Jennifer Cronin at Elephant Room Gallery

Artist Jennifer Cronin’s “Seen and Unseen” Reveals our Disappearing Landscapes Through Her Most Recent Work

Elephant Room Gallery is excited to be exhibiting artist Jennifer Cronin in a solo exhibition entitled “Seen and Unseen”. Cronin’s latest body of work includes paintings and screen prints created over the past 3 years based on her experience in Newtok, Alaska during a visit there in June of 2016.

Newtok is a small, remote Alaska Native village, which is currently threatened by the effects of climate change. Due to drastic erosion caused by a combination of thawing permafrost, low levels of sea ice, and strong storms, the land of Newtok is on the brink of environmental disaster. “Seen and Unseen” depicts a place that is in a state of environmental flux, quickly disappearing from existence. Meticulously painted landscapes unravel as they disappear into a wispy haze of white paint. Screen prints, which, at first glance, appear to be nothing more than blank pages, gently beckon the viewer as they slowly reveal the subtle details of a landscape at the edge of existence. All of this work points to the serene beauty of Newtok, while simultaneously bringing to light its extreme vulnerability.

“When considering how best to represent the crisis of Newtok, I keep coming back to a feeling that I had while I was there, which has lingered in my consciousness since. As I stood watching the land as though it was a slowly dying creature, crumbling away into the river before my eyes, I was overwhelmed by a sickening sense of irony. Newtok, so beautifully disconnected and remote, has one tragic tie with the rest of the world, which will eventually cause its demise. Seen and Unseen is my response to the simultaneous beauty and tragedy of this disappearing place.” – Cronin

“Seen and Unseen” will be on exhibition at Elephant Room Gallery June 1st through July 20th. The opening reception will be on Saturday, June 1st from 6pm to 9pm, with sounds for the first hour courtesy of Dusty Patches, the electronic music project of Chicago musician Patrick Mitchell. There will be an artist talk on Saturday, June 15th at 2pm. The gallery is located at 704 S Wabash Ave. in the South Loop Neighborhood of Chicago. Additional information on events and viewing appointments can be found on the gallery’s website: www.elephantroomgallery.com.

About Jennifer Cronin

Sometimes starkly real, and other times other-worldly, Jennifer Cronin’s style of captivating realism pulls the viewer into the world of her artwork. From exploring inner psychology to highlighting income inequality, Cronin is constantly exploring what it means to be a human living in this time. Cronin has exhibited widely in Chicago, as well as nationally and internationally. While working on her latest series, “Seen and Unseen,” Cronin was awarded a grant from the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation and a fellowship from Vermont Studio Center. Cronin studied at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, earning her BFA in painting in 2009. She lives and works in Chicago, and is represented by Elephant Room Gallery.

Deathless-ness; 10,000 Works – Art of Darin Latimer

Elephant Room Gallery is thrilled to be exhibiting works by artist Darin Latimer in his very first solo show entitled “Deathless-ness; 10,000 Works (Eyes & Teeth Dept.)”. Darin is an outsider artist whose writing largely informs his work, which includes paintings and drawings on canvas, paper and plush reproductions “Deathless-ness; 10,000 Works” feels like an obsession, which speaks to the artist’s life-long interest in collecting things; bits of manufacturing debris from the leveled vacant fields adjacent to his Ypsilanti, MI loft, a head sized chunk of slag poached from an Iron Works State Park in Joliet, etc. Darin’s artwork divides, somewhat neatly, into the not-directly applied mediums (stuff put on one thing and then bluntly transferred to another – OR – applied directly and immediately distorted). The ‘smeary’ and the clean, graphic and cartoony, all have a place in this show.

Darin currently lives in Chicago with his wife, Lina, who he considers the co-creator of everything you see. She introduced him to Krink ink and ‘Budsies’, which transformed his work and approach to making work. The former is a ‘fast’ ink developed and manufactured by legendary Graffiti Artist Craig Costello. Darin does not use it in the typical Graffiti fashion. ‘Budsies’ is a company devoted to producing Plush Toys based on children’s drawings. Darin has commissioned 14 big heads and there are more to come. “I was supposed to be a writer (and I am, kinda….titles of my written work invade this show, including the exhibition title). These images emerged because of their own necessity. I don’t have a thesis. Every realized image is the result of a fight. You can decide who won. Faster, Faster, More, More.” – Latimer

“Deathless-ness; 10,000 Works (Eyes and Teeth Dept.)” will be on exhibit at Elephant Room Gallery April 6th through May 18th. Free and open to the public, the opening reception is on Saturday, April 6th from 6pm to 9pm and the artist talk is on Sunday, April 7th at 11am. The gallery is located at 704 S Wabash Ave. in the South Loop Neighborhood of Chicago with hours by appointment only. Visitors should contact the gallery via their website to schedule a viewing: www.elephantroomgallery.com.

About Artist Darin Latimer:

Darin Latimer was born in Detroit, MI and has long been obsessed with the city. He started drawing as a very small child, long before he talked, according to his mother, and he never stopped. Drawing was often the antidote to boredom or obligations. He would draw constantly through 10 hour cashier shifts at his dad’s store on the long Vistavision shaped ‘Cigaretta Cards’. His mother would drop him off for extracurricular drawing and pastel classes but they always drew some other artist’s picture of something. Darin used to skip school, returning to the city to spend whole days spelunking, book-hunting, salvage-picking, concert and club-going, but mostly just driving around with a camera. When his wife, Lina, attended the University of Detroit, his obsession became a part time profession as he would spend whole days taking photographs all over the city. Writing informs his art in an obvious, but impractical way. Darin does not distinguish between the two of them much. “I get a….let’s call it ‘notion’ (because I loathe the words ‘idea’ and ‘inspiration’)…something has bobbed up in the always-on pot of Polenta of my active conflating thoughts, it steps out, preens a bit and petitions for some further actualization; to be ‘made’. I putter in skeptically and it could be with either or both of my alleged vocations.” – Latimer

DETRITUS: life after death

Above: “Thicket” by Keelan McMorrow

Elephant Room Gallery is excited to present a solo exhibition of brand new works by Chicago-based artist Keelan McMorrow. ‘DETRITUS: life after death’ opens with a public reception on Saturday, February 16th from 6pm to 9pm and runs through March 30th.

If life offers no guarantees but death, then our struggles of mourning are universal: in ‘Detritus: Life After Death’, artist Keelan McMorrow depicts poignant symbols of the trauma, grief, and ultimate triumphs experienced through living life after the death of a loved one. In 2016, McMorrow’s brother passed away unexpectedly due to a congenital heart defect.

‘Detritus: Life After Death’ presents the work created after his brother’s passing, processing the guilt, anger, confusion and despair he faced in turn. For McMorrow, his own life – indeed his very birth – would be forever cemented in stark contrast with his family’s devastating loss: ‘My brother died on my birthday,’ Keelan explains. ‘Mere hours before I was looking forward to celebrating with him, with our family. It was like an asteroid hit. None of us could understand what was happening. Figuring out and accepting what occurred would of course come later, through fits and tears and horrible, sleepless nights.’

Art provided rungs to hold on to, like a ladder. And in climbing up, life continued and the artist’s vistas changed. So, too, did his work. Pieces of human bodies, of flesh, limbs, tools and artifices now tumble across his paintings piecemeal, scattered, where composed figures once resided – as if the world, shattered, exists as a puzzle to be joined back together. But there’s far more to it than that: ‘I think I’ve found a sort of peace in my new reality. A sort of wisdom, maybe. As much as we’re destined to lose what we love, the very fact that we can fall apart proves that we’re connected. It’s all just one big story, and even now my brother is continuing to be a part of it.’

Elephant Room Gallery is located at 704 S Wabash Ave. in the South Loop neighborhood of Chicago. Gallery information can be found on their website, www.elephantroomgallery.com.

3rd Annual Portrait Exhibition – All Women Artists

Elephant Room Gallery is excited to present the 3rd Annual Portrait Exhibition, curated by the gallery’s co-owner, Kimberly Leja Atwood. The portrait exhibition was exhibited in 2016 and 2017 in a large warehouse gallery in Bridgeport, featuring around 20 Chicago-based artists doing portraiture. This year’s exhibition is unique in that it includes solely women artists exhibiting their portraits in the intimate South Loop gallery. Artwork includes painting, photography, mixed media and digital work by a diverse group of talented artists.

Exhibiting artists include Cydney M. Lewis, Delisha McKinney, Ellen Hanson, Kayla Mahaffey, Laura Collins, Martha A. Wade, Reisha Williams, Rine Boyer and Tyesha M. Moores. A few of these artists have exhibited with the gallery in years past and others will be fresh faces to some. All of the artists are Chicago-based contemporary artists who are actively making work based on their personal experiences and passions, introducing us to unique perspectives and calling on us to think about art as not only visual stimulation, but as a reflection of what is happening in society today. “I am very excited to exhibit each of these artists as they are women I respect for various reasons but for the purposes of this group show, the strength of their work shown together will speak volumes to the amazing talent they each possess. I think visitors will be blown away.” – K.L.A.

The exhibition opens with a reception on Saturday, November 3rd from 5 to 9pm and will be on view through December 8th. Elephant Room Gallery is located at 704 S Wabash Ave. in the South Loop neighborhood of Chicago and hours are by appointment only. The gallery plans to host various other events connected to the exhibition, which will be updated on the gallery’s website (www.elephantroomgallery.com) and social media channels.

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

Above: “Eagles” by Joyce Polance

Landscaped

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, www.elephantroomgallery.com.

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, www.joycepolance.com.

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.