FINAL WEEK to see Elizabeth Ernst: Shady Grove Nursing Home!

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Don’t miss seeing all new work by Elizabeth Ernst in her third solo show at CEG, Shady Grove Nursing Home
Join us for a special closing reception on the final day of the exhibition, Saturday, February 24, 2018. If you could not attend the opening night reception, this is your last chance to enjoy the exhibition before it closes and speak with the artist. Coffee and doughnuts will be provided from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm.

RSVP on our Facebook event page! You can also see the entire exhibition on our website.




New work by Sandro Miller!

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Richard Avedon / John Ford, Director, Bel Air, California (April 11, 1972), 2017 © Sandro Miller

You know Illinois native Sandro Miller for his collaboration with John Malkovich to create the homage series Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich: Homage to Photographic Masters, which received wide acclaim when it debuted in 2014. The series honors photographs that have impacted Sandro. Pieces include Irving Penn’s photograph of Truman Capote in a corner; Bert Stern’s photographs of Marilyn Monroe; Dorothea Lange’s image of a migrant mother; Richard Avedon’s beekeeper, among many others. The show is still traveling the world and has opened this week in Oslo, where Sandro debuted 20 new homage images: August Saunder’s portraits of 20th-century workers, Man Ray’s surrealist photograph of glass tears, and Richard Avedon’s image of a John Ford, to name a few. Read on for more images and information about the series.

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August Sander / Bricklayer (1928), 2017 © Sandro Miller

At the age of sixteen, upon seeing the work of Irving Penn, Sandro Miller 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.

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Man Ray / Tears (1932), 2017 © Sandro Miller

His success in the commercial world allows him to continue his personal projects, which has included working in Cuba, photographing American blues musicians, various dance troupes, and extended endeavors with John Malkovich, his long time friend and collaborator. Sandro first met Malkovich in the late 1990s, while working on a job for Steppenwolf Theater. More than 20 years later, Sandro and John are still collaborating.

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Irving Penn / Truman Capote, New York (1965), 2017 © Sandro Miller

In 2013, Sandro decided to do a project honoring the men and women whose photographs helped shape his career. After selecting thirty-five images to emulate, Sandro contacted Malkovich, who instantly agreed to participate. When speaking about Malkovich, Sandro states: “John is the most brilliant, prolific person I know. His genius is unparalleled. I can suggest a mood or an idea and within moments, he literally morphs into the character right in front of my eyes. He is so trusting of my work and our process… I’m truly blessed to have him as my friend and collaborator.”

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Patrick Demarchelier / Christy Turlington, British VOGUE, New York (1992), 2017 © Sandro Miller

You can see the entire series on our website here.

Opening Friday—Elizabeth Ernst: Shady Grove Nursing Home!

Catherine Edelman Gallery is pleased to present all new work by Chicago photographer/painter Elizabeth Ernst in her third solo show, Shady Grove Nursing Home. The show opens January 5 and runs through February 24, 2018.

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For more than 12 years, Elizabeth Ernst has created art about the people and entertainers affiliated with the G.E. Circus, a small family owned circus of aging performers. Over the years we’ve seen them pose for the camera in their fanciful outfits, relax backstage playing cards, apply makeup in their dressing room mirrors, and perform for enthusiastic audiences. Through intimate detailed images, we’ve witnessed their joys and fears, as the glory days of the traveling circus began to fade.

In her third solo show at Catherine Edelman Gallery, Ernst takes us into the Shady Grove Nursing Home, located in Clarence, NY, where several of the G.E. Circus performers have retired. Elderly, and suffering from various circus related ailments, many of the G.E. regulars find themselves waiting out their days telling stories about the good old days, substituting facts when their memories fade. But this is no ordinary nursing home. Shady Grove is situated next to a beautiful lake, and has all of the amenities one can ever desire.

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Shady Grove introduces us to Jake, a retired chef in the cookhouse, who vows to keep smoking until he can no longer breathe; Lenny, one of the resident caregivers, who was a former trumpet player in the circus band and still serenades his friends in the evening; the clinic, where residents go to see Dr. Stanley, who has been taking care of them for more than 30 years; and Lois, a former showgirl dancer whose beauty is still apparent, even as her body slowly succumbs to old age. At Shady Grove, Elizabeth Ernst’s cast of characters share their remaining years with us, as they reflect, dream, fantasize and embellish their personal histories to staff and visitors. Through their eyes, we experience the difficulties and richness of circus life, as it continues to change and evolve.

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Elizabeth Ernst is a professor emeritus at Columbia College Chicago, where she taught for 25 years.  She is the recipient of numerous Illinois Arts Council Fellowships in Photography, and two Faculty Development Grants from Columbia College. Her work has been exhibited nationally and was recently featured at the Mimi and Ian Rolland Art Center, University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, IN. Elizabeth Ernst lives and works in Chicago.

See the entire exhibition on our website here.


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.


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.


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!



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.