John Vlahakis and “Own Nature”

From the exhibition "Own Nature" John Vlahakis' The Greenline

From the series of works Own Nature, John Vlahakis’ The Greenline 

Through a series of thought-provoking photographs entitled “Own Nature,” John Vlahakis captivates the viewer, often with subtle, clean compositions and color, while simultaneously provoking questions.

You Are Here by John Vlahakis

You Are Here by John Vlahakis

“Who really owns nature?” John Vlahakis asks. This question has evolved from a life of environmental concern and observations dating back to the artist’s nascent impressions rooted in Earth Day during middle school.

“Do we own nature, does nature own itself, or does nature own us?”

Reckoning by John Vlahakis

Reckoning by John Vlahakis

The timing of such an exhibition could not be more apt.

45's Legacy by John Vlahakis

45’s Legacy by John Vlahakis

Where Have All the Migrants Gone 40 x 60 by John Vlahakis

Where Have All the Migrants Gone 40 x 60 by John Vlahakis

“Humans and nature alter the physical landscape each day.”

Compression 30 x 40 by John Vlahakis

Compression 30 x 40 by John Vlahakis

“Humans can easily understand the changes we make to the natural world, assuming you believe that every action begets a different reaction, and if you apply the science to natural phenomena, we learn to appreciate what the natural world can do on its own without our influences.”

Refraction by John Vlahakis

Refraction by John Vlahakis

Faced with the dizzying pace of worldwide changes whether in climate, storms, fires, industry, technology and more, humanity is in the midst of confronting the fact of the finite.

Joliet Jake's House by John Vlahakis

Joliet Jake’s House by John Vlahakis

Pink Pearls 30 x 30 by John Vlahakis

Pink Pearls 30 x 30 by John Vlahakis

We can share in Vlahakis’ visual reflections presented in Own Nature, be inspired, and grapple.

Merkel's Tree by John Vlahakis

Merkel’s Tree by John Vlahakis

In conjunction with the exhibition, John Vlahakis wishes to encourage support for the non-profit organization ElderCARE of Waukegan. John has served on their board over the past three years and seen how they benefit the community. Among other activities, ElderCARE provides free transportation to medical appointments and grocery shopping services to homebound seniors. During the exhibition John will be donating 10% of proceeds from sales of his works to ElderCARE. Any contribution to this non-profit organization will be greatly appreciated. Visit eldercarelakecounty.org

Dandywires by John Vlahakis

Dandywires by John Vlahakis

“Own Nature is a body of work which, I hope, creates discussion and appreciation for our natural environment. Sometimes humans can have a positive influence within the natural world, but these days that seems to be less so.”

Remnants by John Vlahakis

Remnants by John Vlahakis

John Vlahakis Own Nature opens at ZIA Gallery, Saturday, October 14th, 5 – 7 pm. 548 Chestnut Street, Winnetka, IL 60093 ZIAgallery.net

A book is available for purchase at http://www.blurb.com/b/8177114-own-nature

The exhibition continues at ZIA Gallery through November 11, 2017

Frontline by John Vlahakis

Frontline by John Vlahakis

Complementary Exhibitions of Mary Burke’s new paintings and Clyde Butcher’s B+W Photography

Mary Burke with her paintings "Garden Shapes" and "Organic Rhythms"

Mary Burke with her paintings “Garden Shapes” and “Organic Rhythms”

The art season has begun with Art Expo and gallery openings. The latest event at ZIA Gallery introduces Mary Burke’s new paintings, fresh and vibrant abstractions with references to the physicality of paint and the endless rich variations of marks and gestures.

"Limestone Layer" by Mary Burke, 60 x 40 Acrylic

“Limestone Layer” by Mary Burke, 60 x 40 Acrylic

Mary says of her work, “Formally, my work manifests the play of design elements which are created through a combination of accidental and intentional marks. I love the paint to entertain me, and then I respond. I work expressively with line, intermingling non-figurative, gestural marks with those that reference plants and flowers.”

"Floral Deconstruct" by Mary Burke, Acrylic and Ink on Panel, 24 x 18

“Floral Deconstruct” by Mary Burke, Acrylic and Ink on Panel, 24 x 18

Inherent in her work is a fascination with nature’s complexities. She loves to experiment branching off with her painterly explorations in a variety of directions, expanding her vocabulary of forms and color.

"Mingled Patterns" 60 x 48, acrylic on canvas by Mary Burke

“Mingled Patterns” 60 x 48, acrylic on canvas by Mary Burke

At the core, however, is her recognizable self-expression. Chicago native Mary Burke now makes her studio in the woods of southwest Michigan.

Clyde Butcher at ZIA Gallery

Clyde Butcher on view at ZIA Gallery through October 7, 2017

The National Parks inform the complementary exhibition of black and white, mostly, silver gelatin photographs by renowned artist Clyde Butcher. The exhibition shows his passion for nature and the richness of the land.

Clyde Butcher's "Horseshoe Bend 3"

Clyde Butcher’s “Horseshoe Bend 3”

Clyde has captured the very essence of rewards offered by our unique park system. His images serve as ambassadors making the case on behalf of these landscapes themselves.

"Buffalo" by Clyde Butcher

“Buffalo” by Clyde Butcher

Fifty years in the making, this collection of sensitive photographs helps to celebrate our national heritage and the places that tell the story of who we are and who we hope to be in perpetuity.

"Foggy Forest 1" by Clyde Butcher

“Foggy Forest 1” by Clyde Butcher

Clyde has chosen to compile a remarkable body of black and white, mostly, silver gelatin prints to celebrate the 100th anniversary of our National Parks. ZIA Gallery is pleased to introduce to lovers of nature and fine photography of the Chicago area, this stunning tribute.

 "Many Glacier 1" by Clyde Butcher 22 x 22

“Many Glacier 1” by Clyde Butcher 22 x 22

At the time of the exhibition opening Clyde Butcher was hunkered down to stave off the forces of Hurricane Irma. Thankfully, all are well and cleanup is in progress. Over the years Clyde Butcher has become known for his efforts in bringing forth the wonders of the Everglades and the importance of their preservation.

Clyde Butcher's "Little Butternut Key" 37 x 51 Silver Gelatin

Clyde Butcher’s “Little Butternut Key” 37 x 51 Silver Gelatin

Award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns states, “Clyde Butcher’s remarkable photographs give us an access to nature we rarely see or experience. They not only reveal the intimate and majestic beauty of nature, but they also remind us of the abiding kinship we mortals share when we work together to preserve these magnificent places. Butcher’s art is a national treasure.”

Clyde Butcher's "Saguaro 1 Arizona" 26 x 30 Silver Gelatin

Clyde Butcher’s “Saguaro 1 Arizona” 26 x 30 Silver Gelatin

The exhibitions continue at ZIA Gallery through October 7th, 548 Chestnut St., Winnetka, IL 60093

www.ZIAgallery.net

Clyde Butcher's "HawaIi Falls"

Clyde Butcher’s “HawaIi Falls”

Tim Liddy and Lisa A. Frank: Solo Exhibitions to See

ZIA Gallery is currently presenting exhibitions featuring works by Tim Liddy and Lisa A. Frank.

Artist Tim Liddy in front of some of his works

Artist Tim Liddy in front of some of his works

A mini-retrospective of Tim Liddy’s paintings give viewers insights into directions he pursued in the process of developing a remarkable body of work. From large-scale pieces referencing art history, society, and myth,

Tim Liddy "Damocles" 53 x 48 Mixed Media on Paper graphite, latex, image transfer on paper

Tim Liddy “Damocles” 53 x 48 Mixed Media on Paper graphite, latex, image transfer on paper

Tim arrives at his dimensional paintings of games on formed metal that are garnering attention today.

Tim Liddy "Devil's Food" 18 x 12 x 1.5 enamel, silver leaf, pigment transfer on copper

Tim Liddy “Devil’s Food” 18 x 12 x 1.5 enamel, silver leaf, pigment transfer on copper

Tim Liddy "Angel Food" 18 x 12 x 1.5 enamel, silver leaf, pigment transfer on copper

Tim Liddy “Angel Food” 18 x 12 x 1.5 enamel, silver leaf, pigment transfer on copper

Tim Liddy "Circa 1966" Oil and Enamel on Copper 13 x 19

Tim Liddy “Circa 1966” Oil and Enamel on Copper 13 x 19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“We’ve played games throughout the history of civilization, and play is a very important part of the human experience- whether you’re kicking a ball or engaging in more intellectual play.”

Fascination

Fascination

 

Lisa A. Frank "William Morris Overheard" 27 x 36 digital photography

Lisa A. Frank “William Morris Overheard” 27 x 36 digital photograph

Lisa A. Frank is a fine art photographer composing unique, lush images from collections of photographs of nature.

Lisa A. Frank with two of her original photographs

Lisa A. Frank with two of her original photographs

Camera ready, during walks in nature, Lisa photographs elements that help to make up the patterns and forms she digitally manipulates resulting in photographs full of romanticism and wonder. “The taking of the photos and the actual making of the work is something that I love and it feels like a truly authentic part of me.”

Lisa A. Frank "In Just Spring" 36.5 x 40 Edition of 15

Lisa A. Frank “In Just Spring” 36.5 x 40 Edition of 15

Lisa A. Frank and exhibition attendee

Lisa A. Frank and exhibition attendee

Both artists kindly traveled from a considerable distance to attend the opening reception.

Tim Liddy engages a father and daughter

Tim Liddy engages a father and daughter

Tim Liddy even came in early to meet with a father and daughter, spending more than an hour talking to them. How often does the public have a chance to meet such remarkably generous artists at their level of creative practice? Thank you.

Artist Tim Liddy greeting exhibition attendees

Artist Tim Liddy greeting exhibition attendees

Tim Liddy’s work has been exhibited at venues including Art Miami/Basel, Aqua Art Miami, Dallas Art Fair, Palm Springs Art Fair among others.

Tim Liddy "circa 1986" (Ferris) Oil and Enamel on copper 13 x 19 x 1 ½

Tim Liddy “circa 1986” (Ferris) Oil and Enamel on copper 13 x 19 x 1 ½

His works have been acquired for contemporary collections across the United States, including those of Beth DeWoody and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art among many other private collections. As well, the Hunt family, owners of the Kansas City Chiefs, commissioned a number of Liddy’s works for the Arrowhead Stadium.

Work by Lisa A. Frank

Work by Lisa A. Frank

At the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she holds an MFA in Design Studies, Lisa A. Frank is currently part of the Discovery to Product (D2P) incubator program. With its support, she is developing virtual reality content that is based on her 2D photography.

Lisa A. Frank "Columbine-The Mystery of Five Doves" 40 x 37 digital photography

Lisa A. Frank “Columbine-The Mystery of Five Doves” 40 x 37 digital photography

Using her artwork to also enhance interdisciplinary explorations, Frank was chosen to be a Senior Research Fellow at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She was the first artist/collaborator to be given this distinction. Lisa was an Evelyn Stephansson Nef Fellow in photography at MacDowell Colony.

Tim Liddy's paintings on formed copper

Tim Liddy’s paintings on formed copper

The exhibition continues through June 10th at ZIA Gallery, 548 Chestnut St. Winnetka, IL 60093 tel. 847-446-3970.

John Vlahakis Engages The Kenilworth Garden Club

“For me, photography is a moment in time that I will never forget. It is the recorded history of our lives.” Recently at ZIA Gallery, John Vlahakis spoke about his work as a photographer to creative members of The Kenilworth Garden Club.

John Vlahakis talks about his photography.

Members of The Kenilworth Garden Club listen to John Vlahakis talk about his photography.

John first became interested in photography when he was in high school. Those early years awakened a concern for the environment and a fascination with human behavior, dual paths that proved to have staying power.  Throughout college he was known to carry a camera wherever he went. Years later when he picked up photography again, John pushed ahead with a quiet passion and studied observation, diving deep into his creative process.

"Periwinkle" by John Vlahakis, 30" x 30" edition of 5.

“Periwinkle” by John Vlahakis, 30″ x 30″ edition of 5.

Today John has embraced the digital camera while treating it as he would his analog equipment: taking time to compose, waiting until the optimum second to capture the light, the movement, the image; reluctant to waste “film” on a throw-away photo.

John Vlahakis with one of his digital cameras and tripod he uses for capturing nature in movement and low light.

John Vlahakis with one of his digital cameras and tripod he uses for capturing nature in movement and low light.

"Chicago's Winter Glory" 20" x 30" by John Vlahakis edition of 5.

“Chicago’s Winter Glory” 20″ x 30″ by John Vlahakis edition of 5.

Those two early paths of interest continue to show in his work.  Today John Vlahakis is noted for his clean, subtle landscapes that envelop the viewer – and his depictions of city life and the everyday person. More of John’s city images can be seen on his recent Instagram postings at https://www.instagram.com/johnvlahakisphotography/

John Vlahakis' Instagram postings of street life.

John Vlahakis’ Instagram postings of street life.

During the evening’s presentation to the garden club John was asked, “If you could wake up anywhere to photograph, where would that be?” John replied, ” For landscape, I would wake up in Iceland in a town called Vík with the beach of black lava sand.” There one is exposed to, “rain, sleet and snow; monstrous waves and the power of nature.”

"Stormcoming" by John Vlahakis 40 x 60 edition of 2.

“Stormcoming” by John Vlahakis 40 x 60 edition of 2.

On the other hand, for street photography, “In New York, I would wake up on an overcast day, with a little misty rain and lots of people.” In the street vendor, there you see the on-going story of “the immigrant trying to make a living. Fascinating people.”

"Night Noir" by John Vlahakis 26.5" x 40" edition of 5.

“Night Noir” by John Vlahakis 26.5″ x 40″ edition of 5.

Again of nature, John recalled a visit to the south coast of Australia where he realized no one else was there. “I was blown away by the solitude.”

John Vlahakis will have a featured exhibition this coming fall at ZIA Gallery, opening Saturday, October 14th, 2017, 5-7pm. Here he will exhibit work from his boxed portfolio project titled “Own Nature.” The introductory viewing was at AQUA Art Miami Basel in December where his work garnered many accolades. Some of the members of the garden club were also treated to a viewing.

"Own Nature" by John Vlahakis edition of 10

“Own Nature” by John Vlahakis edition of 10

The Creative World, and Transformative Experience of Anne Hughes’ Art by Wolfgang Krol

Anne Hughes' "Golden Circle" 44 x 30 soft pastel

Anne Hughes’ “Golden Circle” 44 x 30 soft pastel

When Marshal McLuhan coined the phrase “The medium is the message” little did he know that there was an artist in the making by the name of Anne Hughes who would dedicate her life and creativity to intuitively making the medium and the message come alive through her art. In a strange and uncanny way, Anne would become a benevolent messenger of an artistic “stargate” that opens the door to other worlds and experiences that connect us through creativity, imagination, reality, fantasy, dreams, play, curiosity, magic, hope, joy, and wonderment. Anne transmits all of this with humility, and dedicated commitment through her art, and through the intuitive ideas she explores through various physical materials with highly skillful artistic techniques, that inevitably takes the viewer through numerous, and multiple visual, conceptual, and transformative experiences in each and every work.

Anne Hughes "Natural Worlds" 43.5 x 29.75, soft pastel

Anne Hughes “Natural Worlds” 43.5 x 29.75, soft pastel

Many individuals are concerned, and to some degree, obsessed with definitions, and labels in art, related to realism, abstract, modern, post modern, etc. In the end all this labeling is nice for those who are more concerned with the history of art than with a timeless experience, communicating, interacting, and experiencing the art itself. If you are willing to forgo the labels, and are open to just experiencing the art, Anne will take you on a visual and emotional journey that will be remembered for a very long time. For those individuals who are fortunate enough to own one or more of Anne’s works, they will be able to experience this visual journey on a daily ongoing basis. The wonder of Anne’s magical creativity is that every time one engages with her work one experiences something new and enlightening. Just when we think we already know a work, we begin to see new relationships in the images, or gain new insights into her creative mind, or into our reality, and perception.

Anne Hughes "Reading Time" 12" x 12" oil on panel

Anne Hughes “Reading Time” 12″ x 12″ oil on panel

Anne’s work is about experiencing. Everyone who engages with her work, and imagery may see something similar, but will not experience things in the same way, because we are all different, and experience things uniquely. We may see playful images, images that seem to be out of place, out of time, or out of reality as we know it. We may see images that interact in a space that is foreign to their natural environment: like a “fish out of water”. Anne transforms the natural environment and brings all environments together into one space, or frame. This may be hard to imagine in reality, but Anne’s work transforms reality, takes us on an imaginary journey, and while we are on this journey she shows us a new reality, a new way of seeing with many surprises, and new answers to the visual and conceptual questions that we may have. Anne’s work is not about linear logic, it is about a multi dimensional experience that redefines logic, reality, space, perception, and allows us to engage in new questions, experiences, and perceive new “logics”.

Anne Hughes, "Dark Night" soft pastel

Anne Hughes, “Dark Night” soft pastel

To really experience Anne’s work, or other work, for that matter, it must be seen in its actual physical configuration, and not in a photo, or on a computer, iPad, or cell phone screen; the so-called new social media “art gallery”. The real actual size, media, materials, configuration etc., is what brings her art works to life. When we approach a work, we already start our experience, and engagement.

Detail of "The Golden Circle" by Anne Hughes

Detail of “The Golden Circle” by Anne Hughes

As we move closer, our experience, and perception start to change, transform through the interaction of the colors, images, materials, and what we personally bring to the work.

Detail of "The Golden Circle" by Anne Hughes

Detail of “The Golden Circle” by Anne Hughes

Then, when we stop in front of Anne’s work, and journey visually through all the materials and imagery, we begin to see and experience the magical tour that Anne is taking us on.

Detail of "The Golden Circle" by Anne Hughes

Detail of “The Golden Circle” by Anne Hughes

We, as the viewer, have to find the correct distance or position from the work so our personal experience can take place. Even moving to the right or left of her work changes what we see and experience. In some art works this happened by default. In Anne’s work the changes in perception is by design.

Detail of "The Golden Circle" by Anne Hughes

Detail of “The Golden Circle” by Anne Hughes

Looking at her work on a computer or other technical device, for that matter, will NEVER give the true impact or power of the work. The character of the materials used ie. paper, wood, canvas, cardboard etc., the colors added, the strokes of the brush, pencil, pastels, etc., interacting with each other, all bring the work to life, transforming the original material(s) into a new identity opening the mind of the viewer giving new insights into ones perception and reality.

Detail of "The Golden Circle" by Anne Hughes

Detail of “The Golden Circle” by Anne Hughes

The phrase “seeing is believing” is very true after seeing the creative work of Anne Hughes; believing takes on a new meaning. As with all art we have to approach it with an open mind. We have to leave our prejudices, and biases at home, as much as possible, and experience each work on it’s own terms and merit /relationship as if we were talking to, or engaged with the artist personally; and before we know it we have developed a new friendship that will last a lifetime.

"Wish List" by Anne Hughes

“Wish List” by Anne Hughes

Those that are fortunate to see Anne Hughes’ work will experience things, like they never have before. But it must be remembered like all relationships, it takes time, engagement, and nurturing. However, even if one does not have the time to develop a “real friendship” or relationship with Anne’s work, just simply passing in front of a work, one just begins to feel as if Anne is stretching out her hand in a welcoming, friendly gesture encouraging us to engage in the exhilarating experience with her art.

Anne Hughes' "Iceland Inspired" 11 3/8" x 11 3/8", soft pastel

Anne Hughes’ “Iceland Inspired” 11 3/8″ x 11 3/8″, soft pastel

So welcome all to the creative world, and transformative experience of the unique art of Anne Hughes, and be pleasantly surprised, and elated with the message transformed by the media; and for all the above, Anne Hughes deserves to be recognized and acknowledged in a category among the best, and most creative artists.

Wolfgang Krol, Associate Professor, Studio Arts (retired)

Concordia University, Montreal, Que., Canada

Fumiko Toda and Beverly Zawitkoski: Exhibitions of Individual Contemporary Painting

ZIA Gallery launches the new art season on Saturday, September 10th with two featured exhibitions by celebrated artists Fumiko Toda and Beverly Zawitkoski.

Fumiko Toda's "Mountain with Wings" and "Untitled"

Fumiko Toda’s “Mountain with Wings” and “Untitled”

 

Beverly Zawitkoski's (left to right) "Watery Haze," "Into the New," and "Now and Then"

Beverly Zawitkoski’s (left to right) “Watery Haze,” “Into the New,” and “Now and Then”

Fumiko Toda, based in New York, grew up in a rural area outside Kyoto, Japan where nature stirred her imagination.

Fumiko Toda's "Golden Path" 48" x 48" mixed media on panel

Fumiko Toda’s “Golden Path” 48″ x 48″ mixed media on panel

As she went on to study art both in Japan and New York, abstract and, often whimsical, imagery of the natural world entered her visual vocabulary and continues to animate her vibrant, joyful expression.

"Always" by Fumiko Toda, 56" x 56" mixed media on satin

“Always” by Fumiko Toda, 56″ x 56″ mixed media on satin

Toda loves to mix and explore different materials and techniques, stitching together elements of her etchings to fabric and paper on panel with her free handling of paint. This exhibition is certain to uplift.

"Planting Seeds" by Fumiko Toda, mixed media on canvas

“Planting Seeds” by Fumiko Toda, mixed media on canvas

Beverly Zawitkoski is based in Montreal, Québec where her BFA from Concordia University led to an award of a Commonwealth Scholarship at The Slade School of Fine Arts in London, UK. There she completed her post-graduate studies and was awarded the Leslye Hurry Prize.

Beverly Zawitkoski's (from left to right) "Through There" 8.75 x 8.75, Acrylic on Mylar and  "Reminiscent" 31.5 x 43.5, Acrylic on Mylar

Beverly Zawitkoski’s (from left to right) “Through There” 8.75 x 8.75, Acrylic on Mylar and “Reminiscent” 31.5 x 43.5, Acrylic on Mylar

Zawitkoski paints with a desire to reach emotional depth and touch a sublime, inexplicable essence. Her journey is intuitive being informed by how the layering of paint changes direction and leads the artist into unpredictable worlds.

"Watery Haze" 24 x 36, Acrylic on Mylar by Beverly Zawitkoski

“Watery Haze” 24 x 36, Acrylic on Mylar by Beverly Zawitkoski

Her abstractions do, in fact, suggest a land, place, figure or world where intangible nature reigns.

"Splendour" by Beverly Zawitkoski 31.5 x 44.5, acrylic on Mylar

“Splendour” by Beverly Zawitkoski 31.5 x 44.5, acrylic on Mylar

Zawitkoski’s works have the ability to speak to people on many levels. Such is, perhaps, their wide appeal. Admirers and new audiences will enjoy seeing the evolution of her bodies of work, as this new exhibition demonstrates, once again.

Fumiko Toda and Beverly Zawitkoski at ZIA Gallery, September 10 - October 8, 2016

Fumiko Toda and Beverly Zawitkoski at ZIA Gallery, September 10 – October 8, 2016

The exhibition opens Saturday, September 10th, 5 – 7 pm at ZIA Gallery, 548 Chestnut Street, Winnetka, IL 60093 All are welcome to attend. Fumiko Toda and Beverly Zawitkoski continues through October 8th, 2016. www.ZIAgallery.net

The Inventive Expression of Jacqueline Baerwald by Shannon Gallagher

Jacqueline Baerwald describes herself mostly as a painter, but her body of work encompasses a variety of genres, including mixed media, assemblage, and sculpture. Her current work combines painting, found objects, and poetry.

Jacqueline Baerwald's "Give Them Wings" Acrylic on Books

Jacqueline Baerwald’s “Give Them Wings” Acrylic on Books

The ‘My Melondy: Issues of Adolescence’ series is conceptual, featuring the recurring image of a young girl painted on stacks of found books. The books, which are entirely thrifted, found, or gifted from friends, are carefully curated and arranged so that the titles form a found poem, which ultimately becomes an integral part of the piece.

Jacqueline Baerwald's "What Little Girls Are Made Of" 48.5 x 48.5 x 3 Acrylic on Books

Jacqueline Baerwald’s “What Little Girls Are Made Of” 48.5 x 48.5 x 3 Acrylic on Books

The work explores the issues faced by young women today, including body image, abuse, and the effects of family dissolution. “The work isn’t based on my life as much as a handful of close girlfriends who experienced rather massive trauma in their lives. The darker paintings of the Melondy series, well… I can attach a name or several names to each one of them,” she explained.

"Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep" Acrylic on Books by Jacqueline Baerwald

“Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep” Acrylic on Books by Jacqueline Baerwald

“Melondy is this sort of cartoonish character I created. I started painting her in 2011, and for a long time, I really only associated her with the average teenage girl… I only personally related to her here and there,” she said. “It’s strange, because I used to feel very different from her, but now I’m realizing that she embodies a lot about myself.”

"All That Glitters" Acrylic on Books by Jacqueline Baerwald

“All That Glitters” Acrylic on Books by Jacqueline Baerwald

Baerwald has enjoyed seeing how viewers relate to the work. “The work reflects a lot of pain,” she said, “but also hope- the idea that this isn’t the end of it.” I don’t know how comfortable I am with the word ‘activist,’ but the work is meant to instigate some sort of change. I don’t want to tell the viewer what that change is, but instead inspire them; to start a thinking process in their minds. I want art to be beautiful and interesting in technique, but also to make me stop and think about life, other people’s lives, the impact I have, and what I can do to make this world a better place, even in my small sphere of influence. At the core, that is what I’m trying to do with the ‘Melondy’ series.”

"Rock, Paper..." Acrylic on Books by Jacqueline Baerwald

“Rock, Paper…” Acrylic on Books by Jacqueline Baerwald

Prior to this series, the artist had been painting in a more realistic manner. “I want children and young people to enjoy the work as much as adults. This is the first time I’d tried something more cartoon-like, more whimsical. It’s been an interesting detour to go down this road, and [the work] seems to resonate with a lot of people,” she said. “The concept and symbolism- the ideas that I am going to convey through the imagery come first.

"You Are My Sunshine" Acrylic on Books by Jacqueline Baerwald

“You Are My Sunshine” Acrylic on Books by Jacqueline Baerwald

The work uses this cute little character that people fall in love with to address issues that they don’t want to talk about. But she draws you in, and you want to love her, and you think about how she’s experiencing a lot of pain, and decide, ‘Let’s stop brushing this under the rug.’”

"Birds of a Feather" Acrylic on books by Jacqueline Baerwald

“Birds of a Feather” Acrylic on books by Jacqueline Baerwald

Baerwald has no shortage of concepts for new work. “I have a long log of ideas. If I had more time, I’d paint all of them. I do a lot of reading on all sorts of subjects, and I have a huge interest in the human condition. I end up reading a lot of things that have scientific or religious components to them, looking at different worldviews, various societal issues and mindsets. Ultimately,” she said, “my work distills more about what is going on in the active mind, how we can monitor our own thinking, and how our actions follow.”

"Sealed Lips" Acrylic on books by Jacqueline Baerwald

“Sealed Lips” Acrylic on books by Jacqueline Baerwald

Jacqueline Baerwald’s work currently can be seen at ZIA Gallery.

Paula Kovarik Stitches Content and Imagination by Shannon Gallagher

Paula Kovarik uses cloth and stitch to create art that reflects on life, politics, and the world around us.

"Punditocracy" by Paula Kovarik

“Punditocracy” by Paula Kovarik

Current events inform her work. “It’s hard to find good news,” she said.“I react to what I read.”Kovarik references maps, photographs and sketches when beginning new work. An eclectic mix of subject matter finds its way into her art. The environment looms large, as does social interaction and technology. She is currently working on a piece about nuclear testing. The seriousness of the subject matter is tinted by satirical expression and the playfulness of a child.

"Keeping Up with the Dow Joneses" by Paula Kovarik

“Keeping Up with the Dow Joneses” by Paula Kovarik

The juxtaposition of playfulness and seriousness in Kovarik’s work is intentional; it draws the viewer into the work. “Often people will come to [a piece] attracted to the playfulness, and then they look closer and see the message,” said Kovarik. “Some pieces are just an emotion or a mindset that I want to communicate through stitching. You must be close to view the details of the work. People are drawn to the piece and surprised by the content.”

"Decision Tree" by Paula Kovarik

“Decision Tree” by Paula Kovarik

Kovarik finds great fun in creating environments. “I like drawing fantastical spaces, letting the pen move and seeing what happens after it’s done.

"Meanwhile" by Paula Kovarik

“Meanwhile” by Paula Kovarik

I work the same way when I’m stitching. I watch the stitched line move through space, creating arrows, spirals, and snake-like shapes. It’s a personal challenge that I have worked with for quite awhile, allowing the stitch to have it’s own life, letting it flow. Then I react to that line with the next stitch; it’s a bit of a game.”

"Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places" by

“Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places” by Paula Kovarik

The incredible detail and intricacy of Kovarik’s work would be painstaking if done completely by hand.

Detail of Paula Kovarik's "Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places"

Detail of Paula Kovarik’s “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places”

“I stitch with a free-motion foot on my sewing machine to draw with thread. That’s my primary focus. Hand stitching is more for adding texture.” She has some pieces that are completely hand stitched, which were done with an introspective mindset. “The practice of stitching through cloth in a private space is meditative, calming. It creates a stress free zone.”

"Silent Witnesses" by Paula Kovarik

“Silent Witnesses” by Paula Kovarik

"Global Warming, The Great Unraveling" by Paula Kovarik

“Global Warming, The Great Unraveling” by Paula Kovarik

Inspiration, too, can come from the fabric. “Sometimes it is stained, or ragged on the edges, or has a texture that appeals to me,” she said.  “Raw canvas is neutral and shows the stitch in a very clean way. I also collect antique linen and cotton fabrics. I’ve used commercial fabrics and even some pieces of clothing. Fabric has such an amazing quality, it gives and stretches and crimps, takes dye, takes stitches. I enjoy seeing how the fabric reacts to the thread. I experiment with different battings to achieve dimension.”

"Catalysts" by Paula Kovarik

“Catalysts” by Paula Kovarik

Kovarik, who spent over 25 years running a successful graphic design business, has always had an interest in making art, but didn’t always have the time. She did some painting and collage work, squeezing projects in when she could. “Towards the end [of my graphic design career], the fiber work started, and it became all-consuming. During the last few years, I was spending my evenings and weekends exploring this new medium.”

"Insomnia - Hers and His" by Paula Kovarik

“Insomnia – Hers and His” by Paula Kovarik

Kovarik’s training as a graphic designer influences her work. “There is a departure when I’m working,” she said. “Design helps me with composition, color and value, but it doesn’t contribute to the emotional or line quality of a piece. I have to let go of the structure that comes along with graphic design projects. It’s a different thought pattern.”

"Incoming" by Paula Kovarik

“Incoming” by Paula Kovarik

The artist admits that this manner of working requires a certain level of obsession. Because of her design career, this mindset was already a part of her creation process. “In design, every word has to be properly formatted, every detail measured. I’ve always had to be detail oriented,” she said. “I haven’t let go of that focus – it has served me well.”

"Round and Round It Goes" by Paula Kovarik

“Round and Round It Goes” by Paula Kovarik

Kovarik uses a variety of techniques to deal with the natural ebb and flow of creative energy. During slumps of inspiration, she becomes more contemplative. “I spend a lot of time reading. I have several projects in progress at any given time. So if I put one aside, I will return to it with fresh eyes, launching me back into the project.” She also spends time away from the studio. “Those times clear my mind and set me up for new bursts of creativity.”

"Beacons" by Paula Kovarik

“Beacons” by Paula Kovarik

The artist did not always have a strong interest in showing her work, until, in 2008, a friend urged her to enter a piece into Quilt National, one of the most prestigious juried competitions for fiber artists. “That changed a lot of things for me,” she explained. “I attended the show and watched people looking at and commenting on my work. I realized that art must move on, it’s not always just mine. Art needs to go in front of audiences to complete the passage.”

"Worry" by Paula Kovarik

“Worry” by Paula Kovarik

The Memphis-based artist got involved with ZIA after her work was shown at the Grand Rapids Art Museum at Art Prize 2015, one of the largest and most-attended public art events today. Accompanied now by an impressive list of exhibitions and awards, Kovarik’s artworks are out in the world garnering much respect and admiration, while being snapped up by collectors.

"Stream of Consequences" by Paula Kovarik

“Stream of Consequences” by Paula Kovarik

Paula Kovarik will have a solo exhibition along side Jacqueline Baerwald from June 25th to July 30th, 2016, with an opening reception on June 25th from 5-7pm at ZIA Gallery.

"Going Viral" by Paula Kovarik

“Going Viral” by Paula Kovarik

 

Photographer Kimberly Schneider’s Haunting Depictions of Nature by Shannon Gallagher

New York City-based photographer Kimberly Schneider’s abstract landscapes are haunting depictions of nature left untouched by man. The desolate land and seascapes, frequently shot with infrared film, somehow transplant complex feelings of peace, stillness, melancholy, and the endurance of time into the viewer’s mind.

"Undercurrent" by Kimberly Schneider

“Undercurrent” by Kimberly Schneider

The work, for Schneider, is essentially a form of self-portraiture. She immerses herself in the environments she aims to document and employs meticulous hours in the darkroom perfecting the images. The artist connects deeply with Point Lobos State Natural Reserve and the coastal California town of Carmel, (where famed photographer Edward Weston lived and worked), and feels compelled to create as a result of her time there.

"Wave Study" by Kimberly Schneider

“Wave Study” by Kimberly Schneider

“I haven’t connected to anything the way I have with Carmel,” she said. “Since my first photography class, before I even knew that I was a landscape photographer, the plan was always to go to Carmel and make work. It all began when I took a trip to San Francisco. A friend of mine hooked me up with a stay in the Weston cabin, which was completely unexpected, and turned out to be everything I could possibly dream of. I had seen the cabin in photographs; and when I got there, I watched my dreams come to life. I just felt that I was always meant to shoot there,” she said.

"Point Lobos" by Kimberly Schneider

“Point Lobos” by Kimberly Schneider

Schneider went on to explain that much of the work is instinctual, and she tends to discover the subconscious aspects of her art while developing the images in her studio. “I shoot what I’m inspired by, but I’m not overthinking it.” When she begins to print the images, she discovers that the level of connectivity to her own life is obvious. “As I work, I realize how tied I am to my photos; there is no separation between my work and my life,” she said. “It’s sort of a zen thing. I just go with it.”

"Memory 2" by Kimberly Schneider

“Memory 2” by Kimberly Schneider

Living in New York provides the network necessary to pursue art as a career, but leaves Schneider longing for a place to escape the hurried nature of the city. “The goal is to be bi-coastal,” she said. “I’ve lived in California. I can’t be there full time, I need a big city… but I want to shoot in California. I have Pacific withdrawal right now,” she went on.

"Entanglement" by Kimberly Schneider

“Entanglement” by Kimberly Schneider

When she needs to get away from the city, but doesn’t have time to get to the West coast, Schneider visits the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, or takes the train to the Upper East Side. “I have a friend that lives by the edge of the water. There’s a walking bridge right on the water, and I’ll shoot and have fun, but I don’t take it as seriously, and I don’t often wind up printing the images. It doesn’t compare to California. I love the eroded feel of the rocks and terrain out West. It’s been a long time since I’ve been highly inspired locally. I cannot have a camera in my hand and not shoot, but in order to invest in printing something, I must feel connected to it,” she said.

Installation view of exhibition at ZIA Gallery

Installation view of exhibition at ZIA Gallery

The artist works from a custom-built, fully functional home darkroom that fits five 16×20 steel trays. “I live in New York, so it’s a very tight space. It can be challenging at times, but it works… and it’s necessary to have it at home,” she said. To get in the flow of creation, Schneider listens to loud music while working, including blues and jazz. “I’ve been listening to a lot of Judith Hill,” she continued. “I discovered her by accident, but she makes awesome printing music.”

"Whisper" by Kimberly Schneider

“Whisper” by Kimberly Schneider



As for what Schneider has planned for the future, her goals are to stay productive, continue making work, and to go back to California with a large format 4×5 camera. A photographer friend of Schneider’s gifted her a Graflex Crown Graphic that had been converted to a field camera, which she plans to use it on her next trip out West. “I’m not sure if it’ll be the end-all-be-all, because eventually I will want to use lenses that are too heavy for it, but I’m planning on making some new work with that,” she explained excitedly. “The more I print this work, the more I realize that it’s time to go large format. The next phase of this series needs the amount of detail that only a large format negative can provide. I am preparing to return to California to start the third phase of my ongoing body of work, which I hope will be the strongest I’ve made thus far,” she said.

Kimberly Schneider and some of her infrared photography

Kimberly Schneider and some of her infrared photography

Kimberly Schneider and Clyde Butcher are currently exhibiting at ZIA Gallery through June 18th, 2016. The gallery is open Tuesday – Saturday, 10 – 5 pm and by appointment.