What Matters (better late than never)

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Last year was an eventful one for Team CG. We started up the year with awesome shows like Present Standard at the Chicago Cultural Center curated by the wonderful artists, Josue Pellot and Edra Soto. This show served as a contemporary survey of Chicago Latinx artists and was also one of the best curated shows of 2016. The images below were taken in front of Diana’s piece, Fleco.

See the following links for more press, images, and info on the show:

The Annual at Chicago Artist Coalition, also curated by Edra Soto ran at the same time as Chicago Art Expo. It was a big weekend in Chicago with lots of art to see and artists to meet! See images of both events here:

The StArt Up Art Fair was another very interesting event happening at the same time as Expo and The Annual. Artist and art guru, Paul Klein talks to artists, Edra Soto, Magalie Guerin, Juan Angel Chavez, Jenny Lam, and Tom Torluemke about What Matters. What are some of the core concepts that matter to this diverse group of relevant Chicago artists, and how money, professionalism, and community impact their practices.

Lastly, we wanted to dedicate this post to Diana’s aunt, Emmita. She was a mother to those of us who who needed one. Always there and up for anything. She was a friend, art supporter, and a late blooming artist, herself. Her parting was devastating but the void in our hearts will overflow with all of the beautiful memories and love she left for us. Rest in Peace.

Emmita with Sabina Ott’s ‘Because Mountains Are So High’ at Chicago Art Expo

Art at Morton College. Erin Hayden

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Erin Hayden received BS in art education and studio arts from Illinois State University and is a current MFA candidate in Art Theory and Practice at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

My paintings hover in the space between pictorial representation and the actuality of the painting as object. Through the use of paint, papers, and fabrics, I create spaces where the identities of materials shift and merge into one another while also conforming to pictorial representation. My paintings directly link to image matter that has a place within the history of painting, depicting commonly known images that can be identified by a wide range of audiences. I am engaging a long tradition of painting still life objects, landscapes, animals, etc., while also highlighting the materiality of the paintings as objects.

By choosing common image types, I am able to push paint and material to its limits in a variety of ways while still conforming to the conventions of picture making. The collaged areas bring a direct representation of the subject, and in some instances, the materials transform identities. For instance colorful dresses become tulips, cookies form the backside of a dog, or a night sky is transformed into a mountain. The paintings deliver instances where the image coheres and yet falls apart as the different materials become apparent. The paint density also plays an important role in asserting the fluctuation between image and object. Washy areas of paint are used to create infinite space, opaque paint makes flat assertions of surface, and thick impasto paint enters into the viewer’s physical space. With this layering and absence of different materials, I want to question our everyday visual experiences in hopes of bringing to light the phenomenon of simply looking.

Erin’s work will be up from November 3rd through December 19th.
Morton College is located on 3801 S Central Ave, Cicero, IL 60804 Building C, first floor across from the Book Store.

This exhibition is free and open to the public.

Curated by Diana Gabriel

Art at Morton College. Karen Murphy.

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Karen E. Murphy is a sculptor born and raised in Oak Park and currently living in Schaumburg. She earned a BS in Business from Indiana University and recently graduated from Northern Illinois University with MFA concentrating in Ceramics. She has been a resident artist and received a Kiln God Award at Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts in Newcastle, ME. Her works have been published in Lark Book’s 500 Prints on Clay.  Karen exhibits her work nationally.

I use clay as my primary material to create abstract geometric images. I explore my interest in systems of structure and relationship through geometric form as a method of examining the conceptual process of organizing perceptions about boundaries.
Clay is typically used for its properties to create or cover objects of volume. This body of work examines clay’s relationship to form and surface in a low relief, 2 dimensional manner that relates to painting, printing or collage. The clay is used as a medium for the expression of mark and the unique surface of glaze. Utilizing repetitive geometry, references to nature and patterns from design, the selection of material and focus on process questions the hierarchy of material in art.
In some of the work 3D printing techniques were used to create originals that were then molded into clay. The contrast of new technology with the earthy ceramic medium is intended to provoke consideration about the nature of progress and technology.

Karen’s work will be up from November 3rd through December 19th.
Morton College is located on 3801 S Central Ave, Cicero, IL 60804Building C, Second floor across from the Student Union.

Artist contact:

This exhibition is free and open to the public.

Curated by Diana Gabriel


Art at Morton College. Alfredo Martinez

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Born in Venado, San Luis Potosi Mexico.  Alfredo Martinez received his bachelors of fine arts degree in 1987 at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago He’s participated in numerous art shows in the Chicago area, as well as in regional and national art exhibitions and competitions. Martinez received The “ Curator award” in a national exhibition and competition at the “Wedge Gallery “ in Rochester, New York in 1988.

Upcoming Exhibitions:
Ormond Memorial Art Museum, Ormond Beach, Florida June 13- August 25
Nicolas de Jesus and Alfredo Martinez. Prospectus Art Gallery, Pilsen  September
Prairie Center for the Arts, Schaumburg  October
Prospectus Art Gallery, Pilsen  October
Beverly Art Center, Chicago December


About the work

I was a student at the School of he Art Institute of Chicago when I happened to see this great exhibit of Mexican masks in the school gallery. It was a big show organized by the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum. All the pieces were a compilation from Chicago area private collectors. They were hundreds; all one of a kind. The great majority made out of wood, some incorporating other materials like leather, tin ,hair etc.

At the time I was working at a printed circuit boards factory setting up and operating machines, where I saw a machine repair man discarding a metal piece from an old motor. I picked up the piece and  saw a “face” in need of some surgery. Using a black marker, I outlined the shape and features of a face and with a set of files, drill and bits, and hack saw, I started to define this mask.

I occasionally I find a piece of scrap metal or discarded object that I can turn into a mask. An old liquid soap dispenser, faucet  from my bathroom, or a piece of rusted steel found on a Chicago street etc. Currently, I’m using bolts, screws, nuts and all kinds of metal objects for eyes, noses, mouths etc. Some faces are more challenging, yet others may require only eyes, a nose or mouth. Sometimes I feel that these displaced pieces are waiting for me to rescue them, to inject “life” to them, to give them a second chance for their continuity, or “reincarnation” this time in the form of “faces.”

You can view Alfredo’s Work at Morton College. 3801 S. Central Avenue, Cicero, Illinois 60804. Building C Second floor, across from the Student Union. This exhibition is free and open to the public.

Curated by Diana Gabriel

Art at Morton College. Rita Grendze.

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Rita Grendze is a sculptor making artwork from ordinary objects. Both her undergraduate and graduate degrees are in Fiber art, which for Grendze has translated into a lifelong love of process: even during dry periods for creating art, her hands remain busy, learning new techniques, exploring materials expanding her visual language.

Grendze is the youngest child of Latvian immigrants. She was born in Canada, but grew up in Lakewood, Ohio, where her family was immersed in the immigrant culture and Lutheran church. Grendze graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1987, after which she spent time living in Europe, eventually returning to the United States and moving to New York. Upon finishing her graduate degree at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Grendze was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for study in Latvia. She spent a year there with her husband Andris, returning to once again settle in New York City.

During her decade in New York, Grendze worked for the American Institute of Graphic Arts, taught at Maryland Institute, College of Art in the Fiber and Foundations departments, as well as at New Jersey City University. Since moving to the Chicago area in 2001, she has worked with Redmoon Theater creating props for outdoor spectacles, has taught community workshops in Chicago and the suburbs, has completed commissions, costumed plays, had large-scale work funded, and shown her work regularly, but the bulk of her time has been dedicated to her studio practice and to her young family. In her own, completely subjective estimation, her best work has been created right here in Illinois, where she has maintained a working studio since 2010.

About Unsung

Earworms. We all experience them: uninvited tunes, even little bits of melodies that invade thoughts and sit in the subconscious, bubbling up when least expected and quite often, least wanted. Music can be pervasive in a way that other art forms can’t: speaking to us in non-verbal language, a language that can be felt physically and emotionally, as well as engaging us in an audible experience.

So who decides that a song is worth singing? Who dictates which music is worth remembering and treasuring?

Most of my artwork is made of abandoned objects:  thousands of books, hundreds of shovels, dozens of steel spheres, or in this case, box upon box of choral sheet music. I find that when presented with a collection of like objects, I immediately start to catalog them in some way. I try to find a system to make sense of the abundance. This is an important part of my research when developing new art work: touching the collection, ordering, stacking, and at times breaking the stuff. I gain understanding of the materials through physical manipulation. I forget, for a time, where the materials came from, what the materials were used for originally. And yet, at some point, I reengage with each collection’s context and recognize the stories innate in the objects. While I feel strongly that all stuff, natural or man-made, has integrity, I am not always comfortable making the known content, the assumed meaning my own. I acknowledge this kind of disconnect when it exists. I aim to always be respectful of the materials and their past, grateful to those that have shared their collections with me.

In Unsung, I am visually creating a crescendo to mimic the dynamics we hear in beautifully performed music. A piece that starts out calm, controlled, and contained (even when there is an underlying urgency), can then percolate to the point of boiling over and becoming expansive. The sheet music became both the subject matter and the material for this piece, growing from my drawings of the music (a note-less score) to sweet chorales and impassioned anthems, but eventually drifting into a moss-like fragmentation of songs. While I am assuming that the music lives on long beyond any printed record or notes on how to perform it, Unsung is exploring a song’s life cycle and leaving us with only the seed of what the music was: a visual earworm.

Rita will be displaying her newest piece called Unsung, an on-site installation made from re-purposed music sheets and other materials. You can view this installation at Morton College. 3801 S. Central Avenue, Cicero, Illinois 60804. Building C First floor, across from the bookstore. This exhibition is free and open to the public.

Curated by Diana Gabriel