. I ask, what if I were Black? Through the means and gestures of painting, I become, “as if” a black woman. I imply: I am not a black woman, but, through art, I can imagine myself walking in the shoes of a black woman. In this way, I show you, the viewer, that I am ruminating on, visualizing, thinking about—what it might be like to be a black woman in America.
My shapes are broad and flat, the forms simplified in the manner of Icon painting. The frame is meant to “enshrine”, a crude version of the ornate gold frames you see in museums bracketing venerable art. I walk, symbolically, in the shoes of my black sisters. I let you in on the conceit, one that says, I am not black but follow me as I ”become black” through the imagination and via art.
The censorship, apart from having been personally painful, raised questions in my mind: Whose rules have I broken? How has the current political dialogue created a new context for my piece, one that shifts its original intention irrevocably, inserting new filters and layers of meaning between the art and the world?
Here’s what I know: if my black sister is shamed, violated, I too am shamed, persecuted, reviled. I am that other even as I am not.
Within this one self-portrait there are two—black and white. I argue for reconciliation.
I know, even as I know my own face, that until every human being in this world has an opportunity to grow, to have basic needs fulfilled, to thrive– that none of us, not even one of us, is fully human.
Island of Mystery
solvent ink on canvas
20 x 12 in.
I write stories from existing words on pages of old books. On each page, I find words that speak to me as if they wanted to be revealed through my discovery. I claim these new-found words as my own by painting the page to speak the words with colors, patterns, and brushstrokes. Words emerge out of the page to tell a new story. The figure joins in to tell her story. The resulting image is a narrative in multiple layers of words and images manifested in different forms of visual language to render a hidden story collected through time and memory.
To Feel What She Felt
oil on canvas
48 x 36 in.
My work explores themes of memory, isolation, and the transient moments in everyday life. The figures in my paintings appear isolated, sometimes dissolving into the background becoming controlled by their surroundings. Though these moments, both remembered and imagined, are from the past, I hope to continue their stories onto the canvas, allowing the paint to recover what is often overlooked and forgotten.
Dream March 1, 2017
acrylic on canvas
36 x 24 in.
Through images of color, visual sound, and light, my inner vision propels me to show the world as I see it. Creating my art helps me to embrace the spectrum of life and all the joy, glory, worth, pain and longing that comes with it. My work strives toward that sense of growth and completeness.
Patsy R. Davis
welded scrap metal
19.5 x 27 x 24 in.
MO-2 is a sculpture welded from scrap metal and could possibly be a self-portrait.
to be free
to be me.
And Moving On. How about you?
28 x 22 in.
Remember when you were a child, creating artworks by cutting and pasting? Well, that’s what I do as an adult, and it’s just as fun and satisfying as it was when I was in kindergarten.
I’m fascinated by grids, tessellations, and repeated shapes. I reinforce this repetition through colors and materials. Because patterns tend to be orderly and predictable, I like to add unexpected elements for humorous or ironic effect.
My work is influenced by a lifelong love of comic books, paper dolls, gumball-machine trinkets, board games, television, literature, and music. I use various types of paper, “found” objects, and everyday items. I often include photocopies to add to the sense of repetition. My only agenda is to express my perspective on topics that interest or amuse me. Sometimes the topic is simply color and pattern.
Bird of Peace
oil on canvas
20 x 20 in.
“I paint how I see the universe: creatures, humans, animals, and themes from nature and my experiences.”
Objects in Space
acrylic on linen
48 x 36 in.
My painting follows the very bright path begun in the 1950’s with the wonderful work forged by the abstract expressionist painters in New York. Freeing perception into color, composition, and inspiration on its own and for its own has brought into existence, for me, the most important art and the most important and deepest response to art.
My own work is inspired by the great Milton Resnik, Joan Mitchell, and Agnes Martin. Although each of them produced very different work throughout their careers, and Mr. Resnick thought the term ‘Abstract Expressionist’ odd and basically incorrect, their accomplishments all stand on the same mountain. Milton Resnick insisted that the only direction and space in painting that there could be was ‘to ascend’.
In my own life, I am very happy to have the time and heart to continue this painted conversation. Milton Resnick insisted that when the paint became the master and the artist the servant, the painting put you together, creating a unity, you did not put together the painting.
All of my paintings begin by letting the paint start its own visual language. I prepare the colors to a specific density and viscosity and let them show me a path into what will become both subject and the perception of the resulting work. The hues stand alone and also blend optically to create the work. The finished paintings find a relevant response in viewers derived from a vision located in the natural outside world, and an inner, inspired moment or memory brought to mind by pure pattern and color. The time spent in contemplating the work allows the viewer time to put themselves together in a mode of reflection, and perhaps, clarity.
Tyranny of Ancestry (2016)
mixed media with vertebrae, vintage dressmaker form fragment, stained silk, and glass knob
6 x 18 x 9 in.
Textiles frequently form both the content and materials for my artwork. Cloth and thread naturally carry cultural messages, and the processes of creating textiles are so old our languages are full of weaving, spinning, sewing and dye metaphors worldwide. Materials therefore often serve as symbols, and processes convey explanations. As a white woman in modern America, I try to cull meaning only from the textile histories I own personally. I come from southern weavers, immigrant seamstresses, Viking sailmakers, and middle class urban women who knit sweaters for their children and stitched cushions and towels for their homes. This is enough for me to establish a wide visual vocabulary.
Stacey Lee Gee
Basilica de Zapopan, Guadalajara 2015
fabric dye, ink, wood glue, watercolor, acrylic, graphite, dirt on canvas
48 x 36 in.
Stacey Lee Gee is a Chicago-based visual artist known for her gritty large-scale painting, delicately assembled sculpture and site-specific installation. The central role of tactile materials in her work creates an easy entrance into the language of the senses. Once there, Stacey transforms nightmares into new myths of protection, safety, and fear. Her dream-like narratives explore the mesmerizing role humans have within the natural world and the fragile exchanges that arise.
Enterprising Machines 2 (2016)
charcoal, pastel, digital print
46 x 29 in.
Enterprising Machines are works inspired by machine aesthetics that reference common tools and domestic utilitarian objects. My process begins with digital manipulations from vintage consumer catalogues published in the early 1900’s for Pratt and Whitney tools, and the Enterprise Manufacturing Company, maker of domestic gadgets. The digitally printed elements I compose recall blueprints or plans, and create a foundation for the modification of the context of these implements. Drawing from observation of actual objects allows for transposition and mutability between layers of printed and observed information. The objects explored are simultaneously transformed denying their original functional purpose and asserting an animated physical presence and internal narrative.
Series (Selected) 2015-2017
ink on paper mounted on wood
3 x 3 in. each
I question, research and reason with big subjects like death, quantum physics and consciousness, which embody the unknown. This gives me a plethora of space for exploration and interpretation while interweaving the multi-discipline research. My process consists of dissecting research and relating terminology within material and writing parameters. Techniques include stream-of-consciousness, graphical or gestural text paintings, abstract equations, short videos, zines, mixed media and installations.
Hoodie, an Ancient Tradition (2013)
acrylic on canvas
18 x 24 in.
‘Hoodie’ is my first painting after extensive hospitalization; I painted it after surgery as homage to Travon Martin.
My attraction to bold colors is an unconscious choice that I believe to be a cultural connection between myself and people of color throughout the world. The images seem to emerge from my ancestral past which is West Africa. The work I create reflects my environment, then and now. My paintings are suggestive of the human form and how they relate in nature. I give the negative and positive space equal importance. The end result is usually a picture within a picture.
Tracy Ostmann Haschke
oil on canvas
24 x 24 in.
Moved by the rewards and challenges that characterize my own experience as an urban mother, informed by my observations of others navigating the contours of city life, my work reflects activities that might go unnoticed. I find these simple moments surprisingly gratifying. Each painting is a “snapshot” of these fragments in time. Considered together, the series blooms into a narrative of our modern family experience, a moment between mother and child, and husband and wife, or a bike ride on the street, a walk to the park.
I move the paint in a whimsical fashion, manipulating images I see coming through each layer. Each fluid stroke takes me through the spontaneous, yet intuitive process. I work in oils, acrylics, and drawing materials such as charcoal and graphite working my canvas with many layers of thin color, building the surfaces utilizing the oily attribute of my medium to my advantage by manipulating it with various solvents. This allows me to keep certain areas of my paintings, and layer over others, working the layers back and forth as I build upon each one.
Artists who have influenced me throughout my career include Pierre Bonnard, Alice Neel, Max Beckmann, Elmer Bischoff, Joan Mitchell, Gerhard Richter, Isabelle Bishop, and Marlene Dumas.
Paper Source on Franklin (2015)
oil on board
20 x 10 in.
Chicago is home and provides much of my inspiration. EL tracks, old water tanks, neighborhoods and their inhabitants are all part of an urban landscape that I am drawn to. Working either with oils, watercolor or pens, I strive to capture the mood of a scene that caught my attention in the first place.
If painting on site, I focus on capturing the light and shapes of a scene in a short period of time. If working with my own photographs, I’ll start with a drawing to work out the composition and the value patterns. Making sure that all these elements make sense in a finished painting is a challenge: a continual learning experience. In the end, I hope the final work is one that the viewer can relate to.
oil on panel
20 x 16 in.
My paintings explore connections between the physical and the spiritual. As I reflect on place and how my surroundings impact my feelings and thoughts, landscape becomes an allegory for psyche and emotion. Although I am a city dweller, my soul is most stirred in lands that seem beyond the control of humans.
Glass Door Window Wall (2012/2017)
archival digital photograph
11 x 17 in.
Still photography has an extraordinary power to capture a detailed scene instantly, thereby illuminating complex stories in a moment’s snapshot. By its very nature, every digital photograph has the potential to become an infinite number of versions of itself, given the endless editing and displaying options of the medium. Drafts constitute incrementally differing versions of the truth. The end results depict the story – the ideas and emotions – the photographer wishes to convey.
My black and white digital photographs are about time and memory, especially the influence the passage of time has on our sense of being. They are spare, almost painful statements. The originals were taken while exploring Washington DC a few years ago, intended as upbeat images of a glorious period of hope and change in American politics. In recent months the digital files were re-worked to reflect the election of our 45th president. The resulting images are dark visions, reminding us that public identity and its reflections change as societal values and priorities change.
“Glass Door Window Wall” is a disturbing reminder of “Big Brother” intrusions into private lives, instead of an ethereal mystery of interconnected constructions. Transparency is elusive, a pretense.
Make Out Party
neon, wood, and acrylic
26 x 21 x 5 in.
I work in ceramics, sculpture, technology, video, and light. My work celebrates the empowerment of sexuality. It responds to a repressed lineage by embracing and glorifying itself. I invite viewers to embrace their own desires as well as my own.
I use the exhibitionist quality of neon. My ejaculatory neon bridges figures. They suggest neither shame nor gaze, but a sexual declaration of personal empowerment. Pornography’s influence in revolutionizing technology has inspired me to explore and integrate electronics in my own work, commenting on their symbiotic relationship.
Narratives: An Allusion to Stitches
Ajrakh resist printing & dyeing on khadi fabric
46 x 46 in.
As a textile artist, my work seeks to address historical iconographic elements present within the context of modern Indian history. My work explores two key questions, In the Twenty-First century, can the practice of non-violence be an important thread that enables us to promote greater peace both within nations and across the globe? And how can textiles, both as material objects and because of their artistic form, be used to stitch together communities?
Spinning has a long history in Indian textiles along with cotton cloth trading and ruling the world. In early centuries, spinning as word and image, stands metonymically for much of the politics of self-sufficiency, swadeshi, and production of homespun cloth. In 1909, in an anti colonial movement Gandhi decided to revive a craft of hand spinning of cotton into thread as an economic and political activity that could also bring together the diverse population of India. The spinning wheel had only one common image of charkha from 1775-1909 but Gandhi initiated and promoted many different varieties of the Charkhas during early 20th century. During my research for ‘Indigo Narratives’ (2009-17). Gandhi’s first non-violent experiment (Champaran movement 1917-18), I came across many references of different looking spinning wheels that I attempted to translate them visually, utilizing Ajrakh printing textile traditions on khadi as my interpretation.
intaglio print including etching, hand coloring, collage and ala poupe’
11 x 15 in.
With “Stockyards Baby” I share some of my personal and family’s past that is also a part of Chicago history.
I am a baby boomer who grew near the Chicago Union Stockyards, the “Hog Butchers of the World”. The Chicago River was literally foaming and red with blood and body parts. The stench could be smelled for miles.
Three generations of my family on my father’s side were brokers. I also remember going to work with my dad occasionally, which at least once included the slaughterhouse. With “Stockyards Baby”, my intent is to recreate a glimpse of a traumatic memory from the point of view of a five or six year old child.
King Turmp and His Supporters (2017)
9 x 12 in.
In these times, meanness and name-calling won’t make things better. Try awareness, alarm, resistance and cheerful mockery.
Native Roots Run Deep
watercolor on paper
30 x 22 in.
My visual concerns run the gamut from careful representations from nature, to poetic, symbolic and sometimes political representations of nature and human nature. My art making is both my creative and intellectual work. It is how I think. It has been how I have learned to deeply examine and understand the world and my place in it. My paintings most often examine our place in the natural landscape and our relationship, as humans, to nature. The representations present the position that what we do to the earth’s body we do to ourselves and what we do to ourselves we do to the earth. My goal is to encourage us to pause, observe, and re-consider power and consequences of our actions in the world, socially, culturally, politically, spiritually, and creatively. In particular, I seek to overcome the doubts we are socialized to believe, that there is room for us all to thrive, and that we can make a difference in the world as individuals, as artists, and as one part of larger engaged communities of people willing to work together to a create the inclusive world we want to live in.
graphite on paper
30 x 22 in.
Over 30 years ago I focused my artistic practice on black and white photography; though I continued to draw. As I began to see a convergence between my photography and my graphite and ink drawings I decided to explore the aesthetic comparisons and differences between my photography and my drawn images. As I continue to concentrate on drawing and exploration of line my photography becomes secondary. The natural world is one of my major areas of interest, though I find my exaggeration of color, size and texture enhances the experience of my visual and aesthetic goals. Even when I am designing more complex installations, I continue to incorporate drawings that reflect an aspect of nature.
Aging Gracefully in Time (2015)
paper, wood, metal, found objects
31 x 31 x 8 in.
I choose to pay homage to some of the women in the arts because they too, like the wood pallet, have had to bear some weight throughout their careers. They were devoted to their talents, remained true to their beliefs, and always tried to bring something fresh to the canvas, the screen, and the stage. They did it with class and they did it with grace.
Georgia O’Keefe, Eartha Kitt, Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn, and Vanessa Redgrave.
At the Outset (2015)
acrylic on panel
27 x 36 in.
My paintings are inspired by a lifelong passion for color and form. Many of my works are expressed in simple geometric shapes and vibrant colors. My compositions often eliminate extraneous information, drawing attention to the core essence and the primal emotion that is hidden under the surface. I am also fascinated by the illusion of a three-dimensional space that a two-dimensional work creates. I find myself constantly observing my surroundings – the people and the spaces they inhabit – looking for what draws the eye, and I have a visceral longing to express my discoveries through shape and color.
As an artist, I feel a deep need to interpret the world through my craft, to make it not simply real, but more than real. Art is my prism – making strange and sublime distortions – through which I re-create and re-envision the world. .
The PortHole (2017)
18 x 14 in.
The essence in pursuing the inherent perspective on ones’ intimate sustainment is profoundly challenging to me.
What is needed to perpetuate ones’ self reliance that is independent from expectations and compulsion seems to be the force compelling my images.
The recognized and universal threads of our own persona that seem to interconnect us to one another in our daily lives also have the ability to become void of this unity. This leads to the possibility of unique translation and interpretations.
Therefore, isn’t is attainable for an infinite number of such interpretations that are based on each of own unique characteristics? It’s with this idea in mind that I squeeze my images from.
Summer Haze, April 2017
oil pastel and oil paint on linen paper
12 x 9 in.
For me, painting is a meditative practice; an outlet to release intuitive energy and let go of preconceived notions and self-imposed rules or judgments of how I and my work interpret and portray the world. I paint with palette knives, creating a 3 dimensional surface on the canvas. I strive to create a balance between the built-up yet refined impasto and the underlying landscape beyond. My expression and “practice” are restorative for me, and I hope for others, as I create what I refer to as “inward landscapes.”
6 x 9 in.
Though they may seem simple, my drawings, intaglio prints, and paintings are actually quite elaborate; half a year’s work on an image is no exception for me. I draw directly or use small sketches, even doodles, as image-generating nuclei, often combining two or three that appear to complement each other. I rarely use concrete references, but rather work from inner visions. I don’t see my images as telling a story but rather as reflections of inner feelings, similar to some poetry, and would like observers to read them as such. I like to believe that my work carries a certain mystery.
gouache on paper
20 x 30 in.
My paintings focus on the power of the body and its sexuality as it dominates both the personal and the social spheres. I use imagery from my own seductive, repulsive fears and fantasies. I work with vivid colors and gestural marks, however my concern is not with the beauty of the flesh but the emotion it arouses. The materiality of the mark making emphasizes the corporeal aspect of my work, as if the drips of the paint are pulling down the image on the slick surface from the metaphoric realm to reality. My images allude to a nightmare that creeps into the conscious surface for a brief moment, like a dreadful display of sweetness.
32 x 40 in.
I am interested in memory and place. A visit to Portugal inspired me to think about the history of the Jewish diaspora. I discovered that European Jews have been exiled from 109 locations since the year 250 CE and I wondered about how Jews, relate to “place” and “home” given their tumultuous history. European Jews have migrated extensively. They have been attacked, exiled, and forced to choose between death and conversion. Homes and buildings of worship have been destroyed. Jewish people have moved away from hostile situations, sometimes voluntarily with optimism-seeking a better place – but very often by force.
This monoprint is a part of a series of prints and paintings that explore relationship to place and home and seek the answer to the question of how Judaism survived despite this history. The work employs an iconographic language comprised of symbols of community—land, home, streets—arranged as a pattern within the context of a geographic place. Layers evoke history, and fractured space suggests the paths of movement and exile from one place to another. I am interested in the wisdom passed down through stories, study and the idea of memory that exists in us as a people. This is the wisdom of wandering. Stories of place and how wisdom is built through community, disruption and ultimately – cohesion.
How To Build A Mountain
color printed and cut bond copy paper, glue, blue cotton thread, crocheted ivory cotton thread, and ivory unryu (cloud dragon’s breath) paper
25 x 14 in.
My latest work presents a paradox that undercuts our assumptions about material actuality. Through this series I explore mountains: remembered or imagined…ethereal, metaphorical, mystical. These seemingly permanent fixtures of Earth’s topography nevertheless change constantly and are impermanent like the rest of creation. Through the most delicate, even fragile and fugitive, materials—watercolor, whispery transparent unryu (“cloud dragon’s breath”) paper, thread—these works indicate that what seems so solid, heavy, and “earthy” is fleeting when considered in the larger scheme of creation since time as we understand it began with the universe’s birth. Cutting pieces out of the paper or joining torn segments with thread brings air into these works, hinting at erosion caused by wind. They also imply the further paradox that mountains, while ranking as the biggest and heaviest things on our planet, nevertheless exist both deep in the Earth and high in the air because they soar to the clouds. On a fundamental level, mountains give us mixed messages about permanence/impermanence, earth/air, material actuality/spiritual reality. These works invite viewers to feel this paradox and enjoy their personal interplay of “earth” and “air,” permanence and impermanence.
Any Port (2013)
mixed on canvas, wood, paint, collage
10 x 12 x 6 in.
I love the freedom that doing art gives me to be a child again. My work evolves from finding an interesting old piece of wood or metal, to finding and adding other wood, metal or other found objects, to a finished piece. The items may be entirely unrelated, but when the work is finished, somehow everything comes together like it belongs. Oftentimes, I add acrylic paint, whether muted or colorful, depending on what the work is asking for by then. I rely on my instincts and look for some kind of personal, emotional “pull” towards the work, kind of like magnet to metal. If the attraction is there I just love looking at the piece, like a child with a new birthday toy.
City Staccato (2013)
oil on linen
24 x 35 in.
My work is about home place. The multi-layered settings of my Chicago neighborhood speak to me of the human condition: of conflict, yes, but also of a willingness to embrace reality in all its ordinariness, tackiness and charm. My purpose, as I see it, is to mine these urban images for clues to our deeper selves.
March, a Good Message in Bottle (2017)
mixed media, lights, glass, thread, photo, fiber
68 x 19 in.
Processing the world around me through weaving. Everyone needs a little more light in their life.
My art work is composed mainly of rope, sticks, colored threads and found objects. All pieces are off loom fiber sculptures created with materials I have at hand and inspired or a reaction to my experiences and travels. Some are inspired by nature, but never an imitation of it. Others are inspired by friends ” I have a bunch of……., can you use them for one of your pieces?. My latest challenge was from a friend who saved several months of stems from every apple he ever ate! I have submitted that piece along with two others. My work is a direct reaction to the world around me, expressed in the best way I know how. I find myself often challenged by the strange collected items of friends who are sure I can make something with them, give them a new life within a piece….Some of my material sources were from a closing embroidery factory. Others after cleaning my yard., or broken lines from a sailboat. Things people can’t part with , but don’t know what to do with become the details of my weavings.
Gina Lee Robbins
Pyrrha’s Offering (2015-2017)
creek dug clay, fired to cone 05, barbed wire, rock salt
107 ceramic bones, (average length: 5″) and strands of barbed wire on bed of rock salt
I create organic and abstract objects using clay, rubber and found materials. I work intuitively, experimenting with the inherent potential and limitations of the media. Constructing repetitive forms, I never know precisely where the process and materials will take me. I push, pull, carve, distort and assemble until a form almost breathes in my hands.
My sculptures convey movement and intention. Often pushing against social boundaries, they provoke dissonance and sensuality. Installations of my work can be simultaneously otherworldly and viscerally familiar.
Found materials, discarded by civilization or nature, are irresistible to me. In my work, they serve as an archaeological study of my personal journey, while referencing the universal tension and compromise between built and natural worlds. Through assembly and installation, I allude to narrative and forge a conceptual study of social mores
Kathy Blankley Roman
The Burning (2016)
oil, cold wax on wood panel
20 x 16 in.
My paintings are about texture, gesture and memory and often evoke a sense of place, of calm, of elements of the natural world. Words, places, feelings, the “aha” moments: things that impress me deeply are tucked away and become the reservoir that I draw from when I paint. It is the essence of my responses to these things that later appear in my work. Responding intuitively to random marks, I am driven by an exploration of the materials as much as by my emotional response to the evolving painting. Ultimately, it is all about the process and the physical act of creating: becoming the brush, responding to the surface, the visceral feeling of engaging it and then finding just the right balance between intention and intuition to bring the composition to a satisfying conclusion.
12 x 18 in.
Kat Rosaen changes peoples perspective one photo at a time. She looks at the beauty of the world via the darkness to show the light. Her work has a dark humor about it, always an extreme example of the issue which she is fighting for; most often focused on mental health or women’s rights.
mixed media on Arches paper
15.5 x 11 in.
For the past two years I have been working on a series of landscape paintings that employ a non-traditional use of space. Whenever one uses a horizon line, there is an expectation of deep space—that the composition will move into the canvas. In this series I purposely try to undermine the traditional illusion of three-dimensional space by using color, marks, and collaged material in a manner that instead moves the composition across the picture plane.
I am interested in the inherent tension resulting from this ambiguous space. I create expressive elements in my landscapes with this dimensional tension as well as the immediacy and physicality of my brushstrokes. Through these elements, my goal is to create an intriguing visual plane that captures not only the lush liveliness of the natural world, but also the human gaze upon this world, and the resulting complexities that arise from our unique experience.
Depending on the era, I am also often drawn to using primary source documents from governments to create mixed media pieces that bear witness to social injustice.
White Crater (2017)
mixed media on wood
16 x 12 in.
One day I started painting circles. Then I kept painting circles. The circles became swirls, the swirls became mounds, the mounds became landscapes, and those landscapes became worlds. Now my work exists between painting and sculpture, pushing the boundaries of mixed media. As my work evolved it took on a life of its own, each painting became a universe unto itself, beyond language, beyond time, beyond the limitations of our planet and the logic of its biology. I want to show the viewer another perspective. Much of my work is designed so that it is difficult to remain focused on one single aspect, one single brush stroke. Like the mind that created them, my paintings are all over the place all at once. My work attempts to approach something like totality, incomprehensibility, something foreign and at the same time familiar.
ink and pencil on Rag paper
36 x 28 in.
Fern Shaffer, born and raised in Chicago, received her BFA from the University of Illinois and MA from Columbia College. She has lectured all over the world and has published her writings. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, in solo and group shows. She has been collected by national and international museums.
acrylic on canvas
36 x 24 in.
“Art is always an attempt to distill the conflicts in our lives and in our world to a reunited whole. To put man back in the garden or to give him a map to get himself back there. We can chronicle the rough dynamism of a painful experience, but the drive is to control it through recording it symbolically, understanding it by reducing it to symbols and the eventual philosophical resolution of it.”
mixed media, ink and cotton fiber on paper
16 x 20 in.
My current work focuses on the human figure, an inexhaustible source of inspiration, filled with energy and life. The body is each person’s vessel for expression throughout their journey in life. I observe the figure and record the energy and movement it embodies in a moment captured. Perhaps something is revealed about a person’s story and their state of being in that fleeting moment – a turning point, an emotion, or sense of power and possibility.
Subjects range from live models, photographs and figures of my imagination. The energy and movement is conveyed through gesture, lines, marks and shapes, which evolve with the range of media I am exploring to express the language of the body. For drawings and paintings, these include charcoals, acrylic paints, watercolor and mixed media. 3D explorations also include fiber and/or metal.
Introduction to Black (2015)
acrylic, glitter on panel
24 x 24 in.
“The less there is to look at the more important it is that we look at
it closely and carefully.” –Kirk Varnedoe
Inspired by the atmosphere. Simple and complex.
I am fascinated by space: actual, personal, psychological, and how physical, mental and emotion interruptions pierce or glide through space (clouds, utility lines, trees, thoughts). I obscure boundaries between binaries; natural/man-made line and form, interior/exterior environments, to symbolize internal and external changes in ourselves as we navigate through our ever-changing environment. In recent years, my paintings and drawings have become meditative; spaces in which to reflect on the simultaneous simplicity and complexity of this flow of being.
oil on canvas
15 x 18 in.
For the past several years, trees have been the focus of my paintings. Because of my sculpture background, I perceive negative space in three dimensions on canvas. By carving away this space with paint, the tree is revealed, a process of working from the outside to depict the inside. The paintings evolve as I repaint them over many times to find the exact color combinations in keeping with my vision. The edges of the layers of colors are purposely left visible to document the development of the paintings.
High Femme #1, June 2016
mixed media collage
22 x 28 in.
My work uses discordant textures to reveal forced truths. Gender and sanity as whole as it is acceptable. Creating a bricolage of modernity too ancient to let stand. I aim to question the sleek perfection and sterile wonder of our modernity.
Sun Drummer Speaks
mixed media drawing
22 x 18 in.
My creative process begins with contemplation, a meditation on the form. Then I fill my ears with music because I believe music is the most evolved art form and promotes my visual creativity at its root. Jazz is my preferred muse; it is spontaneous, immediate, inventive, profound and connected to the ability to imagine. As an image-maker, I am inspired to produce works of art through assemblage, painting and drawing. The route to the works presented here was developed using these methods and materials. I wanted to create a series of works that examine music and relate some of my own words which were inspired by the musical experience.
Georgia Lang Weithe
Seed of Courage, 2012
20″ long; unfolding blossom 2 1/12 inches from top to bottom, and 2 1/4 inches across
My jewelry is a language. It speaks of beauty, hope, serenity, tenderness, and other qualities of the heart. I believe if we are drawn to a work of art, it’s because it reflects something we are looking for in our own lives, and that gazing at it can help us feel balanced. I combine the qualities of inner light with the play of light bouncing off metal, and transform gold, silver, pewter, gems, stones, shells, pearls, beads and insect wings into soft, delicate shapes which evoke some of nature’s gentlest images: waves, wings, seeds, moonbeams. The materials are hammered, cast, fabricated and formed, and often the spirit of the work is reflected in its name. The jewelry I make doesn’t reflect current trends, but rather deep currents of meaning I am searching for in my life.
My creations are a reflection of the inspiration I find within, and the beauty that surrounds me. The designs come from a deep place in me, and I hope they speak to a deep place in others.
Morning Star IV: A Seed Uprising
15 x 27 x 24 in.
My work focuses on the process of constructing visually appealing objects that attempt to evoke an uncomfortable emotional response through addressing difficult political and social concerns, and that also play with the notion of decorative forms. Whether by embracing traditional functional forms for utilitarian use or by stretching the idea of their function into unconventional sculptures, my aim is to provoke conversations—to hopefully “whet the appetite” for dialogue among diverse groups of people regarding issues of power, greed and injustice, whether social/political or environmental.
The Morning Star Series: A Seed Uprising focuses on uncanny historical connection between early weaponry and agricultural implements. This enlarged grain of wheat protected within the Morning Star – the name of a “flail” that dates back to medieval times – is an invitation to join the uprising of resistance. It is a call to take up the battle against industrial agriculture/genetically modified corporate power and return to sound, sustainable agricultural practices to feed the world for coming generations.
Jia Qi Zhen
How Much Is It Worth?
homemade clay, plastic, paper
14 x 9 x 13.5 in.
I would consider myself a first generation Chinese-“American,” being brought to America at age 5 – I constantly question about my roots and identities between two cultures. Culture is constantly evolving and changing over time; the continuous exploration of awareness for culture(s) grows as materials usage is essential. I exploit the interpersonal views that emerge and cause confusion towards culture and identity. I explore the usage of it in my three-dimensional works and performances. In them, the forms and gestures of the works are impacted by the elements in life both externally and internally expressing a reaffirmation of a story.
Woman Made Gallery 685 N. Milwaukee Ave. Chicago, IL 60642 • 312-738-0400 / Thursday–Friday: 12pm–6pm •
Saturday–Sunday: 12pm–4pm •
Woman Made Gallery is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. EIN/Tax ID #36-3840956