December 1 marks our 30-year anniversary of the gallery. The gallery was established as a place to showcase new talent alongside well-known photographers. To celebrate this milestone, we are thrilled to debut the miniature portraits of London based photographer Bettina von Zwehl in her solo exhibition, Portraits. The show opens November 3 and runs through December 30, 2017.
The opening reception is tonight, Friday, November 3, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
The history of miniature paintings can be dated as far back as the 16th century when wealthy Europeans commissioned their likeness for their loved ones or as a means of marital introductions. Originally made in gouache, watercolor or enamel, miniatures found a more utilitarian use with the invention of the daguerreotype and then ultimately the tintype. 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.
Portraits features several bodies of work which all address the formal portrait, presented in oval, round or arched frames. Von Zwehl taps into historical iconography, staging scenarios reminiscent of allegorical paintings. In Tallulah and Jasmine, a young girl stares at the camera holding a dead fish; in Sari (Lampropeltis Triangulum Nelsoni), an adolescent girl confronts the viewer with a milk snake wrapped around her neck; in her series Made Up Love Song, we see a woman in profile, photographed in the same position over the course of six months; The Sessions presents silhouetted portraits of a young girl printed on photographic paper which is then torn, suggesting the fragility of youth; and in her latest series Dog Portraits, pugs, terriers, and all breeds of dogs are elevated to a regal status normally affiliated with royalty. Whether photographing young girls, women, or canines, von Zwehl honors the past, creating an intimacy often lacking in art making today.
Bettina von Zwehl was born in Munich, Germany (1971) and currently lives in London. She received her MA from the Royal College of Art (London) in 1999. Her ongoing pre-occupation with the miniature was inspired by her six month Artist in Residence at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2011. Solo exhibitions of her work have been held at a number of leading European and American museums and galleries including the Sigmund Freud Museum (Vienna, 2016) Freud Museum (London, 2016), Fotogaleriet (Oslo, 2014), National Portrait Gallery (London, 2014), Centrum Kultury Zamek (Poznan, 2011), Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood (London, 2009) and The Photographers Gallery (London, 2005). Her photographs are held in various collections including The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York, NY), Mint Museum (Charlotte, NC), Victoria and Albert Museum (London, England), The National Portrait Gallery (London, England), The Rubell Family Collection (Miami, FL) and Pier 24 Photography (San Francisco, CA).
It’s opening night at Expo Chicago! Here’s your first glimpse of Booth #257. Make sure you stop by and see these photographs in person.
Initiating the international fall art season each September, EXPO CHICAGO hosts leading art galleries presented alongside one of the highest quality platforms for global contemporary art and culture. The Vernissage Opening Night Benefit, presented by the Women’s Board benefiting Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, takes place tonight, September 13, from 6:00 – 9:00 pm. We hope to see you then!
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. Follow along with us this week on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and here on Cyclopsblog!
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Join us tonight for the opening of our spring exhibition, Gallery Artists 2017, which brings together highlights from our last year of programming along with new work by artists we represent.
Featured artists include Keliy Anderson-Staley, Daniel Beltrá, Julie Blackmon, Clarissa Bonet, Kate Breakey, John Cyr, Floriane de Lassée, Dan Estabrook, Michael Kenna, Gustavo Lacerda, Ysabel LeMay, Laurent Millet, Serge Najjar, Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison, Olivia Parker, Francesco Pergolesi, and Gregory Scott. We will be open until 7 pm for the reception in conjunction with River North’s monthly First Fridays. The exhibition is on view May 5 – July 8, 2017.
Also through July 8, we will be revisiting the moments we spent hearing about the artwork from the artists themselves. Over the years, our Chat Room and Artists Talksinitiatives have provided us with enormous insight into the creative lives of our photographers. Keep an eye out for these videos on our social media channels, or re-watch your favorites on Vimeo. Visit CEG’s website to see all the images in the exhibition!
Don’t forget that we are also in New York City this week for Art New York! We are honored to present photographs by Omar Imam, which will be featured in our upcoming summer exhibition “Targeted.”
Omar Imam In “Live, Love, Refugee” Omar Imam dissolves the recurrent representation of Syrian refugees by replacing numbers, reports, and statistics with hallucinations, fears, and dreams. In refugee camps across Lebanon, Omar collaborates with individuals through a process of catharsis, one he believes to be deeply healing. He asks them to recreate their dreams: dreams of escape, dreams of emasculation, and dreams of love and terror. Sparse and surrealistic, the resulting images evoke the deepest and darkest inner worlds of those persisting everyday with their roots stretching further from a home left behind. In turn, these self-composed photographs challenge projections of victimization, offering entry into the expressive interior from which our humanity stems.
In 2012, the Syrian activist turned photographer 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 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. His wife, children and parents only recently received the paperwork that will allow them to join him.
See the full installation at Pier 94 through this Sunday, May 7. Click here to see the complete list of our featured artists at Art New York. If you are in New York City, stop by the fair with this complimentary pass. Otherwise, we’ll see you in Chicago for opening night of Gallery Artists 2017!
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.
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.”
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 LesCabanes, 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.
Visit CEG’s website to see all the images in the exhibition!
We are excited to present A Closer Look at the Ordinary, the first solo exhibition in the USA by Beirut born photographer Serge Najjar. The show opens January 6 and runs through February 25, 2017.
There will be an opening reception on Friday, January 6 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.
The artist will be present.
From New York to Beijing, countless strangers dash across city streets in a constant state of frenzy, rushing to their destinations. But every now and then we see someone pause, marveling at his or her surroundings. It is this stillness that Serge Najjar seeks, with one simple guideline, “It is not about what you see but how you see it.”
Five years ago 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.“
A Closer Look at the Ordinary celebrates the powerful relationship between man and architecture. Through quiet photographs, Serge Najjar creates a dialogue about city living, and the stillness that can exist, if we slow down and focus on the ordinary.
Visit CEG’s website to see all the images in the exhibition!