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

Part One: Back to back exhibitions… “The Elephant in the Room”

Back to back exhibitions at ZIA Gallery celebrate the wonder of our natural world.01-20-2018 Postcard copyfb

The exhibition “The Elephant in the Room” was conceived slowly over the past few years as ZIA Gallery began to notice a number of artists making reference to elephants in their works. One of the first artists was Mary Burke who subtly included a phrase along with a small sketch in her abstract painting “Natural Order.”

Mary Burke, Natural Order, 36x48, Acrylic Graphite on Canvas

Mary Burke, Natural Order, 36×48, Acrylic Graphite on Canvas

More elephants appeared in a number of Fumiko Toda’s paintings as part of the magic of her world.

Fumiko Toda, "Expectation" 47x 39 Mixed media on canvas

Fumiko Toda, “Expectation” 47x 39 Mixed media on canvas

Then a sequin elephant served as a formative element in a collage and mixed media miniature “Elephant Notes” by Anne Hughes.

Anne Hughes, "Elephant Notes" 5" x 5" pastel, sequin, acrylic, found object

Anne Hughes, “Elephant Notes” 5″ x 5″ pastel, sequin, acrylic, found object

Elephants are clearly on the minds of artists.

Anne Hughes, "Of the Garden" 5" x 5" soft pastel

Anne Hughes, “Of the Garden” 5″ x 5″ soft pastel

“The Elephant in the Room” opened January 20th with contributions by Brian McDonald, Preston Jackson, Jonathan Ricci, Bob Krist; in addition to more works by Mary Burke, Anne Hughes and Fumiko Toda.

Mary Burke, "Never Too Many" 21x21 Acrylic, crayon and other on paper

Mary Burke, “Never Too Many” 21×21 Acrylic, crayon and other on paper

In his “Box Office Beasts” Brian McDonald layers color and text referencing graffiti, pop and painterly abstraction while reflecting a thought-provoking, human-centric focus even as other animals are invoked. Brian peppers his work with often, overlooked details.

Brian McDonald, "Box Office Beasts" Mixed media painting and collage on paper 25" x 21"

Brian McDonald, “Box Office Beasts” Mixed media painting and collage on paper 25″ x 21″

As the exhibition neared, it came to ZIA’s attention that noted Chicago sculptor Preston Jackson also created passionate and wonderfully expressive paintings of elephants.

Preston Jackson, "African Profile" 36 x 48 Acrylic on Canvas

Preston Jackson, “African Profile” 36 x 48 Acrylic on Canvas

ZIA Gallery is pleased that Preston accepted the invitation to participate. His work contributes another direction of emotive, elephant-inspired artwork.

Preston Jackson's Say Goodbye, 60 x 48, Acrylic on canvas

Preston Jackson’s Say Goodbye, 60 x 48, Acrylic on canvas

Over the past number of years Jonathan Ricci has developed a colorful body of mixed media paintings with collaged elements cut from maps and dressmakers patterns. Often birds arise in his works adding to interpretations suggesting freedom, travel and exploration.

Jonathan Ricci, "Elephant and the Moon" 18 x 24 Acrylic and collage

Jonathan Ricci, “Elephant and the Moon” 18 x 24 Acrylic and collage

Rhythmic pattern and color combinations enhance the impulse to relish in spontaneity.

Jonathan Ricci, "Elephant Summit" 18" x 24" Acrylic and Collage on canvas

Jonathan Ricci, “Elephant Summit” 18″ x 24″ Acrylic and Collage on canvas

Jonathan’s expressive tendencies spill, with ease, into paintings where elephants seamlessly join the mix, appearing at once regal and playful, and always journeying on.

Jonathan Ricci, "Elephant C" 26 1/8 x 28, Acrylic and Collage

Jonathan Ricci, “Elephant C” 26 1/8 x 28, Acrylic and Collage

Bob Krist, "Elephant Terraces" 20 x 30 Infrared Photography

Bob Krist, “Elephant Terraces” 20 x 30 Infrared Photography

Through infrared photography Bob Krist captures a sense of mystery and a silent awe-inspiring curiosity surrounding stone remains of Elephant Terraces containing hints of detailed carvings crumbling over time and obscured by moss. In an area adjoining Angkor Wat, in Cambodia, the thousand-foot-long Elephant Terrace served as the base of Khmer king’s audience pavilions and reviewing stands.

Fascination for the elephant transcends time.

Anne Hughes "Elephant Dreams" Soft pastel, cut paper, acrylic, 26" x 28.5"

Anne Hughes “Elephant Dreams” Soft pastel, cut paper, acrylic, 26″ x 28.5″

While “The Elephant in the Room” is leaving, for now, a new exhibition arrives March 3, 2018: The Floral Show (not what you expect!). Invited artists Kevin Veara and Phil Ponce join ZIA Gallery artists.

Fumiko Toda "Meet Again" 30 x 22, etchings and chine collé

Fumiko Toda “Meet Again” 30 x 22, etchings and chine collé

More on this exhibition coming up in Part II. Meanwhile, ponder how it can be – that in this era, “The Floral Show” can suggest 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!? See you at The Floral Show, March 3 – April 7, 2018, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 – 5 PM and by appointment, ZIA Gallery, 548 Chestnut St., Winnetka, IL, 60093. The artworks will re-energize words, minds and spirits!

"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, 2018 at ZIA Gallery.

John Vlahakis and “Own Nature”

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

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

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

You Are Here by John Vlahakis

You Are Here by John Vlahakis

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

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

Reckoning by John Vlahakis

Reckoning by John Vlahakis

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

45's Legacy by John Vlahakis

45’s Legacy by John Vlahakis

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

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

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

Compression 30 x 40 by John Vlahakis

Compression 30 x 40 by John Vlahakis

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

Refraction by John Vlahakis

Refraction by John Vlahakis

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

Joliet Jake's House by John Vlahakis

Joliet Jake’s House by John Vlahakis

Pink Pearls 30 x 30 by John Vlahakis

Pink Pearls 30 x 30 by John Vlahakis

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

Merkel's Tree by John Vlahakis

Merkel’s Tree by John Vlahakis

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

Dandywires by John Vlahakis

Dandywires by John Vlahakis

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

Remnants by John Vlahakis

Remnants by John Vlahakis

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

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

The exhibition continues at ZIA Gallery through November 11, 2017

Frontline by John Vlahakis

Frontline by John Vlahakis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clyde Butcher at ZIA Gallery

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

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

Clyde Butcher's "Horseshoe Bend 3"

Clyde Butcher’s “Horseshoe Bend 3”

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

"Buffalo" by Clyde Butcher

“Buffalo” by Clyde Butcher

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

"Foggy Forest 1" by Clyde Butcher

“Foggy Forest 1” by Clyde Butcher

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

 "Many Glacier 1" by Clyde Butcher 22 x 22

“Many Glacier 1” by Clyde Butcher 22 x 22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.ZIAgallery.net

Clyde Butcher's "HawaIi Falls"

Clyde Butcher’s “HawaIi Falls”

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

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

Artist Tim Liddy in front of some of his works

Artist Tim Liddy in front of some of his works

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Fascination

Fascination

 

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

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

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

Lisa A. Frank with two of her original photographs

Lisa A. Frank with two of her original photographs

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

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

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

Lisa A. Frank and exhibition attendee

Lisa A. Frank and exhibition attendee

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

Tim Liddy engages a father and daughter

Tim Liddy engages a father and daughter

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

Artist Tim Liddy greeting exhibition attendees

Artist Tim Liddy greeting exhibition attendees

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

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

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

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

Work by Lisa A. Frank

Work by Lisa A. Frank

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

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

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

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

Tim Liddy's paintings on formed copper

Tim Liddy’s paintings on formed copper

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

John Vlahakis Engages The Kenilworth Garden Club

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

John Vlahakis talks about his photography.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John Vlahakis' Instagram postings of street life.

John Vlahakis’ Instagram postings of street life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Own Nature" by John Vlahakis edition of 10

“Own Nature” by John Vlahakis edition of 10

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