Not What You Expect

The Floral Show (not what you expect) now at ZIA Gallery

The Floral Show (not what you expect) now at ZIA Gallery

The exhibition “The Floral Show (not what you expect)” is in full swing at ZIA Gallery, bringing together artists of such talents and imagination evoking the wonder of our natural world. This exhibition follows “The Elephant in the Room” which centered on elephants in art. Now artists soar toward spring with uplifting color and invention derived from inspiration of flowering plants.

Kevin Veara's Whip-poor-wills and Mary Burke's Natural Cycles - color, movement and change

Kevin Veara’s Whip-poor-wills and Mary Burke’s Natural Cycles – color, movement and change

The late scientist and essayist Loren Eiseley revitalizes appreciation through his essay “How Flowers Changed the World.” The journey of flowering plants resulted, no less, in the emergence of us. Angiospems have developed such remarkable diversity of form, color and mechanisms to travel. Yet, we still have much to discover, learn, and to rouse our curiosity.

The exhibition begins "The Floral Show (not what you expect)"

The exhibition begins “The Floral Show (not what you expect)”

Visual artists, too, through flourishing creativity, re-energize the words “floral show.” They are stimulated and fascinated both directly and indirectly, as can be seen through the unexpected universes of Mary Burke, Melissa Jay Craig, Lisa A. Frank, Karina Noel Hean, Anne Hughes, Ted Preuss, Jonathan Ricci, Fumiko Toda, John Vlahakis, Carl Wilen and invited artists Kevin Veara and Phil Ponce.

Phil Ponce takes papel picado techniques to the max with his gorgeous "Insectos."

Phil Ponce takes papel picado techniques to the max with his gorgeous “Insectos.”

The exhibition includes beautifully executed artwork by guest artist Phil Ponce (host of WTTW’s Chicago Tonight) who takes inspiration from the traditional Mexican folk art technique of papel picado. To create his interconnected labyrinths of nature, Phil replaces tissue paper with durable black tyvek and represents insects native to Illinois – an ecosystem of plants and insects.

Kevin Veara's "Northern Flicker" surrounded by "unknown climbing asters"

Kevin Veara’s “Northern Flicker” surrounded by “unknown climbing asters”

Kevin Veara’s visual ecosystem combines unusually patterned birds, flowers and insects in striking scale and color combinations. Melissa Jay Craig contributes her amazingly inventive handmade paper sculptural pieces, some inspired by looking at the lacy cellular patterns of a stem such as Bloodroot, others by seeds.

Melissa Jay Craig's "Protector" -only Melissa could create such a sculpture!

Melissa Jay Craig’s “Protector” -only Melissa could create such a sculpture!

There is always a twist (or two or three) in her thought-provoking pieces. Her installation of (S)edition, sculptural book/mushrooms, growing up the gallery wall projects a sense of humor with much to engage and challenge.

Melissa Jay Craig's (S)Edition to left of Toda's diptych

Melissa Jay Craig’s (S)Edition to left of Toda’s diptych

John Vlahakis' stunning "Blue Velvet"

John Vlahakis’ stunning “Blue Velvet”

John Vlahakis photograph “Blue Velvet” mesmerizes as it saturates the eye with blue and yellow.

Jonathan Ricci's "Botanical 1 : Spike and Alice"

Jonathan Ricci’s “Botanical 1 : Spike and Alice”

Through his fanciful “Botanical 1: Spike and Alice” New Jersey artist Jonathan Ricci makes reference to the excitement surrounding a Chicago Botanic Gardens’ phenomenon that turned into an amusing story.

Mary Burke's "Summer Day," 12 x 36, acrylic, ink and other on canvas

Mary Burke’s “Summer Day,” 12 x 36, acrylic, ink and other on canvas

Mary Burke’s paintings reveal her love of nature where blooms are often the only representational elements of her abstractions.

Lisa Frank's Frank In the Shadow of Butterflies 40 x 40.

Lisa Frank’s Frank In the Shadow of Butterflies 40 x 40.

Lisa A. Frank uses her skill at layering her digital photographs to create lush compositions, while Fumiko Toda dazzles with mixed-media paintings. She holds dear childhood explorations in nature, growing up in Japan.

Blue Sky II part of a diptych by Fumiko Toda, 48 x 30.

Blue Sky II part of a diptych by Fumiko Toda, 48 x 30.

Through choice of materials, color and expression, Fumiko’s paintings evoke that curiosity of a child on an adventure of discovery in the wide out of doors.

Ted Preuss prints using platinum palladium on vellum for his "Vase." More features to be seen!

Ted Preuss prints using platinum palladium on vellum for his “Vase.” More features to be seen!

Ted Preuss uses historic photographic techniques on subtle imagery with new methods of presentation.

Carl Wilen's Almoro Castle 12 x 14.75 Watercolor Ink Graphite Cut Paper

Carl Wilen’s Almoro Castle 12 x 14.75 Watercolor Ink Graphite Cut Paper

Carl Wilen has often mentioned the fascination of flowers which he enjoys finding reason to include in his detailed wry, surreal paintings.

Karina Hean, "Field Notes V," Mixed media on vellum, 11x17

Karina Hean, “Field Notes V,” Mixed media on vellum, 11×17

Karina Noel Hean grew up by the Chesapeake Bay taking inspiration from nature that she would later reference in sophisticated abstractions. Anne Hughes expresses wonder and mystery using soft pastel in an unconventional manner. Much to discover at this “Floral Show” and not what you expect!

Anne Hughes' "Migrations" 36 x 24 x 1, soft pastel on layered paper

Anne Hughes’ “Migrations” 36 x 24 x 1, soft pastel on layered paper

The Floral Show – not what you expect runs through April 7, 2018 at ZIA Gallery, 548 Chestnut St., Winnetka, IL.

Part 2: Back to Back Exhibitions… “The Floral Show – not what you expect”

The second exhibition to celebrate the wonders of our natural world is The Floral Show… not what you expect.

View of The Floral Show showing works by Fumiko Toda, Karina Hean, Melissa Jay Craig, Anne Hughes, Phil Ponce, Melissa Jay Craig and Carl Wilen

View of The Floral Show showing works by Fumiko Toda, Karina Hean, Melissa Jay Craig, Anne Hughes, Phil Ponce, Melissa Jay Craig and Carl Wilen

How can it be The Floral Show suggests something so seemingly common and staid, we no longer grasp the amazing transformation of a world that specifically resulted from the evolution of flowering plants?

Works by Phil Ponce, Melissa Jay Craig and Fumiko Toda

Works by Phil Ponce, Melissa Jay Craig and Fumiko Toda

The late scientist and essayist Loren Eiseley revitalizes appreciation through his essay “How Flowers Changed the World.”

View of works by Melissa Jay Craig, Karina Hean, and Jonathan Ricci in the exhibition "The Floral Show - not what you expect"

View of works by Melissa Jay Craig, Karina Hean, and Jonathan Ricci in the exhibition “The Floral Show – not what you expect”

The journey of flowering plants resulted, no less, in the emergence of us.

Kevin Veara's Exult 10, Whip-poor-will

Kevin Veara’s Exult 10, Whip-poor-will

Angiospems have developed such remarkable diversity of form, color and mechanisms to travel. We still have much to discover, learn, and to rouse our curiosity.

View of works by John Vlahakis, Jonathan Ricci, Lisa A. Frank and Anne Hughes.

View of works by John Vlahakis, Jonathan Ricci, Lisa A. Frank and Anne Hughes.

Visual artists, too, through flourishing creativity, re-energize the words “floral show.”

Mary Burke's triptych of paintings on shaped wood "Natural Cycles," allowing variations in placement.

Mary Burke’s triptych of paintings on shaped wood “Natural Cycles,” allowing variations in placement.

They are stimulated and fascinated both directly and indirectly, as can be seen through the unexpected universes of Mary Burke, Melissa Jay Craig, Lisa A. Frank, Karina Noel Hean, Anne Hughes, Ted Preuss, Jonathan Ricci, Fumiko Toda, John Vlahakis, Carl Wilen and invited artists Kevin Veara and Phil Ponce. The Floral Show – not what you expect runs through April 7, 2018 at ZIA Gallery, 548 Chestnut St., Winnetka, IL.

"The Floral Show" (not what you expect!) runs Saturday March 3 - Saturday, April 7, 2017.

“The Floral Show” (not what you expect!) runs Saturday March 3 – Saturday, April 7, 2017.

Fumiko Toda, Mary Burke, 

Jonathan Ricci, Melissa Jay Craig, Lisa A. Frank, 

Carl Wilen, John Vlahakis, 

Kevin Veara, Karina Hean, 

Ted Preuss, Anne Hughes and Phil Ponce

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

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