Gallery Y: Juan Angel Chavez: “Gone”
Gallery X: Glenn Goldberg: “Fables and Other Places”
June 22- August 18, 2012
Opening Reception: Friday, June 22, 2012
As in the summers of previous years, we run contrary to the expectations of those who generally regard this period as a slower season in the art world, and proudly open two very special exhibits which offer the warm weather lovers, and the voyagers for escapism, a contemplative respite and space to connect with some powerful and enriching art.
In Gallery Y, sculptor Juan Angel Chavez presents “Gone,” a fresh body of work that emanates from his investigation and thoughts surrounding process, furthering his interest in the how he gets to a form and shape rather than the what to create. For this exhibition, the artist reuses much of the raw materials from his latest exhibition at the New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art in Indiana, in which he presented an installation fabricated from the remains of a 19th century barn set ablaze by the artist with the help of local firefighters and volunteers. The naturally formed patterns and textures of the charred wood, and the dramatic puncture wounds sheered through the barn’s
salvaged metal roofing at a staged DIY shooting-range illustrate Chavez’s preoccupation with the visual aftermath of forces that cannot otherwise be replicated. It is from these events and within these scarred and pock-marked pieces that Chavez establishes a metaphor for the explosive act of creation and the energy that embodies much of the tension within his dynamic artistic psyche – the push and pull of freedom and restraint, precision and randomness, creation and destruction, the universal and the personal, and the natural and the manmade.
While Chavez’s work can be linked with the concepts of abstract expressionism, minimalism, collage, found object, performance, social sculpture and art historical precursors in the likes of Joseph Beuys and Robert Rauschenberg, it is a small black and white photograph hanging on the wall of Chavez’s Chicago studio that predominantly concerns him. It is an image of his great-great-great grandfather, a man who followed on horseback a crazy and adventurous path from Austria to China, to San Francisco and down to Mexico where he settled and married Chavez’s great-great-great grandmother. Inspired and fascinated by the pioneering spirit of his forefather, Chavez contemplates his chosen path and his role as an artist. Relying on the basic tools of wilderness survival – wood, fire, a chainsaw, and a gun, Juan Angel Chavez creates his artwork, releasing these ideas into new forms, treading on new terrain that expresses the ordinary yet transcends the every day.
In a very similar manner of where the subconscious meets the conscious, the universal meets the personal, and the spontaneous meets the deliberate, do the multilayered realms of established New York artist Glenn Goldberg’s paintings come into existence. “Fables and Other Places,” on display in Gallery X, is Goldberg’s first time showing with the gallery and we are proud to bring his newest fictions to the city of Chicago.
Unabashedly and potently beautiful, Goldberg’s subtle though dynamic paintings bask in the tension of abstraction and representation, and delight with the organic and geometric forms that seem to manifest like visitors materializing from out of the ether. Undulating and dissolving within complex spatial constructions that vacillate between the airy and inviting and the close-knit and protected, Goldberg’s otherworldly compositions are comprised of a specific visual language of a few repeated motifs. In each work can be found what Goldberg calls the “mother energy” – the mandala/tantric-like floral formation whose palpitating presence in the panoramic landscape is an undenying force. In the large-scale painting, “Third Fable,” she takes center stage as the lone protagonist of this tale, while in “Eighth Fable” Goldberg’s pair of lovers appear muted in the background. Though they command our attention, they carry with them an entirely different message. The columns, stems, leaves, rainbows, birds, and floral formations are the anchors by which we keep our grounding in Goldberg’s ever-changing portals to nirvana.
Also anchoring us, even as they may dizzy us, are the ever-present black and white dots – the mark makings throughout each monumental piece in this exhibit which remind us of the here and now and the man-made quality of these illusory life forms and energy. For it is life experience and personal tastes, including interests in the utilitarian value of certain decorative art forms such as African textiles and rugs, Japanese screens, Chinese lacquer plates and celadon bowls that are distilled through these communicative vehicles. Apparent throughout is Goldberg’s value of beauty and beauty of the childlike – simplicity, honesty, naiveté, innocence and truth. Since Goldberg never paints over what he has done, only adds to it piece by piece, they speak to a ritualistic expression and a direct, precise, labor intensive devotional act that recognizes the lifeblood of every moment – the microcosmic value to the overall. In essence, these are his offerings and their utility is of a poetic nature. We invite you to partake.
Born in La Junta, Chihuahua Mexico, Juan Angel Chavez is a Chicago-based artist and educator whose early successes in public art and mural painting continue to inform his practice, which has evolved to include light, sound and an emphasis on found material. The artist has exhibited in institutions and around the world including the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Hyde Park Art Center, MassArt, The Center of Contemporary Art in New Zealand, and his recent solo exhibition at the National Museum of Mexican Art. The recipient of such honors as the Richard H. Driehaus Individual Artist Award, Louis Comfort Tiffany Award and the Artadia Individual Artist Award, Chavez is currently an Associate Professor of Sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
New York painter Glenn Goldberg’s contemplative, process-driven practice has garnered him numerous awards throughout his lengthy career including a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts Grant. With works acquired by major collections throughout the country including Atlanta’s High Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery of art in Washington DC, Goldberg exhibits internationally in such galleries as Munich’s Galerie Albrecht, Hill Gallery in Bloomington, Michigan, and Jason McCoy Gallery in New York. A graduate of the New York Studio School and the Master of Fine Arts program at Queens College, Goldberg holds faculty positions at Cooper Union, Parsons M.F.A., Queens College, and the New York Studio Residency Program.