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Friday, July 10, 2015

ARC Media Center Campaign

ARC is an educational foundation...

that provides outreach to disenfranchised groups throughout the city, helping to facilitate the expression of creative voice.
ARC is a gallery...
which subsidizes individual and group shows for artists, making the viewing and representation of art more accessible.
ARC is a group of artists...
who want to expand the gallery's offerings to the artists and communities we serve.

YOU can help expand the reach of ARC.

We are starting our 42nd year with a fresh image and a new website. We would also like to re-introduce a Media Center into our space to support the exhibition of artists working in video and sound.
We need $3500 for the purchase of the Media Center equipment which will include: 40”monitor, LCD projector, DVR player, tablets, amplifier, speakers, microphones, earphones, and a cabinet to safely secure our new items. 
All funds received will go toward this goal. Any funds raised over this goal will be used to subsidize media based exhibitions.
Our featured perk is a listing on ARC's Artist Registry Page. Your $50 contribution will entitle you to become an ARTIST FRIEND of ARC for one year. This listing – for you or a friend – includes an image on the Registry page and a link to your personal website.
For 41 years, ARC Gallery has been engaged in bringing both contemporary work and creative perspectives which are pertinent not only to individual experiences, but also to the practice of art.
Your donation will help ARC – the educational foundation, the gallery, and the group of artists – stay relevant in our continued mission of expanding the reach and representation of the creative voices which shape both the city of Chicago and our world.
Even if you are not able to contribute financially at this time, you can still help to make this campaign a success by sharing our goal on your Facebook page and through Twitter. 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Body in Revue: A.I.R. at ARC

A.I.R. Gallery, NY presents "The Body in Revue" at ARC Gallery through June 20, 2015. Following is an essay by Lynne Warren, curator of the exhibition:
There has long been a bond between the women artists of New York and Chicago. In the 1960s as the feminist movement began to influence thought and politics and in the early 1970s as inroads were being made into the arts, women artists in both cities shared a common cause—a critical lack of opportunities to get their ideas out  into the world through exhibiting their artworks. Out of networking (especially through the activities of the West-East  Bag, or WEB), information exchange, and a desire for change, in September 1972 A.I.R. Gallery (Artists in Residence, Inc.) opened as the first artist-run cooperative to exhibit women artists in America. And in part as a result of the exchanges between New York and Chicago, ARC (Artists, Residents of Chicago) opened exactly one year later. Although accused by traditionalists defending the male-dominated bastion of the fine arts of offering “dabblers” undeserved opportunities, in Chicago ARC allowed a generation of women artists finally to have a voice.  A.I.R., founded by a number of pioneering and now nationally and internationally significant female artists, had less overt skepticism to face, perhaps, but it was not easy to be a woman artist in the 1970s in either city. Both galleries have persevered now for over forty years, providing supportive resources for literally hundreds of women in the difficult enterprise that is a career in the arts. And while times have changed, sadly the underrepresentation of women artists is still endemic in many artworld venues.
As an expression of this reality, and the strong bond that exists between the two galleries, A.I.R. arranged for an exhibition at their sister institution ARC and asked me to curate a show of the current members. Of the over one hundred works submitted by the twenty-three artists, I have chosen twenty-five pieces, including sculpture, painting, drawings, photography, and various printmaking media.  It became immediately apparent that the body was a major motif in many of the submissions; I thus chose the body as the organizing concept. There are works that clearly present the body: the doll-like imagery of Liz Biddle; the darkly reworked comic strips of Francie Shaw; the compelling cast-paper sculpture of Louise McCagg. A rather malevolent figure peeks out of Daria Dorosh’s corner piece; a nude woman drawn in dramatic perspective from above reaches her imploring hand toward the viewer in Cynthia Karasek’s drawing.  There are negative and positive profiles presented against geometric shapes in Catherine Mosley’s work; legs and a face surface in richly layered montage of imagery by Joan Snitzer. Barbara Siegel's mixed media collage combines the human visage with natural forms.
"Figure I" detail by Louise McCagg 
And then there are the works that insinuate the body: a face emerges from Jayanthi Moothy’s abstract, linear forms. The garlands of forms in Sylvia Netzer’s whimsical India ink drawing form a delightfully silly face. The blurred, richly colored forms in Maxine Henryson’s photograph can be seen as side-by-side robed figures. Similarly, Luisa Sartori’s frieze of old-fashioned streetlamps have some of the anthropomorphic feeling of the bewitched brooms in the Sorcerer’s Apprentice section of Disney’s Fantasia.
Other works refer more obliquely to the body: Ann Pachner’s print featuring hypnotic, radiating color patterns is titled Abundant Heart and calls to mind both the physical beating and emotional emanations of that vital organ. Elisabeth Munro Smith’s abstract painting, All gone, with its cuplike shape and title evokes a baby (although it also calls to mind more adult concerns given the trickle of black that falls out of the shape).
Even those works that do not depict or insinuate the body allude to it. The bow-like shapes of Erica Stoller’s scrap-plastic tubing sculptures are human scale and therefore evoke tools or instruments of some sort. Nancy Storrow’s hypnotic rendering of whirled lines and forms seems a metaphor for the tornado of emotions that can beset us. Jane Swavely’s poetic painting Hudson River June trip #1 reveals the viewpoint of an individual standing, observing a particular, and seemingly much-loved, landscape.
Several works allude to the body by presenting images of houses and domestic items. Ann Schaumburger uses the most basic form of the house in diminutive but insistent geometric abstractions. Julia Westerbeke presents a viscous substance oozing out of an electrical socket in a disturbing vignette of small, everyday things gone wrong. Laura Petrovich-Cheney’s Block by Block assembles bits of recycled wood into a colorful, abstracted map of a neighborhood, the title a delightful double entendre. Kathleen Schneider’s Rosette III, a colorful mandala of flower-like forms, evokes a charming formal garden.
Bodies other than human are also present: Yvette Drury Dubinsky fashions a lovely flow of forms that features fish and frogs ‘swimming’ in the blue offered by the technique of cyanotype. And finally, Mary Sweeney’s poignant White Bees, a resin rendering of dead bees, reminds us of our own mortality in evoking bleached bones, and in the consequences we human can rain down on the other creatures of the earth.
It is not surprising a group of women might focus on the body and various implications of the body. “The Body in Revue” with this particular spelling is meant to evoke a showing, a parade of artworks, but it also should call to mind a review, a re-seeing. The works of the artist-members of A.I.R. have a collective weight as certainly as each artist has a unique and expertly expressed vision.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Paul Klein on Fine Art vs. Craft

"An Uncommon Knowledge" by Bonny Leibowitz
Paul Klein spoke on Fine Art vs. Craft at ARC Gallery in Chicago during the opening for Encaustic U.S.A. He was a co-juror for this exhibition along with Shelley Gilchrist. Paul also talked about guidelines for success for artists. The event was well attended.

He spoke about artists finding their personal art village and employing a vision and strategy for success. He distinguished vision from strategy in that an artist’s vision is non-negotiable. Strategy includes things such as: size, color, price, dealer, other artists, etc… He says to find a strategy that works, and that every artist can find success on their own terms.

He discussed three things which need to be inherent  in a body of work  in order for an artist to achieve financial success:
  1. Composition – which he feels relates to both craft and fine art.
  2. Context (as conversation) – how you contribute to the dialogue (could also refer to both craft and fine art).
  3. Content – which he defines as an expression (vs. a trend), and a vulnerability which comes from seeking inside oneself, a vulnerability which translates to the viewer.
Paul feels that fine art happens when you can see the soul of the artist, and that craft is an artistic expression and is concerned with the use of materials. He said this distinction might be determined as the soul of the materials (craft) vs. the soul of the artist (fine art).

He qualified his views by saying that defining high art is, of course, subjective. He also said that there are artists who have confused this line between craft and fine art, and he feels this began with the Abstract Expressionists including Franz Kline and Mark Rothko. He then opened the floor for discussion.

Many artists felt that this line between fine art and craft was mutable and illusory, and that this had long been a discussion in work by ceramicists and encaustic artists.
The Island by Nikkole Huss
"The Island" by Nikkole Huss
One artist was concerned with using “soul” as a criteria which defines fine art, and felt that “soul” involved a philosophical conversation. She suggested that it is the artist’s voice and not the artist’s soul which comes forth. Paul felt that the “voice” could assume a posture while the "soul" reveals vulnerability: head/intellect vs. heart.

This turned into a discussion on the nature and/or existence of “soul.”
Some of the arguments presented included:
  1. Voice vs. Soul (mentioned above)
  2. Humanity vs. Soul
  3. Concept/ual vs. Soul
  4. Philosophy vs. Soul
  5. Artist Intent vs. Soul
It was a lively discussion surrounded by a wonderful show. See Encaustic U.S.A. at ARC Gallery through July 20, 2013.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Pastel paintings of Kerry Mulvania Hirth

This Land is Your Land
July 24, 2013 – August 17, 2013
Opening reception on Friday, July 26, 2013 from 6-9 p.m.

Kerry Hirth at the piano with Nella Fantasia, Pastel on canvas, 12 X 48

ARC Member Kerry Hirth is an artist and musician with a natural ability to hear musical harmony in color.  She uses that blending of experience to convey the beauty of songs and instrumental music in long, colorful pastel paintings.  The paintings in the series This Land is Your Land are her effort to go beyond the harmony, or chords, she hears to other dimensions of music such as melody and lyrics.
Water Lily Stems - Scarlatti Sonata in C# Minor, Pastel on paper, 12 X 36

The series takes its name from the well-known Woody Guthrie tune, which she has used as the basis of many of the paintings.  The lyrics to Guthrie’s song contain references to the natural environment in the United States, including forests, valleys, and deserts, as well as the sunlight, sky and water that surround us.  The paintings of This Land is Your Land use color, instead of words, to honor and reflect our natural surroundings.  Look for the colors of sunsets, birch trees, green wheat fields and butterfly wings, as well as the Badlands, the Missouri Ozarks, the arctic and the fiery surface of the sun.

Perhaps the best way to explain how and why I created these paintings is that after studying music for so many years, I truly began to see musical patterns in nature.  I could transform the experience of music and give it a sense of time and place.

See more of Kerry's work on her website at

Lauren Kalman and Millee Tibbs

ARC Gallery's August exhibition features the photography of Lauren Kalman and Millee Tibbs.
July 24, 2013 – August 17, 2013
Opening reception on Friday, July 26, 2013 from 6-9 p.m.
Unicorn 1   Millee Tibbs

Through the use of prosthetics and augmentations Lauren Kalman and Millee Tibbs’ work uses transformational objects to explore the desire for the ideal, but somewhere in that attempt the ideal becomes mutated or deflated.

Spectacular combines image making and garment construction techniques with a critical investigation into the depiction of illness, stigmas of illness, and sexualizing of the abnormal, in both contemporary and nineteenth century visual culture. The materials are chosen because of their connection to accumulation of wealth, privilege, and style. The wearable objects are derived from contemporary and nineteenth century medical images and portraits of side show “freaks.”

The series Virgin Land, Wyoming explores the desire to make the imaginary into the real.  Prosthetic unicorn horns are fitted onto horses at a tourist destination ranch resort in Wyoming. The unicorn horn departs from its traditional representation as fantasy and presents itself as an anti-heroic, phallic augmentation that feminizes its wearer, calling into question the mythic masculinity aligned with the West.

Marty Drapkin

ARC Gallery's August exhibition features the photography of Marty Drapkin.
July 24, 2013 –August 17, 2013
Opening reception on Friday, July 26, 2013 from 6-9 p.m.
Pat and Hazel

Marty Drapkin’s photography exhibit, “Mothers and Daughters,” represents his work on this subject over almost forty years. His project includes both candid and posed photographs of mothers and daughters of all ages. Marty’s goal in this project has been to capture what he can of the beauty and, more importantly, of the special relationship that many mothers and daughters have. This is perhaps the most interesting of human associations, in which we see the full range of human emotions: warmth, caring, devotion, pride, high hopes and expectations, and often just a lot of fun. We may also see the bitterest arguments, sad disappointments, envy, resentment, and hurt feelings. It seems at once the tenderest and most tumultuous of human relationships, and Marty hopes that his photographs reflect that.         

Monday, May 20, 2013

ARC's June Exhibition

ARC's June exhibition features the work of Rudy Gonzalez.

Exhibition dates
May 29, 2013 through June 22, 2013
Join us for our Opening
Friday, May 31 from 6-9 pm

The Artwork of Rudy Gonzalez is a thoughtful balance of traditional graphic design fused with expressive influences of popular culture and graphite art. Gonzalez work can be more broadly categorized as collage, mixing acrylic painting techniques and imagery manipulated through print media. The imagery is often figurative, taken from a collection of printed resources and symbols, which provide a kind of narrative.

The narrative aspect of the work is situated around metaphor which allows the viewer freedom to engage the emotional and psychological interpretation of the work from various angles. The subjects might seem aggressive or confrontational, but Gonzalez’ work is more about questioning the power of imagery and how it can be manipulated in our media driven society.