Raychael Stine at McAninch Arts Center Lobby Gallery

October 19, 2010 · Print This Article

I’ve written a piece on painter Raychael Stine in this week’s issue of New City.  I’ve been interested in Stine’s work ever since she was included in Columbia College’s Object of Nostalgia exhibition last year. She has a nice selection of paintings up in the lobby gallery at the McAninch Arts Center, College of DuPage through December. Here’s the intro to the piece; just click on over to New City to read the full profile:

“There’s a lot of excess baggage that comes with being a young female painter who makes paintings of her dogs. Just ask Raychael Stine. A 2010 graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s MFA program, Stine is sometimes asked if she does commissions—“I have a Chihuahua too! Can you paint him?” When she was an undergrad at UT Dallas, Stine was referred to as “The girl who paints her dogs.” Even more vexing is the persistent assumption that Stine’s representational approach to painting is something she has yet to “outgrow,” as if it were not, in fact, a tactic she has consciously chosen for its ability to encapsulate emotionally inchoate and often covertly personal subjects within forms that have themselves been cast off as degraded, subservient, less-than.”

Raychael Stine. "Food For the Moon," 2010, oil and acrylic on canvas

Can I also just add that the exhibitions Barbara Wiesen has been organizing at the McAninch Arts Center have been rocking my world as of late? What I especially admire and appreciate about Ms. Wiesen’s programming of the Gahlberg Gallery space is the consistent attention she is paying to Chicago’s mid-career artists. The College of DuPage, which is located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, can be a bit of a hike to get to – but the exhibitions here are never less than totally worth the effort, and as a perk parking is free and easy-peasy.




Andreas Fischer’s “Ghost Town” at HPAC and Gahlberg Gallery

February 19, 2010 · Print This Article

Andreas Fischer, who is Associate Professor at Illinois State University’s College of Fine Arts, has concurrent shows of his latest paintings up right now at the Gahlberg Gallery at the College of DuPage and the Hyde Park Art Center. The Gahlberg Gallery show closes in two weeks (February 27th) so even though it may be a bit of a haul for those of us who live near Chicago, make a plan to get out there before it’s too late! Luckily, Fischer’s show at HPAC is up a little longer, through April 18th. These two exhibitions are comprised of related bodies of work, both of which I wrote about in the catalogue essay that accompanies them. Below is an excerpt from that text; I’m in the midst of a brain-squeezing allergy attack and can’t produce much in the way of original thought this morning, so this’ll have to do.

“In many ways, Andreas Fischer’s recent paintings can be understood as ghost stories told with paint. Each of his works attempts to represent imaginative experiences that cannot be conveyed linguistically, often by taking the form of something they are not, be it a faded archival photograph or a snapshot of a picturesque Montana landscape. Using paint to weave together the factual and the ineffable, Fischer provides us with information that cannot be confirmed by a source outside of the painting: meaning must be intuited via the paint itself. Fischer’s concurrent exhibitions at the Hyde Park Art Center and the Gahlberg Gallery at the College of Du Page consist of two separate but conceptually related groups of paintings: the first, titled Original Location, is a series of landscapes depicting various Montana settings, the second, titled Sunday Best, consists of portraits based on found tintype (also known as ferrotype) images of anonymous individuals dressed in 19thcentury-style attire.


Fischer draws on metaphors of historiography and the archive to explain how these two bodies of work relate to one another:

‘History often gets represented through a collection of fragments or an archive and it has been argued that what is important in archives is what is left out – what can’t be represented factually, actual experience  in other words. Both parts of Ghost Town attempt to use painting to address this absence. Through material facts of paint these bodies of images attempt to extend beyond basic linguistic representation into broader experience. Both bodies of work are meant to mimic kinds of historical fragments. They pretend to document. More importantly, though,they attempt to use paint activity to tap into imaginative characteristics that make up subjective experience.’ “

I also highly recommend that you attend Andreas’ talk at the Hyde Park Art Center on Sunday, April 3rd at 3:00pm. He is so much fun to talk to: so curious, generous, and thoughtful — I enjoyed our studio visits tremendously and I can pretty much guarantee that this talk will not be a one-way lecture type thing.  HPAC has billed it as “not your grandmother’s artist’s talk. Please come with plenty of questions and be ready to discuss painting techniques, research tips, points of interest and other spontaneous topics with Andreas.” Although when they were alive my own grandmothers wouldn’t have known what the heck an ‘artist’s talk’ was, much less given one, I do know they would have felt comfortable at Andreas’ because he is is so kind, generous and open with his own and other people’s musings on the subject of painting. Be there people!

Original Location

Sunday Best

Sunday Best




A Q & A with Richard Rezac

January 25, 2010 · Print This Article

Untitled (09-01) 2009 cast bronze and aluminum 18 x 28 x 6.5 inches

Richard Rezac has a wonderful exhibition up right now at Rhona Hoffman Gallery (through February 2, 2010). In addition, the Modern Wing of the Art Institute is currently displaying six Rezac sculptures (spanning the years 1985-2008) from its Collection — they’ll be on view through early May. Rezac had a survey exhibition at the Gahlberg Gallery of the College of DuPage last year (the exhibition’s catalogue, which contains an enlightening essay by James Yood, is available for download on the Gahlberg Gallery’s website; just click on the link above to go there).

Richard generously agreed to answer a few questions about his latest works via email. I’m very grateful to him for taking the time to provide such illuminating and thoughtful responses.

You won the Rome Prize fellowship in 2006, which enabled you to travel to Italy to study Roman architecture in greater depth. To what extent did having a more sustained, daily interaction with Roman architecture impact your work?

That 11 month experience in Rome and in numerous parts of Italy has had a strong, and I trust, lasting effect, though because it was so substantive, I still do not know the extent of the influence. My purpose was to study the Baroque architecture of Francesco Borromini, whose 11 or so buildings are all in Rome. My approach in taking this in was naturally one of an artist, not an historian, though I certainly read what I could about his work and that of his immediate predecessors and those he influenced, especially Juvarra and Guarini in Turin.

Untitled (08-02), 2008. Cast bronze and aluminum. 22.5 x 10 x 9.5 inches.

The great pleasure was in seeing Borromini’s architecture (and eventually a large group of drawings in Vienna) on a near weekly basis, allowing me to feel aspects of his accomplishment and study many details. I was also privileged, by the American Academy’s offices, to gain entry to parts of his buildings normally off-limits.
The effect on my sculpture is not so clear to me, other than a continuation of some complexity – several materials or layers or juxtaposed forms within one work resulting in a, perhaps, more broad, gently argumentative, dynamic. In the long arc, though, of my sculptural language from the past 25 years, there has been an evolution from simple and concrete form to more extended, thin, linear and colored form, so the desire to be around Borromini’s architecture was in some sense anticipated by my work before I went there.

Along with architecture, I often think of interior design when viewing your sculptures. Some of them, for me, bring to mind things as mundane as contemporary kitchen and bathroom fixtures! After coming home from viewing your show, the kitchen faucets, towel racks, and cabinet knobs in my house–the particular geometries of their placement and their relationship to my body–all of a sudden stood out for me. Even the old-fashioned diamond tile in my bathroom floor started to “dance” for me in new ways. Am I being overly-specific here, or do you yourself ever draw inspiration from commonplace domestic interiors?

There is certainly a resemblance to ornament, facets of interior design objects, furniture, and architectural detail, such as moldings, in my sculpture of the past 6-8 years. I attribute this mainly to geometric form – the basic language in which my sculpture originates. Perhaps most manufactured applied design objects rely on the ease of elemental, efficient geometric forms. So there is an overlap, to be sure, between the common domestic accessories often handled or those elements produced in multiples as in tile flooring and the appearance of some of my forms or combinations.

I consider most of my sculpture, and all of those that are untitled, to be abstract and they may only arrive at some suggestiveness or association to domestic elements when completed and then exist in our space. I have rarely begun a work with the intention of representing another existing form, if anything it is in pursuit of a persona or complex phenomena. I am most interested, in as much as is possible for me, in starting with nothing and finding a satisfying form or arrangement.

Unititled (08-06) Painted cherry wood and aluminum 25 x 25 x 1.25 in.

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