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Art Letter (12/11/09)


There are 3 powerfully strong exhibits opening this weekend.  Good enough to say: “Screw the cold; there’s art to see!”

A major foray of
Studio Chicago’s, multi-institution, yearlong look art artists and their studios blasts off this afternoon at the School of the Art Institute’s Sullivan Galleries.  Titled Picturing the Studio, the show presents a nice mix of 38 artists (20 local) who picture, render, replicate and/or comment on the artist’s studio. Aside from one clearly major piece by Rodney Graham riffing on Morris Louis, the show presents work of consistently high quality, a tribute to the curators, Michelle Grabner (SAIC) and Annika Marie (Columbia College) along with the indefatigable Mary Jane Jacob. Healthy. Too often curators try to impose a point of view.  Here they enable and expose many. It helps us understand the creative process, the artists relationship to their space and how it influences what they create. It brings us closer to understanding magic.

I wish I’d bought
Juan Angel Chavez’s “rookie card.”  This guy is hot!  For 6 years he’s been on my radar, a damned good artist who keeps surpassing one’s expectations. In another breakthrough blowout Juan gets more complex, contemplative, embracing, profound, humble and humorous all in one show - at Linda Warren Gallery.  In this body of work Juan is inspired by the homeless; their lives and sights (what they see). It’s beautiful, compassionate and informed.

In Linda Warren’s Project Space
Shannon Kerrigan shows her girly-strong curlycue flowers of roughcut and welded steel - often used to brand paper repeatedly., Searing the surfacing. The paper is both burned and resilient.

Seeing the group of works (they are paintings, though their strength lies in their dissimilarity to paintings) in
Angel Otero’s show, opening Saturday at Kavi Gupta, confirms the rumors of his exciting ability. After Miami no pieces are available. Good for the artist, the gallery and an indication that the art world is coming back on multiple levels.   

Each of these shows impress in their own way.

For a rousing end to a year of provocative and groundbreaking exhibitions and works of art take in
Wesley Kimler’s “Holiday Party” next weekend.

Here’s to Happy Holidays and a Bright New Year for All,

Paul Klein