Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Plein Air 2014

Tim Leeming

Another enjoyable plein air show !

So much variety -- so much sense of  place -- so much deft articulation.


It's not that I have anything against pretty colors and beautiful scenes -- but I especially enjoy how Tim makes Chicago's backside so attractive in a symphony of gray, black, and brown.

Miguel Malagon

This is a much more conventional landscape -- but it's too sharply, and economically,  done to feel ordinary.

It reminds me of when Richard Schmid paints alla prima - the energy is crackling.

Misha Livshulz

This pair of paintings,  dating  back to the 1990's, feels drenched with emotion -- of happy/goofy springtime shown above..........

................and of anxiety ridden autumn shown below

Rita Walker

This one reminds me of Frank Dudley, the Palette and Chisel member who specialized in depicting (and protecting) the Indiana Dunes a century ago.

Stephanie Weidner

Stephanie is not a doorway specialist --  but she could be.

Steve Puttrich

Lothar Speer

William Gram

It's impossible not to smile in front of this image - a banner for eternal, and completely irrational, optimism.

Barbara K. Herring

Dan Kolleng

Don Yang

Errol Jacobson

Kathleen Newman

Lee Radke

This is Six Corners.  I haven't been there for several years - but it's just how I remember it.

So many of the  close-ups in this show are so spacious and delightful - more than in any other P&C show (and many professional gallery shows as well)

Lynn Allen

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Exhibition: Walter Monastyretsky

Walter seems to have an old fashioned idea of painting as a job that -- like any other - should be done thoroughly and with great care to achieve total customer satisfaction.

But I like him best when, as in the above scene, his time on the job appears to have been  severely limited.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Once in a Blue Moon

Once in a blue moon -- actually, much less often -- a  Palette and Chisel member is given a solo show in a Chicago gallery.

Over the past 25 years, the only one that I can remember is Scott Tallman Powers at R.H. Love in 2007 - though that gallery was mostly about historic artists -- and Scott's paintings took less than 25% of their wall space.

But this month, Errol Jacobson is prominently featured at Zygman Voss, in the River North gallery district.

They've given him quite a display -- it even looks good from the street.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Reviewing the 1916 Exhibition

It seems like Chicago has always had at least one periodical devoted to the fine arts. From 1899 to 1919 it was called "The Fine Arts Journal"

The appreciation, if not the manufacture, of beautiful things being a lady's diversion in those days, you may note that all of the contributors are women --including one Agnes Gertrude Richards who wrote the following review of the 1916 Palette and Chisel show held at the Art Institute of Chicago - back when both institutions were somewhat more idealistic about art and beauty than they are today.

This is the only illustration for which the original can now be located.  (and it was the artist's granddaughter who sent me this review)

As it turns out, the complete text of this review is already online at JSTOR as well as Google Books , but if I'd never seen this copy, I would never have known that it even existed..

That's a fascinating museum tableaux  by Victor Higgins, too bad it has disappeared - along with the mural by Boutet de Monvel and the plaster cast of the 'Winged Victory', neither of which have been seen at the Art Insititute for at least 50 years.

Apparently the club was then best known for its humorous hi-jinks, but at least some of the members were on a first-name basis with  the most prominent American painters of the day.

Regarding "The Sister" by E. Martin Hennnings, who won that year's Gold Medal, the critic had this to say:

No one could fail to be impressed with the spiritual quality of this delicate face so eloquent of a chastened soul. Here is the subtle hint of unavoidable suffering attendant upon the relinquishment of all earthly hopes and human ties, blent with that awesome nobility which we mark in the faces of the dead and which makes us feel that the spirit is hovering 'twixt earth and heaven. That youth should see and make others see the grey sorrow and the golden resignation of years of sacrifice bespeaks inspired vision.

It's hard to imagine such art criticism being written today - it's all about  elevated feelings concerning the subject matter.  It's not about the language of art -- or the psychology of the artist.

"Splendidly colored and gracefully composed" --- is, again, the kind of art talk that is long gone.

"Let us hope that after this the Palette and Chisel Club Exhibition will be an annual event at the Institute. Nothing could be more appropriate and few things more vividly interesting as reflecting the artists' life of Chicago."

Regrettfully, the P&C would be given only one more show at the museum - and chances are not good that it will ever happen again.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Gold Medal Show 2014

Jose Antonio Bedolla

This large piece just leaps off the wall for me  - so it's my pick for this year's Gold Medal.

This would qualify as a poster in a travel agency except for the bored  "when do we get to go home?" face.

But that's why I love it !  It's such a quirky contrast to the festive costume she's wearing.

And what's up with the garlic bulb that she's holding ?  She must be the Queen of the Gilroy Garlic Festival

Clayton Beck

I never get tired of Clayton's small nudes - and their symphonic backgrounds.

Some very sharp drawing over that hip.

Andrew Conklin

A nice update on Vermeer -- though the painting is far more enticing than the room it depicts.

The place -- but not the painting -- is quite boring.

I love the glare off the glass of the painting-within the-painting.  Is the depicted face screaming "let me outta here!" ?

I like the contrast of the 21st C. electronics with the 17th C. chair.

Darius Lipinski

The cute cheeks of one of our best  male models.

This feels like a trip back to a 19th C. French atelier

Debra Balchen "SeaMist"

I've never before seen a sculpture look more like a watercolor.

Ali Hasmut

Another image of sadness in celebration

Helen Oh

Unfortunately, there are too many pieces in this show to hang every piece well -- and this one suffers from being waist level and impacted by a shadow thrown by the mantle to its left.

Lenore Murphy

Lenore has been showing copies of old masters in recent shows - and that exercise seems to have made her painting much more enticing.

Mary Beth Bellon, "So long, thanks for the fish"

I love this strange portrait -- reminds me a lot of Mary Klug, our other dramaturge of daily life.

Stephanie Weidner

Stephanie's companion, Errol, has been getting a lot of well deserved attention lately for his cityscapes.

But Stephanie is quite a painter as well -- and I happen to love peeling paint. (my arm itches to scrape it off)

I hope this one gets some votes for the gold medal - or at least some other award.

Walter Monastyrelsky

Here's another painting that deserves an award.  I love it's dank, musty atmosphere.

These are eyes that have looked a bit too deeply into human souls, including his own.

William Schneider, "But at What Cost ?"

I guess you could call this a comedy of manners.

I can't remember any other P&C painter portraying a famous English writer (though we have had some Russian writers depicted).

From what I've read by this evangelical fantasist, this portrait hits the mark.


And here's the medal winners that I missed:

Errol Jacobson

The last 12 months have been what might be called a break-out year for Errol Jacobson. He sold more than $20,000 out of his his solo show last December. He got reviewed by Chicago's most astute art critic,
and next Saturday his one-person show opens at Zygman Voss Gallery

John Cooper

Kimberley Beck

Val Yachik