Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Statik's Urban Murals

Rahmaan Statik’s graffiti art window exhibition is hidden in the intersection between Adams and S. State St. Four murals in all, Statik depicts a combination of representational portraits, abstract graffiti style shapes and caricatures. By working primarily in an aerosol spray paint medium, Statik is able to capture the vibrancy and chaos of the urban setting that these murals so perfectly embody. As a whole, this collection comments on several different facets of American culture. For example, in one piece titled “Frankincense and Myrrh” which stands at 10x17ft and is painted using Spray paint and acrylic on canvas, Statik bombards the viewer by overwhelming them with images, which depict everything from a robot or a top hat to the female silhouette. As if the scale alone wasn’t enough to catch your eye! I couldn’t help but interpret this piece as a comment on the power of our consumerist society, the objectification of women and pop culture as a whole. Another piece, which I felt particularly drawn to, is titled “Loose Squares”. Also painted to a scale of 10x17ft, in “Loose Squares” Statik challenges the viewer by surrounding the scattered, realistic objects with an abstract solid red frame. This dichotomy creates tension as the piece transforms itself into a complicated mural with layered geometric shapes. Ultimately I felt that Statik was successful in conveying urban graffiti from a contemporary, political voice while simultaneously creating aesthetically exciting works of art.

Friday, January 25, 2013

"Body Language"

I was happy to walk into one of my favorite photography galleries last week to find unique portraits called "Body Language" by Marc Hauser. I was stunned by how big the prints were and curious about the subject. His series of portraits are different sizes with one reaching to about 50 inches on one side. The subject was placed in front of a simple back drop found in photography studios but displayed a very modern and colorful subject. His subject is men and women who are accenting their heavily tattooed bodies. I was very impressed by the details of each shot and the vibrant colors. I liked how he kept the shots simple, with no distracting elements taking away from the fascinating body art. I stared at each photograph for about ten minutes because of the sharp details in everyone's tattoos. I feel like the large format photographs were very effective because the viewer has the pleasure of seeing the details in the tattoos and their faces, giving almost a life-like feeling. I felt very connected to each person photographed and wanted to know more about them based of their personal choices in tattoos, hair style, and piercings. I love this subject matter because of how simple the photographs are as they devote the attention to the works of art on the body. I encourage all art fans to go see these big, beautiful photographs while you still can!


Harold Washington College Professor's Exhibit

This week, my art history professor informed me that my school, Harold Washington College, was hosting an exhibit showcasing some of the art work of the professors in the school. I was very intrigued by this. I mean who knew that our professors, who teach us English and Law had these hidden talents? So before class on Thursday I ventured off onto the 11th floor where all of the art was on display, hoping to see some cool pieces and to talk to some of the artists about their work. Unfortunately, no one was around to talk to me about their work, but I was able to browse for a while, and I came away with a new perspective and appreciation for people and their hidden talents. I was grateful, as I'm sure were the professors, for this platform that they had to showcase their artistic visions so that we as an audience could benefit from it. Perhaps some were working artists, perhaps some were not. And that is what I found so fascinating about this exhibit. All of the art was intriguing in it's own way. One of the most intriguing works of art was a video entitled "Sequences of Light and Shadow" by Galina Shevchenko, which was a video animation. It was a a very surreal animation were the lights and outlines of bodies moved with these somewhat distorted sounds. It totally struck my fancy. Overall, it was an enlightening experience that I think everyone would get something out of.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Pilsen Gallery 27

On Friday January 11th I got some friends together and went to the Chicago Arts District at S. Halsted and 18th Street for an “art crawl”, what we call the art show that is held every second Friday of the month.  I was especially impressed with the pop culture works found in Pilsen’s Gallery 27. This gallery displayed art inspired by early 90s Nickelodeon shows. The gallery showcased works by different artists, which brought a wide variety to the styles exhibited in the show.  One piece in this collection was a mixed media and found materials creation titled “Action” by Danielle Herrera.  This piece featured the logo for the show Kablam! The glass was painted with the logo over a silver sequined piece of cloth.  Other pieces featured characters from The Ren & Stimpy Show done by artists Blain Hefner and Katrina Catizone who used oil paint, vintage paper on toast and canvas to create a Pastor Toastman collage piece.  Additional pop culture pieces paid tribute to Nickelodeon’s Rocko’s Modern Life, Andrew Heath created a poster for this show in a six color screen print (16’ x 20’) in a print series of fifty.  Other pieces were inspired by the films of indie director and screenwriter Wes Anderson.  Many of the Wes Anderson inspired pieces were prints, making a unique and affordable poster for purchase.   Another piece that stood out in the show was a conversation piece between two different framed prints titled, “Donnie Darko Sun” and “Frank Sun” by artist Derek Eads. The images are illustrations of characters from the cult classic film Donnie Darko.  Each individual piece is captioned with dialog from the film. One print reads, “Why are you wearing that stupid bunny suit?” the other responds, “Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?”  The final piece I will mention was a paper collage portrait of Edgar Allen Poe.  His face was composed from the text to his poem The Raven.   The piece is titled “Nevermore” by Danielle Herrera.   I loved the diversity of the exhibit and found it really compelling as a film enthusiasts and product of the nineties. This Chicago gallery is definitely worth checking out!