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

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.