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Spring (in progress)
Dry Pigment
© 1998 Dorothy Adamiecki

Artists of Rogers Park
Third Annual Members Exhibition
at the Peter Jones Gallery

January 17, 1999 through February 15, 1999

Peter Jones Gallery
1806 West Cuyler Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60613
Telephone: 773/ 472 - 6725

Artists of Rogers Park
P.O.Box 60910
Chicago, Illinois 60660-0910
Telephone: 773/ 274 - 4502

Group exhibitions are, like permanent collections and museums, much welcomed for the range and variety they offer. They are also very difficult to review. But as an artists' community organization, Artists of Rogers Park, is so active, growing and of real service to its member artists that it really deserves attention.

Artists of Rogers Park, primarily serving artists and students of art from that North Chicago neighborhood, meets the second Wednesday of the month at 7 PM at the Peter Jones Gallery, in a moderately spacious second floor commercial loft. Artist and gallery owner, Peter Jones, is also a member of Artists of Rogers Park.

The ARP's Third Members Exhibition presents twenty-eight artists who range from well-known professionals to students, a medical librarian, a retired pediatrician, and a newly arrived emigre artist from Russian Siberia. And the pieces in this show include painting, photography, sculpture and digital pieces.

Because Artists of Rogers Park is receptive to bringing together veteran artists, talented newcomers and interested amateurs, fairness demands that not all exhibitors can be held to the same criteria of judgement. This, however, means that they indeed form an organization which is serious about accessibility and the role of art in everyone's daily life. And further, it is also a revelation to discover those instances where a "nonprofessional" in art creates work of greater vitality and interest than many trained practitioners. Any notice must therefore be in part enumerative and in part commentary...

Dorothy Adamiecki has studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art and is now continuing her studies independently. She blends dry pigments directly with linseed oil and turpentine to attain vivid color in her seemingly disaffective though in-progress painting, "Spring." The cool mood and color of this image with its two, somewhat ungainly female nudes is reminiscent of early Giorgio de Chirico, although the seething foam at the pier's pilings offer a covert denial of the apparent repose of the figures. (Ed: Dorothy says that since the above image was taken, the female nudes have been repainted on the canvas, and they no longer look disaffective or ungainly.)

Diana Berek , involved with senior care, paints with raw blues and oranges in her foliage canvas.

Bill Boyce, whose wood, steel and rubber sculpture can also be viewed at Navy Pier and the Skokie Sculpture Park, constructs his work from found objects.

Life Spirits
Acrylic fused into plexiglass
mounted over colored pencil
on ink wash on
photo process paper
20" x 24"
© Walter A. Fydryck

Caryl Carlsen's exhibited piece recalls the early German Expressionism of such as Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, but her "Crossroad" offers a brighter content in a softer-edged brushwork.

Anne Cousineau, "a petite young woman," offers an imposing piece, "Hypnotized," executed on flat canvas with spray paint. The background derives from a child's writing board, with its alphabet plus 0-10 border: It is an icon of literacy and civilization rendered with a central yellow and ochre focus which transit in gradients to brown and sepias among the border letters and numbers. Superimposed upon this is a totemic human(?) stylization, mirrored horizontally against itself -- an echo of Polynesian or perhaps NW American tribal archetypes. The juxtaposition of "pre-literate" foreground framed against the alphabetic aft is both striking visually and conceptively provocative.

Walter A. Fydryck, a well-known Chicago artist, is represented here by "Life Spirits." This is composed of an acrylic fore-image fused into plexiglass which is mounted over a back-image of colored pencil and ink on photo process paper, the latter yielding a waxy, high-gloss. Fydryck currently has as well a large one-man show at Mars Gallery, 1139 West Fulton Market (Tel. 312/ 226-7808).

Women's Chair
15" x 21"
Paper Collage
© 1997 Pam Grout

Regina Gately, a recent Art Institute of Chicago graduate, is represented by an untitled canvas in the mode of a gestural Abstract Expressionism -- somewhat a kindred soul to Willem de Kooning or Franz Kline. (Although I enjoy the gallery's indoor trees, it would be nice if they didn't squeeze to a narrow viewing space for Gately's piece.)

Kathryn Gauthier offers a gray and white grid of window reflections. It brings to mind the theories of artist Piero Manzoni, and enters a convention of a basic form repeated in series, with a counterpoint of elements that interrupts while maintaining a unity.

Albert Goldman is a retired pediatrician who is here represented by an oil, "Stepping Stones." His piece reflects ARP's openness to a diverse membership.

Pam Grout's "Woman's Chair," is constructed out of images of leaping female nudes. It is a clever piece of Pop Art. Whether there is an implied statement about "objectification," or a Warholesque resonance is not quite certain -- barring an explicit declaration.

Gwen Jones, a medical librarian, has entered a horizontal, quilted fabric piece entitled "Wisdom Seekers." It seems to find its inspiration in a priestly pall or rabbinic talis, and yet exhibits no specific symbols of any particular religion. Its brilliant red and blue geometric elements are set off by interspersed green pieces, and punctuated by varicolored flower motifs. She employs the inherent conventions of textile art to produce an enjoyable abstraction with sacral implications.

Purple Shadows
© Sally Lufkin

Peter Jones' "Zion Beach" is "a digital exploration of photographic image printed on watercolor paper." Here, I find it less of importance as to how the image was achieved as my own appreciation for textures and nuances I have often met with while mushrooming in numerous woods. "Zion Beach" stands for an ideal wilderness view.

Josephine Lipuma executed both her composition, and hand carved and painted the frame.

Sally Lufkin's "Purple Shadow" is a well executed, traditional watercolor rending of a church amid spring trees.

Richard Maltz's "Heaven and Earth" does strike an impression. I have seen his work earlier, most recently in the recent Chicago Artists' Coalition show ART OPEN, and this piece is different. With its hard edges and flat color areas it has its affinities with Pop Art. As often with Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, he forces the dynamics to the act of painting, rather than to the subject matter. His central, stark red figure is surrounded on both sides by immobilized and emblematic waves, which part before him like the Red Sea before Moses. If NASA were to convey the bible to an alien life, this work would communicate that scene without need for intermediary.

Victor Puzanenko, a Russian artist from Siberia, is the group's newest member. His "Fly Fishing" is a surrealist treatise wrapped within a masterful representational technique. He has absorbed the contributions of Hieronymous Bosch, in a more playful approach, and the intelligent whimsy of Rene Magritte; and develops his work in a play upon natural flying fish and a popular diversion. This is a work that prompts the viewer to seek out more of his art.

Heaven and Earth
24" x 30"
Acrylic on Cotton Canvas
© Richard J. Maltz

Dorothy Reid's "What the Cat Sees" engages in a conceptual game with the viewer, using an impressionist interpretation of the Chicago river. But I am still not quite certain what the cat actually does see.

Allan Roin is a regular participant in the Peter Jones Gallery's figure study workshop, and has entered a seated female nude done in soft-toned yellow and green oils.

Robert Sammon's "That's Entertainment" seems a playful and easy tribute to Hanna Barbera and an entire genre that evolved with America's electronic age. Without any specific clues, it nonetheless captures a feel and style that sends one back to the "Jetsons." "Flintstones;" a Sixties media homage.

Martin J. Schmidt is a well-known photographer and it is no surprise that his black and white photograph, "Snowshoes," adds much to the exhibition.

Donald Seiden, Professor Emeritus, Department of Art Education and Art Therapy at the Art Institute of Chicago, is represented in this show by an excellent altered photograph in which somber figures are massed before a ensemble of shabby wooden structures.

Davida Schulman is undeniably first-rate. Her work in several recent exhibitions has been reviewed with pleasure in artscope.net previously and that review can be accessed in the archives.

Closet Mirror
18" x 24"
© Sigrid Wonsil

Gail Shapiro's "Late American Sunday" is a group portrait of women at the beach. Her work fits well with the conventions of artists such as Dorothea Sharp and Adam Emory Albright, who as colorists and American impressionists enjoyed a warm following in the 1920s, and who still endure. "Late American Sunday" was inspired by family outings to Southhaven beach, and captures a familial cordiality that is enjoyable.

Al Tyler's long association at the Art Institute of Chicago does emerge from his portrait of Chicago metal sculptor, Richard Hunt. Tyler's pastel technique is flawless, but more importantly, it is always of great interest to see an artist portray a fellow artist.

Anna Tyler show's "Portrait of a Sapphire," (1966) a bright abstract collage of color and foil which develops some of the dynamic experiments in composition and visual movement that so interested Matisse and Kandinsky.

Sigrid Wonsil is represented by her self-portrait in a closet mirror, rendered in watercolor.

Window of Opportunity
21" x 27"
Mixed Media
© 1997 Paul Whittaker

Paul Whittaker's abstraction, "Window of Opportunity," is a departure from what I have seen previously of his work (He also exhibited mutated figuratives in the Chicago Artists' Coalition's ART OPEN.) In the "Window of Opportunity," a subdued and subtle palette is used to present a central focus of two allied and reflected vortices: a co-joined twinning of line and layer. His website is http://www.FOTA.com/Paulw.

And Sonya Young completes the exhibition with her photograph of a summer park.

In the Artists of Rogers Park Third Annual Members Exhibition a spectrum of artists and people involved with art come together. Too often we enter museums and "premier" galleries where art is an object viewed with a distancing from the lives and circumstances that led to it. But art comes from real people and communities, and ARP presents this. The show at the Peter Jones Gallery continues through February 15, 1999. The gallery also conducts classes and other activities which one might wish to investigate.

--G. Jurek Polanski

Jurek Polanski has previously written and art edited for Strong Coffee in Chicago. He's also well known and respected among the Chicago museums and galleries. Jurek is currently a Visual Arts Correspondent for ArtScope.net.

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