Monday, October 31, 2011

Janet Ballweg's Cups Runneth Over at the MAPC Show

Janet Ballweg is a consummate artist and masters her craft beautifully in the two prints that radiate a quiet warm and comfort. Her subject matter relies upon a familiar haunt - the kitchen. These prints create an aura of home and happiness, and imminent conversations with family, friends. "Round Again" shows the kettle sitting on a table with three cups, expectantly waiting to be served to as yet unseen guests. The repetition of shadows, reflection of the objects in the mirror and the circular patterns in the mirror's border  found again and again enhance the notion of one's cycles of thought, care for anticipated guests.

But some other visual aspects come into the picture as a secondary 'round' of information. The gathering of cups also seem to suggest something of memories and conversations past, while there is a comforting glow about Ballweg's work, there is also some essentially lost element - people. There are no persons present in the work, just empty environs, that seem as though someone is just outside the visual range that we see. It presents itself as a memory of people that had previously been there, or the anticipation of people to arrive to fill the room with actual conversation. The cups seem to represent missing souls, the kettle ready to heat up - all ready and lying in wait of some actual event.

"This Much I Remember" is a new departure from Ballweg's other kitchen and home interiors. Here, the barest hint of a cup, stove knobs and the kettle are visible through a decorative curtain screening or wall divider. In this piece the viewer is removed from actual engagement of the objects and relegated to another space, almost voyeuristic.Again the warm of the room and the patterned screen are inviting, but it is also a distanced memory. Ballweg's title would suggest that she is remembering an older time in her home; or maybe that of her mother's, or grandmother's.

For me, it conjures memories of being in my grandmother's house when I was a little girl. I would eagerly wait for her to bring out the special flower-painted china teacups and watch her make our afternoon tea. We would sit together at the kitchen table and talk about 'very important things' that only grandmothers and granddaughters could discuss. In all, Ballweg continues to fascinate us with these interiors of her memories, and helps up to conjure up our own.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Erin Holscher Almazan's "Routine #2" is anything but at the MAPC Show

Erin Holscher-Almazan's "Routine #2" is anything but routine. It is a tour de force of drawing, composition,  and richness of what print makers love to get into - black, black, black ink. This print shows Almazan's technical virtuosity, but what appeals moreso is the impact of the image. It's not just some mere academic exercise, and it's not just how she composes the woman in her scanty, little black slip. There is something in how Almazan presents the overwhelming sensuality of this woman in her prime.

The ease with which Almazan captures this woman's essence lets us understand and feel her vulnerabilities. It is a visceral reaction to being essentially human.  Yet, something is amiss. She withdraws within herself, expressing frustration, anguish, remorse, loss and ultimately - resolve. There is great strength in this woman, even as she retreats. The marks that encircle the woman emanate some protective layer from the blackness that surrounds her body and her thoughts. It reminds me of  the strengths of Schiele's work, some of the expressiveness of the Pre-Raphaelite madonnas, and some of the El Muerto photograph series of John Sevigny. This is an excellent work, and one looks forward to seeing more of Almazan's  explorations of the human experience.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tony Lazorko's "Rest Area" at the MAPC show

Tony Lazorko, from Mesilla, New Mexico, is an artist who's work I have followed for several years now. He is currently showing this little gem at the MAPC show at Benedictine University. His screenprint captures the sunset at a an undisclosed southwestern truck stop.

Having recently traveled the great state of New Mexico, literally from top to bottom, this frequent roadside scene greeted me all along I25. Lazorko captures the feeling of the open sky without overdoing it, and the trucks, whose hidden cargo within their shell containers, rest for the night at the truck stop, before embarking on the next leg of their never-ending journeys. It is a spartan view of the southwest landscape of big skies and open roadways, and lets us dream a little of the journeys we've yet to take.

Monday, October 24, 2011

John Gall's "Happy Wanderer" enlivens the MAPC Fall 2011 Members' Show

This precariously playful piece by John D. Gall shows its main character front and center - a boy blowing on his makeshift horn - looking  like a  a Little Rascals' version of the Pied Piper as he glances back for his followers. His environment is full of curiosities and dangers. On the left of the image there is a man marching off a cliff on the hill behind him, a rattlesnake seemingly ready to strike just at the boy's feet, a vulture hovering in the tree above his head, a rope wrapped around a forlorn chair with a sharp-tipped anchor sitting on the seat, and a bulls-eye perched high up on the tree above him, with a few meager attempts to hit the target.

Yet, the boy's preoccupation with unseen followers behind him distracts his attention from the warning sign telling him not to pass the crumbling footbridge imminently in front of him, otherwise he will surely fall to his death. The boy's wandering nature makes him oblivious to the rope from the chair that  has ensnared his leg, which we could hope would save him, except we see the anchor is attached to nothing which would save him.

On the other side of the footbridge, a sign saying "Keep Out" warns him yet again that there is danger awaiting  if he should cross the bridge as is evidenced by the weighty beehive swarming with angry bees waiting to drop on his head. The tower in the distance is abandoned and empty of life, yet a man in the distance seems to be pulling it to the precipice with a rope. The hot air balloons carrying more horns, like the one the boy is playing, suggest more forms of entertainment await him if he can cross to the other side.

All of this imagery, symbolism, and the cartoonesque drawing style which Gall employs stems from an earlier era where the symbolism associated with work and play, productivity and folly, harken back to the artists of the 1400-500s in Northern Europe; namely Pieter Breughel the Elder, Martin Schongauer, Jan Breughel II and Hieronymous Bosch. Gall's "Happy Wanderer" aligns itself with the moralistic messages of Breughel's  prints and paintings. His imagery doesn't have the playfully fantastical elements of Bosch or Schongauer, but the overall tone of the piece says 'watch out', 'look where you're going', 'don't be foolish!' which is very much in tune with Breughel the Elder's oeuvre. In fact, the tower in the background is eerily similar to Jan Breughel II's "A Coastal landscape w/ Fishermen with Their catch by a Ruined Tower"
We watch anxiously the piper's demise and want to reach out to stop his happy, blissful wandering, but alas we are only the spectator and can only learn from his misfortune.

John D. Gall's "Happy Wanderer" enlivens the Mid America Print Council show at Benedictine University and makes one crave more of his thought-provoking work.. Thru January 6, 2012. For more information, contact To find out more information about the Mid America Print Council check out their website at

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Luca Cruzat's Turned Upside Down "Obedience" at the Mid America Print Council Show

Luca Cruzat's "Obedience" is another highlight of the Fall 2011 Mid America Print Council Show. This seemingly simple composition with a gathering of sheep leashed or strung together in two clusters above the girl in the foreground who is delicately balancing herself on her head - again with tetherings - is a curious piece. It stems from her 2011Le Fil (TheThread) series of collagraphs; dealing with people and animals that are composed of threads, and how the fraying of those threads unravels the subject as well as binds or joins them to other subjects. The openness of her of her spare compositions allows the viewer to move freely through the space like the wind that seems to blow at the threads. This somewhat playful image calls one to a simpler time when as children we could be called to obedience like sheep and see the boundaries of our existence and  the world as we chose to, either being right side up or upside down .

Cruzat's work has been fast making a name in the print circles. She will be a person to watch in the coming years.....

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Edie Overturf's "Risk" a standout at the Fall 2011 Mid America Print Council Show

One print that stands alone at the Mid America Print Council 2011 Fall members' Show is Edie Overturf's print called "Risk". As large work, the artist enables the viewer to experience firsthand the predicament of the woman in the image. Here, the naked woman reaches gingerly, carefully into the sharp-toothed snare to place something [bait] into the mouth of the trap. The place the woman kneels down on is without sturdy ground, or substance. She floats and puts her body's weight onto unsure ground. Similarly, the trap is floating on unsure ground  and her tentative approach to the trap is made all the more nerve-wracking because they have no solid base to rest upon. One feels the tension of this woman and immediately recoils at the potential 'risk' to life and limb.

Overturf has beautifully executed this piece, and brought the viewer past the discussion of media, which traps most printmakers, to convey a message - simple and to the point - be careful what you reach for....

Monday, October 17, 2011

Alison Filley expands the parameters of traditional printmaking in the Mid America Print Council 2011 Fall Members' show

Alison Filley's "Beyonce" multi-media print at the Mid America Print Council's 2011 Fall Members' Show is 'something else'. Printed onto flocked fabric, and applying silkscreen to more fabric with glitter,  this sumptuous decorative artifact has taken to task and turned on its ear the notion that prints are only flat, two-dimensional pieces. Filley makes a bold departure from the tried and true methods of silkscreen and flat, embossed surfaces of intaglio, and collage in general. Her rich textures are surely candy for the eyes. The only thing is, what commentary is the print actually making? If there is a reference to the singer Beyonce, it's not transparent what that message may be, yet the departure is a welcome one, and will be enjoyed by those able to see it.  Through January 6, 2012 at Kindlon Hall, 2nd floor, Benedictine University, 5700 College Rd., Lisle, IL. Contact: for more information on this and other upcoming exhibitions.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mid America Print Council Fall 2011 Member's Show at Benedictine University opens Oct.15

This year's Mid America Print Council Fall member's show will take place at Benedictine University, in Lisle, Illinois, starting October 15 - January 6. Assistant Professor of Art, Andrew DeCaen, from University of North Texas was asked to jury the competition, and ultimately selected 44 prints from 34 artists from 21 states across the US.
These works represent some of the Very BEST printmakers working today.

I have taken the liberty to select a few from the exhibition to give you a preview of its coming attractions. There will be a reception for the public on Saturday,. Oct.15m, 2-4pm in Kindlon hall, 2nd floor. Additionally, another exhibition of local printmakers will be featured on the first floor directly below the MAPC show. It is called "That's Inked UP!", and includes printmakers from neighboring College of DuPage, and a few guest artists. Please make the trip out to Lisle, and take a look at some of these fine works of art.

You can learn more about MAPC by checking out their website at

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Madonna print on the cover of Loyola University Chicago's Women's Digest Magazine

I'm pleased to report that one of my Madonna prints was chosen to cover this month's Loyola University Chicago's Digest Magazine for their 'Big Moma' edition. Many thanks to their editor Brandi Martin for selecting my work. you can find the link to the magazine here,

Monday, October 10, 2011

Occupy Chicago October 10, 2011

It was refreshing today to see the engaged youth, elderly, really young and casually curious passers-by yell, shout, intensely pound their drums, raise their fists and handmade posters in the air and speak out about how they've all had enough of this country's corporate greed. What was wonderful was to see this happening on a fall Monday, a holiday at that, because this isn't just a bunch of people out of work wanting to hang out on a street corner in the middle of the day, and it wasn't a group of hooligans. It was blue and white collar workers, and tourists. It was also a bunch of 5 years old girls with their mom, a group of Muslim college girls, a few hipsters, more than a few older than 50 crowd, and several people showing their support of this grass-roots movement by honking their horns. It was loud and raucous, but fun as he--.

Mid America Print Council Fall 2011 Member's Competition opens October 15 at Benedictine University

Benedictine University is hosting the Fall 2011 Mid America Print Council Members' Competition, starting October 15 through January 6.

Assistant Professor of Art, Andrew DeCaen, from University of North Texas was invited to be this year's juror. He selected 44 images from 34 artists from 21 states nationwide. The range and breadth of the images selected represents some of THE BEST printmakers working in the United States today.

There will be a public opening reception on Saturday, October 15, from 2-4pm, on the 2nd floor of Kindlon Hall. Admission is Free. For more information regarding the exhibition, contact Teresa Parker, at

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Chimera Press unveils its "Un-Natural Disasters" print suite

Jill Kramer, director of Chimera Press, debuts its "Un-Natural Disasters' print suite this month. 
I am pleased to say I am a participant in this timely and important show which will open Friday, October 21, 6-9p, and Saturday, October 22, 1-4p at Expressions Graphics in Oak Park, IL. It will also be showing soon at the El Centro de la Cultura, in Taxco, Guerrero, Mexico.
Twenty artists are exhibiting their prints on various subjects pertaining to their interpretation of the theme. 

I have chosen  to address the un-natural disaster of 56 children losing their lives in an ABC Nursery fire two years ago in Hermosilla, Mexico. The situation was totally unnecessary, as there was only one working exit and over one hundred children in a space only designated for less than half. Although it hit the news, and people who ran the Nursery and those owning  the building were brought under scrutiny before the mortified public, no one was brought to justice for this gross negligence. My print has a pair of baby shoes, and below them is a group of 56 gold roses symbolizing the children who will forever play together in heaven.It is called "Que los ninos juegan en el cielo"

Expressions Graphics Gallery and StudioVisit our gallery at29 Harrison Street
Oak Park, IL 60304

Contact us(708) 386-3552 

John Sevigny's "TRI" exhibition makes its Midwest debut October 7 at the Chicago Photography Center

http://gonecity.blogspot.comA selection of photographs from John Sevigny's decade long 'visit' to Mexico, will make is Midwest premiere at the Chicago Photography Center this coming Friday, October 7th. Sevigny has chosen works that reflect his often nomadic pathway through the big cities and small towns, often choosing images that show another side of Mexican life, a side that is sometimes sad, tragic, poignant and yet, delivers a sucker punch to the gut. His unscathing approach, revealing the underbelly of the lives of everyday Mexicans, not the glamorous resort 'fun in the sun' beaches or tourist areas, shows a more meaningful and thoughtful side of our southern neighbor which is going through some pretty chaotic and horrific times. Sevigny will be present at the reception , and will give a brief discussion on the work. Reception starts at 7pm.
Fore more info contact Caitlyn at 
Phone: (773) 549-1631
3301 N. Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60657

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Coming October 4th...John Sevigny presentation on "Violence in Latin America" at College of DuPage

Noted photographer and writer John Sevigny will present a collection of his writings and photographs at College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, IL this Tuesday, October 4th, at 1pm. He will reflect on his observations and experiences of having lived in Northern Mexico for the past decade; in an area now becoming internationally known for its dangerous unrest and rampant gang/drug/domestic violence which is destroying the country. The lecture is sponsored be the Latin American Studies Committee at College of DuPage. Many thanks to Professor John Paris and Dr. Elizabeth Mares for their support and coordination of this important event.

Dedication for VickyLynn

This installation piece from the "Esperanzas" show at Rock Valley College in Rockford, IL is dedicated to my recently departed sister, VickiLynn. She was a beautiful spirit that was fun-loving and always playful. The work speaks for itself. Exhibition is open to the public, until November 7.