New Work by Jess T. Dugan!

We are always excited to share new work by our artists, and Jess T. Dugan sent us new photographs this week! Jess has had a busy summer teaching workshops and making new portraits. Below are four new additions to her series Every Breath We Drew.


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Jen, 2017 © Jess T. Dugan

Jess writes that Every Breath We Drew “explores the power of identity, desire, and connection through portraits of myself and others. Working within the framework of queer experience and from my actively constructed sense of masculinity, my portraits examine the intersection between private, individual identity and the search for intimate connection with others. I photograph people in their homes, often in their bedrooms, using medium and large format cameras to create a deep, sustained engagement, resulting in an intimate and detailed portrait.

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Michael, 2017 © Jess T. Dugan

“I combine formal portraits, images of couples, self-portraits, and photographs of my own romantic relationship to investigate broader themes of identity and connection while also speaking to my private, individual experience. The photographs of men and masculine individuals act as a kind of mirror; they depict the type of gentle masculinity I am attracted to, yet also the kind I want to embody. Similarly, the photographs of relationships speak to a drive to be seen, understood, desired through the eyes of a another person; a reflection of the self as the ultimate intimate connection.

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Jamie, 2017 © Jess T. Dugan

“By asking others to be vulnerable with me through the act of being photographed, I am laying claim to what I find beautiful and powerful while asking larger questions about how identity is formed, desire is expressed, and intimate connection is sought.”

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Rafael, 2017 © Jess T. Dugan

Jess T. Dugan is an artist whose work explores issues of gender, sexuality, identity, and community. Jess earned a BFA in Photography from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, a Master of Liberal Arts in Museum Studies from Harvard University, and an MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago. Portraits from this series are currently on view in the 2017 Aperture Summer Open On Freedom, at the Aperture Foundation, in New York City, NY, until August 17 and in The Outwin 2016: American Portraiture Today at the Art Museum of South Texas in Corpus Christi, TX, until September 10. You can see more of Every Breath We Drew on our website here.


New Work by Ysabel LeMay!

We are excited to share new work by Ysabel LeMay! Ysabel has been hard at work on a large-scale commission as well as these additions to her series, Gracia.

Eden I, II and III  are designed to work as a diptych, triptych or individually. They are available in two sizes, 48 x 48″ and 59 x 59″ in editions of seven and five, respectively.

Eden I, 2017
Eden I, 2017 © Ysabel LeMay
Eden II, 2017
Eden II, 2017 © Ysabel LeMay


Eden III, 2017
Eden III, 2017 © Ysabel LeMay

Combining her technical expertise with her deep-seated roots as a painter, LeMay continues her exploration into the power and divinity of nature through a unique process she calls “Photo-Fusion”. At first glance, you might think you are looking at a hyper-realistic painting. However, LeMay’s innovative technique is a lengthy process during which hundreds of photographs are taken and light and visual properties are attuned. She then assembles one detail at a time in a painterly fashion to form a single composition. In 2011, LeMay was selected the winner of KiptonArt Rising Star program in New York. Since then she has exhibited in the US, Canada, Europe, Asia and The Netherlands. Her upcoming solo show “WOW: Wonderful Other Worlds” opens at the Morris Museum in New Jersey on September 16, 2017.

Ysabel LeMay is presently living and working in Austin Texas. You can watch an Artist Talk we recorded with Ysabel in 2015 here, during her solo show “Wonders” at the gallery in Chicago. See more of her work on our website.

New work from Jack Spencer

Somewhere along the back roads of small towns dotting the American landscape is Jack Spencer, a self-taught photographer, capturing the country and those he finds within it. Throughout his travels, Spencer looks for the unexpected, waiting patiently for images to emerge.

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Two Wild Horses, Cumberland Island, 2007 © Jack Spencer

Driving through forgotten towns, lush bayous, overgrown cotton fields and visiting weathered porches filled with the sound of authentic country blues, Spencer watches and listens, always looking for that one moment, interaction or ray of light that inspires him to take a picture. His photographs illuminate a singular mood, person or place, exposing us to the raw beauty etched into the faces and landscapes in the South, as he returns time and again to his subjects, peeling away layers, offering us a glimpse at another facet of their character.

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Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, 2016 © Jack Spencer

From the moss hanging on Cypress trees in Tomotley, South Carolina, to the crumbling ruins of an old church, or an abandoned tire swing swaying in a humid breeze, Spencer’s work emanates with the heat of a southern summer where everything grows like wildfire and the air feels like an extension of your skin.

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Miscanthus, Iowa, 2008 © Jack Spencer

These are but a few of Spencer’s most notable images from Native Soil, his first monograph, which solidified his place as one of the most gifted photographers working today. Whether photographing people or the landscape, Spencer manages to draw us in, searching for stories in the silhouettes of children on a beach or the haunting eyes of an older man staring directly into the camera. In his latest book This Land; An American Portrait, similar stories are being told. The photographer broadens his scope, invoking imagery from New England cityscapes to coastal towns in California, and most everywhere in between.

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The River Rouge, Dearborn, Michigan, 2016 © Jack Spencer

Whether traveling the roads of Louisiana, New Mexico, or Montana, Jack Spencer is on an endless quest for beauty — to capture small moments and freeze them for all to wander into. It is here, within his images, that we grasp his magic, as each image reveals its own meaning. Spencer is an artist whose vision is unquestionable, as is his commitment.

New work by Julie Blackmon

 Julie Blackmon shared with us her two newest images: Fake Weather and Trapped.

Fake Weather, 2017

Fake Weather, 2017 © Julie Blackmon

Fake Weather is the more comical of the two, the kids’ faces flaunting Julie’s skill of direction. It’s Christmas in July, or an unseasonably warm winter (not unlike what we experienced in Chicago this year).

Trapped, 2017

Trapped, 2017 © Julie Blackmon

As evidenced by the signs in this garage, Trapped hearkens to the distress felt by much of the country during and after the U.S. 2016 presidential election. Multiple skateboards, an energy drink, and the lone hand etching a lewd word across the door’s four windows hint at the extent to which the current political climate affects even young members of her community.

Those familiar with Julie’s work will recognize the Midwest domesticity 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.

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.

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.

New “People of the 21st Century” by Jan Kaesbach

Jan Kaesbach consistently surprises people who visit the gallery. His portraits contain over 3,000 still shots that, shown in succession, create a 3 to 4 minute video loop of his subjects. Showing the videos on a monitor is really the only clue to the viewer that these pictures are in fact, moving, not just illuminated.

This ongoing series is called People of the 21st Century, in homage to August Sander, who was known for his portraits typifying everyday tradespeople at the turn of the 20th century.

Jan’s newest portraits are of painters; you can see a few of them below. Visit us at AIPAD, March 29 – April 1 to see People of the 21st Century in person!

“Building a Universe” by Jacob Watts

Chicago Project artist Jacob Watts shared with us a new body of work entitled Building a Universe. Jacob’s curiosity in the Pleiades star cluster led him to research ancient mythology, and apply it to a modern re-telling of the tale:

“I remember being very young when I first saw the Pleiades star cluster. Peering into the summer night sky, watching the faint lights twinkle, I wondered why no one else around me seemed fascinated with it. That night burned into my memory and my interest in the cluster emerged again as an adult. Research revealed to me that many other people were fascinated with it: almost every other civilization for thousands of years had their own mythology about the Pleiades. The story was told in many different ways, but a common thread involving the Seven Sisters was ubiquitous. Believing that this ancient story should be given new life, I wanted to create my own version to pass on its tradition of storytelling. Building A Universe is a modern retelling of the mythology of the Pleiades and the Seven Sisters in the realm of science fiction.

“Using a process of photography rich with photo-manipulation, the images follow a story of the Seven Sisters on their journey to help a dying Earth from the destruction of nature. Hailed to the last civilization, Aymatoposem, the Sisters discover the planet’s nature is being consumed by large cube structures. Having been hailed by a man named ‘The Inventor,’ they travel to his laboratory to find his book he left behind for them. This book holds writings and blueprints to build machines for different tests to run on the large flying structures, and maybe even stop them.”

Using the Information Gathered from the Three Tests, the Seven Sister Search Through a River for the First Cube Built, 2017
Using the Information Gathered from the Three Tests, the Seven Sister Search Through a River for the First Cube Built, 2017
See more of Building a Universe, as well as work from Jacob’s other series, Evolution by viewing our online gallery.

You can see the full Building a Universe story on Jacob’s website.



New City Space images from Clarissa Bonet

In case you hadn’t heard, we received new work from Clarissa Bonet last week! We are thrilled to share three City Space images with you here.

Fortress 2016
In Between 2016
Uniform Blue_2016
Uniform Blue 2016

Clarissa on her City Space series:

“The urban space is striking – its tall and mysterious buildings, crowds of anonymous people, the endless sea of concrete. City Space is an ongoing photographic exploration of the urban environment and my perception of it.  I am interested in the physical space of the city and its emotional and psychological impact on the body. These photographs reconstruct mundane events in the city that I have personally experienced or witnessed in public. Stark light, deep shadow and muted color are visual strategies I explore to describe the city.  I use the city as a stage and transform the physical space into a psychological one. The images I create do not represent a commonality of experience but instead provide a personal interpretation of the urban landscape.”

Clarissa and Tim inspecting proofs of Fortress, In Between, and Uniform Blue.

See more of Clarissa’s work on our website.