Thursday, April 19, 2007

mighty fine arts @ polvo

Mighty Fine Arts @ Polvo
Curated by Steve Cruz

Yousef Balat
Candace Briceno
Steve Cruz
Shelby Cunningham
Veronica De Anda
John Hartley
Brian Jones
Rosemary Meza
Harmony Padgett
Polly Perez
Brian Scott
Eric Tosten

Opening Friday May 4th from 6pm-10pm

May 4 - May 26, 2007

Mighty Fine Arts brings to Chicago a sampling of Texas based artists who have been featured in shows at the gallery. This eclectic mix of styles and practices reflects the overall intent of the gallery which is to provide a space for artists who aren't represented in the more established art spaces. That many artists who have shown at MFA have gone on to shows at bigger venues speaks to the quality of artists who have exhibited at the gallery. This show features 12 artists from Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and Houston.

Mighty Fine Arts is an artist-run gallery located in the scenic and historic Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas. Artist Steve Cruz started the gallery in June of 2004 with the intention of providing an alternative space for innovative and underrepresented artists. mfa presents an eclectic array of shows with the guiding criteria of presenting work that is resonant, thoughtful and highly accomplished. From mid-career to fresh and unknown artists, mfa hopes to enlarge the perceptions of contemporary art in North Texas.

mini exhibit : CarianaCarianne

Cariana received an MFA from University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill in 2001 and Carianne received an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2003. Their installations, objects and videos have been exhibited extensively across the United States, as well as throughout Europe and Canada. Their works have been included in the Istanbul Biennial (Turkey, 2003), The Drawing Center (New York, 2005), the European Media Arts Festival (Germany, 2003) and the Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas, 2003). Their solo projects include Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago, 2004), Croxhapox Gallery (Belgium, 2004, 2006), Chicago Cultural Center (Chicago, 2004), and Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago, 2007). In 2006, their work was selected to take part in the DVD publication ASPECT Vol.7: Personas & Personalities and an 80-page exhibition catalogue of their work, titled Borders, was published through Croxhapox Gallery and Parys Press. Their group shows include The Believers at MASS MoCA (North Adams, 2007), Haunted States at GrandArts (Kansas City, 2006), and Empathetic at Temple Gallery of Tyler School of Art (Philadelphia, 2006). Recently, their project, Drawing and Being Drawn, was selected as a finalist for new commissions at Art in General (New York, 2006). CarianaCarianne lives and works in Chicago.

This CarianaCarianne exhibition coincides with programming at Hyde Park Art Center.

CarianaCarianne: The Embedded Body
Gallery 4

5020 S. Cornell Ave.
Chicago, IL 60615
(773) 324-5520

flatscreen DVD: Jaime Mendoza

Jaime Mendoza is a Chicago based artist/curator. His work is concerned with issues of immigration, ethnicity and borders, Mendoza uses a variety of mediums such as video, photography, and mixed media installations—all of which fuse the politics of contemporary urban culture with idealistic meditations on aesthetics, history, and identity. Mendoza has exhibited extensively throughout the U.S. and abroad. Most recently, Mendoza presented a workshop on Self Liberation through Self Identification at the 2nd Annual Educating for CHANGE Curriculum Fair in St. Louis, Missouri in conjunction with the University of Missouri St. Louis College of Education -- Division of Teaching and Learning. Mendoza was also awarded a one year grant from The National Association of Latino Arts and Culture (NALAC) to publish a book of drawings, “La Chamba: Drawings by Jaime Mendoza” which will be released this fall. Currently Mendoza is an instructor in the Art Department at Northeastern Illinois University. See more of his work HERE.

1458 W. 18th St. 1R
Chicago, IL 60608
773 344 1940
HOURS: Saturdays from Noon-5pm or by appointment

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

not exactly Pilsen but...Bridgeport

The Prints of Rene H. Arceo

Raíz del Tiempo
The Prints of Rene H. Arceo

Opening Reception:
Friday, April 20 @ 6:00 - 9:00 pm
April 20 - May 25, 2007

Casa Michoacan
1638 S. Blue Island (Pilsen)
Chicago, IL 60608
Tel (312) 491-9317 or (312) 491-0379

Text from the exhibition catalogue:

Raiz del Tiempo (Root of Time)
By Julio Rangel, Chicago, IL

Themes reflecting social issues are frequently portrayed in Mexican printmaking and are current artistic sui generis. Printmaking differs from other artistic expressions which are often confined to limited socio-economic circles. Since the beginning of the 20th Century printmaking has become part of public life like a decisive epigram, expressing sharp social commentary and a synthesis of the ancestral Mexican iconographic force.

It is the artistic vigor of this genre that has enabled it to last beyond the journalistic immediacy. Let us remember the prints of José Guadalupe Posada published during the Mexican Revolution of 1910. These prints were harsh political and social commentaries which, even today, remain timeless works of art.

The prints presented in this exhibition by René Arceo have a dual social–aesthetic perspective where several currents converge. First, the viewer makes a connection between Arceo’s work with the combative Mexican prints from the beginning of the 20th Century, like those of José Guadalupe Posada and Leopoldo Méndez. Second, the post-revolutionary artistic discourse of the muralists –mainly of the three great Mexican muralists: Rivera, Siqueiros and Orozco. And third, the artistic European styles that have nourished his artwork are evident.

Just as in the above-mentioned artistic tendencies, his works synthesize, in full dynamic compositions, narratives that resolve within themselves–at times telluric, at times controlled. They are social and cultural commentaries which transmit a sense of urgency while at the same time elaborate artistic creations that ask for the attention of the spectator.

It is not without cost that his work is impregnated with social themes; the history of Latino immigration to the United States is a continuous struggle for justice and respect. Frequently, the political reality stands firm in front of us and grabs us by our lapels, even when we may not want to see it.

Nevertheless, it is not mere didacticism that breathes within his prints, rather the iconic force of these images ask us to look at a slow pace to reveal its lyrical current within its many layers.

The “Muchacha con rebozo” that directs an intense look at us; the woman in “Meditación” that rests and retreats into an interior world; and the indigenous “Tarahumara” that shows his knotty hands between the nervous flow of lines on his clothes are all figures with concentrated expressions that appear over a flat background, deprived of the elements. The emptiness from which the “Lacandon Boy” sees us accentuates his figure and echoes the precarious conditions in which the indigenous farm-workers live in Mexico and South America.

In other prints, on the other hand, forms mutate and cohabitate in space at the mercy of an astute handling of the line, generating intricate constructions, rich depths of details that evolve into new figures, expanding curves that form human profiles, animal and vegetable forms, and discernable objects. The musicality and the playful sense that those lines transmit, the impression of almost instinctive looseness in “Spiritual Dance” and “Central America” contrast with the gravity of “Guatemalan Women” and the indignant rage of “Madre con rebozo.”
It is impossible to avoid the underlying presence of pre-Hispanic elements in the shape of masks or sculptures (the parallel faces in “Bolivian Woman”), the omnipotent Mexican skeletons that Posada immortalized, and the Aztec glyphs in the splendid “Alacran.” The rich artistic tradition of the codex and low-relieves sculpted in stone by the ancient settlers of our American continent are a fountain from which Arceo has known how to successfully soak without folkloric theatricality.

This show of prints testifies to the vigor of this genre among Latino visual artists in the United States. These artists are continually exploring their cultural roots while immersing themselves in the agitation of the present day. Arceo’s work, in particular, stands out not only due to his assimilation and knowledge of the printmaking tradition, but also because of his fresh and creative approach in how he creates his own language.