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.

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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.

EXPO CHICAGO
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 expochicago.com.
Follow along with us this week on InstagramFacebookTwitter and here on Cyclopsblog!

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

EXPO CHICAGO
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 expochicago.com.
Follow along with us this week on InstagramFacebookTwitter and here on Cyclopsblog!

CEG arrives at Navy Pier

We are thrilled to be back at Navy Pier for EXPO CHICAGO 2017! Our artwork is being unpacked and installed as we prepare for opening night tomorrow. Expect to see new work debuting from Daniel Beltrá, Clarissa Bonet, Sandro Miller, Gregory Scott, and Bettina von Zwehl. Here’s a preview of booth #257 as install gets underway!

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EXPO CHICAGO, the International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art, has established the city of Chicago as a preeminent art fair destination. The Vernissage Opening Night Benefit, presented by the Women’s Board benefiting Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, will take place tomorrow night–Wednesday, September 13–from 6:00 – 9:00 pm. Follow along with us this week on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and here on Cyclopsblog!

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

Wednesday, September 13
Vernissage: 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

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

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

See all the photographs on view at Booth #257 on our website here.
For tickets and more information about the fair, visit expochicago.com.

Proposals for Disorder opens tonight!

We are thrilled to present the American debut of Israeli photographer Liat Elbling. Proposals for Disorder opens September 8 and runs through October 28, 2017 and is being presented to coincide with the Chicago Architecture Biennial. The opening reception is Friday, September 8, from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. The artist will be present.

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Tel Aviv is a place known for its rich history that is obvious when walking along the city streets. Founded in 1909, the city thrives as an architectural gem, with contemporary buildings sitting alongside Bauhaus and other modernist styles. It is here, within this high tech city, that Liat Elbling finds her inspiration. In her studio, she constructs architectural models made from wood, clay, plaster, paper and paint. These fictitious spaces, printed and painted in a singular color, are inspired by her surroundings. Working within the same tradition as James Casebere, Lori Nix and Thomas Demand, Elbling’s framed photographs create a dialogue about perception and reality.

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Like many still-life photographers, Elbling cuts, tapes and assembles objects on a table, condensing or expanding the physical space through meticulous lighting. 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.”

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Liat Elbling was born in Ramat-Gan, Israel (1980) and currently lives in Tel Aviv. In 2009, she graduated with honors from the Department of Photography at the Minshar School of Art and has since been working full-time as an artist. Elbling’s work has been shown in numerous exhibitions throughout Israel, and in solo shows in Haifa, Tel Aviv and Belgium. Most notably, she had a solo exhibition at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in 2011 after receiving the prestigious Leon Constantiner Prize for an Israeli photographer.

You can see the entire exhibition on our website here.

With support from the Consulate General of Israel to the Mid-West.

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TARGETED group show opens today!

We are proud to present Targeted, a three-person show that marks the Chicago debut of work by Omar Imam, Garrett O. Hansen, and Colleen Plumb, which addresses the effects of violence and captivity on individuals and communities. The show opens today, July 14, and runs through September 1, 2017.

The opening reception is tonight, July 14 from 5:00-8:00pm, as a part of the River North Gallery District’s Mid Summer Art Walk. Over 15 galleries will have summer exhibitions on view, and local restaurants will offer food and drink specials. Stop by CEG for the opening of Targeted, and stick around for the after party at Bar Lupo. Read more about the Art Walk here.

 

Every day the news about Syria is dire, as the country finds itself in a civil war with no apparent end. As of today, 6.6 million people have been displaced and the number keeps rising. More than 400,000 people have been murdered, and hundreds of thousands more have been severely beaten, starved and detained. More than 17,000 people have died in Syrian prisons, as a result of torture or inhumane conditions, and another 13,000 sentenced to death. The horror in Syria is now entering its 6th year, as the government seems to be systematically annihilating its people.

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Untitled, 2015 © Omar Imam, part of the series Live, Love, Refugee.

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.

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Untitled, 2015 © Omar Imam, part of the series Live, Love, Refugee.

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.

In the United States, roughly 40% of households own a firearm. There are enough guns—approximately 300 million—to arm nearly every man, woman, and child in the country. This statistic is at the core of work being done by Garrett O. Hansen (b. 1979, NYC). In 2013, Hansen moved from Indonesia to teach at the University of Kentucky. It was in Lexington that the prevalence of gun culture caught his attention and became the focus of his work. He began making weekly visits to a local gun range and collecting the cardboard pieces that sit behind familiar targets of a generic unarmed silhouette. Each shooter is given a fresh target, while the backings slowly erode from the rounds shot at the figures chest and head. In Silhouette, Hansen brings these pieces of cardboard into the darkroom, where he creates full sized contact prints of them. These photographs are then scanned and form the basis for the final pieces that are made of mirrored Plexiglas and represent a one-to-one replica of the original cardboard backings. As viewers approach the piece, they see their own reflections hollowed out by the countless bullets. Through this series, Hansen seeks to engage the viewer in a broader discussion about gun culture in America.

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Memorial, Chicago, 2016 © Garrett O. Hansen

According to available data, 2016 was the deadliest year in the city of Chicago since 1997. A huge uptick in violence resulted in 723 gun deaths… the highest of any city. The entire state of Kentucky had 278. In his newest series Memorial, Hansen examines these statistics by physically shooting pieces of paper multiple times, from which he creates gelatin silver prints, mirroring the number of gun deaths in each month. A comparison between Chicago and Kentucky will be on view. Through pieces of paper riddled with bullet holes, Hansen illuminates the heavy price of an armed civilian population.

Most people encounter endangered animals in a zoo, behind protective glass or a large moat. Designed to educate, preserve and foster conservationism, zoos have come under fire by animal rights activists who question the welfare of captured animals in an artificial environment. Colleen Plumb (b. 1970, Chicago) tackles these issues in Path Infinitum, a video projection that explores the complexities and contradictions of keeping wild animals in captivity and raises questions about our participation as a spectator.

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Sunda (Topeka, Kansas) at Train Bridge, North Branch Chicago RIver, Chicago, Illinois, 2016 © Colleen Plumb

Traveling to more than 60 zoos in the U.S. and Europe, Plumb filmed animals exhibiting stereotypy, a behavior only seen in captive animals, which includes rhythmic rocking, swaying, head bobbing, stepping back and forth and pacing. Path Infinitum looks at elephants, lions, and polar bears, along with many other animals that exhibit stereotypy or hopelessness due to lack of adequate mental stimulation or an inability to engage in natural activities. As more and more animals face extinction due to human consumption, sport and profit, Plumb raises questions that are meant to provoke discussion and raise awareness about endangered species.

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A still from Path Infinitum © Colleen Plumb, film projection on CEG’s front windows

In conjunction with the opening of Targeted, Facets Cinémathèque is hosting a screening of Unlocking the Cage, a documentary about animal advocacy group, Nonhuman Rights Project. NhRP’s executive director, Kevin Schneider, will join Colleen Plumb in a discussion about art’s role in litigating for nonhuman beings, immediately following the film. The event is FREE and begins at 5pm, Saturday, July 15. RSVP here!

Omar Imam is an Amsterdam-based, Syrian photographer and filmmaker. In his photographic works, Imam uses irony and a conceptual approach to respond to the violent situation in Syria, often publishing his work under a pseudonym. After leaving Damascus in late 2012, he began making fictional short films that often focus on the Syrian refugee experience. Individually and with NGOs, he has produced films, photographic projects, and workshops for Syrian refugees in Lebanon. In April 2017 he received the Tim Hetherington Visionary Award.

Garrett O. Hansen graduated from Grinnell College in 2002, where he studied economics and political science. He completed his MFA in photography at Indiana University in 2010, and has taught at several universities in the United States and in Asia; he is now an Assistant Professor of Photography at the University of Kentucky. Hansen has had numerous solo and group exhibitions in the United States, Europe, Indonesia, and Japan.

Colleen Plumb works in photography, video, public installation, and object making, tackling the relationship between animals and humans. Her work is held in several permanent collections and has been widely exhibited nationally. Her video projections have taken her from the Grand Teton National Park to Berlin, Paris, New Mexico, and most recently to New York City, where she projected Path Infinitum onto the doors of Pier 94 during The Photography Show, presented by AIPAD.

You can see the entire exhibition by visiting our website.

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Slowing Down for Slow Art Day

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This Saturday, April 8, is Slow Art Day. Around the world, galleries, museums and other institutions will encourage their visitors to spend more time than average with their collections. It has become common to speed walk through exhibits in search of the highlights, and Slow Art Day was enacted to combat this habit. Fifteen seconds is simply not enough time to digest everything that goes into creating a work of art.

In Texas, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston has outlined a four-step process for art educators that challenged students to look at a piece of art for 30 seconds, turn their backs, and then try to recall and record everything they had seen. When the students return to the artwork, they notice just how much was missing from their lists–what they had overlooked the first time. Both Harvard and MIT now offer courses that lead classes in mindful looking.

We will have five photographs designated for “slow looking,” at which a minimum of ten minutes is recommended for viewing, per piece. At the end of this 50-minute period, gallery staff will be on hand to answer any questions. Discussions have been scheduled for noon and 3 pm.

You don’t need to know a lot about art to approach it. But by simply looking a little longer, you can learn more than you may expect. Discussing your observations with gallery staff and other visitors this Saturday will teach you even more. By thoroughly engaging with the photographs in our gallery, you’ll leave with a better understanding of how the work was made, why, and how it may relate to work by other artists you have seen.

Below are a few articles related to Slow Art Day:
The Art of Slowing Down in a Museum – New York Times
How Long Do You Need to Look at a Work of Art to Get It? – Artsy
Practice Looking at Art – Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

 

Laurent Millet: Somnium opens Friday!

We are delighted to present the first Chicago exhibition for French photographer Laurent Millet, whose photography combines the inquisitiveness of a scientist with the wonder of a child. We will present four different bodies of work that examines his ongoing fascination between the real and the imagined, and our relationship with objects. Somnium opens March 3 and runs through April 29, 2017.

There will be an opening reception on Friday, March 3 from 5:00-7:00 pm.
The artist will be present.

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There is a rich history of artists constructing environments simply to be photographed and then disassembled. These created realities were prevalent in the 1980s, as works by Sandy Skoglund, Bernard Faucon, Bruce Charlesworth, James Welling and other artists burst onto the scene. All of these artists worked with objects to create a narrative, captured by the camera. Laurent Millet (b. 1968 France) continues to work in this tradition, using various 19th c. printing techniques to magnify his vision.

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.”

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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. His 1997 series, Petites Machines Littorales, addressed his surroundings, as he transformed the sea into a place for scientific experimentation, creating contraptions that suggest a way to measure water or listen to fish. These “machines” invite curiosity and questions, much like a child experimenting in a science lab. In his 2000 series Les Cabanes, Millet continues to build structures in the water, yet this time they appear to be bridges, ladders, architectural pieces and fences, suggesting a relationship between water and sky. The 2002 series, La Chasse, features objects that could be used to trap, to capture that which is hard to contain. And finally, in the 2014/15 series, Somnium, the artist photographed himself with geometric objects, polyhedra, that he fabricated. These images seem paranormal yet familiar, as the artist engages with objects hovering in the air, recording his encounter.

His work can be seen in numerous publications including his 2014 book, Les Enfantillages Pittoresques (Filigranes Editions) and in major museum collections, including The Art Institute of Chicago, Maison Européenne de la Photographie (Paris), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Fonds National d’art Contemporain (Paris), among others.

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Visit CEG’s website to see all the images in the exhibition!

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