Author Archives: rmunsell

in the spirit of top tens…

artnet published a list of the  ten best cat paintings.

Louis Wain, anthropomorphic cat paintings

Louis Wain, anthropomorphic cat paintings

Peter Burr and Fern Silva @ The Nightingale

Peter Burr, Still from Alone with the Moon, 2012

Peter Burr, Still from Alone with the Moon, 2012

Nightingale Cinema presents:
WAYWARD FRONDS : A Collaborative Performance
by Peter Burr and Fern Silva

 FRIDAY, APRIL 18th at 8PM
1084 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60642

These two artists will meet in Chicago to produce a collaborative piece described as “A 3-part journey through simulated Earth.” For this performance, filmmakers, Silva and Burr will bridge their radically different approaches to produce a piece with 8mm film, video projection, and live performance. Knowing both of their work, I don’t know what to expect, but I’m sure excited to see it.
The performance will be followed by three recent works by Peter Burr.

Peter Burr is an artist from Brooklyn, NY, USA. His video and performance work has been presented in many venues including Le Centre Pompidou, Paris, FR; Reina Sofia National Museum, Madrid, ES; and MoMA PS1, New York, NY. He is also the founder of CARTUNE XPREZ, an animation project that has toured through more than 25 countries over the past 10 years to present site-specific cartoon events. Part live theater, part psychedelic insurrection, and part roads how, his work has become a touchstone for an experimental genre that animates its way out of Sunday morning cartoons to the extent of anarchy.

Fern Silva is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Moving Image in the School of Art and Art History at the University of Illinois-Chicago.  His current research investigates the history, influence, and consequences of travel on culture and society.  As an artist experimenting with various modes of documentary and narrative filmmaking, his work often shifts between ideas surrounding mysticism and the deceptive capabilities of memory.  He has created a body of film, video, and projection work that has been screened and performed at various festivals, galleries, museums and cinematheques including the Toronto, Berlin, Locarno, Rotterdam, New York, Edinburgh, Images, Oberhausen, London and Ann Arbor Film Festivals, Anthology Film Archive, Gene Siskel Film Center, Wexner Center for the Arts, San Francisco Cinematheque, Museum of Art Lima, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, and the Museum of Modern Art P.S.1. He was listed as one of the Top 25 Filmmakers for the 21st Century in Film Comment Magazine’s Avant-Garde Filmmakers Poll, is the recipient of the Gus Van Sant Award from the 49th Ann Arbor Film Festival and was nominated for Best International Short Film at the 2012 Edinburgh International Film Festival. He received a BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art, MFA from Bard College and is currently based in Brooklyn, NY and Chicago, IL.


Review: Tropical Depression @ LVL3

Laura Hart Newlon and Kate O'Neill, Tropical Depression (50s Barkcloth Tropical Jungle Palms Vintage Exotic), 2014

Laura Hart Newlon and Kate O’Neill, Tropical Depression (50s Barkcloth Tropical Jungle Palms Vintage Exotic), 2014

Tropical Depression is a collaborative work by Laura Hart Newlon and Kate O’Neill. It is also the title of the group exhibition at LVL3 that features their work, and the work of Kate Ruggeri and Nicholas Rummler. With such an enticing show title, I was excited to read the curatorial statement. Though disappointed by the generic text on the press release, I was not disappointed by the show.*

Newlon and O’Neill’s works anchor the exhibition with their multi-media exploration of leisure, filtered through a thorough examination of rattan furniture. They produced a publication that cleverly poses as an early twentieth century furniture catalogue – it relays the romance of the tropics, and the promise of rattan to transport its buyers to the “Far East”. Flipping through the catalogue, images of furniture are interspersed with tropical plant patterns, advertisements, photographs of rattan harvesting and furniture production in Malaysia, and a few process shots from Newlon and O’Neill’s furniture production. Rattan stands in as a symbol of leisure for the two artists, and their works in the show, and its title, capture its various associations, and reveal the darker side of rattan as a symbol of imperialism and the unfulfilled promise of leisure.

The two artists primarily conduct their investigation through the Papasan chair – a ubiquitous (and comically cumbersome) dorm room centerpiece. They present it in its romantic glory, superimposed on a tropical print upholstery backdrop, and translate it into the materials of contemporary beach culture – neon rubber. For the show, Newlon and O’Neill made a bright orange, languid, rubber cast of a Papasan chair that slumps in the corner of the gallery.

Rummler and Ruggeri’s works were integrated in the space with the tropical explorations, and though tangentially tied to the collaborative works, do find some material and thematic overlaps. Ruggeri’s works, Basket Painting (Orange), 2013 and Shield, 2013, are both made from discarded and painted wicker, have a nice material dialogue with the rattan pieces. Rummler’s Earthquake, 2014, similarly drew me in with its textured foam board surface painted in a silvery grey. A small window cutout in the frame reveals a glimpse of a found black and white photograph that, influenced by the work’s title, depicts an abstracted view of some sort of ruin. In the context of the show, it evokes the tropical storms that afflict coastal tourist destinations.

The work in the exhibition is strong and well balanced, and its installation uncovers formally complementary ties between the pieces. However, its introductory text, the statement on the press release, not only under-emphasized the work in the show, but was incongruous with its title and left me, at least, wanting to know more about it.

Laura Hart Newlon and Kate O'Neill, Tropical Depression (Catalogue), 2014

Laura Hart Newlon and Kate O’Neill, Tropical Depression (Catalogue), 2014

Laura Hart Newlon and Kate O'Neill, Tropical Depression (Catalogue), 2014

Laura Hart Newlon and Kate O’Neill, Tropical Depression (Catalogue), 2014

Kate Ruggeri, Shield, 2013

Kate Ruggeri, Shield, 2013

Nicholas Rummler, Earthquake, 2014 (detail)

Nicholas Rummler, Earthquake, 2014 (detail)

*The press release states: Tropical Depression comes together as a result of our partnership with the ACRE residency program. This group show features artists Kate Ruggieri, Nicholas Rummler, and a collaboration between Laura Hart Newlon and Kate O’Neill. Tropical Depression encompasses both the calm and cluttered aspects of these artists’ approaches to creating while tackling new artistic exploration.

John Yau, Graham Foundation on APRIL 3



If you haven’t had a chance to see the Judy Ledgerwood installation at the Graham Foundation, now’s the time. Ledgerwood will be in conversation with poet and critic, John Yau at 6pm on April 3.

From GF website:
Writing about Judy Ledgerwood’s paintings in 2011, Yau states:

When I was looking at the painting “Spiritualized” (2011), which is brown- violet, magenta, and gold, I was initially reminded of a lavish, oversized box of Godiva chocolates and of church vestments, before other associations began to surface,mostly having to do with the erotic. Such links are as abundant as these paintings areoptically and viscerally sumptuous. A carefully considered synthesis of opulence and structure, excess and restraint, is at the heart of Ledgerwood’s work as well as astarting point for speculation.

On April 5, Yau will continue his speculation into Ledgerwood’s work, asking how Ledgerwood’s recent installation for the Graham Foundation asks new questions of the limitations and possibilities of painting as it intersects with and aspires to the conditions of architecture.


Vernal Heights – Equinox Show

Hilary Baldwin

6:45am on Thursday, March 20th, Great Space, UIC

Performances by David Bodhi Boylan, Jesse Malmed,  and drummer John Niekrasz, and a painting by Hilary Baldwin to celebrate the coming of spring.

More openings should happen at dawn.

Beneath the Paving Stones, the Beach


Colleen Keihm, One of six sides, 2013

The first of five UIC MFA thesis exhibition opens this week!
Runs March 11- March 15 at Gallery 400

Beneath the Paving Stones, the Beach
Artists: Matt Brett, Houston Cofield, Colleen Keihm, and Melissa Myser

Before us a thick current runs. Opaque, swirling, and rushing ahead. Carrying the sediments of history, the land it flows through and the myth it inhabits. Thin spots in the surface reveal something profoundly significant, huge and alive; wakened for a moment.

Matt Brett uses the persistence of matter and energy as the moral and conceptual foundation of his work. He considers how the immutability of matter is entangled with human affairs, and looks to these entanglements for inspiration.

Houston Cofield’s current work, Common Ground, combines photographs, objects, and film to create a fictional narrative about a specific region in North Mississippi. Family, myth, and history play important roles in the way Cofield’s work narrates the land and people he encounters. He seeks to uncover the way history, both literally and fictionally, resonates in this region.

Colleen Keihm attempts to connect to places and people so that there may be a greater understanding of time, care, and the structure that happens in between. Her desire to connect occurs through representations of documenting the precise application of nail polish and reconstituting an object as a relic. Performance, photography, and video allow her to enter spaces ritualistically and engage with people so that they may generate situations together and experiment with elicited empathy.

Carried through by the rhythms of places and people who inhabit them, Melissa Myser is constantly wandering with an open ear. Myser’s deep familial roots in the American West inform the stories, characters, and myths of her film and video works.

more info on artist talks, screenings and additional programming here

What’s the T? With Dana B.

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The latest issue of Dana Bassett’s Bad At Sports gossip column is out today! Check it out to see what’s trending in Chicago, what you missed at the SCA’s gala this weekend, why Chicago is so quiet these days , and what Andrew Rafacz has been up to (and wearing).

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Matthew Kayhoe Brett: Earth Angle at Dos Perros Projects

Opening Reception:  Sunday March 2, 2014

photo 4

Elastic Servant (two parts). (formed accumulation of calcium sulfate, specific removal of calcium sulfate)

photo (3)

Marty’s Crisis (cyanotype fixed on gypsum board)


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ACRE TV launched yesterday (Saturday 2/15) at their new space in Mana Contemporary with PLEASE STAND BY, a broadcast of tv-test patterns/color bars  programed by Kera MacKenzie and Andrew Mausert-Mooney.

The broadcast included moving image work by : Jeffrey Michael Austin, Tony Balko, Jon Chambers, Chaz Evans, Lori Felker, Lindsey French, Mike Gibisser, Cameron Gibson, Daniel Giles, Allison Leigh Holt, Mark Kent, Chris Little, Kera MacKenzie, Jesse Malmed, Andrew Mausert-Mooney, Brendan Meara, Dan Paz, Haynes Riley, Kyle Schlie, Megan Schvaneveldt, Fern Silva, Vincent Tiley, Eric Watts

ACRE TV is a new project run by ACRE to show time-based work. Programs will vary from live and canned videos and performances. If anyone is interested, they’re looking for artists and programmers to make use of and experiment with this platform. Should be interesting to see how this evolves and who gets involved.