Art Letter

March 2011 Archives

Art for Expanding your Horizons

Connie Noyes moved to Chicago a few years ago after living on several continents.  She feels anchored here, but continues to show everywhere.  I've followed her work since shortly after she arrived. It's been strong for a while but now is more focused on a commentary about the detritus in our lives and its beauty.  Any material is fair game, from asphalt to discarded video tape to bubble gum - along with a modicum of paints and varnish.  Her pieces are disarmingly beautiful and like all artists who push themselves aggressively into uncomfortable territory, some of her pieces are clunkers, but most just resonate. She's in a show at Corporate Art Source Gallery along with other painters and a photographer.  Though I went to see what Connie was up to some of the other work is challenging and/or appealing too.



Talk about a good relationship:  Perimeter Gallery has been working with Keiko Hara fo 30 years. Raised on the ocean, she watched her parents fish more than anything else and her seductive work is a meditation on the oceans, the play of light on the water and the universes that exist within that over-sized microcosm. 

L1040490.JPGBarbara Crane has been a significant photographer for decades, perpetually and continually pushing the limits of her medium and its social commentary. In this colorful and beautiful body of work she successfully pushes the difficult to convey concept of abstract photography, combining, overlaying and obfuscating pictures of flowers.  Her show opens tonight at the newly upscaled and relocated ThinkArt, whose idiosyncratic owner and director, Laurie Glenn presents a fascinating array of art that doesn't succumb to trends.  



It's only been a few years since the Hyde Park Art Center moved to its new facility, but what a difference it has made to Chicago and the Hyde Park community.  Shortly before it opened I led a failed effort to start the Chicago Art Project, a museum for Chicago art and artists.  Maybe it's a good thing we didn't succeed because HPAC had done an exemplary job in elevating its game to expose and champion a broad array of significant Chicago talent.  Sunday afternoon they're opening a full-blown exhibition for savant, Renaissance man and/or loony genius, Conrad Friedburg.  Never constrained by the reality of fiscal responsibility, Friedburg builds contraptions and concepts that reorient our thinking, sense of history and wonder.  

IMG_5146.JPGConrad Press image - piles.jpg

It's Spring (soon).  The good art is coming out again.  Time to expand our horizons and go look at something new or different.  Try it.  It feels good.  I look forward to seeing you out there.

Paul Klein

Talent & Honesty

I keep learning more about Dawoud Bey.  He's a wonderful human being and a brilliant artist.  He reveals himself, his depth, his generosity and his talent, slowly, He wasn't raised in Chicago, but he's embraced it since his arrived over a decade ago.   When he came here he was already an adult, making mature work.  I liked it, but I didn't appreciate it in the greater context of what had preceded it - until this exhibit of his that opens at Stephen Daiter tonight. 

There are two bodies of work; one from the 70's and one from the 80's.  It's not hard to trace a thread from the present back through the works on view and see a continuity and singularity of concern and compassion, more present in the later works, and almost foretelling in the earlier. 

It's the warmth, compassion and wisdom of the photographer that enables those in his pictures to open themselves up to him, to reveal their vulnerabilities.  A reciprocity of respect.  

Dawoud Bey is a master and looking at his early work revels not only that he's put his 10,000 hours in, but that he had a natural head start. 


It's hard for me to believe that someone as marvelously unique and charmingly odd as Tom Torluemke is that he has a bunch of kindred spirits whose grotesteque and delightful art remind me of him.  Uncle Freddy's Gallery awas Torluemke's.  Em'ryn Artunian, Thomas Hagen and Billy Pozzo used to show there and now that it's closed they are brought together here in a strong exhibit at Bridgeport's Co-Prosperity Sphere,    .


See you out there!
Paul Klein