Carl Wilen: A Tribute by Anne Hughes

Carl Wilen in his studio with "Caisson (What do you think of this William Tell?)"

Carl Wilen in his studio with “Caisson (What do you think of this William Tell?)” readying for the trip to ZIA Gallery.

Carl Wilen, visual artist extraordinaire, whose creativity, curiosity, sense of humor, and dedication to teaching touched so many people throughout his life, died this morning, September 11, 2018 at the age of 85.   He was a first generation American of Finnish and Polish parentage, and grew up living a happy, active childhood in Chicago’s Cicero neighborhood. Teachers recognized his talents and quietly worked ways to assure opportunities for him to pursue his gifts. Carl would proudly mention graduating from Morton High School and culminating his education with an MFA from University of Illinois, Champaign. He was the department chair and taught art at Clark College in Atlanta and a few years later joined Eastern Illinois University from which he retired in 1994 after over 30 years of teaching as a professor of painting and drawing.

Ever a fan of The Cubs and Blackhawks, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Botanic Garden and a follower of many roads less travelled, Carl Wilen actively contributed to visual arts technically, imaginative, and intellectually.

Studio reflections

Studio reflections

His contagious, creative spirit served him well, maintaining that engaging smile and sense of wonder to the end. We miss him already and send our condolences to Jackie, his wife of 61 years, and to his children Paul and Winnie, grandchildren, friends and many, many thankful students of which I was one.

ZIA Gallery has been honored to represent Carl’s work. Do take a look at a few of the varied directions Carl pursued over the years. He is an artist whose work is worth discovering, examining and appreciating.

Carl Wilen works in the three person exhibition from October 2016, "Imaginative Connections."

Carl Wilen works in the three person exhibition from October 2016, “Imaginative Connections.”

"Oh No, It's the Sky Again," graphite and color pencil on cut paper in case, by Carl Wilen

“Oh No, It’s the Sky Again,” graphite and color pencil on cut paper in case, by Carl Wilen

Contending with Possible Contamination, 16 x 19, oil by Carl Wilen.

Contending with Possible Contamination, 16 x 19, oil by Carl Wilen.

Angel Bar and Grill, oil on panel, 16 x 19, by Carl Wilen

Angel Bar and Grill, oil on panel, 16 x 19, by Carl Wilen

"Deposed" 16 x 19, oil, by Carl Wilen

“Deposed” 16 x 19, oil, by Carl Wilen

"Communication" 5 3/8 x 7 1/2" graphite and watercolor on paper by Carl Wilen

“Communication” 5 3/8 x 7 1/2″ graphite and watercolor on paper by Carl Wilen

"Light Cavalry" 43 x 47 oil on panel by Carl Wilen.

“Light Cavalry” 43 x 47 oil on panel by Carl Wilen.

Carl Wilen's Eye Over The Mediterranean, Oil, 48" x 40"

Carl Wilen’s Eye Over The Mediterranean, Oil, 48″ x 40″

Carl Wilen's "J. Jacques Rousseau Inadvertently Runs into the Mondrian Crystal Palace, which, incidentally, houses the bust of Sig."

Carl Wilen’s “J. Jacques Rousseau Inadvertently Runs into the Mondrian Crystal Palace, which, incidentally, houses the bust of Sig.”

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

The Creative World, and Transformative Experience of Anne Hughes’ Art by Wolfgang Krol

Anne Hughes' "Golden Circle" 44 x 30 soft pastel

Anne Hughes’ “Golden Circle” 44 x 30 soft pastel

When Marshal McLuhan coined the phrase “The medium is the message” little did he know that there was an artist in the making by the name of Anne Hughes who would dedicate her life and creativity to intuitively making the medium and the message come alive through her art. In a strange and uncanny way, Anne would become a benevolent messenger of an artistic “stargate” that opens the door to other worlds and experiences that connect us through creativity, imagination, reality, fantasy, dreams, play, curiosity, magic, hope, joy, and wonderment. Anne transmits all of this with humility, and dedicated commitment through her art, and through the intuitive ideas she explores through various physical materials with highly skillful artistic techniques, that inevitably takes the viewer through numerous, and multiple visual, conceptual, and transformative experiences in each and every work.

Anne Hughes "Natural Worlds" 43.5 x 29.75, soft pastel

Anne Hughes “Natural Worlds” 43.5 x 29.75, soft pastel

Many individuals are concerned, and to some degree, obsessed with definitions, and labels in art, related to realism, abstract, modern, post modern, etc. In the end all this labeling is nice for those who are more concerned with the history of art than with a timeless experience, communicating, interacting, and experiencing the art itself. If you are willing to forgo the labels, and are open to just experiencing the art, Anne will take you on a visual and emotional journey that will be remembered for a very long time. For those individuals who are fortunate enough to own one or more of Anne’s works, they will be able to experience this visual journey on a daily ongoing basis. The wonder of Anne’s magical creativity is that every time one engages with her work one experiences something new and enlightening. Just when we think we already know a work, we begin to see new relationships in the images, or gain new insights into her creative mind, or into our reality, and perception.

Anne Hughes "Reading Time" 12" x 12" oil on panel

Anne Hughes “Reading Time” 12″ x 12″ oil on panel

Anne’s work is about experiencing. Everyone who engages with her work, and imagery may see something similar, but will not experience things in the same way, because we are all different, and experience things uniquely. We may see playful images, images that seem to be out of place, out of time, or out of reality as we know it. We may see images that interact in a space that is foreign to their natural environment: like a “fish out of water”. Anne transforms the natural environment and brings all environments together into one space, or frame. This may be hard to imagine in reality, but Anne’s work transforms reality, takes us on an imaginary journey, and while we are on this journey she shows us a new reality, a new way of seeing with many surprises, and new answers to the visual and conceptual questions that we may have. Anne’s work is not about linear logic, it is about a multi dimensional experience that redefines logic, reality, space, perception, and allows us to engage in new questions, experiences, and perceive new “logics”.

Anne Hughes, "Dark Night" soft pastel

Anne Hughes, “Dark Night” soft pastel

To really experience Anne’s work, or other work, for that matter, it must be seen in its actual physical configuration, and not in a photo, or on a computer, iPad, or cell phone screen; the so-called new social media “art gallery”. The real actual size, media, materials, configuration etc., is what brings her art works to life. When we approach a work, we already start our experience, and engagement.

Detail of "The Golden Circle" by Anne Hughes

Detail of “The Golden Circle” by Anne Hughes

As we move closer, our experience, and perception start to change, transform through the interaction of the colors, images, materials, and what we personally bring to the work.

Detail of "The Golden Circle" by Anne Hughes

Detail of “The Golden Circle” by Anne Hughes

Then, when we stop in front of Anne’s work, and journey visually through all the materials and imagery, we begin to see and experience the magical tour that Anne is taking us on.

Detail of "The Golden Circle" by Anne Hughes

Detail of “The Golden Circle” by Anne Hughes

We, as the viewer, have to find the correct distance or position from the work so our personal experience can take place. Even moving to the right or left of her work changes what we see and experience. In some art works this happened by default. In Anne’s work the changes in perception is by design.

Detail of "The Golden Circle" by Anne Hughes

Detail of “The Golden Circle” by Anne Hughes

Looking at her work on a computer or other technical device, for that matter, will NEVER give the true impact or power of the work. The character of the materials used ie. paper, wood, canvas, cardboard etc., the colors added, the strokes of the brush, pencil, pastels, etc., interacting with each other, all bring the work to life, transforming the original material(s) into a new identity opening the mind of the viewer giving new insights into ones perception and reality.

Detail of "The Golden Circle" by Anne Hughes

Detail of “The Golden Circle” by Anne Hughes

The phrase “seeing is believing” is very true after seeing the creative work of Anne Hughes; believing takes on a new meaning. As with all art we have to approach it with an open mind. We have to leave our prejudices, and biases at home, as much as possible, and experience each work on it’s own terms and merit /relationship as if we were talking to, or engaged with the artist personally; and before we know it we have developed a new friendship that will last a lifetime.

"Wish List" by Anne Hughes

“Wish List” by Anne Hughes

Those that are fortunate to see Anne Hughes’ work will experience things, like they never have before. But it must be remembered like all relationships, it takes time, engagement, and nurturing. However, even if one does not have the time to develop a “real friendship” or relationship with Anne’s work, just simply passing in front of a work, one just begins to feel as if Anne is stretching out her hand in a welcoming, friendly gesture encouraging us to engage in the exhilarating experience with her art.

Anne Hughes' "Iceland Inspired" 11 3/8" x 11 3/8", soft pastel

Anne Hughes’ “Iceland Inspired” 11 3/8″ x 11 3/8″, soft pastel

So welcome all to the creative world, and transformative experience of the unique art of Anne Hughes, and be pleasantly surprised, and elated with the message transformed by the media; and for all the above, Anne Hughes deserves to be recognized and acknowledged in a category among the best, and most creative artists.

Wolfgang Krol, Associate Professor, Studio Arts (retired)

Concordia University, Montreal, Que., Canada

Fumiko Toda and Beverly Zawitkoski: Exhibitions of Individual Contemporary Painting

ZIA Gallery launches the new art season on Saturday, September 10th with two featured exhibitions by celebrated artists Fumiko Toda and Beverly Zawitkoski.

Fumiko Toda's "Mountain with Wings" and "Untitled"

Fumiko Toda’s “Mountain with Wings” and “Untitled”

 

Beverly Zawitkoski's (left to right) "Watery Haze," "Into the New," and "Now and Then"

Beverly Zawitkoski’s (left to right) “Watery Haze,” “Into the New,” and “Now and Then”

Fumiko Toda, based in New York, grew up in a rural area outside Kyoto, Japan where nature stirred her imagination.

Fumiko Toda's "Golden Path" 48" x 48" mixed media on panel

Fumiko Toda’s “Golden Path” 48″ x 48″ mixed media on panel

As she went on to study art both in Japan and New York, abstract and, often whimsical, imagery of the natural world entered her visual vocabulary and continues to animate her vibrant, joyful expression.

"Always" by Fumiko Toda, 56" x 56" mixed media on satin

“Always” by Fumiko Toda, 56″ x 56″ mixed media on satin

Toda loves to mix and explore different materials and techniques, stitching together elements of her etchings to fabric and paper on panel with her free handling of paint. This exhibition is certain to uplift.

"Planting Seeds" by Fumiko Toda, mixed media on canvas

“Planting Seeds” by Fumiko Toda, mixed media on canvas

Beverly Zawitkoski is based in Montreal, Québec where her BFA from Concordia University led to an award of a Commonwealth Scholarship at The Slade School of Fine Arts in London, UK. There she completed her post-graduate studies and was awarded the Leslye Hurry Prize.

Beverly Zawitkoski's (from left to right) "Through There" 8.75 x 8.75, Acrylic on Mylar and  "Reminiscent" 31.5 x 43.5, Acrylic on Mylar

Beverly Zawitkoski’s (from left to right) “Through There” 8.75 x 8.75, Acrylic on Mylar and “Reminiscent” 31.5 x 43.5, Acrylic on Mylar

Zawitkoski paints with a desire to reach emotional depth and touch a sublime, inexplicable essence. Her journey is intuitive being informed by how the layering of paint changes direction and leads the artist into unpredictable worlds.

"Watery Haze" 24 x 36, Acrylic on Mylar by Beverly Zawitkoski

“Watery Haze” 24 x 36, Acrylic on Mylar by Beverly Zawitkoski

Her abstractions do, in fact, suggest a land, place, figure or world where intangible nature reigns.

"Splendour" by Beverly Zawitkoski 31.5 x 44.5, acrylic on Mylar

“Splendour” by Beverly Zawitkoski 31.5 x 44.5, acrylic on Mylar

Zawitkoski’s works have the ability to speak to people on many levels. Such is, perhaps, their wide appeal. Admirers and new audiences will enjoy seeing the evolution of her bodies of work, as this new exhibition demonstrates, once again.

Fumiko Toda and Beverly Zawitkoski at ZIA Gallery, September 10 - October 8, 2016

Fumiko Toda and Beverly Zawitkoski at ZIA Gallery, September 10 – October 8, 2016

The exhibition opens Saturday, September 10th, 5 – 7 pm at ZIA Gallery, 548 Chestnut Street, Winnetka, IL 60093 All are welcome to attend. Fumiko Toda and Beverly Zawitkoski continues through October 8th, 2016. www.ZIAgallery.net