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

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.

In the Midst of January, Art Transports

Now that the holiday season is over, come enjoy an afternoon of art and refreshments on Saturday, January 16, 1-5pm at ZIA Gallery. Allow yourself to be sensually, emotionally and intellectually transported.

A variety of ever-changing art at ZIA Gallery.

A variety of ever-changing art at ZIA Gallery.

2016 begins with an ever-changing exhibition including works by all 25 gallery and thirteen invited artists of varying disciplines and styles.

"Shoreline" is one of Beverly Zawitkoski's new acrylic paintings on mylar.

“Shoreline” is one of Beverly Zawitkoski’s new acrylic paintings on mylar.

New paintings by Beverly Zawitkoski and photographs by John Vlahakis have been added.

John Vlahakis' "Night Noir" is one of his latest photographs.

John Vlahakis’ “Night Noir” is one of his latest photographs.

Lisa A. Frank's "These I Sing In Spring," digital photography

Lisa A. Frank’s “These I Sing In Spring,” digital photography

As admirers carry away artworks, more works arrive, ready to be discovered.  A stunning garden of delight by Lisa A. Frank goes out the door and an equally intriguing photograph comes on view.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many visitors will be disappointed that one Mary Burke they were considering has found its home.

Mary Burke's 48" x 48"  "Uplift" on right. Original works on paper on left.

Mary Burke’s 48″ x 48″ “Uplift” on right. Original works on paper on left.

Therefore, take note, follow through with the others being circled before those, too, are gone.

The remarkable Tim Liddy who is busy with a steady stream of important commissions, has left us three power-works of trompe l’oeil, sculptural painting.

"circa 1966" is one of Tim Liddy's trompe l'oeil paintings on formed copper.

“circa 1966” is one of Tim Liddy’s trompe l’oeil paintings on formed copper.

His star continues to rise, and we congratulate him on his accomplishments.

Melissa Jay Craig’s tiny handmade paper and steel wire sculptures are disappearing fast.

Melissa Jay Craig's "Luminal (Stage Two)" miniature sculptures.

Melissa Jay Craig’s “Luminal (Stage Two)” miniature sculptures.

Their color and amusing forms stimulate the imagination, as do her other works inspired by cellular patterns of plant forms. Melissa’s (S) Edition made the best of 2015 top ten choices by My Modern Met. Instead of just seeing the work all over the online-world (the book-arts works have gone viral and re-blogged with commentary in many languages throughout the world), you can see them in actuality…remember that? Actual vs. virtual?  From plant to pulp to molded, cast and dyed sculptural form, these artworks are handmade by Melissa to go in a real space. Dare to make your space special with unique expression.

Top: Melissa Jay Craig's hand made paper forms based on cellular patterns of cut-through of stems. Below: Lisa A. Frank's stunning digital photograph "Feared Loved"

Top: Melissa Jay Craig’s hand made paper forms based on cellular patterns of cut-through of stems. Below: Lisa A. Frank’s stunning digital photograph “Feared Loved”

Master of diverse photographic processes, Ted Preuss continues to sensitively explore still life, nature and the female figure. New to the gallery is photographer Kimberly Schneider displaying intimate, romantic black and whites of nature. ZIA Gallery is pleased to announce that artist Michael Cutlip has decided to continue sharing some of his remarkable mixed media paintings and collage with the Chicago public while other works head to L.A. Jonathan Ricci has a variety of his colorful paintings, both large and small, on paper, stretched and un-stretched canvas, along with his distinctive ceramic birds. …And there are many other gallery artists’ works on display showing the eclectic processes and expressions embraced by the gallery and its artists.

Gallery artist Kathy Weaver with her gouache on paper.

Gallery artist Kathy Weaver with her gouache on paper.

The exhibition also includes thirteen invited artists.

Ceramicist: Jacqui Worden (Her bowls reflect a threesome: functional, beautiful and affordable.)

Earrings by Diana Ferguson and Ceramic Vase by Jacqui Worden.

Earrings by Diana Ferguson and Ceramic Vase by Jacqui Worden.

Chicago Fashion Designer: Alice Berry  (She’s back! And her lovely scarves and silk-screened shawls are just the ticket to spark up a winter’s day.)

Designer Alice Berry with her signature scarves and shawls.

Designer Alice Berry with her signature scarves and shawls.

Chicago muralist Anne Farley Gaines contributes an imaginative screen.

Two sided screen by Anne Farley Gaines. Opposite side not shown. See it in the gallery.

Two sided screen by Anne Farley Gaines. Opposite side not shown. See it in the gallery.

Expressionist painter Bill Klatte adds his personal flair.

Giclées by Mark McMahon (expressing city life and sports with high quality, signed reproductions.)

Jewelers: Diana Ferguson, Terry Ross, Amy Taylor and Lisa Williams -each with her own personal vision. Definitely, here is something special for every taste.

A variety of small works by Jeweler Amy Taylor, Ceramic bowls and vases by Jacqui Worden, original works on paper by Mary Burke, necklace by Diana Ferguson, Ceramic birds by Jonathan Ricci.

A variety of small works by Jeweler Amy Taylor, Ceramic bowls and vases by Jacqui Worden, original works on paper by Mary Burke, necklace by Diana Ferguson, Ceramic birds by Jonathan Ricci.

Muralist and Street Artist: Joseph “Sentrock” Perez (What a joy to meet this personable street artist with a touching and inspirational message. Don’t miss!)

Joseph Perez (Sentrock) 's work on paper "Peace Squad"

Joseph Perez (Sentrock) ‘s work on paper “Peace Squad”

Diane Rakocy in front of one of her paintings.

Diane Rakocy in front of one of her paintings.

Painter: Diane Rakocy (She brings her love of color and paint to put the vibrancy in Chicago.)

Photographer: Barry Cain captures the unexpected meeting of two lions and an enjoyment of the natural world.

Barry Cain with his photograph of lions. Ted Preuss' small figure photograph below.

Barry Cain with his photograph of lions. Ted Preuss’ small figure photograph below.

Printmaker: Michael Bond conjures mood and light through drypoint, aquatint and “etching.”

Michael Bond's "Rainy Day Michigan Ave" Drypoint and aquatint.

Michael Bond’s “Rainy Day Michigan Ave” Drypoint and aquatint.

So much to see and appreciate in this confluence of varied genres by talented artists. The exhibition is now in progress and runs through January 30th Tuesday – Saturday 10-5pm at ZIA Gallery, 548 Chestnut St. Winnetka, IL.

ZIA Gallery

ZIA Gallery

Large Landscapes With The Pentax 645Z

Environmental landscapes are one of my passions in photography.  The focus on environmental landscapes tells a story of our human existence and the impact we have on our natural environment.  Some of what I shoot is to highlight for others, the incredible natural beauty that surrounds us.  Additionally, urban landscapes can point out how well we are maintaining or trashing our own contributions to the natural world.  Shooting landscapes for me is always taking into consideration just how large of an image I can produce.  I’m not solely creating “big” images for the sake of big, but more for the ability to convey the grandeur of the landscapes beauty to the viewer of the image.  As a landscape photographer my tool chest utilizes a variety of lenses and different format cameras.  Different format cameras are solely categorized by the size of the sensor found in the cameras I use.  Simply put.  The larger the sensor, the larger the image you can print.  My go to cameras for landscapes have always been Nikons.  Currently, I’m using the Nikon D810 for its 36mb image resolution.  It’s a full frame camera that easily replicates the old and still current 35mm film format for those of us who remember and still use film.  The Nikon 810 has easily allowed me to print images in the 40 x 60 inch range, and from what I understand; you can print billboard-sized images with it as well.  The high mega pixel count of the 810 allows you to capture tremendous detail in your images.  The D810 is a great camera that would serve any landscape photographer well. yellowstonhayden-091As in all things, we constantly look to do more with more.  Despite the 810’s prowess, I’ve always wanted to try medium format.  The easiest way to currently segue into medium format territory is by buying an older film analog medium format camera.  Bargains can be had with older medium format film cameras, like Bronica, Hasselblad, Pentax, and Maimya.  I started with an older Hasselblad 501c camera and two lenses.  The medium bug format bit me pretty hard, and since acquiring the Hasselblad, I’ve now sold it and bought what is considered the low end of the digital medium format camera world – the Pentax 645Z.  key_largo_back_bay-231The Pentax has a 50mb size senor that not only provides greater resolution than the Nikon D810, but a much larger sensor that allows for larger sized pixels that can do more than the Nikon.  Don’t get me wrong, the Nikon still knocks out amazing images, and most people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference once they saw an image made by either camera.  The Pentax however allows you to crop images down and show off more detail than the Nikon can.  It also allows for lager sized more detailed printing too.nyc-072

The Pentax 645Z is a designed camera that resembles a smaller DSLR in handling.  The Z had great ergonomics with a deep handgrip and easy access to buttons that help you customize your shooting.  One of the strong design elements is that the 645Z has two tripod threads for both vertical and horizontal shooting without having the added expense of buying an L-bracket.  There are a ton of reviews on the Pentax 645Z out there in the world of Goggle searches.  I’m not going to reinvent the wheel on creating a whole new review on this camera, but suffice to say for a landscape shooter, or for studio work, the Pentax is truly a remarkable camera.  I’ve enjoyed it so much, that I’ve even have taking it out to do some street shooting.  Yeah, it’s on the large size, but I use a wrist strap with it, and hold it behind me before I pull it out and take my shot.  The Z shoots really well in low light, matches the Nikon D4 for low light photography, it has an articulating rear LCD panel for waist or low level shooting, and it has live view to really aid in focusing.chimenyrock-129_copy  Weather sealed, dust resistant, what’s not to like about it.  And for a medium format camera it has the lowest price out there.  Granted it will set you back $8500, but compare that to a digital Hasselblad or Phase One that can start at $15K for just a digital back with a similar 50mb sensor, then you realize the just how affordable the Z can be.  I’m not giving up on my Nikon’s.  Nikon has too many lens options that just can’t be beat.  The Z has a smaller set of lenses, but enough to get you by.  I just wish they would come out with a tilt shift lens that takes advantage of the Z’s sensor.  Now that would be a landscape shooter’s dream come true.  All of the images in this blog were shot with the Pentax 645Z.  Lenses used include the 25mm f/4, 35 mm f/3.5, 55mm 2.8 and the 150mm 2.8.  The 150mm and 35mm are older lenses and meant more for their film cameras, but still do a decent job on the new digital cameras.  The 25mm and 55mm were built for Pentax’s new digital cameras, and for some inexplicable reason Pentax dropped the 25mm lens.  Which in my opinion was the best lens they made.  Enjoy and keep shooting pictures.skokielagoon

Lisa A. Frank: ‘One Long Conversation’

By Shannon Gallagher

© Lisa A. Frank Feared Loved 40x40 Digital Photography

© Lisa A. Frank, Feared Loved, Digital Photography

Lisa Frank, whose intricate, layered digital photo collages combine her passions for the environment, the outdoors, and photography, began her art career in a different vein. At the young age of 22, after completing her degree in Art Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Frank moved to New York City and pursued a career as a working artist. First, she worked as a scenic painter for theater and opera, later moving on to more decorative, surface paintings for high-end restaurants and other hospitality venues, as well as wallpaper and textile design. “In 1988, there was a stock market crash. People started spending less money on decorative painting, which tends to be a luxury item. At that point, I saw the need to retrain myself, because digital imaging was quickly overtaking the need for hand-rendered design,” she said. Frank attended the School of Visual Arts in NYC and took courses in Photoshop. She bought a camera and a scanner and taught herself how to use them.

© Lisa A. Frank Wildnight Digital Photography

© Lisa A. Frank, Wildnight, Digital Photography

“Everything I do basically comes down to drawing and painting,” she said, “but throughout the decades, the context and scale have changed. Technology has changed; my interests have changed, as has what I am physically able to do. Working in theater is very physically demanding. If I was doing that now, I’d be able to do nothing else.” She described her evolution as an artist as “one long conversation.”

© Lisa A. Frank Specimen with Eucalyptus Turtle Shell Honeycomb Digital Photograph

© Lisa A. Frank, Specimen with Eucalyptus Turtle Shell Honeycomb, Digital Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upon the completion of her undergraduate degree, Frank moved to NYC for an internship at Juilliard followed by graduate school at the Yale School of Drama . “I stayed on the east coast for 25 years, and then decided that I wanted to be closer to my family. I have nieces and nephews that I really love. My sister’s family is here [in Madison], as are my parents. My brother’s family is in Chicago.”

© Lisa A. Frank Mushroom Diorama Digital Photography

© Lisa A. Frank, Mushroom Diorama, Digital Photography

In terms of how she began to work photographically, Frank adopted a German Shorthair Pointer puppy 14 years ago. “He had a tremendous reserve of energy, and in order to live with him, I had to spend a lot of time outdoors. It is fun because I love the outdoors which is good for both of us. He has been a very patient photographer’s companion,” she said. Although spring and fall are her favorite times of the year, she takes photos in the woods during all four seasons. Several of her works feature patterns comprised of images of icicles. “I don’t go out when it’s below 10 degrees,” she said, “but all other times, I go out with my dogs. I don’t stop taking photos.”

© Lisa A. Frank Spiderwort and Prairie Smoke Digital Photography

© Lisa A. Frank, Spiderwort and Prairie Smoke, Digital Photography

The artist, who spends countless hours exploring nature and taking photographs, visits several places for inspiration. “In Wisconsin, there’s a national trail that has similar status as the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails. Segments of the trails are nearby, and I go there regularly. The Nature Conservancy owns some truly wonderful wilderness areas within an hour from Madison. I also go to an arboretum and conservation park close to my home.” The artist listed Olbrich Botanical Gardens as another favorite spot. “Wherever I go, I take my camera as a course of habit. Lately, I’ve also been going to a lot of zoos, because I’m beginning to use more animals in my work.”

Lisa A. Frank These I Sing In Spring Digital Photography

© Lisa A. Frank, These I Sing In Spring, Digital Photography

When asked to describe what she finds frustrating about the artistic process, Frank listed technical problems. “It mostly has to do with printing, color management and having enough memory space for the work that I do. My work is very layered, complicated, and large, so in order to do versions, which I do, it takes up an incredible amount of memory. I’m always up against this task to create enough space for it, backing everything up, and protecting myself adequately,” she said. Frank also has an archive of over 30,000 photographs which can be difficult to organize. “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,” she said. “Organization and getting it to the point of putting it out in the world is where it can get problematic.”

 

Conversely, the most rewarding part of the artistic process for Frank is when people tell her something in her work resonates with them. “Also, I love being able to bring attention to things that many people cannot or do not see.” For instance, Frank often finds herself in the woods, closely examining the environment. “I take photos of mushrooms, moss, and rocks,” she said. “Not everyone is able to go out and explore like that, so I am very happy that I can use those objects as subject matter and show people that they exist.”

© Lisa A. Frank Jack-In-the-Pulpit Berries with Bolete Digital Photography

© Lisa A. Frank, Jack-In-the-Pulpit Berries with Bolete, Digital Photography

Last summer, Frank was accepted to and attended a prestigious residency at the MacDowell Colony, located in New Hampshire. The residency is over 100 years old, and has been host to some very successful artists, writers, musicians, filmmakers, and architects. “It was intimidating to be on the same property as some of these people,” she admitted. Frank went there with the intention of working on a specific project that she proposed during the application process. “I had a wonderful studio in the woods,” she said. “I worked and hiked and took a lot of pictures.”

© Lisa A. Frank Farmers Market Madison WI Digital Photography

© Lisa A. Frank, Farmer’s Market Madison WI, Digital Photography

There were about 25 people in residency – writers, architects, artists, etc. We had communal dinners after which everyone took turns giving presentations.” The goal of the residency is to give creative people an opportunity to work on their projects in a way that is undisturbed. “It’s beautiful there, and the solitude is quietly enforced. At noon, they deliver picnic baskets so that you don’t have to take a break to find something to eat. It was wonderful, just an incredible opportunity,” she said. Frank also takes pride in having been an instructor at the Penland School of Craft in North Carolina. “In a similar kind of way, it was a wonderful chance to really focus on one thing,” she said.

© Lisa A. Frank In My True Love's Hands Digital Photography

© Lisa A. Frank, In My True Love’s Hands, Digital Photography

As far as future plans and projects go, Frank is working on several interdisciplinary projects that include virtual reality content. In addition, this summer she will be teaching a course about exploring nature through technology at Peters Valley in New Jersey.

Lisa Frank’s work is currently on exhibit at ZIA Gallery. See http://www.ziagallery.net/frank.html for more information.

Ted Preuss’ Timeless Aesthetic

By: Shannon Gallagher

Photographer Ted Preuss’ work has a timeless aesthetic. Although he has recently begun to shift from the figurative photography, for which he is known, into more landscape and seascape imagery, the goal is the same: to create simple, enduring, beautifully shot images in black and white that expose the natural elegance of the subject he is working with.

Otter Cove

Preuss: Otter Cove, 36×30, Archival Pigment

 

He is acutely interested in lines and shapes present in the composition, regardless of whether the image is of a nude figure or the rocky terrain of a seaside cliff.

Flow

Press: Flow, Platinum Palladium print

As the focus of attention varies, the approach to photographing must change as well. When he plans on photographing outdoors, Preuss often scouts out the places he’s interested in capturing on film, in order to create his vision. “When I’m working with natural elements, I often have to just sit and wait for the right moment, the right light, etc. Sometimes I wait for the waves to come crashing in a certain way, or if I want there to be fog in the image, I just have to be patient- I have no control over it. When I am shooting figurative work, however, I can direct the model, conduct the shoot to go the way I want it to.” Preuss said that while it is difficult to choose a particular series of which he is fondest, he does greatly enjoy shooting landscapes and seascapes. “It’s very calming, and I get to enjoy the natural world.”

Muir Woods

Preuss: Muir Woods, 10×8, Wet-plate Collodion Tintype

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One challenge of working with the natural environment, aside from a lack of control of the elements, is the tintype process that he often utilizes. He keeps his darkroom chemicals in his car when he is out photographing nature, because the procedure must be immediate. “Often, when I go hiking, I’ll pull over to the side of the road and shoot, then use the portable darkroom in my car to develop the image,” he said. Preuss pours collodion (a substance used during the Civil War to suture wounds together with linen bandages) onto a piece of glass, tin, or aluminum. Once the collodion is tacky he dips the plate into silver nitrate for three minutes. Then, while it is still dripping wet, he must insert it into the camera, take the shot, and then process it. He only has about five minutes before the collodion dries and is no longer useful. The results are hauntingly alluring black and white images with beautiful imperfections indicative of the tintype process.

Acadia

Preuss: Acadia, 8×10 Silver Gelatin

In his series The Sea, Preuss has employed a long exposure time to capture soft, ethereal images of flowing water that feel quite different from the uncontrollable, rushing water that exists in reality. “In actuality, [the sea] is full of vitality and life, and it’s not calming at all,” he said. The five-minute exposure time lends a dreamlike quality to the images.

Preuss Pacific Grove  28x36 Archival Pigment

Preuss: Pacific Grove 28×36 Archival Pigment

Every year, Preuss and his wife spend a month in Maine, and he does a lot of shooting in Acadia National Park, the oldest national park east of the Mississippi River. He described the scenery as “incredible, with lots of cliffs and waves constantly crashing into the shore.” The park encompasses mountains, an ocean shoreline, lakes, forest, and islands, and provides a wealth of inspiring scenery worthy of photographic documentation. He also frequents the Point Lobos State Park of Central California’s Pacific Coast, and plans to return this year as well. 

Ted

Ted Preuss with his camera and works: Otter Cove and Pacific Grove

Preuss, who typically works on a smaller scale, is enjoying the large scale of the new photographs currently on display at ZIA Gallery. Some of the pieces are as large as 3 feet across, and present an environment that the viewer can feel as though he or she can step into and be a part of. He is also delving into the idea of working with some negatives that he found from 1917. The photos were taken with a 4×5 camera by his great grandfather while he was traveling throughout the United States, in places like Yosemite National Park and Niagara Falls. “I’m not sure exactly where I’m going with that yet, but it has been fun to explore,” he said.

Yosemite 1915

Ted Preuss’ great grandfather Albert A. Jeaneret’s Yosemite 1917

Ted Preuss’ work is on display at ZIA Gallery through February 28, 2015.  These works range in imagery and technique from large archival pigment prints, to 10” x 8” tintypes, 16 x 20 silver gelatin works, and small, beautifully subtle platinum palladium photographs including some printed on a leaf skeleton. Preuss’ fascination and mastery of various techniques are clearly evident in the current exhibition.

Subdue

Preuss: Subdue, Platinum Palladium Print on Skeleton Leaf

 

 

Resonance and Sustenance

What mysterious melding of components lead to resonance in art?

McDonald  -  Lake Flaccid 14x17-Mixed-Media.

McDonald – Lake Flaccid 14×17-Mixed-Media.

In the case of one of Brian McDonald’s artworks “Lake Flaccid,” it is his playful blend of symbols and words: a Christmas tree, the cartoon imagery of two sporty characters, a wounded arm, a sweet heart imprinted on a chest, a limousine filled with “friends,” along with the word “Dave” and the letter “C.” The chance encounter of these details with the life experience of a particular individual conspired to attain quixotic transcendence no artist could foresee. Still it happened, and the perfect work landed in the hands of the perfect recipient!?  In another example, it is an Icelandic horse’s magnetic gaze caught in the photographer’s pristine composition that speaks to viewers. Original prints of John Vlahakis’ “Bylgia” so quickly found homes, only one remains, waiting for its destination.

Vlahakis - Bylgia 20x30 archival photograph.  Edition of 5

Vlahakis – Bylgia 20×30 archival photograph. Edition of 5

During the process of juggling an infinite amount of choices to arrive at some unforeseen cohesion, an artist can slip into a form of meditation – as can the viewer when pulled into an intellectual and spiritual journey.  As the year enters its festive period, experience the wonders of art with an exhibition of such range and diversity, there is much to enjoy and to discover in contributions by more than thirty gallery and invited artists from disciplines including sculpture, painting, photography, drawing, jewelry, printmaking and beyond.

Sustenance abounds!

11-2014 Group Exhibition Postcard

Works pictured are by:

Karina Hean, Tim Liddy, Melissa Jay Craig, Brian McDonald

 

Zoriah Miller, Roland Kulla, Bob Krist, Richard Laurent

 

Kathy Weaver, Jonathan Ricci, Mary Burke, Lisa Frank, Michael Cutlip

 

Carl Wilen, Beverly Zawitkoski, Clyde Butcher, Anne Hughes, Rick Dula

 

 

Ted Preuss, Fumiko Toda, John Vlahakis, Matthew Schofield, Bob Rehak

And

Specially invited guest artists include:

Michael Bond, Barry Cain, Vicki Cook, Diane Ferguson

Mark McMahon, Corinne Peterson, Amy Taylor, Lisa Williams

The Year End Group Exhibition open Saturday, November 22nd, 5 -7pm at ZIA Gallery and continues through January 10th, 2015. In December the gallery will be open Sundays until the 25th. Check www.ZIAgallery.net for complete holiday hours.

ZIA Supports McCausland Scholarship

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Andrew and Sandy McCausland, Sarah’s parents, visited the gallery along with Sarah’s dear friend Maxine

JV019Phantom20x30

John Vlahakis – Phantoms

Efforts to support the McCausland family in their aim to raise both awareness and funds for the annual Sarah McCausland Scholarship continue. More magnets of Iceland are again at ZIA Gallery, ready for distribution. One of John Vlahakis’s photographs of Icelandic horses sold, and his donation to the scholarship fund has been made. Three photographs are currently left in the edition. The horses entitled “Phantoms” continue to attract admirers, as does the rest of the display.

Fellow Iceland Inspired artist Jonathan Ricci is once again spending July at the artists’ residency in Skagaströnd making new paintings. More of his ceramic birds will be revealed this Friday and Saturday during Winnetka’s summer community sidewalk sale.

Ricci Cold Heat Midnight Rainbow 12x9 Acrylic and Mixed Media copy

Tonight Andrew and Sandy McCausland, Sarah’s parents, visited the gallery along with Sarah’s dear friend Maxine. We talked of Sarah, Iceland, and the upcoming trip to that beautiful country which was a source of much curiosity and inspiration to Sarah. The family’s visit to Iceland no doubt will be bittersweet, but our thoughts are with them along with hopes for a beautiful and rewarding journey.

To learn more about Sarah McCausland and how ZIA Gallery became involved with the family and their endeavours, please read the following article written about six weeks ago:

Sometimes the confluence of events brings a community together in unexpected ways. This is the case with ZIA Gallery’s recent exhibition Iceland Inspired and the untimely death of a much-loved, young woman.  Enthusiastic Bard College student and New Trier High School graduate Sarah McCausland embraced all things Icelandic. She took it upon herself to study the language in anticipation of visiting Iceland this summer. Tragically, only a few months ago, she and a friend lost their lives when hit by a drunk driver.   During the exhibition of Iceland Inspired, members of the Winnetka community approached ZIA Gallery and told us about Sarah, her family, and the desire and need of the community to share the story of Sarah and her fascination with Iceland. Provided by the family, a small display in the gallery window honors Sarah. Now a new display is underway to further honor Sarah and encourage support of her family in their newly established scholarship: The Sarah C. McCausland New Trier Performing Arts Scholarship awarded through New Trier High School.

On Thursday, June 5th, 2014, the first annual scholarship was awarded. 

As soon as Iceland Inspired artist John Vlahakis learned of the scholarship, he offered to donate to the fund 20% from the sale of the remaining available prints in the edition of his Icelandic horses photograph “Phantoms,” pictured above. John shares a fascination with Iceland and its natural features. These Icelandic horses are tough, sturdy, friendly animals unique to the island and protected by their country.  As word spread of the pending scholarship plans, other of the artists equally wanted to participate.  Jonathan Ricci spent 2 months last summer in Skagaströnd, Iceland painting his joyful, colorful abstractions he aptly refers to as COLD HEAT: Painting under the Midnight Sun.  In addition, his “Migration Project” of ceramic birds continues to grow and move through the Winnetka community, and around the world. He left ceramic birds in nooks and crannies of the landscape in Skagaströnd as a thank-you to the people of the town for hosting the residency. Now Jonathan requests to donate 20% to Sarah’s scholarship fund from the sale of his painting “Midnight Rainbow” pictured above. This summer Jonathan returns to Iceland for the month of July, again to paint and be inspired by this remarkable country.

Anne Hughes spent a refreshing 9 days in Iceland and returned with photos she calls “research materials” to be used toward the development of a body of work. “Variations,” pictured above, is one pastel inspired by the geological features of Iceland. Through directly meeting several of Sarah’s warm family members, Anne has been touched to learn about Sarah.

Anne Hughes - Variations

Anne Hughes – Variations

Sarah’s parents and sister will fulfill Sarah’s dream through traveling together to Iceland this summer, as intended. In addition, their determination and strength will bring good to a deserving student of New Trier High School through the Sarah C. McCausland New Trier Performing Arts Scholarship.

Donations to the scholarship fund may be sent directly to the high school, payable to:

New Trier High School

Add Sarah McCausland‘s name written in the memo portion of the cheque.

The address is:

385 Winnetka Ave.

Winnetka, IL 60093

Here is what Sarah’s family says about the scholarship:

Sarah C. McCausland New Trier Performing Arts Scholarship

 

$750 Annually

 

The Sarah C. McCausland New Trier Scholarship for the Performing Arts is a scholarship of which students apply and faculty selects a finalist. Eligible students are those who have participated in two, preferably three of the following arts departments: orchestra, choral, and theatre. The student should have a financial need and exhibit the following qualities:

 

1. Charismatic leadership

 

2. Individuality of character

 

3. Kind support of fellow arts students

 

4. Standards of excellence 

 

Sarah loved New Trier’s performing arts. Her scholarship affirms her singular personality, her quest for learning and her passion for life and friends.

 

ZIA Gallery is pleased to participate in this worthy cause. We extend our support and sincere wishes toward a successful campaign to fulfill the McCausland family’s goals in creating a positive legacy in their daughter and sister’s name: Sarah McCausland.

  

 

 

Vlahakis’ Composition Of Movement

By: Shannon Gallagher

John Vlahakis’ artwork acts as a vessel, transporting the viewer’s mind to the center of the dramatic landscapes depicted in his photographs. His goal is to capture movement in the composition, for the viewer to imagine the salty air blowing off the coast, the feel the magnitude of a mountainous terrain and moving glaciers, or to hear the sound of a rushing stream or river. He has traveled the world with his camera. In the upcoming Iceland Inspired show at ZIA Gallery, several of Vlahakis’ works that were taken in the country will be featured.ziaJVSurf

When asked what drew him to visit Iceland, he mentioned the notion of a ‘bucket list.’ “As a photographer, the allure of the extremes in light and dark was enticing,” he said. “The winters have only 2-4 hours of sun, while the summer can provide as many as 21 hours of light.” This contrasted light is especially prevalent in several of the black and white photos in this grouping. Vlahakis, who first learned black and white darkroom photography, has a fondness for the medium. “The excitement of seeing an image emerge from the development process is enthralling, so I’ve never given up on black and white. It provides a tonality that color cannot provide.” Perhaps his fascination with black and white also stems from his dreams as a youth. “One of my passions as a kid was the idea of being a photojournalist. I had fantasies of globetrotting to hot spots and winning a Pulitzer,” Vlahakis mentioned that as he gets older, he still ponders pursuing the dream. “That would be a great way to go out,” he said.JV019Phantom20x30

The photographer is not done checking off items on his bucket list. He has a very strong desire to visit the Falkland Islands, which are located in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is a group of islands that are in contention between England and Argentina. “There are very few people who live there,” Vlahakis explained. “There is a large bird population, including penguins, and many species use the islands as a migratory point.” Although he said that the landscape is perhaps harsher than Iceland’s and getting there is difficult, he believes it would make an interesting trip because it would allow him to shoot landscapes, and due to the political history of the region, it could lead to a black and white photojournalistic opportunity.JV018Stormcoming40x60

The first time Vlahakis visited Iceland, he immediately noticed a plethora of differences in the landscape of the Iceland versus the United States. “One thing that is immediately noticeable is the lack of trees. It is not all ice, as the name implies. There’s a lot of green there, but it’s not in the way of trees. The country has a remarkable topography, and the weather is in a constant state of flux, but it’s not the cold, forbidden place that it has the reputation of being.” The photographer was particularly drawn to the moving glaciers and volcanic activity (Iceland boasts one of the top three largest volcanoes in the world). “In some respects, the landscapes in Iceland are primeval- you can imagine what it looked like prior to man. Nature puts a force of power around the island; the waves crash, the climate changes. One minute it’s sunny and warm, then all of a sudden, there’s sleet, hail, snow- and that can all happen in fifteen minutes. Nature puts on an amazing show.”glac3 (1 of 2)

Vlahakis is particularly excited to be showing some large scale pieces from his travels to Iceland. He credits the country with giving him confidence to pursue his images on a larger scale. These works are in an area of Iceland near a town called Vik. “The ocean shots, in particular, are outside of this town. There is a very rocky promenade, and the power of the waves is awe inspiring. It’s the kind of power in the sea that clearly makes you think, ‘Stand back.’”

Compositionally, Vlahakis spends a lot of time waiting for the right shot. “I look for motion. I don’t want to show everything in a state of stationary existence,” he said. He takes a lot of time evaluating the light and contrasts that he observes. “I’ll take different angles, walk around, come back to it, and visualize it in different perspectives, different lenses. I’ll decide if it justifies a wide angle or more of a cropped shot. The way I work isn’t technical, it’s more emotional. I see something that moves me and makes me want to photograph it.”Nov lava beach-iceland

“I want the viewer to see it as more than a stationary snapshot. My aim is for the work to convey a broader sense of our existence. So from an aesthetic standpoint, I like to see, in my landscapes, a sense of life.” Life, which Vlahakis notes, is constantly evolving. “That’s something I want to evoke with my imagery, the change in life and the impact man has had on the landscape. I want to capture the raw power of nature transforming.”

A powerful drive in Vlahakis’ life is his fondness for the environment and his ongoing efforts to be kind to it. It is natural, then, that this passion for the earth compels his artistic vision. Initially, he thought of his landscape photography as something that adds to his blog writing http://www.earthyreport.com but has since evolved into a fine art, and a method for furthering his devotion to protecting the environment. “I’m trying to communicate the majesty that we sometimes take for granted. I want to remind people of the grandness that nature offers us, and I hope that my photography can inspire me and others to treasure these landscapes and protect them.” He notes that his reason for often working at a large scale is to allow the viewer to be immersed in the photo, to “see what I saw, and appreciate the natural wonders that we can (but don’t always) experience.”prock

 

In addition to the volcanoes, waterfalls, and lagoons that dot the country, Vlahakis enjoys many other aspects of Icelandic culture. He describes the Icelandic people as “warm, interesting people” and is fascinated by their architecture, cuisine, and folklore. Interestingly, elves are widely believed to be real within Icelandic culture. “People build what look like dollhouses in their backyards, which are meant to be homes for the elves as they travel. One mountain that stands alone, almost a large butte, surrounded by fencing, is the mountain where the queen of elves resides. The Icelandic government has a minister of elves and a department which needs to be consulted with prior to any construction project, in order avoid interrupting the lives of the elves,” he said. The entire country runs on geothermal power, gasoline is only imported for vehicles, and the water quality is excellent. Icelandic wild horses also roam freely throughout the country. “Of course, they’re looking for a handout, but they’re very friendly animals. They’re not afraid of people,” he said.oneway1 copy

Vlahakis’ two visits to Iceland have been during colder months, once in February and once at the end of March. Although he would like to visit during the summer months, the advantage of shooting in winter is that the island is less populated with tourists during the winter. “Lack of humanity is something that I look to take out of these images. I need to visit in the summer, but I really dread going at the height of tourist season. One of the funny stories they tell you in Iceland is that when you pass another car on the road, you’ve just experienced your first Icelandic traffic jam. I love that aspect of visiting the country,” he stated. “I’ve found that personally, when I’m out shooting alone in a wilderness, a few things happen. Beyond the serenity of the moment is this amazing recognition that the world’s problems have disappeared, I’m in the moment, and I’m not thinking of anything other than what I’m experiencing. Sometimes that can be nothing- it’s a thickness in the air that you have to experience to understand. You realize how insignificant you are when you look out and see nothing but endless landscape and wildlife. You’re there for the moment, surrounded, a small passing in this earth’s life, and it puts things very much into perspective.”

Several of John Vlahakis’ works will be on display in the Iceland Inspired show at ZIA Gallery, opening on Saturday, March 22nd from 5-7 pm.