Framing With ZIA|Gallery

By: Shannon Gallagher

Recently, it has come to our attention that some of our gallery patrons are unaware of the custom framing aspect of our business. ZIA|Gallery specializes in a variety of custom framing practices, and can assist you in achieving the perfect aesthetic for your artwork, needlework, custom mirrors, family photos, travel souvenirs, children’s art and other personal mementos.

From contemporary to traditional, ZIA carries one of the largest selections of frames in the Chicago area by local, national and international designers, in a multitude of shapes, styles, finishes, and colors. We carry both chops and finished-corners, wood, metal, and gold-leafed frames in a variety of price points; and we gain great satisfaction from helping customers select the right molding to accent their pieces. Our small skilled staff assists both area designers and the general public.


In addition to only using conservation quality mats and glass, ZIA specializes in dry mounting, canvas and silk-pin stretching, needlework framing, shadowboxing, and French matting and lines. We understand the deeply personal nature of aesthetics, and aim to assist you in choosing the right mats, fillets, molding, and glass for your particular piece.

To illustrate our versatility and high level of skill and precision, we want to share with you a few examples of what we are capable. ZIA has assisted customers in framing everything from Grammy and Super Bowl tickets to historical documents, Indonesian shadow puppets, antique baseball equipment, Indian wedding quilts, special occasion invitations, vintage posters, and artwork by the likes of Ed Paschke, Hollis Sigler, George Bellows, David Hockney, Ben Shahn and Ellsworth Kelly to name a few. We often find ourselves working with local artists and photographers who wish to frame their own pieces for upcoming exhibitions, or simply to achieve that polished, professional finish to their work. We are flexible, and often work with customers who have unusual projects or are on a deadline.

The level of personal attention is unparalleled at ZIA. We do not operate in the same model as big box stores with framing departments. In addition to having a significantly larger selection of frames to choose from, ZIA is a small, locally-owned business that holds customer service above all else. We strive to make our customers’ faces light up when they pick up their pieces! Although personal tastes and aesthetics may change over time, all of our work is done in a manner that ensures long-lasting, professional results that protect, preserve, and complement your pieces. We are not intimidated by difficult projects, and if there is anything that we cannot do here in our workshop, we will refer you to a trusted professional who can!

We would also like to note that any individual who makes an artwork purchase of $300 or more is entitled to 15% off framing for an entire year!

Kathy Weaver’s Energetic Visual Storytelling

By Shannon Gallagher

Kathy Weaver’s visually stimulating, imaginative mixed media artwork playfully juxtaposes colorful imagery with references to politics, violence, technology, personal relationships, and memory. She is a multi-media artist who often works on fabric, airbrushing and hand-embroidering the material to create intricate, multi-faceted works on satin, cotton, silk, and velvet.

Her work incorporates layers and multiple mediums, and she works in a variety of sizes. The large quilt pieces are generally a long-term process from conception to completion. “I quilt by hand because I find that I can get more gradation in color with this method. I often work 12-14 very long days on one quilt. It can be very labor intensive,” she said.  Weaver, who taught for over 30 years at all grade levels, admits that the brazen approach to her artwork is heavily influenced by children and their lack of defeatist attitudes. “Children just go for it. They never seem to say “I can’t do it.” A major influence, to me, is the ‘can do’ attitude of children; their spirit, zest, and total willingness to become immersed in their creation process. When the kids were ‘in the zone,’ they would literally be dancing as they were painting, just loving it!” However, the approach is not the only thing about children that inspires Weaver. “The use of bright colors lends happiness to the images, regardless of the subject matter. It draws people in. Also, children experiment. They just try whatever materials or media they have available until it works. Whether I use sculpture, clay, print, ink… it’s all the same. It’s all about trying to just make something. The very act of being in a classroom with a bunch of people making things is just an amazing feeling; it must be like what our ancestors felt like in a room making things for utilitarian or spiritual purposes.”

The artist fell into airbrush painting because she was working on a lot of robot imagery and wanted to render the “skin” of her robots without the presence of an artist’s hand. Airbrush offers a smooth, even coating of paint, but requires steady concentration. Of the process, she said, “It’s simply tedious. I don’t really enjoy airbrushing when I’m painting something from a sketch. When I have a pre-conceived idea of the image I want to get across, it’s a lot of mechanical and tedious work to make it happen. First I make the sketch, then I enlarge it, razorblade it out, and number the pieces like a giant jigsaw puzzle. You have to make it look like it is kind of spontaneous, and you have to remember the color as you go. On the other hand, if I start with a blank canvas and just begin painting with various layers of stencils, I’m working intuitively and I enjoy it a lot more. You don’t know where it will take you.”  Weaver’s work explores themes of humor, irony, human relationships, and contempt for society, although these themes sometimes manifest themselves subconsciously. “I often try to make deliberate statements in my work, but if I’m working on a blank canvas, I might have an idea in mind, but not know where it’s going to go. It’s similar to an author, who has a cast of characters, but not necessarily a story. There may be plot twists and surprise endings.”

When asked what she has learned about herself as an artist over the years, Weaver indicated that one of the most important lessons she has learned is to keep an open mind. “You have to just go for it, go as far as your imagination will take you. I’m constantly learning not to hold back or censor myself. I just try to keep following through with the ideas I have, to follow the little alleys of my mind and see where they lead.” One such alley led Weaver to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. One day, she just decided that she had nothing to lose, and contacted them. “I wanted to learn more about what they were doing with victims of traumatic injury, and specifically, war victims. I was really upset about it, and wanted to learn more. I had heard that they were using robotics and neural pathways to control prosthetic limbs, so I got in touch with them and asked if they would be interested in having an artist draw some of what they were doing in the lab.” She had first become interested in robotics as mechanisms after attending a world conference at Indiana University that discussed all of the different fields that go into the study of informatics (including physics, robotics, and cellular biology). After the conference, she had a whole new perspective on robotics, which are “doing both bad and good things in the world.”

The RIC was very interested, and has been very supportive of her. After getting to know some of the patients and staff, Weaver got the permission necessary from lawyers and patients to sketch them. “I’ve only had one person who requested not to be drawn. I have a form that they must sign, to make it clear that [my presence] in no way influences their treatment. I’m more of a witness. It has been pretty humbling, because some of what these patients are doing is physically difficult, and excruciating for me to watch. It has been a privilege to draw these people, and I always show the patients the drawings afterwards, as well as sending them copies of the sketches.”  When asked about the future, Weaver hinted at a future collaborative project about drones, an upcoming three-person show at Prairie State, and a new body of work concerning neural pathways. She plans to continue working on a series of large-scale drawings that she started during a recent artist’s residency at the Ragdale Foundation in Lake Forest, Illinois. She also has no plans to stop working with the RIC. “I can really produce,” she said. “I’m a hard worker, but it is because making art is a joy to me. It is the one thing I absolutely just forget everything else and do.”

Kathy Weaver is represented by ZIA|Gallery in Winnetka, Illinois. She is exhibiting in a two-person show there, running from January 18th until March 2, 2013.

Robin Schwartz Exploring Human Animal Relationships

Schwartz Baby Lorenzo Chromogenic Print

By Shannon Gallagher, MAM

We are proud to announce a new addition to the group of artists at ZIA Gallery: Robin Schwartz, an accomplished photographer with work in international collections, including, but not limited to: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art (New York), The Smithsonian American Museum of Art (Washington, D.C.), The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Chrysler Museum of Art, The Bibliotheque Nationale (France) and The Museum Folkwang (Germany). Her work seeks to explore the relationships between humans and animals. Of this journey, she says, “Animals and interspecies relationships have always been an important part of my work. Animals are my passion, and this obsession fuels my work and has guided my life. The boundary line separating people and animals has always been blurred for me.” However, these images are not intended to present the animal as either “beastly or noble,” but as a regular character in everyday human life.

Schwartz Leopard Sisters,Tribute to Rebecca

Schwartz enjoys creating images in which animals are personified and/or interacting with humans or a human environment. This ongoing project of investigating interspecies relationships has resulted in several published books, including Amelia’s World, LIKE US: Primate Portraits, and Dog Watching. Schwartz also uses her daughter, Amelia, as one of the main subjects in her photography. The images that result are drawn from actual expeditions she has taken with Amelia. These images, however, are not intended to be documentation of their journeys; instead, they are intended to illustrate the worlds they create from their imaginations during leisure time.  Schwartz’s photographs have been published in numerous major publications, including The Sunday New York Times Magazine, Interview, Juxtapoz, Esquire, and Marie Claire, among many, many others. We are excited to have her as a new artist at ZIA Gallery, and look forward to the future with her!

Schwartz Investigation Chromogenic Print

Benefit Of The Arts

It is not difficult to identify the positive effects of the arts at both the individual and community level. Arts and culture do more than bring disparate groups of people together for the sake of sharing a common experience; they excite the imagination, provoke discussion, and provide an alternate point of view. Simple audience participation in the arts has numerous benefits. At the social level, it brings together groups of people that otherwise might never interact, thus promoting diversity and acceptance. Arts and culture also strengthen the community and increase civic pride, as well as attracting revenue. At the personal level, cultural events relieve stress, increase the scope of participants’ social networks, support creativity and innovation, and foster trust between individuals.

These are only a few of the reasons why ZIA Gallery is dedicated to promoting the work of emerging and established artists from all over North America. In addition to sharing our love of aesthetics, we also want to encourage community members and local businesses to participate and/or collaborate with us on future events to support area involvement in the arts. It seems that this sentiment is echoed by numerous members of the community, as the topic of neighborhood involvement in the arts was on the forefront at the opening of our current exhibition, Superheroes and Vignettes of Day-to-Day Life on June 22nd. The exhibition, on view until July 28th, features the fine art photography of award-winning artists Dulce Pinzón and Maggie Meiners. It was a very exciting night for us, as we entertained nearly 150 guests throughout the three-hour opening reception.

Several guests who had not previously visited the gallery noted that they were ecstatic to have discovered a progressive art gallery within Winnetka that evokes the feeling of being in Chicago or New York City. Visitors also expressed their fondness of the festive atmosphere surrounding the opening, and a desire for increased numbers of Winnetka businesses to work together to participate in cultural events that encourage community and family interconnectedness. To illustrate this point, a local artist and gallerist who was present at the opening on the 22nd recently returned to ZIA Gallery with her two sons because she wanted them to not only enjoy the visual appeal of the show, but she felt that the ideas being addressed were part of a necessary dialogue about identity and culture that she wanted to share with her sons.

By Shannon Gallagher, MAM


The Concerns Of Richard Laurent

As with many of our other artists Richard Laurent is deeply concerned about man’s impact on the world around him.  Through his precise renderings Laurent has lovingly composed images both fanciful and at the same time very poignant. His paintings are at first glance expressive in application, but examined further the viewer cannot help but be captivated by his highly adept technique. It is this duality Laurent possesses that is so intriguing.

ZIA Gallery is proud to showcase paintings by artist Richard Laurent. Laurent grew up on the edge of American wilderness in Denver, Colorado.  He came to Chicago to study printmaking and soon began to work as a designer.  After years of working as the creative director for Encyclopedia Britannica Films he decided to pursue his true passion, painting.  Laurent then set out to study the paintings of great masters such as: Turner, Van Eyck, and Courbet.  From these great masters he extracted a language of brushstrokes and a love for technique. 

Laurent seems to ask much from the viewer.  What is man’s place in nature? Has man removed himself so far that he now has no place in it? To Laurent the chair is a metaphor for our attitude towards nature. The chair represents both our distance and our refuge from nature. It has become our temple and our marketplace. It is from our chairs that we impact the world and from our chairs that we make the decisions that will change it for better or worst.

Richard Laurent has shown his paintings at Oil Painters of America national exhibitions since 2004. He mounted a solo show at the Fine Arts Building Gallery in Chicago under the title, “Heavy Petting– The Painted Animal.” That same year at the National “Animal in Art” Exhibition, juror Ed Paschke awarded his painting “Best of Show in Oil Media.” In 2006, he mounted another solo exhibition at FAB Gallery entitled “Beauty & Beast.” reviewed the exhibition in a visual essay exploring definitions of classical beauty. His painting “Swimming” is in the permanent collection of Illinois Institute of Art. Recently, he was commissioned to paint a large, two-panel painting for Wachovia’s corporate office. In addition he was commissioned for two large oil paintings for the Schaumburg Convention Center.

Farrell Sells Out In Tokyo

Artist Holly Farrell, whose recent exhibition in Tokyo rapidly sold-out, is worth further attention.  Through her skill and preoccupation with realistic detail, Holly has a knack of turning an inanimate object into narrative.  One wonders at what quiet dramas a plush velvet chair has seen.  Farrell chooses a spare composition in which the subject speaks of a life.  With Farrell’s Chair and Lamp paintings there’s something Hopper-esque about the world they inhabit- a lonely, bygone era.  Yet, they feel of this time.  With a more conscious examination of the works, one marvels at Holly’s skill in manipulating paint to depict, say, the velvetness of velvet.  Holly speaks of her dogged determination to “get it right.”  And that she does.  In her handling of paint and the straightforward presentation of her subject, she shows the ability to evoke nostalgia without stooping to saccharine flourishes.  The relationship of subject to background alters the mood.  One smiles at a subtle juxtaposition of ski-doo cap and choice of wallpaper design.  Currently, you will see three of Holly’s works on view at ZIA Gallery.  Don’t miss a chance to appreciate her work in person, because, as her Tokyo exhibition demonstrates, Holly Farrell’s art is going places!


Miami Basel End Notes

Art Now Miami came to a close on Sunday December 4th.  Four days of non-stop activity centered on our world of art.

Waiting In Line

Artists, collectors, gallerist’s, and the general public all came together for four days in Miami and Miami Beach.  Every night there was some party going on somewhere at one of the multiple art venues.  Our own Art Now venue had back-to-back evening cocktail parties that extended the fair hours.  Celebrity sightings were common.  Joan Allen and the House Wives of New York City all came through our space, with Ms. Allen asking for additional information on several of our artists.  The Housewives were strictly gossiping about each other, as their camera crew filmed them going through Art Now.


Attendance was steady and with each successive day the quality of art fair attendees seemed to improve.  Art Now was a new fair addition to the Miami landscape, and though it wasn’t as busy as the other fairs, it seemed to bring attention to the galleries there.  We most likely will not repeat at Art Now next year.  ZIA will look to attend one of the other fairs next year, as attendance and buying activity seemed stronger at the other venues.  We did plant the flag in Miami for the first time, and we did make connections with buyers from around the U.S., even arranging for one artist to be considered by corporate giant Microsoft’s Gallery curator.  And we did sell art too!


Attending an exhibit such as this was time consuming and taxing for the ZIA staff, not only for those who went, but also for those who stayed behind and kept the doors open at the gallery. Despite the difficulties in pulling off such an event, ZIA will look to attend other art fairs in 2012, with an eye toward building the gallery and artists we represent to the collecting art world.  In the mean time we’re posting additional images from the four days for your consideration.

Collins Avenue





Photo Credits: John Vlahakis

Art Now Miami Part 2

First day at Art Now Miami was quite eventful.  A full day of meeting and mingling with art buyers from around the world.  The venue got off to a slow start, but by mid day people were heading into the Catalina Hotel to see the galleries that had set up shop there.  Things heated up even more during the evening hours as the Art Now people put on a cocktail reception that was open to the public.  Today’s event went from 10 am to 10 pm.  Anne and Mary put up a great exhibit and the complimentary comments were numerous to say the least.  We were probably the only gallery there that made the effort to showcase all of our artists.  The walls were packed as best as they could be given the small space we had to work with.  The weather today was cooperative with beautiful blue skies and warm temperatures in the mid 70′s, sorry Chicago, but the weather here has been exemplary.  Winter simply does not exist.  Collins Avenue where the Catalina Hotel is located was packed with people strolling along the avenue.  You basically saw just about everything from girls walking down the street in bikini’s, to guys dressed in glitter and putting on the ritz.  This  art gathering is very international.  You hear every language except English.  A lot of people from Europe are here checking out the  art scene as well as the fashionistas from South America.  Enjoy the pics from today’s event at Art Now Miami.   Photo credits: John Vlahakis

Art Now Miami

Seeing that this is the first outside art event ZIA has participated in we are beyond excited.  Anne Hughes and Mary Burke have done an outstanding job in getting the art work down to Miami, and in setting up the space we’ve rented at the Art Now fair.  Their travels to Miami are the makings of a modern day version of Trains, Planes, and Automobiles.  Despite getting into an accident, being towed 60 miles, changing rental car companies, and making it down to Miami Beach all in one piece, including the art work, they have set up an exhibition space that we can call home, though as Mary liked to point out, that perhaps after four grueling days of exhibiting, we’ll want to go home.  Who would?  Sun, fun, and art work in Miami in December?  Who wouldn’t want the party to last!  Couple of pix to show you the Catalina Hotel from the outside, and the space prior to finishing it up.  The hotel itself is a stich.  A cross between a modernesque boutique hotel and bordello.  A lot of red in the hallways and rooms.  Two doors down from Aqua Miami, it’s a great location on Collins Avenue in the heart of South Beach.  We’re looking forward to the crowds, (hopefully), and to representing and selling our artists.  If by chance you made the sojourn down to Florida, please do stop by.  More later as the show progresses!

Photo Credit: John Vlahakis

Photographer Nevada Wier Joins ZIA

Nevada Wier is an award-winning photographer specializing in the remote corners of the globe and the cultures that inhabit them.  ZIA|Gallery is pleased to announce that Ms. Wier has agreed to be represented by the gallery.  Ms. Wier’s work will be represented at the MiamiNow Art Fair this coming December 1-4.  Nevada’s journeys have taken her throughout Southeast Asia, India, China, Nepal, Africa, New Zealand, Central Asia, Mongolia, South America and other obscure regions of the world. Her work is represented for licensing byGetty and Corbis. Nevada has been published in numerous national and international publications, including:NG AdventureGeoIslandsNational GeographicOutdoor Photographer,Outside, and Smithsonian. She is a Fellow of The Explorer’s Club, a member of the Society of Woman Geographers and was featured in aNorthwest Airlines international television and print ad campaign.  For additional information on Ms. Wier’s work please contact the gallery directly at