Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Caristia: Celebrating Family and Arts on Elston

Group Exhibition Review, February 21-22, 2015 
by Emily Alesandrini

Mixed Media
Vanessa Shaf
Caristia was an ancient Roman holiday celebrating the love of family with banqueting, gift-giving, and reconciliation. Honoring ancestors and relatives, party-goers feasted on cake and wine with loved ones. This February, the Connor family exhibited their Caristia, a group exhibition of multi-media artworks by family members and friends in the multi-roomed gallery space, Arts on Elston.

Works on canvas, wood, paper and cement provide an eclectic ambiance—a visual diversity that keeps the viewer engaged room after room.  Artist and gallery owner Arthur Connor commented on this diverse medley of artwork saying, “The hope is to show pictures perhaps people didn’t even know they wanted to see.”  In response, cousin and fellow artist Eileen Madden added, “No one walks in and says, ‘What I like isn’t here.’” Arthur, a painter, sculptor, and furniture craftsman, is joined in the space by Eileen Madden and Vanessa Shaf, whose Paper and Print studio just relocated to the building.     
Wood Assemblage Drawer
Art Connor
The gallery space itself is repurposed from a retired bakery, and comfy seating in nearly every room continues the space’s legacy of warm invitation. Sculptor and Painter Christine Connor remarks how the multiple rooms, “allow for personal intimacy with the works.”  The viewer feels more like a guest in the home of a welcoming collector than a visitor to a public gallery.

Vibrantly colored fish in oil pastel, politically incited mixed media works, industrial metal sculptures, letterpress poetry on delicately handmade paper and luscious nudes in oil on linen adorn the walls and floor space of the gallery rooms.  The range of artistic representation reflects the diversity within this family of artists and friends. The vibrant, cacophonous details of life are the broad themes of Caristia.
Rebecca George
Oil on Linen

Arts on Elston frequently collaborates with Rebecca George, founder/director of the nearby art school and gallery space, The Art House. Up next for The Art House and Arts on Elston is Art By America, a national exhibition of two-dimensional artwork juried by Ginny Voedisch of the Art Instiutue of Chicago Museum and James Yood of Artforum Magazine. Participating artists will receive all sale proceeds. Application deadline: March 20, 2015. APPLY and stay tuned to the exhibitions page at The Art House  to learn more about upcoming opportunities to exhibit and attend art openings at The Art House and Arts on Elston.

Caristia’s artists include: Heather Aitken, Celene Aubrey, Arthur Connor, Christine Connor, Elizabeth Connor, Mae Connor, Karl Fresa, Gordon France, Rebecca George, Eileen Madden, Dan Mullens, Vanessa Shaf. 

Arts on Elston
3446 North Albany Ave
Chicago, IL 60618

Eileen Madden

Untitled and Auger Bit
Christine Connor

Vertebrae Study
Oil on Paper
Elizabeth Connor

1 comment:

  1. Wow, all this is so pretty! Thanks a ton for sharing the photos and details here. I saw such great creativities in a DIY event at some domestic Chicago event venues and got stunned to see such creative things over there.