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Art Fri Apr 29 2011
I was lucky enough to catch Artropolis last night-- what a scene! I've never seen so many plastic faces and big money in one place! ArtChicago and NEXT were on the same level this year (floor 12), which I think is a good idea because it forces the two worlds to mingle. Unfortunately I didn't see anything in ArtChicago that piqued my interest in the least this year. The whole section just looks like an overcrowded hotel lobby. NEXT was great, as usual, though. And the antiques fair on the 8th floor is pretty damn cool, too-- don't forget to check that out.
Here are the artists whose work particularly stood out to me at NEXT. Keep your eyes peeled for them both at the fair and in the future. You'll probably be hearing some of their names again. (Please note: A lot of the artists' sites don't appear to be as updated as the sites of the galleries that represent them, so make sure to search for the artist by name on the gallery's sites if you're interested in an artists' work.)
Ink, Acrylic, Watercolor, Gouache and Silk Screen on Paper
Alex Lukas (b. 1981, lives in Boston) (Represented by Steven Zevitas Gallery, Boston): Large-scale, surprisingly beautiful, highly detailed paintings of run-down, urban cestpools-- nature taking back areas developed and later neglected by humans.
Daniel Bruttig (Represented by Kasia Kay Art Projects, Chicago): Bruttig is showing his "rubber band paintings" in NEXT-- highly visceral yet slick little abstract paintings with clever titles. I want to rub them on my face and then hang them on my wall.
Mark Schoening (Represented by Blythe Projects, Culver City, CA): Explosive, multi-media abstract works that are simultaneously messy and neat, playful and almost celebratory. These paintings are very "now".
Sabina Ott (lives in Oak Park, teaches at Columbia College. In the "What-it-is" booth at NEXT): Showing playful, multi-media sculptural works with live plants appearing to grow out of them. Not holding back. Not afraid of neon spray paint.
Lauren Gregory (lives in Chicago, represented by Swimming Pool Project Space): Gregory is showing two pieces in NEXT, the nachos (pictured above, a collaborative piece) and a painting of a white kitten made mostly of faux fur and googly eyes. I'll be damned if these pieces don't make you smile.
James R. Southard (b. Louisville, KY 1982, lives in Pittsburgh, PA): These large-scale, beautifully arranged and lit epic photographs portray what could be historical events, if only there weren't so many Schwinns and Nikes. Think Jacques-Louis David meets Jeff Wall meets Pitchfork Fest. Gorgeous. These photographs are part of the "New Insight" section at NEXT, an astoundingly strong collection of new work by MFA students from the country's most influential graduate art programs, curated by Susanne Ghez of Chicago's own Renaissance Society.
Katie Bell (b. Rockford, IL; lives in Rhode Island): Also part of the "New Insight" show, Bell's work is carrying on the popular contemporary tradition of making art (particularly sculpture) out of non-art materials (particularly construction materials), that are tweaked/assembled in a way so that you can just barely tell it's art and not trash ('cause it's really quite pretty) and then stuck in a white cube. It's not for everyone, but I implore you to give it a good long look before you dismiss it.
Antonia Gurkovska (lives in Chicago): Gurkovska's paintings, being largely monochrome or at least utilizing a restricted color family, are all about texture. They appear intricately layered and labored, often with a trademark grid of paint dots. Trust me, they look better in person than in reproductions. These are incredibly sophisticated paintings for an artist who graduated high school in 2003. Keep an eye on this one.
Genesis Belanger: ...is almost ungoogleable, so I can't tell you much about (her?) except that (she?) is/was a MFA student at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, which is in Michigan. Look at that cake thing, though. Isn't it great? 'Nuff said.