New Work by Julie Blackmon!

We are excited to share three new images by Julie Blackmon!

South & Pershing St., 2017
South and Pershing St., 2017 © Julie Blackmon

Those familiar with Julie’s work will recognize the Midwest scenery as well as her children, siblings’ children, and the children of friends and neighbors. Blackmon, herself the oldest of nine children, balances her role as a mother of three and an artist, referencing family life and the circumstances it creates. Chaos, disorder, fantasies, social gatherings, game playing, all of these scenarios continue to dominate Blackmon’s work, which we first witnessed in her series, Domestic Vacations (Radius Books, 2009). Elegance, triumphs, dangers and solace mix with fantasy, where nothing is quite as it seems. Like Alice in her wonderland, Blackmon’s children appear in reality and fantasy, engrossed in their fictitious worlds.

Weeds, 2017
Weeds, 2017 © Julie Blackmon

Influenced by Jan Steen and 17th c. Dutch paintings, Blackmon also credits Edward Gorey, Tim Burton and Federico Fellini, who stated, “the things that are most real to me are the ones that I invented… even lies are interesting, eloquent and revealing, just as much as what is considered the truth.” By looking at her family through the lens of fiction, Blackmon reveals her own truth and one that seems to resonate with audiences’ worldwide.

Sidewalk, 2017
Sidewalk, 2017 © Julie Blackmon

Since 2005, Julie Blackmon has received overwhelming critical acclaim. Her works are part of numerous collections, including The Museum of Fine Arts (Houston, TX), George Eastman House International Museum of Photography (Rochester, NY), Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Kansas City, MO), Columbus Museum of Art (Columbus, OH), Cleveland Museum of Art and The Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago, IL). Her newest book Homegrown is available from Radius Books.

All images, from 2016 to present, are available as 22 x 29″, 32 x 42″ and 40 x 53″ pigments prints made in editions of 10, 7 and 5, respectively. Pieces range in price from $4000 to $15,000, depending on size and availability.


Artist Talk with Liat Elbling!

In an attempt to understand why artists create the work they make, we decided to launch Artist Talk in September of 2008, a video series which allows the viewer to hear, from the artist, the reasons behind making each piece on view. In our latest installment, Catherine sits down with Liat Elbling, on the opening day of her first American solo-show, Proposals for Disorder.

In the video, Liat explains her process, discusses life in Tel Aviv, and makes a reference to this Bulgarian cheese:

© Gad Dairy

Watch our Vimeo channel for future talks, and feel free to share this video elsewhere. We love making these Artist Talks and when you share them, you help us to keep making new ones!


New “Heroes” by Francesco Pergolesi

After a busy summer for the artist, Francesco Pergolesi has released new images from his series Heroes. Each of the photographs in this series reference a character from paintings, literature, film, and the artist’s own memories. Thus, the titles are not actually his sitters’ names: “I always work with the real elements present in the locations, the subject in the portrait is the real owner, I absolutely leave intact the essence and the history of the shop, but I make a sort of meta-dialog between the reality and my memory to create a new atmosphere.”

Bonfé, Barcelona, 2017
Bonfé, Barcelona, 2017 © Francesco Pergolesi

Francesco Pergolesi was raised in Spoleto, a small Italian village filled with artisan shops and small businesses. Splitting his time between Spoleto and Barcelona, Pergolesi creates photographic tableaus inspired by memories from his past: narrow cobblestone streets, the sound of a hammer coming from the open door of a shoemaker; the smell of fresh bread from a baker, the steady beat of a sewing machine from an open window, the smell of old paper in a used bookstore. In Pergolesi’s world, these sights and smells drive his art making, as he seeks to preserve the past, before big-box and chain stores arrive.  As he says:

“When I was a child, I used to walk free, exploring my village streets. I loved to spend time in the little cobbler or the grocery where my grandmother sent me to shop. Time seemed to be extended and gave me a sense of freedom. I grew up loving neighborhoods where human relationships were the center of life. I understood these places were disappearing, pushed by a mysterious force, and a new era was coming.”

Delia, Roma, 2016
Delia, Roma, 2016 © Francesco Pergolesi

Delia was the flower shop owner in Spoleto, where I went when I was a child to buy flowers for my mom, and after for my girlfriends…”

Fausto, Barcelona, 2016
Fausto, Barcelona, 2016 © Francesco Pergolesi
Murphy, Barcelona, 2016
Murphy, Barcelona, 2016 © Francesco Pergolesi

Murphy is [in reference to] the actor Alex Murphy in the 1987 Robocop movie.”

Francesco Pergolesi sees himself as a guardian of a vanishing world where people congregated to talk about families and daily activities. The artist presents his work as traditional photographic prints and as 5 x 7 x 2” / 9 x 12 x 3” photo boxes, lit from within. These small pieces force the viewer to stand inches away, creating an intimate interaction with strangers – it is what inspires Pergolesi every day, as he continues to wander the streets looking for a connection.

Niki, Spoleto, 2016
Niki, Spoleto, 2016 © Francesco Pergolesi
Pio, Torino, 2017
Pio, Torino, 2017 © Francesco Pergolesi

Francesco’s images made 2016-present are available as 4 x 6″ or 10 x 15″ pigment print mounted to plexi, framed and backlit with LED light and 23½ x 35½” pigment print in an editions of 7 + 2 AP’s and 3 + 2 AP’s, respectively. Pieces range in price from $1500 – $4000, depending on size and availability. You can see the entire Heroes series on our website here.

Inside the Artist’s studio with Liat Elbling

Liat’s newest pieces being prepared for framing.

Liat Elbling works in the same tradition as many photographers before her (Sandy Skoglund, Lori Nix, James Casebere) who construct entire sets for the purpose of being photographed. Liat meticulously lights her scenes, achieving a tonality that magnifies the three dimensional qualities of her constructions. The resulting images are representations of worlds wherein the viewer may not immediately distinguish fabrication from reality.


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Archetype, 2015 © Liat Elbling

In her statement, the artist explains:

“In these series, I adopted a slightly different approach, and now, rather than taking away and eliminating details from existing models, I construct and compose them in my studio, These structures are some kind of gestures to the world I surrounded by: the street, the city, the view outside my window. I employ various materials: wood, MDF, plaster, Styrofoam, cardboard, and paper, painting each ‘set’ in a solid color, which is also manifested in the printing and framing process.

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Interaction #3, 2015 © Liat Elbling

“By this actions I return to art’s basic characteristics: perspective, light and shade, exam the relationship between two-dimensionality and three-dimensionality, and encounters between materials, colors and textures. I wish to explore of course principles which are prevalent in photography – creating a replica in relation to the original, visual deceptions and disruption of space – but also am fascinated by how we can, briefly, simply, almost just ‘forget’ about the photograph.

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Untitled (Full), 2015 © Liat Elbling

“The issues I’m focusing on reflect my need to explore the medium of photography as it relates to itself, to the social order, and to other media, whether the photographs are about architectural structures, plates, or flowers; I have employed these as tools in my reflections on photography.”

Proposals for Disorder is on view through October 28, 2017. See the entire show on our website here.

Saturday at Expo Chicago

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It’s Saturday at EXPO CHICAGO! Spend this weekend enjoying the photography on view at booth 257. The fair is open until 7 pm today, and reopens again tomorrow at 10 am. Three of our eleven featured artists who we have yet to highlight are Clarissa Bonet, Serge Najjar, and Gregory Scott.

Clarissa Bonet
The concept of place, and our relationship to it, is at the heart of Clarissa Bonet’s work, who was born and raised in Tampa, Florida – a coastal port city known for its amazing climate, sports teams, national defense outposts, and healthcare businesses. While the city is currently undergoing a population growth, it used to be a quiet place dominated by the warm gulf water.  In 2010, Bonet moved to Chicago to attend graduate school at Columbia College Chicago. She immediately noticed the density of the city, its people, and its traffic. As she wandered the city, she was stunned by the isolation she felt among the throngs of people rushing along the sidewalks. It was this feeling that led her to City Space, an ongoing body of work about individuality in a large city.

Fortress, 2016 © Clarissa Bonet

Walking for hours, Bonet uses her phone to photograph the interactions between people, architecture and light. Later, she would revisit these places and recreate the feeling she had first experienced, hiring models to play specific roles at the precise time of day when the light was perfect. The resulting photographs are carefully staged memories that appear to be snapshots of everyday city life. As she states: “The urban space is striking. Its tall and mysterious buildings, crowds of anonymous people, and endless sea of concrete constantly intrigue me. The images I create provide a personal interpretation of the urban landscape.”

Serge Najjar
Five years ago Serge Najjar started photographing the interaction of people and architecture in his native Beirut. Influenced by the work of Kazimir Malevich, Josef Albers, Ellsworth Kelly, Frank Stella, and Alexander Rodchenko, Najjar took to the streets, focusing his lens on daily routines: construction workers sitting on a building ledge during lunch break, the sharp lines of a high-rise facade, a man looking out an open window, and children sitting on a windowsill. Whether working in Beirut, Munich or other places he visits, Najjar’s vision is unwavering – to show other people what they may not see themselves.

As he states: “There is no such thing as an ideal place to photograph, or an ideal city. Architecture inspires me, but my whole approach towards photography is to focus on what people consider as common… the people I photograph are complete strangers. I never plan where I go and what or who to shoot. My images are faithful to what I see. And every single Saturday morning I am convinced that I will never capture the picture I had the chance to capture the week before…. It is a thin line between the ugly and the beautiful, the ordinary and the extraordinary, between chaos and order.”

Gregory Scott
In 2008, upon graduating with an MFA from Indiana University, Gregory Scott stunned the art world with his mixed-media video works that combined installation, photography, performance, video and painting. As more and more artists blur the lines between medias, Scott has taken the idea to a whole new level, presenting video-based wall pieces that are humorous and poignant, contemplative yet accessible. Symbolic, 2017 is Scott’s most detailed piece to date.

Gregory Scott builds sets in his studio that serve as his subject. In these sets, he records himself performing a variety of scenarios that are then edited into 6-10 minute videos. The sets are then photographed, and the resulting wall piece is a mounted photograph with a cut out for a monitor on which a video plays, and a painted element appears on the photographic surface. In each video, he shows how he constructed the set that he photographed, breaking down the barrier between maker and viewer. All of the hardware is attached to the inside of the frame, making his works self-contained.

Continuing to use himself as the model, Scott creates narrative pieces that reference specific artists (Mark Rothko, James Turrell, Cy Twombly, Frank Stella) that have had an impact on his life. Using illusion and surprise, he challenges the definitions placed on photography, painting and video, expanding its discourse and creating a dialogue with the viewer.

You can see all the photographs on view at Booth #257 on our website here.
Read more about CEG’s EXPO 2017 programming
featured on Chicagoist and The Reader.

Festival Hall, Navy Pier
600 E Grand Ave Chicago, IL 60611

Saturday, September 16
11:00 – 7:00 pm

Sunday, September 17
11:00 pm – 6:00 pm

For tickets and more information about the fair, visit
Follow along with us this week on InstagramFacebookTwitter and here on Cyclopsblog!


Portraits big and small

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It’s been a great first few days at EXPO CHICAGO! If you haven’t visited booth 257 at Navy Pier, make your way there today. We are thrilled to be featuring eleven artists, four of whom explore contemporary portraiture in the photographs we have on view.

Dan Estabrook
For more than 30 years, Dan Estabrook’s (b. 1969 Boston, MA) work has been at the intersection of yesterday and today. Working with salt prints, calotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes, Estabrook creates art that echoes his life, loves, desires and fears. Like many practitioners before him, he turns the camera on himself to make contemporary works inspired by the gap between today’s photographic perfection and the past’s technical limitations.

As he states:  “Using 19th-century techniques and celebrating their flaws and failures, I make seemingly anonymous photographs in order to re-imagine a more personal and dream-like history of photography, seen from a 21st-century perspective. With these processes, I can create my own ‘found photos’ – highly personal objects in which to hide my own secrets and stories.”

Omar Imam
In 2012, Syrian activist turned photographer Omar Imam (b. 1979, Damascus) was kidnapped and tortured by a militia and only let go when a friend intervened. Soon after, Imam left Damascus with his parents and wife, settling in Beirut where he and his wife started a family. In 2016, he moved to Amsterdam, where he currently resides. His family recently received paperwork that will finally allow them to join him.

Live, Love, Refugee 2015

Live, Love, Refugee is Imam’s photographic response to the chaos erupting in his homeland. In refugee camps across Lebanon, Imam collaborated with Syrians to create photographs that talked about their reality, rather than presenting them as a simple statistic. As a refugee himself, Imam understands the loss and chaos of being displaced from ones home. But dreams cannot be eradicated — dreams of escape, dreams of love, and dreams of terror. These dreams are what Imam set out to capture.


The resulting images peel back the façade of flight, to reveal the spirit of those who persevere, despite losing everything that was familiar. These composed photographs challenge our perception of victimization, offering access into the heart and soul of humanity.

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Sandro Miller
At the age of sixteen, upon seeing the work of Irving Penn, Sandro Miller (b. 1958, Elgin) knew he wanted to become a photographer. Mostly self-taught, Sandro relied on books published by many of the great artists canonized in photographic history.  Through their pictures, he learned the art of composition, lighting and portraiture. More than 30 years later, with clients ranging from Forbes, GQ and Esquire, to American Express, Coca-Cola and BMW, Sandro has secured his place as one of the top advertising photographers worldwide.

My Hair, My Soul, My Freedom is a celebration of the diversity, artistry, and power of black women’s hair. This project is about highlighting the many ways in which black women embrace their freedom of choice and express their creativity through their hair, no matter the style or texture, whether they wear braids, dreadlocks, weaves, or whether they wear it natural or straightened. With each portrait in this ongoing project, Sandro seeks to recognize and honor black women’s power and beauty while celebrating blackness and black lives.

Bettina von Zwehl
Bettina von Zwehl was born in Munich in 1971 and received an MA from the Royal College of Art (RCA), London, in 1999. She has built her international reputation on subtle and distinctive photographic portraits. As her practice has developed, she has continued to seek out different ways of exploring the form; from her early works, most often defined by the exacting conditions she imposed on her subjects, to her most recent projects which reprise the tradition of the painted portrait miniature of both, people and dogs.

Her ongoing pre-occupation with the miniature was inspired during her six months as Artist in Residence at the Victoria & Albert Museum in 2011. In today’s digital age of photography, with more and more artists printing billboard sized prints, Bettina von Zwehl is among a growing number of practitioners looking to the past to create powerful, intimate portraits, in a 7 x 5” or smaller format.

You can see all the photographs on view at Booth #257 on our website here.
Read more about CEG’s EXPO 2017 programming
featured on Chicagoist and The Reader.

Festival Hall, Navy Pier
600 E Grand Ave Chicago, IL 60611

Friday, September 15 through Saturday, September 16
11:00 – 7:00 pm

Sunday, September 17
11:00 pm – 6:00 pm

For tickets and more information about the fair, visit
Follow along with us this week on InstagramFacebookTwitter and here on Cyclopsblog!


The colors of booth 257

Today is the first full day of EXPO CHICAGO! Thank you to everyone who attended opening night, it was great to see so many familiar faces. We had a wonderful start to the week.

Gregory Scott in front of his new piece Symbolic, 2017
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Sandro in front of his series My Hair, My Soul, My Freedom

CEG is excited to be featuring eleven artists at EXPO this year. Photographs by Daniel Beltrá, Liat Elbling, Laurent Millet, and Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison make it hard to walk by booth 257 without noticing their vivid color.

Daniel Beltrá
Born in Madrid, Spain, Daniel Beltrá is a photographer based in Seattle, Washington. His passion for conservation is evident in images of our environment that are evocatively poignant. His striking, large-scale photographs are all shot from the air. This perspective gives the viewer a wider context to the beauty and destruction he witnesses, as well as revealing a delicate sense of scale.

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Amazon scarlet ibis (#222), 2017 © by Daniel Beltrá

Over the past two decades, Beltrá’s work has taken him to all seven continents, including several expeditions to the Brazilian Amazon, the Arctic, the Southern Oceans and the Patagonian ice fields. In 2009, Beltrá received the prestigious Prince’s Rainforest Project award granted by Prince Charles. Other highlights include the BBVA Foundation award in 2013 and the inaugural “Global Vision Award” from the Pictures of the Year International in 2008. In 2007 and 2006 he received awards for his work in the Amazon from World Press Photo. Daniel’s work has been published by the most prominent international publications including The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, Le Monde, and El Pais, amongst many others.

Liat Elbling
Like many still-life photographers, Liat Elbling cuts, tapes and assembles objects on a table, condensing or expanding the physical space through meticulous lighting. Her current solo show at CEG, Proposals for Disorder, presents 23 photographs that examine how the construction of a space can affect ones mood. A gray room can be both soothing and non-descript; red is the color of passion and danger; merlot the color of a soothing wine. In each of these scenarios, Elbling uses color to create an atmosphere that invites the viewer into a world that is as comforting as it is suspenseful. As she states, it is her desire to “return to art’s basic characteristics: perspective, light and shade, examining the relationship between two and three dimensionality, and the blending of materials, colors and textures.”

Laurent Millet
For more than twenty years, Laurent Millet has channeled his innate curiosity to create photographs that question the way objects appear within space and time. Citing R. Buckminster Fuller and Denis Diderot among his influences, Millet creates an artistic vocabulary through metal wire, vineyard posts and barrel hoops – objects prevalent in the coastal town of France in which he resides. Photographs from his series La Méthode, La Chasse, and La Cabanes are on view at booth 257.

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La Méthode #21, 2001 © Laurent Millet
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La Méthode #53, 2001 © Laurent Millet
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La Méthode #31, 2001 © Laurent Millet

As he stated in a 2014 interview in L’Oeil de la Photographie: “I felt like I had to take refuge in something that was comforting and reassuring… This idea brought me back to what I did as a child in the countryside when I would play with wood and stones. I rediscovered that pleasure as an adult… Starting with the first things I built, fishing machines, I felt like a world was opening up in which I could really exist. These objects are powered by my personal fictions, my dream of another life. The photograph is proof of that, a record of the moment, a reward.”

Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison
Much has been written about Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison, the husband and wife duo who met as students in New Mexico. She was studying dance and metalsmithing, while he was focused on photography. Within a few years of graduating, they gained instant recognition for their collaborative works that presented constructed and choreographed scenarios about mans effect on the landscape.

Riverview, 2015
Riverview, 2015 © Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison

More than twenty years later, the artists are still dedicated to the environment, showing us the power of nature, and the effect our actions have on it. By creating environments specifically to photograph, the artists address issues about the earth and our responsibility to heal the damage we’ve created, while investigating the human condition. This ideology has remained a constant, and is why they are so greatly admired.

You can see all the photographs on view at Booth #257 on our website here.

Festival Hall, Navy Pier
600 E Grand Ave Chicago, IL 60611

Thursday, September 14 through Saturday, September 16
11:00 – 7:00 pm

Sunday, September 17
11:00 pm – 6:00 pm

For tickets and more information about the fair, visit
Follow along with us this week on InstagramFacebookTwitter and here on Cyclopsblog!