Lewis Taylor at Elephant Room Gallery

Sleepy Head

“Sleepy Head Done with Aerosol”
Lewis Taylor
acrylic and collage
24×24

“Just a Moment” by Lewis Taylor on
Exhibition at Elephant Room this July

“Just a Moment” is an exhibition of mixed media works by Chicago-based graffiti artist, Lewis Taylor. The exhibition runs July 3rd through August 16th at the Elephant Room located at 704 S Wabash Ave. in the South Loop neighborhood of Chicago. An artist reception will be held on Friday, July 12th from 6:30pm to 9:00pm; attendees will have the opportunity to meet the artist, discuss his work, as well as purchase individual pieces.

“Just a Moment” is a collection of mixed media works that represent a series of moments created by Lewis Taylor. Taylor’s identity as a graffiti writer is obvious in this collection as he embraces the present, paint in hand, allowing the work to take shape without pre-conceived ideas. The result is a bright and colorful fusion of angles and shapes that occasionally reveal exaggerated facial features of characters. His experimentation with different paints and spray paints allows his work to continue to evolve, and this exhibition is a representation of that evolutionary process.

About the Artist

Chicago based artist Lewis Taylor is a native of Charlottesville, Va.and BFA recipient from Virginia Commonwealth University. As a process oriented abstract artist, his intention is to empower his viewers to create their own narrative. His approach carries little preconceived notions and his heavy black outlines and layers of bright colors transition between text-based form and zoomorphic image. Taylor is a prolific street artist and graffiti writer, whose exhibition and installation catalog includes the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Free Street Theatre, the Chicago Loop Alliance/Popup Art Loop, the Grand Bizarre Gallery and Flat Iron Arts Building.

Website: www.elephantroomgallery.com

“Breaking the Line” in the West Loop April 26th, 27th & 28th

Breaking The Line_web

An Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings by Keelan McMorrow

Chicago, Il – Elephant Room is excited to produce another off-site exhibition at R. Hanel Gallery located at 119 N Peoria St, #3A in the West Loop. “Breaking the Line” is an exhibition of paintings and drawings by Keelan McMorrow that will be on exhibition through the weekend of April 26th. The exhibition starts with an opening reception on Friday, April 26th from 6 to 10pm. Additional viewing hours will be on Saturday, April 27th from 11am to 5pm and Sunday, April 28th from 11am to 3pm. An artist talk with McMorrow will occur on Saturday, April 27th at 2pm.

R. Hanel Gallery is a spacious West Loop loft that is the ideal space for artistic expression. The opening reception of “Breaking the Line” will include a silent art auction of one of McMorrow’s newest works as well as music provided by DJs Benny Hernandez and Erick Jiminez. Light fare and drinks will be served along with the opportunity to meet the artist, view and purchase both larger scale paintings and unique, framed drawings by McMorrow.

At first glance, McMorrow’s paintings seem decidedly figurative. Well-rendered articulations of life and limb are at focus, altogether vibrant and encapsulated, and the artist knows his craft well enough to make you believe it. But these aren’t your average portraits, and the renderings stop once we’ve been led to believe in them. The overall effect is almost hieroglyphic in nature, as the spaces that weave themselves around such recognizable things as human flesh become liquid and rigid, pensive and bold. McMorrow is an innovative painter as he attempts to turn the mundane into archetype.

“Breaking the Line” is an exhibition of work that highlights these attempts. Some seem nearly architectural in nature, others burst like ruptured paint cans and a few even incorporate electrical light sources installed within the pieces themselves, experiemental but rooted in the Western tradition of craft and composed diligence. Keelan McMorrow is among a group of relevant artists today that are both experimental in their ideas and technically proficient in their craft. “Breaking the Line” should not be missed!

Website: elephantroomgallery.com

Closing Reception for “Urban Penumbra” at Elephant Room Feb. 22nd

elephantroom

Youth

“Urban Penumbra” is a series of mixed media works by East Coast artist, Ray Ferrer that is currently on display at Elephant Room through Feb. 22nd. At the opening, guests inquired about the photography or the silk screen process of the work. The work is actually spray paint and acrylic on canvas which Ferrer has worked over his complicated and detailed stencils. The photography reference makes sense since the photorealism of Ferrer’s subjects is indisputable.

We mainly exhibit local Chicago artists here, but with all of the submissions we receive from around the world, I think it’s important to exhibit a significant, emerging artist from elsewhere at least once a year in order to keep Chicago inspired and maintain a connection to the larger art world. Ferrer successfully brings that inspiration to us through this new series of work.

Ferrer discovered his talent for his artistic practice much later in life. He studied engineering and has worked as a consultant over the years. He’s always had a passion for art and more specifically, photography. It seems that his interest in photography as a child has now come full circle. To his astonishment, a photograph he took of a woman looking into a storefront window is proudly on display in his parents home.

All of his work starts as a photograph, which he then digitally manipulates in order to capture the emotion he wants to portray. While looking at this final digital image, Ferrer cuts a stencil that will result in a painted image on canvas that reveals the emotion he intended to capture. Varying the distance of the spray paint can from the surface allows his work to ebb and flow the depth of vision. Surprisingly, Ferrer revealed to us that once he completes a piece, the stencil is torn up and thrown away so that the final work will never be reproduced. His time and effort with that work is forever held solely within that final canvas.

The use of solely black and white is a very intentional decision on Ferrer’s part as he wants the subject alone to be interpreted without the distraction of colors. The raw emotion of the subject is revealed clearly through the expressive quality of the expressions and backgrounds in black, white and grey contrasts.

Every piece is titled very simply with words like “Turmoil”, “Youth”, and “Optimism”. It is obvious that Ferrer is trying to be as pure as possible in his practice and he is successfully able to communicate his intentions flawlessly. I am not always certain that perfection is the answer in artistic practice, however, if it is important to the artist, then it must be important to us. With Ferrer’s work, I am astounded by the quality of work and his ability to convey exactly his intent. “I am vehemently opposed to using art as a means to rely on overly-complex theories or ideas to prop up mediocre images. I believe that the quality of the actual work is what is paramount.” – Ferrer. Ferrer’s admission of his need for perfection in his work is endearing as he remains a modest and open individual. In his case, the quality of his work is paramount as each hand-cut stencil seems perfectly cut with a precision that reveals an extremely relatable time and place in all of our lives or the lives of those we love.

Website: www.elephantroomgallery.com

Ojero: A Character of Culture

“The Ojero Got Frida”
Sam Kirk
acrylic on strathmore paper
16×20

“Ojero: A Character of Culture” is a solo exhibition by artist, Sam Kirk. The exhibition runs November 2nd through January 5th with an opening reception on Friday, November 2nd from 6:30pm to 9:00pm. The reception is free and open to the public and will take place at Elephant Room, Inc. located at 704 S Wabash Ave. in the South Loop neighborhood of Chicago

“Ojero: A Character of Culture” is not just an exhibition but also a celebration of the merging of multiple Latino traditions. The skeletons of Dia de Los Muertos combined with the superstition of Mal de Ojo, or the evil eye, create a character Sam calls an Ojero.

The Ojero is Sam’s interpretation of the process in which Mal de Ojo is given and received. Combining the traditional Halloween practices she participated in as a child and the Latino traditions that she was surrounded by, Sam created this version of a calaca. Ojeros make their way out into the world to hypnotize, bewitch and bewilder as many innocent people as they can. It’s a game complete with costumes, dancing and debauchery.

This exhibition, different from Kirk’s other Ojero exhibits, requests the participation of visitors. “Ojero: A Character of Culture” mixes in the symbols and signs of Lotería cards and includes a custom altar which visitors will contribute to in true Dia de Los Muertos fashion. The artist asks that you don’t just celebrate culture but that you provoke it by becoming a part of the show. Makeup, costumes and making mischief is highly encouraged.

As the weather gets colder and the day of the dead comes and goes, spirits are believed to be more present and aware than ever. “Ojero: A Character of Culture” is the perfect way to join in on this tradition.

About the Artist

Provocation is a common theme for Sam Kirk, a multidisciplinary and multicultural artist. It is at the center of not only her work but also her personal journey. Unintended at times and wielded at others, Sam uses art to provoke people to feel, see or understand things differently.

Throughout her academic career Sam learned about divine proportion, scale and visual aesthetics. However, when it came to creating her artwork she learned by doing, experimenting and practicing. She sought out help from other local artists in the community and learned how to create by giving her brain what it needed, hands on instruction.

After graduating with a BFA in interior architecture and marketing she got a job in advertising. At the same time she worked her way into an artist community through gallery connections and studio interactions. Using moments of mentorship as a guide, she discovered how to extend materials, play with texture and perfect her creative process as an artist.

“The way I experience painting a canvas is in my mind. I put myself into the piece. My emotions spread out on the canvas to re-experience the memories and culture that existed in neighborhoods that have since been gentrified, to re-experience people that I have met at one time or another.”

The process of placing herself into a piece started when Sam was a young girl. She painted what she knew, what she saw and that was the South side of Chicago. Her environment was full of the physical manifestations of her own multicultural upbringing. Mexican, Puerto Rican and European heritage gave her an identity she loved and celebrated. Experiencing these cultures in the people and places surrounding her let her brain and imagination sink further into them.

Website: www.elephantroomgallery.com

Sam Kirk Solo Exhibition for Chicago Artists Month in October

“Colored Hands” acrylic on wood crate top, 50″ x 50″

Elephant Room, Inc. is proud to present “Product of My Environment”, a solo exhibition by artist, Sam Kirk. The exhibition runs October 1st through October 31st with an opening reception on Friday, October 5th from 6:30pm to 9:00pm. The reception is free and open to the public and will take place at Elephant Room, Inc. located at 704 S Wabash Ave. in the South Loop neighborhood of Chicago.

“Product of My Environment” is an exhibition of illustrations, paintings and prints that explore how people are impacted by their own communities, thus becoming products of their environment. The work features specific neighborhoods in Chicago as well as characters representative of the people who live there. Sam is certainly a product of her environment and is adamant about sharing these ideals through her artwork. She is not at all a stranger to having her work reflect her personal opinions about politics, culture and society and this new exhibition of work follows suit. This year’s Chicago Artists Month of “Art Block by Block” falls in line with “Product of My Environment” as Sam will show us the Chicago she knows in an unafraid and illustrative style of new work that pays homage to her environment.

The exhibition is part of Chicago Artists Month 2012, the seventeenth annual celebration of Chicago’s vibrant visual art community presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. For more information, visit www.chicagoartistsmonth.org.

About the Artist

Provocation is a common theme for Sam Kirk, a multidisciplinary and multicultural artist. It is at the center of not only her work but also her personal journey. Unintended at times and wielded at others, Sam uses art to provoke people to feel, see or understand things differently.

Throughout her academic career Sam learned about divine proportion, scale and visual aesthetics. However, when it came to creating her artwork she learned by doing, experimenting and practicing. She sought out help from other local artists in the community and learned how to create by giving her brain what it needed, hands on instruction.

After graduating with a BFA in interior architecture and marketing she got a job in advertising. At the same time she worked her way into an artist community through gallery connections and studio interactions. Using moments of mentorship as a guide, she discovered how to extend materials, play with texture and perfect her creative process as an artist.

“The way I experience painting a canvas is in my mind. I put myself into the piece. My emotions spread out on the canvas to re-experience the memories and culture that existed in neighborhoods that have since been gentrified, to re-experience people that I have met at one time or another.”

The process of placing herself into a piece started when Sam was a young girl. She painted what she knew, what she saw and that was the South side of Chicago. Her environment was full of the physical manifestations of her own multicultural upbringing. Mexican, Puerto Rican and European heritage gave her an identity she loved and celebrated. Experiencing these cultures in the people and places surrounding her let her brain and imagination sink further into them.

See also: www.elephantroomgallery.com