Interdisciplinary Art By Michelle Graves

“Time Influential”
Opening Receptions
Friday August 17th 6-10pm
Saturday August 18th 6-10pm

Michelle Graves Artist Statement

I thoroughly enjoy interweaving scientific research like physics and physiology with existential, stream-of-conscious thoughts. Some of my artwork is heavily text-based and some is representative of the process, but all of my work is derived from my obsession to figure out why things happen. When I dwell on a subject like anxiety, breathing, communication or a failed relationship, I compare these qualities to similar scientific phenomena. For example, the coefficient of restitution is the transfer of energy when two particles collide – in an elastic collision, no energy is transferred. I think of those colliding particles like the intensity of human beings meeting and forming a relationship, or NOT.

In organizing my research I construct formulas or techniques with which I apply material parameters for making bodies of artwork. The analyzation of the research is where I find my process. Some of these formulas include but are not limited to stream-of-conscious writing, graphical or gestural text paintings and drawings, abstract equations, short videos, zines, mixed media sculptural pieces and installations. The bodies of work range from densely layered to lighthearted, playful concepts.

About Michelle

Michelle Graves is an interdisciplinary artist residing in Chicago. She is the Chair of Agitator Co-operative gallery located in West Town, Chicago. She is also Head Curator and co-owner of the art subscription/consulting company, State of the Art.

Morpho Gallery
5216 North Damen Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60625

Hofheimer Gallery: Earth Bound

Above: Amanda Gentry “Curiosity”

Duration of the exhibition – August 3 to August 29, 2018

Artists –
Denise Bellezzo
David Criner
Amanda Gentry

Amanda Gentry, using earthenware for her sculptures, creates objects that clearly are of the earth. Using organic shapes, with small stones imbedded in the surface, she sands them mirror smooth, begging to be touched. “Brother John” is an installation of 28 earthenware pillows, that capture the impression of as many individuals in a state of endless sleep. Each pillow has an indentation where a head rested. The viewer becomes a witness to a past event. Calm presides.

In the drawings of Denise Bellezzo and the paintings of David Criner their expressive colors, whirling brush strokes and both specific and spontaneous mark making creates energetic and hypnotic compositions. Boundaries recede while colors and images charge forward. In Bellezzo’s drawings, there is an unexpected fusion that happens between the ground and mark making. In Criner’s work there is a suggestion of endless space.

Address: 4823 N. Damen Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625
Phone: +1 847-274-7550

Landscaped with Artists Joyce Polance & Chantala Kommanivanh Opens August 11th

Above: “Eagles” by Joyce Polance


A Contemporary Landscape Exhibition Featuring Artists Joyce Polance and Chantala Kommanivanh

Elephant Room Gallery is excited to present artists Joyce Polance and Chantala Kommanivanh in an exhibition featuring contemporary landscapes. “Landscaped” opens August 11th and will include additional programming during Expo Art Week in September.

When we think of traditional landscape paintings, several images might come to mind including green rolling hills, the deep gray of the mountains, a deep orange sunset or the blue and silver qualities of a lake. “Landscaped” is a departure from those images and reconsiders the landscape to be something more fluid and re-imagined based on our own relationship with our ever-changing environments. The vibrancy of colors and manipulation of paint in both Polance’s and Kommanivanh’s paintings are very different from one another yet are able to connect and interact with each other through the emotional quality of the work.

“Human activity plays a major role in the push and pull of nature’s birth, death, and rebirth……My landscape paintings are abstractions of nature’s wrath and beauty as I attempt to emulate her strength in fast brush strokes and vibrant marks of color.” – Kommanivanh. “I explore vulnerability through both my subject matter and my painting process. I begin with a specific reference, but once the image is initially laid in, I cease looking at it. Instead, I engage in dialogue with the painting, letting it lead me to unknown places.” – Polance

“Landscaped” is on exhibition August 11th through October 6th at Elephant Room Gallery located at 704 S Wabash Ave. in Chicago. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, August 11th from 6pm to 9pm. During Expo Week, the gallery will also hold a reception in conjunction with Expo’s Art After Hours on Friday, September 28th from 6pm to 9pm as well as a Q&A with the artists on Saturday, September 29th from 11am to 1pm. All events are free and open to the public. Additional gallery information can be found on the gallery’s website,

Joyce Polance Biography

Joyce Polance is a Chicago-based painter working in oils. Her work consists of expressionist portraits and landscapes which explore the chaotic inner worlds of their subjects—both as depiction of the subjects’ own vulnerabilities and of their connections to the tumultuous political atmosphere we are currently living in.

Polance has exhibited internationally and is the recipient of multiple grants and awards including six Chicago CAAP grants, a George Sugarman Foundation grant, two Judith Dawn Memorial grants, and a fellowship at Spertus Institute in Chicago. Her paintings are held internationally in private and corporate collections.

Polance was born in New York City in 1965. She attended Wesleyan University and received a BFA from the Fashion Institute of Technology. She lives and works in Chicago, Illinois and is represented by Judy Ferrara Gallery in Three Oaks, MI and Elephant Room Gallery in Chicago, IL. Her paintings may be viewed on her website,

Chantala Kommanivanh Biography

Chantala Kommanivanh is an emerging Laotian American artist. Kommanivanh’s work is inspired from old family photographs and found images representing his childhood. His work uses paint and loose canvas, often collage and layered with drawn and painted marks, areas of thick paint and thin stains of color to explore his experience as a member of a refugee family. There are glimpses of a displaced youth negotiating a new cultural landscape, family ties, and various aspects of identity and urban life in his work. His paintings combine colorful and sometimes aggressive abstraction with moments of sensitive photographic clarity…perhaps an appropriate analogy to an engaged life.

Kommanivanh’s work has been displayed in four solo exhibitions in Chicago and numerous group and invitational exhibitions across the U.S. He received his M.F.A. at UW-Milwaukee Peck School of the Arts, studying painting and drawing. He has achieved numerous awards such as the prestigious Union League Civic & Arts Foundation award and a two time A.O.P. Fellowship award recipient. Kommanivanh is also an arts instructor at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago.

National Open Call Encaustic Art

CALL FOR ENTRIES – 7th Annual Encaustic Exhibition
Morpho Gallery, 5216 N. Damen, Chicago, IL 60625
Dates: August 24 – September 22, 2018

Entry Deadline: July 20, 2018
Opening Reception: August 24, 2018, 6pm – 10pm
Jurors: Kathy Blankley Roman and Dan Addington

About the Exhibition:

The exhibit is open to artists who work in the encaustic medium. Mixed media is welcomed, but encaustic must be the primary medium.

This year we will allow 3D work as well as 2D. Maximum 2D dimensions should not exceed 28″ per side, including frame or support, minimum size: 8″x8″ or 16 running inches (H+L).

3D works not to exceed 28″ in all dimensions including mount, if applicable.

About the Jurors:

After 6 years of successful shows, including: Hot Wax in the City, Wax(N)Blue and Unbound(ed), FUSEDChicago member Kathy Blankley Roman returns once again to jury our 7th Annual Encaustic Exhibition. Joining her, we are pleased to have Dan Addington from Addington Gallery on board as guest juror.

Kathy Blankley Roman is an award winning artist, whose expressive paintings have appeared in shows nationally, online and in numerous private collections since 2011. Using acrylics, encaustic or oil & cold wax, she is a process painter. Roman prefers a limited palette and works in layers, employing contrasts of texture, opacity and gesture to create tension and a sense of depth and history. Mostly small to medium in scale, her works have been described as “large paintings in a small space”. They suggest an intimacy which invites viewers to come close, to explore and experience them through their own personal filters.

Dan Addington is an artist and gallery owner who has been working with wax since 1989 and exhibiting encaustic work professionally since 1992. His work has been featured in-group and solo shows across the US, and is in numerous public and private collections. Dan is owner and director of Addington Gallery, located in Chicago’s historic River North art district, and has included encaustic painters in exhibitions there since organizing their first national encaustic exhibition there in 1996. Addington’s own figurative work incorporates materials such as fabric, oil, wax, tar, gold leaf and various printed matter. The accumulation and layering of these materials echoes his interest in history and the relationships between the stratification of cultures and the layering of memory. In these constructed, overtly physical pieces, Addington seeks to engage the viewer through their own process of physical and spiritual excavation.

The complete application is available to download on our links page at:

Connection: The Many Forms of Communication

Above: Julia Briggs, Gray Shirt

June 15th – July 18th Exhibition
Opening Artist Reception June 15th 6pm-10pm

June 2018 (Chicago) Ellen Sauter will be curating at Morpho Gallery and presenting selective pieces from John Bergin, Julia Briggs, Arlo Chapple, Lydia House, and Judy Weinstein.

A broad theme, communication and human connection, allows these five artists’ to let their own perspectives’ take control of the show. Ellen Sauter is an employment specialist for a scattered site-housing program on Chicago’s Southwest side, and she found through her direct service that communication in all its forms has become central to her life. From the smallest most obscure creatures in nature to human beings, we utilize language, verbal, written, visual, or non-verbal forms to communicate and connect with others.

It has become more apparent in my work as a social worker that nonverbal communication is the most telling; hidden in pauses and facial expressions one can understand what the other is saying without ever speaking. At its most basic form, communication can be seen in nature in the way that trees stay connected by creating an intimate network that shares nutrients and information. And in a broader sense, how our society depends on communication and connections with each other.

Each artist chosen to exhibit in this show expresses the ways communication affects their lives through their chosen medium. Some artists’ grapple with the role communication has in forming relationships, creating anxieties, and discomforts with others. Or how we communicate messages to the public through signs and physical actions both in Chicago and other area. Others contemplate our sense of community, and how we communicate with ourselves internally and in understanding how to establish their identity. And finally some are inspired by their heritage and communicate it through certain artistic styles and mediums.

About the Artists 

John Bergin 
I am a nonbinary artist/creative currently based in Chicago, IL. My pronouns are they/them & if you want to address me formally, you can use the honorific “Mx”. I work with several different artistic mediums to fill my quiet spaces. All of these photos were taken in the past year, a year where I grew up out of myself while simultaneously growing down into myself. Each of these photos unpacks a piece of the year with the stories they tell. There is silence and reflection – alone with yourself, standing still. The deepest communication, the strongest connection, a relationship built on lasting foundation: these come from being quiet. Even in the noisiest photos, with clamor and color and love exploding, there is a silence: an opening of a door, for you to choose to peek your head in, to see what is there. I arranged these photos as a way to follow this quiet through each of its costume changes.

Julia Briggs 
My work illustrates a gawky skepticism towards relationships. The characters in my paintings and sculptures want what they are afraid of and fear what they desire. This contention revolves around companionship. The forced proximity of a community demands they be comfortable, but the characters are hesitant to settle in. They are puzzled together, creating an illusion of limited air, with shared and tangled limbs that emphasize their apprehension. This awkward mix actualizes the figures’ dilemmas: reluctance to be vulnerable, hence preventing them to be comfortable with one another.

The simultaneous fear and obsession for intimacy derives from my own experiences growing up in a household among relatives I did not relate well with. Forced together, we awkwardly tried to connect our differences. The illusion of limited space in the paintings and sculptures is a construct of the pressure I felt to be comfortable, but failing; and uncomfortable with the desire to belong. By gripping and holding one-another, the figures in my paintings and sculptures reveal a heightened urge for codependency.

My paintings are composed using saturated flesh tones of purple, rose, and blue hues to emphasize the somber nature of the content and the depth of the form. I use a quick hand while carving and painting, exercising the fear of violence that relationships may cause. My work is very “touchy”; hands and feet overlap in the unsure environment, questioning their own touch. The people are often anonymous in both mediums to relate with the vulnerability of being part of a crowd.

Judy Weinstein 
These images portray expressions of protection in the Texas hill country. Each has its own stereotypical, reductive reputation preceding– Texas’ affinity for firearms & Chicago’s propensity toward gun violence. This collection is not meant to serve as commentary, simply representative of my observations at the beginning of a deeper exploration of the two places in which I have lived long-term. Rather than accepting sensationalized coverage, my aim is to provide the viewer my experience, simultaneously local and transplant boots on the ground.

Arlo Chapple 
My artwork is heavily influenced by illustrations and drawings of the past while using modern media to create new, sometimes-strange forms. I draw inspiration from woodblocks from 18th century Japan, American cartoons of the 1980s and counterculture comics. In my work I create creatures and chimeras that are intended to resonate with the viewer by showing how the strange beings that live inside us all (whether they be microorganisms or micro-personalities and tendencies that operate within us) are actually all rather friendly, weird as they may be. I tend to work in media that allow for movement through time, such as animation, or media that can be rearranged and interacted with, like tabletop games. In all media I work in, I try to give access to a strange other world in hopes of helping the viewer look afresh at their own. I think of my tile creatures as a form of language or visual code, meant to be mixed up just like fridge magnets because the way we organize our language fundamentally changes its meaning.

Lydia House 
Lydia House is self-taught artist, following in the long tradition of global folk artists. She draws inspiration from her Russian heritage and time spent living in Virginia. She has grown up surrounded by folk art, where it be the stories her mother told her, the art around her home, or living in Colonial Williamsburg. You can see her work at the Andersonville Midsommarfest, the Bloomington Arts Fair on the Square or on Instagram: @lydia_inthehouse.

Morpho Gallery
Address: 5216 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60625, USA
Phone: +1 773-878-4255