Jim Ferguson joins the Chicago Project!

We are excited to present the work of our newest Chicago Project artist, Jim Ferguson!

Reconstructed Space 2, 1986
Reconstructed Space 2, 1986 © Jim Ferguson

About Jim: “I like to classify myself not as an emerging artist but as a reemerging artist. I have a BFA from San Francisco Art Institute and MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. After getting my BFA, I started showing and selling my work. As a result of this effort my work is in the collections of the Dallas Museum of Art, Seattle Art Museum, Museo Nacional de Antropologia- Mexico, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, and numerous private collections. I am also included in the Macmillian Encyclopedia of Photographic Artists and Innovators. I took an extended leave of absence from showing but not photographing.  Now I’m reemerging into the fine art photography scene.”

Reconstructed Space 3, 2008
Reconstructed Space 3, 2008 © Jim Ferguson

Reconstructed Space

Reconstructed Space is a portfolio made up of abstract landscape images taken in Europe, Asia, Latin America and the U.S. My intent was to share the hidden realities I see with my altered sense of depth perception.

Born cross-eyed, corrective surgery left me with no depth perception. I developed a different way of seeing things, measuring spaces, layers and distances that I use in my photography. It is this vision I share with my viewers.

Reconstructed Space 5, 1986
Reconstructed Space 5, 1986 © Jim Ferguson

Once I select a scene, I deconstruct then reconstruct the scene to show the viewer my take on the place, often creating an unfamiliar and potentially a disorienting depiction. I sometimes reinterpret a space by flattening and compressing layers of the various elements in the image.

I emphasize light, shadow, form and movement, in an effort to depict my personal perspective. By purposefully avoiding people and turning off color in my images I am able to produce a cleaner, stronger, more abstract photograph that brings out the graphic nature and textural elements in the shot.

Reconstructed Space 9, 2014
Reconstructed Space 9, 2014 © Jim Ferguson

Most of my photographs are taken outside the U.S., often in familiar locations. However, in my reconstructed images the locations become ambiguous. The scenes can be elusive. There is normally something, or enough in the image, that allows the viewer to define the image for themselves…to pull them into my work. I don’t care where they land as long as it’s a thoughtful landing. This allows the viewer to be part of the act of creation.

While often drawn to historical settings such as Medieval and Colonial towns and archaeological sites, I don’t feel obligated photographically to illustrate the preceding history, but to transform the place into powerful images that are both enigmatic and engaging.

Reconstructed Space 20, 2014
Reconstructed Space 20, 2014 © Jim Ferguson


The Chicago Project is an online gallery initiative by Catherine Edelman Gallery, devoted to new and established photographers in the Chicago area, who we feel deserve recognition. It is our hope to expose local talent to a wider audience and we plan on adding photographers as we find them. If you are interested in learning more about the Chicago Project or would like information on how to submit, click HERE.


Angie McMonigal joins the Chicago Project!

We are pleased to announce our newest Chicago Project artist, Angie McMonigal!

Angie is a commercial and fine art photographer based in Chicago. The following are a selection of images from her ongoing series titled Urban Quilt, along with her artist statement. Visit The Chicago Project website to see more of her work.

Quilting The City

Two pieces of advice longtime Chicagoans love giving newcomers: first, never ask for ketchup on your hot dog; second, learn ‘the grid.’ The first piece of advice will keep you from getting publicly shamed at a hot dog joint. The second is supposed to make it possible to find any address in the city, calculate the distance between any two points, and save you from ever getting lost.

People who believe in the handiness of ‘the grid’ talk about it with reverence. They’ll expect you to express some awe when they tell you about it, so resist the urge to respond with, “Yes, but Google Maps….” The grid is not just a tool for getting around; it’s the secret code that makes order out of chaos. And yet it’s also, so they’ll tell you, very easy to understand.

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Urban Quilt 8473, 2016 © Angie McMonigal

I’ll try to explain. According to the grid system, Chicago’s primary north-south and east-west streets are laid out in one-mile increments from the “zero” point downtown, where State Street crosses Madison in the Loop. Addresses run up and down from that zero point, 100 addresses per block, 8 blocks per mile. This means that each of the primary streets gets assigned a number, and those numbers go up in increments of 800. Chicago Avenue is 800 North. North Avenue is 1600 North. Fullerton is 2400 North. And so on. Going west, you have Halsted Street at 800 West, Ashland Avenue is 1600 West, and so on.

If counting by 800 is easy for you, you’re all set. And, oh, don’t forget that the first few miles south of Madison each contain an irregular number of blocks, so Roosevelt Road is actually 1200 South, Cermak is 2200, and things don’t even out until 31st Street (3100 South).

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Urban Quilt 1083, 2016 © Angie McMonigal

After seventeen years of living in Chicago, I’ve successfully avoided humiliating myself at a hot dog stand, but I still don’t think I’ve completely figured out this grid. It certainly has not kept me from getting lost. But I do like the idea that there are these clean lines running through the messy city, underlying rules that make it all make sense. And I like that the rules get broken in sneaky little ways, and that just when you think you’ve got the hang of it, there’s a new complication to keep you on your toes.

Of course the lines that structure the urban landscape don’t just run north and south, east and west. In the city that built the first skyscraper, the most striking lines are the ones that run from street to sky. The facades of Chicago’s imposing towers make up this whole other grid, the one staring straight at you, composed of windows, beams, balconies, pillars, rooflines.

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Urban Quilt 7702, 2016 © Angie McMonigal

We are surrounded by horizontal and vertical lines repeating rhythmically in steel, brick, stone, and glass. The grid is impossible to miss when you see the bold black lines of Mies van der Rohe, or the red lines of the CNA Center. Sullivan embellishes his patch of the grid with bits of gorgeous ornamentation. The Wabash Building — Roosevelt University’s new “vertical campus” — sneaks in a sleek diagonal. The Burberry shop on Michigan Avenue playfully inserts the brand’s signature tartan into the quilt.

And that’s how I’ve started to see it — as a quilt. Because I don’t just see individual buildings standing there as imposing towers of steel. I see a patchwork. Different colors, different textures, different materials, different architectural styles, all pieced together. Some patches are pristine and new, others a little more worn. There are iconic patterns, immediately recognizable, and also bits that are hard to identify, fragments that feel familiar but are hard to place. I see spindly fire escapes tacked on, looking like bits of stray stitching. Some blocks make clear that they were destined to be joined together, others look like accidents, or even challenging points of tension.

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Urban Quilt 0119, 2016 © Angie McMonigal

We often think of photographs as capturing a single moment in time. A shutter clicks, an instant is preserved. Quilts, as I learned from my grandmother, are slow. They take hours and hours to make. They are passed down from generation to generation. A single quilt can take scraps of fabric from different eras and bring them together into a unified whole — a whole that celebrates, rather than hides, the uniqueness of each of the pieces, and the time and effort it takes to bring them together.

When I started photographing the city as an urban quilt, I became more aware of the way these buildings preserve different moments from our history. Those moments aren’t arranged in a nice orderly timeline like you’d find in a history book or a museum display. They’re standing next to each other, layered on top of one another. My photographs flatten out the miles between the streets and erase the years that separate one construction project from the next. The modern lines of the Art Institute’s newest wing frame the classical details of Daniel Burnham’s Peoples Gas Building, completed across the street almost 100 years prior. It’s all stitched together now on a single plane.

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Urban Quilt 8108, 2016 © Angie McMonigal

The oldest surviving Chicago skyscraper was completed in 1891, and the urban quilt contains traces of every decade since. Like every square of a quilt, each of these pieces is still in use, performing a real function in the present moment. That Peoples Gas Building from 1911 is home to a shiny new Walgreens, and you can still have lunch or take a dance lesson a few blocks away in the Fine Arts Building, which dates back to 1885.

When I look at the beautiful quilts my grandmother made, I’m transported back to rural Wisconsin where I grew up, far from the grid of the big city and the steel of Chicago’s massive skyscrapers. I’ve always loved her quilts, but they’re a product of a different place and time, and I would never have imagined making anything like that myself. But with these photographs, which have taught me to see time and space a little differently, I think I’ve found a bit of the quilter in me after all.

Angie McMonigal moved to Chicago more than 15 years ago and has been exploring the city with her camera ever since. Raised in a small town in Wisconsin, she approaches the urban environment with the spirit of someone who grew up surrounded by nature, finding moments of meditative calm in terrain that is always transforming. Focusing more frequently on bold architectural details rather than sweeping cityscapes, her photographs celebrate those unexpectedly iconic elements hiding in plain sight. From landmark buildings she distills the essential lines and textures that frame the city. McMonigal sees these structures as actively shaping, and shaped by, human activity; they are never mere backdrop. Steel and brick towers are presented as quilts rich with history, solid structures soar with soul, and concrete edifices echo the lofty ambition of planners and dreamers.

An award-winning fine art photographer, Angie’s work has been internationally exhibited and published. Her photos have been showcased by galleries in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and other destinations. Publication credits include National Geographic, Departures, and SHOTS Magazine. She has received awards from the International Photography Awards (IPA) and Prix de la Photographie Paris (Px3), among others.


The Chicago Project is an online gallery initiative by Catherine Edelman Gallery, devoted to new and established photographers in the Chicago area, who we feel deserve recognition. It is our hope to expose local talent to a wider audience and we plan on adding photographers as we find them. If you are interested in learning more about the Chicago Project or would like information on how to submit, click HERE.

Natasha Spencer added to the Chicago Project!

We are excited to have a new artist join the Chicago Project: Natasha Spencer! The following are a few of Natasha’s images and her artist statement. You can see more of her work on our website here.

Natasha Spencer

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The Saddest, Little Ghost, 2015 © Natasha Spencer

Natasha Spencer is an interdisciplinary, American artist. Her digital work has screened in film, video, and new media venues across the country and abroad. Her audio piece, “The House She Flew In On”, is included on the compilation CD, “Extracted Celluloid”, produced by Illegal Art, Negativland, and RtMark, and has aired on the John Peel’s Show, Radio 1, BBC, London. In 2002 she was awarded a residency at The Wexner Center for the Arts Video Lab where she completed “The House She Flew In On : The Video” and “Somewhere”. Natasha received a 2004 Fellowship in the Media Arts from the Illinois Arts Council and an Illinois Art Council Fellowship in the Visual Arts in 1999. Additionally, she is archived at the The National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington DC. Natasha currently works and resides in Chicago, IL.

Visual Improv: When materials in an environment interplay in such a way that they allow everyday scenes to be framed as culture narratives; What went unnoticed is now obvious as a found object. Each photograph is a document of such observation taken without further manipulation on my part, during the comings-and-goings of the day.

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Clownfish Stripes, Postmortem, 2015 © Natasha Spencer


The Chicago Project is an online gallery initiative by Catherine Edelman Gallery, devoted to new and established photographers in the Chicago area, who we feel deserve recognition. It is our hope to expose local talent to a wider audience and we plan on adding photographers as we find them. If you are interested in learning more about the Chicago Project or would like information on how to submit, click HERE.




“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 addition to The Chicago Project, Andy Goodwin!

We are excited to introduce our new Chicago Project Artist, Andy Goodwin.

Andy is a commercial and fine art photographer based in Chicago. The following are a few images from his series, Charreada, along with his artist statement. Visit The Chicago Project website to see more of his work.

Charreada 18
Charreada 18, 2015 © Andy Goodwin

The Charreada, predecessor to the American Rodeo.

What began as a curious look into a sport I was unfamiliar with became a fascinating journey into the world of the Charro, a proud culture filled with ordinary Mexican Americans who suit up on the weekends to keep their tradition alive. The time and money spent perfecting these skills handed down from 100 years ago is an incredible spectacle to behold. It’s a dangerous sport and the rewards are often little or nothing with men commonly getting injured. Tradition can be a good enough reason to participate in something but there is a shared importance and comfort here that I think helps these dedicated horsemen stay connected to each other and to a heritage that must seem far away.

Charreada 1, 2015 © Andy Goodwin
Charreada 1, 2015 © Andy Goodwin
Charreada 2, 2015 @ Andy Goodwin

If you are interested in learning more about The Chicago Project or would like information on how to submit, click HERE. The next Chicago Project exhibition, featuring new artists in the project, is scheduled for Summer 2017!




Call for entries – The Chicago Project

Catherine Edelman Gallery is accepting photography submissions for our ongoing online gallery that focuses on local talent in the Chicagoland area. Images can range from traditional to mixed media photo-based works, and is open to all subject matter. There is no deadline.

Please attach in a single PDF Document (1 image per page):
10 – 20 images (Include Title)

Please attach as Word documents:
Artist Statement
Title and Price List (Include dimensions and medium of work)
Contact Information (including phone number and email address)

Please send submissions to:
Subject: The Chicago Project

This is an online exhibition gallery only. Participation in The Chicago Project does not constitute representation, and does not oblige the artist to the gallery or vice versa. Applicants cannot have representation in the Midwest.

If you have questions, please contact juli@edelmangallery.com
Absolutely no phone calls.

View the full list of The Chicago Project artists on our website.

Migrants8smMigrants 8, 2015 © Krista Svalbonas

My dream is to realize who I truly am
, 2007 © Tealia Ellis Ritter

Skilift, 2011
© Lauren Wilkins

Neverdoll_05Photograph #5, 2014 © Katarzyna Derda


Introducing The Chicago Project Artist, Katarzyna Derda!

We are excited to introduce The Chicago Project artist, Katarzyna Derda.

Katarzyna Derda was born and raised in small town in Poland.  She decided to move to the United States in her early 20’s, and that is where she discovered her passion for photography.  In 2006, Katarzyna was accepted to the Daily Herald’s Newspaper Internship.  During this time, photojournalism became a dynamic way of gaining experience and polishing her skills.  After an inspiring year, Katarzyna decided to go back to school to develop her technical skills and look for a new medium of expression.

Photograph #2, 2014
Photograph #2, 2014 © Katarzyna Derda

Katarzyna began photographing and experimenting with different types of prints when she discovered the process of lith printing.  She began her work using dolls and figurines that she felt she had a connection with. Using inanimate objects in her work has been difficult, but at the same time extremely gratifying.  Katarzyna is able to pour her emotions into these images using these dolls to tell the story.

Photograph #2, 2014 in the making

Since 2012, her works have been exhibited in various group exhibitions across the United States and Europe.  In 2014, she was a finalist for her work in some of the most prestigious competitions, such as The Royal Photographic Society 157th International Print Exhibition, the 6th Julia Cameron Award, and the Photographer’s Forum Magazine.  She has received first place in the MIFA; Moscow International Foto Award and Honorable Mention in the IPA; International Photography Award.

Select images from Katarzyna’s Neverdoll series are on view in our current exhibition, The Chicago Project VI: Selections from our Online Gallery running through August 29th.


Neverdoll is a cinematic narrative that uses storytelling as a way to confront emotional states such as melancholy, loneliness and fear. The photographs represent pivotal moments in life’s journey, which is often a mysterious and romantic voyage. With the use of a small doll, with large eyes as the subject, the viewer is encouraged to immerse in themselves into these moments and to view the world differently. The artist, Fantoche, created the doll.

 Neverdoll is ongoing project photographed with a medium format camera and printed in a darkroom using lith process. This process provides me the opportunity to create one of kind photographs that are as delicate and gritty as life itself. The lith prints are then scanned and printed as mounted pigment prints.

Photograph #8, 2014 © Katarzyna Derda
Photograph #8, 2014 © Katarzyna Derda

I think that in some way my projects bring out my inner demons and some emotions buried deep may surface through some photographs.  The projects are not autobiographical and they have their own stories, but some of my feelings and emotions do come through.  I have been told that my work is like ‘painting photographs’.  It was one of the greatest things I’ve heard about my work to this day.

– Katarzyna Derda