Barbara Rossi: Eye Owe You!

May 12 – August 21

/ 2016

“Eye Owe You!” was organized in collaboration with Barbara Rossi as a companion to the concurrent exhibition “Barbara Rossi: Poor Traits”—curated by Natalie Bell at the New Museum, New York. Rossi has been an important teacher to generations of students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago since she began teaching there in 1971. Many of Barbara’s students fondly remember her “show and tell” sessions that prompted them to examine what, how, and why certain things piqued their visual interest. Quite simply, she taught them how to look.

The images from 1971 to 1975 included in the exhibition are a selection taken from Rossi’s vast collection of 35mm slides to align with the dates of the paintings in “Poor Traits.” Arranged by the artist in a specific sequence to correlate one image to the next, they document hand painted outdoor signs and window displays in Chicago and other cities around the globe. The street scenes provide a glimpse into her working process that, in contrast, yields surprisingly biomorphic abstract paintings and drawings.

Tony Fitzpatrick: The Secret Birds

May 12 – August 21

/ 2016

In his ongoing series “The Secret Birds”, Tony Fitzpatrick intricately draws and layers images, poetry and found materials onto the page. He combines inspiration from his working class roots in Chicago, and influences from folk art, comic book characters, and tattoo imagery in his trademark style on view. Each drawn collage depicts a specific species, ranging from the Peregrine Falcon, to the common “immigrant” Starling.  Tony Fitzpatrick’s earliest drawings as a child were of birds.  He credits his Grandmother for instilling in him a sense of wonder and reverence for a creature she believed inspired hope, telling him, “for the price of a crust of bread you can hear God sing”. “Each bird becomes a “visitation to her”, says Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick’s is a narrative journey and the birds become a catalyst for self examination.  They  play symbolic roles some delivering  otherworldly messages and cautionary tales, while others serve to commemorate and eulogize late writers like Gabriel García Márquez and he gives a soulful tribute to the  Chicago songwriter and rhythm and blues legendary musician Otis Clay. His interests are numerous, and his narratives are reflections on his travels,  social and political concerns or they become commentaries on the inequities and injustices found in Chicago and beyond.

The exhibition also features prints, drawings and collages from the museum’s permanent collection, they encompass a range of  ideas and showcase a sampling of the  visual trajectory of the artist Tony Fitzpatrick’s work from over the past two decades.

Barbara Rossi: Poor Traits

May 12 – August 21

/ 2016

“Barbara Rossi: Poor Traits” presents a selection of Barbara Rossi’s enigmatic graphite and colored pencil drawings from the late 1960s and her meticulously rendered reverse paintings on Plexiglas from the early 1970s. Rossi, who spent several years as a Catholic nun before becoming an artist, was a member of the Chicago Imagists, an influential group defined by their common interest in non-Western and popular imagery, a dedicated pursuit of vivid and distorted figurative work, and a fondness for pop imagery and wordplay. Unique among this eclectic troupe, Rossi’s disorienting compositions distinguish themselves by their precision and subtlety.

With the drawings presented in this exhibition, Rossi began to articulate an independent visual language. She started each work without any compositional plan and adopted an open and introspective process that allowed the drawing to emerge one form at a time. In these works, sporadic figurative suggestions countered Rossi’s drifting vocabulary and eventually transformed her wandering lines into mischievous, psychedelic portraits.
The baroque characters that populate Rossi’s reverse Plexiglas paintings appear as bodies depicted from the inside out, churning with knobs and bulges that suggest folds of skin or mounds of flesh. In these paintings, Rossi applied precise lines and uniform fields of color to the back of the panel in a technique that does not allow for revision or overpainting, but enhances their luminous kaleidoscopic textures.

“Barbara Rossi: Poor Traits” is the first solo exhibition in Chicago by this pioneering artist in twenty-five years. The exhibition was organized by the New Museum and curated by Natalie Bell.

Learn more about Barbara Rossi! 

SELINA TREPP: NOWHERE NOW HERE

May 12 – August 21

/ 2016

An extension of Trepp’s “Nap Animations,” an ongoing series of hand drawn animations whose lengths are dictated by her daughter Maxine’s nap times, her latest animation “Nowhere Now Here” has evolved over time as an outlet for Trepp’s away-from-the-studio work time.  This hand drawn animation utilizes a bright color palette, stream-of-consciousness doodled lines, continuously evolving shapes and patterns set against a black screen to capture fleeting emotional states in animated whimsy.

The animation will be on view in the second floor window, visible from the north-bound CTA platform.

Watch it on vimeo.