Report from Chicago SOFA

Chicago's Navy Pier was host for the 2015 SOFA expo.

Chicago’s Navy Pier was host for the 2015 SOFA expo.

As the 2015 edition of the Sculpture Objects Functional Art + Design fair wound down the red dots were spread around the exhibition spaces at Chicago’s Navy Pier Festival Hall that featured glass. The broadened scope of works included more painting and photography as part of the show’s evolution.

Tim Tate talks about his work at Habatat Galleries space.

Tim Tate talks about his work at Habatat Galleries space.

Washington Glass School artists Tim Tate, Michael Janis, Allegra Marquart, Audrey Wilson and Sean Hennessey were featured at Michigan’s Habatat Gallery, Maurine Littleton and Alida Anderson Art Project spaces that featured works by internationally acclaimed artists.

The art expo also featured talks by the artists about their work and notable critics such as William Warmus and American Craft Editor Monica Moses hosted lively discussions on the future of collecting. 

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Editor-in-Chief of American Craft, Monica Moses, with curator/critic/art consultant Bill Warmus presenting a talk about the future of collecting @ SOFA Chicago 2015.

One of the best activities for this visitor was to wander amongst the incredible artwork and strike up a conversation with the artists that you had a craft-crush and obtain real insight into their work and process. Some of the works truly left the viewer gobsmacked – with details and depths to the work that jpeg photos simply could not show. Although the show was just a long weekend, I could have kept finding new works to be mesmerized in each aisle. 

Michael Janis talks about his work at SOFA Chicago

Michael Janis talks about his work at SOFA Chicago

I can’t wait till next year’s iteration! But until then – have a look at some of the glass works photos in the Washington Glass School’s flickr album – click HERE to jump to SOFA Chicago album. Or- want to see a short local PBS (WTTW) vid? Click HERE.

Detail of "The Gun Eater" by Carmen Lozar.

Detail of “The Gun Eater” by Carmen Lozar.

 

Carmen Lozar's "The Gun Eater" at Bender Gallery.

Carmen Lozar’s “The Gun Eater” at Bender Gallery.

Washington Glass School Goes All SOFA Chicago

SOFA_CHICAGO_500x500Every fall Chicago, IL hosts the critically acclaimed Sculpture Objects & Functional Art Expo, more commonly known as SOFA. SOFA Chicago 2015 will be held November 6 – 8, 2015 at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall, where masterworks from top international galleries and dealers from numerous countries will exhibit. An opening night preview will be held Thursday, November 5. On par with Art Basel and TEFAF Maastricht, the critically acclaimed art fair has been continuously run every year since 1994. What distinguishes SOFA from other top art events is its focus on three-dimensional artworks that cross the boundaries of fine art, decorative art and design. SOFA is noted for its exceptional presentation of artwork by international galleries and it is enhanced by the many talks to attend in the Lecture Series given by award-wining designers and artists. 

This year, a number of Washington Glass School artists will be featured at the art fair, and the artists are bringing new works that have taken them in new directions. Tim Tate will be giving a “Booth Talk” at Habatat Galleries (space #1400) on Saturday, Nov 7 @ 1:00 pm. Just after that talk, at 2:00 pm, Sean Hennessey and Michael Janis will be featured at the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass (AACG) Ice Cream Social on the terrace at Navy Pier.

Allegra Marquart, "The Princess and the Pea", 2015, Cast glass shapes wall mounted over a sewn panel, 14"x 28"

Allegra Marquart, “The Princess and the Pea”, Cast glass shapes wall mounted over a sewn panel, 14″x 28″ photo: Pete Duvall

Allegra Marquart (Maurine Littleton Gallery, Space #821) has mixed her cast glass with textile, exploring the new possibilities for color, texture and especially line. Allegra has been stitching connections that create open, delicate looking backgrounds that complements and comments on the bolder glass shapes which are mounted slightly in front.  The glass and the threads compliment concepts of fragility and ambiguity. 

Sean Hennessey

Sean Hennessey, clockwise from top left: “The Doors that May Open”, “The Relentless Path Upward”, “The Gift of Time”, “From Mud and Soap”, cast glass, imagery, steel, LED; 24″ x 36

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sean Hennessey (Habatat Galleries, Space #1400) will be presenting works that take him in a new direction, both in terms of the brightness of the colors and in the use of a separate panel that incorporates photographed and drawn imagery, telling a slightly different side of the story from the larger panel. 

Audrey Wilson (Alida Anderson Art Projects, Space #402) makes her debut at the art fair. Her new mixed media works explore alternate and extraordinary realms.

Audrey Wilson, " Luminiferous Aether Electrode"

Audrey Wilson, ” Luminiferous Aether Electrode”, Cast glass, electronics, found objects, photo Pete Duvall

Michael Janis (Maurine Littleton Gallery, Space #821) explores concepts of identity with his frit powder (sgraffito) drawings with cast glass elements. New this year are his ceramic and glass sculptures.

Michael Janis, "Regeneration", cast glass, ceramic, 14” x 16” x 12” photo: Pete Duvall

Michael Janis, “Regeneration”, cast glass, ceramic, 14” x 16” x 12” photo: Pete Duvall

 

 

 

Tim Tate (Habatat Galleries, Space #1400) is showing his new illuminated pieces, his infinity series. Tim entices the viewer to look deeply into his created environments, create an optical and physical illusion of infinity through apparent limitless space.  There is an intimacy created by viewing deeply into a circular opening, as if peering through a portal to another reality.

Tim Tate, "Violet Tattoo Infinity", Cast Poly-Vitro, Glass, Lighting; photo: Pete Duvall

Tim Tate, “Violet Tattoo Infinity”, Cast Poly-Vitro, Glass, Lighting; photo: Pete Duvall

 

 

 

 

 

SOFA Chicago November 5-8, 2015

NAVY PIER
600 East Grand Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611

chicago.sofa.floor_plan.map.2015

Chicago SOFA Floor Plan 2015

Chicago’s UIMA Features Glass & Ceramics

Chicago’s Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art (UIMA) will present an exhibition that focuses on the mediums of ceramic or glass in contemporary art. 
Titled “Ceramics / Glass” the UIMA has selected some distinctive and expressive glass and clay artwork that challenges the boundaries between the traditional categories of craft, art, and design.

Michael Janis “Flying In Place”

Glass artists Brent Rogers, Alex Trommler, Aaron Wolf-Boze and Eric Bladholm will showcase works from Chicago’s Ignite Glass and Chicago Glassworks Studios

Nikki Renee Anderson, Robert Pulley are from Chicago Sculpture International and their works focus on the sculptural aspect of working with ceramics.

Eric Bladhom “Istok Industrija, Crveno (Eastern Industry, Red) ”

Michael Janis, a Chicago-born artist (now Co-Director of the Washington Glass School) will present his unique fused glass frit powder drawings.

Xavier Monsalvatje lives in Spain and works in traditional ceramic techniques which reflect industrial aesthetic designs reminiscent of the works of Mexican Muralists.

Yurij Musatov and Anna Lypko, both from Ukraine, are two contemporary artists working in ceramics.  
Ceramics / Glass

December 6, 2013 – February 2, 2014 
Opening Reception December 6, 2013 (Friday 6-9pm) 

UKRAINIAN INSTITUTE OF MODERN ART
2320 W Chicago Ave 
Chicago, IL 60622
Click HERE to jump to the Facebook event listing of the opening.

Happy Birthday Mies!

Famed Bauhaus Modern architect Mies van der Rohe was born 127 years ago today.  Along with other post-World War I architects, such as Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier, Miesaesthetic came to define what “modern” looked like in the 20th century.

Seventy-five years ago, Mies van der Rohe arrived in the United States to lead the College of Architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago and profoundly influence the world’s taste and built environment.

As an architecture student at IIT, the Bauhaus-derived philosophy that was based on a deep understanding of materials before the design process could begin had a profound impact on my work. The rigorous discipline instilled a focus on craftsmanship, of which I still rely.

Often the design studies had students learning how to get the maximum from the minimum – above is a 1928 collage by Albrecht Heubner, that was titled Minimal Dwelling – I find that my appreciation of Dadaist imagery and humor must have come from this background. 

Have a slice of Mies –

Leandro Erlich’s “Chocolate Mies van der Rohe Barcelona couch” Cake

Glass Sparks: Michael Janis

photograph by Tom Wolff

Michael Janis studied architecture at Mies van der Rohe’s IIT in his hometown of Chicago, IL. In 1993 he moved to Australia and there he worked on a number of large scale architecture projects, including work for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. It was in Australia that Michael first started working with glass, designing walls of cast glass.

Moving back to the United States in 2003, glass artwork became his focus. Michael began glass blowing at a Baltimore hot shop and was soon taking glass courses at art centers such as Haystack Mountain in Maine, North Carolina’s Penland School of Craft, and Urban Glass in New York.

Michael at Penland School of Craft

Attracted to the experimental and adventurous approach to the medium that defined the Washington Glass School, he soon became involved with the school as the Studio Coordinator.

L-R Washington Glass Studio directors Erwin Timmers, Tim Tate, Michael Janis. From the 2006 American Style article “Filling Glass With Meaning“. Photo by Roger Foley.

In 2005, Michael became one of the Co-Directors of the Washington Glass School, and he is the Director of Public Art projects for the Washington Glass Studio.

“The Gravity Between Us” Hotel Palomar, Washington, DC

Public Art sculpture for Prince George’s County Circuit Court

Michael continues teaching at the Washington Glass School, and also has taught glass art workshops at Istanbul’s Glass Furnace, the Penland School of Craft and the Bay Area Glass Institute (BAGI) in California.

Michael teaching fused glass technique class at Washington Glass School, 2005

Michael Janis teaching at California’s Bay Area Glass Institute, 2010

His kilncast bas-relief glass and steel sculptures were featured in the seminal “Compelled By Content” exhibition at Bethesda, Maryland’s Fraser Gallery. In this show, artists that used glass with narrative content showed how the traditional craft of glass was evolving.

“Liar Paradox” Collection of Susan and Fred Sanders. Photo: Anything Photographic

Michael began incorporating imagery into his glass works, and by manipulating crushed glass powder he has been able to create intricate detail images within the glass, layering the images to emphasize the depth within.

Text and imagery work their way through Michael’s artwork panels, similar to an architect’s diagrams, suggesting elements of stories not fully disclosed. Michael’s work references the Surrealist artists of the early twentieth century and Neo-Dada concepts as seen in the work of artists like Robert Rauschenberg, Joseph Cornell and Jasper Johns.

Click HERE to jump to a short documentary on Michael and his sgraffito frit powder technique.

From the catalog of the 2011 exhibit “Material World”:

“When viewers see images of Michael Janis’ work, they may not immediately recognize it as glass art…The virtuosity of Janis’ technique supports his imagery, which is often tinged with a nostalgia for days where innocence reigned and magic seemed possible. Janis is not simply naïve, for there is a darker undercurrent to these works that speaks to the loss of this sense of wonder.” Stephen Boocks curator, April 2011

Maurine Littleton Gallery space, SOFA Chicago 2009

In 2007, Maurine Littleton Gallery began exhibiting his glass artwork at international art shows such as Art Miami, SOFA Chicago and SOFA New York. Currently, his work is on exhibit at the Flemish Center for Contemporary Glass Art in Lommel, Belgium.

In 2009 he was awarded Florida’s “Emerging Artist” award by the Florida Glass Art Alliance, in 2010, he received the Saxe Fellowship from California’s Bay Area Glass Institute. This year, Janis will be named a “Rising Star” by the Creative Glass Center of America and the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass at the biannual glass art conference held at the Museum of American Glass at WheatonArts, in New Jersey.

The Memory of Orchids, 2011

His first museum solo show will open this year (August 6 thru November 6, 2011) at the Fuller Museum of Craft, in Brockton, Massachusetts. Michael Janis also was just awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, and will be at the UK’s University of Sunderland and National Glass Center in 2012.

Detail from “In the Evening Twilight”

Michael will be one of the featured artists in Long View Gallery’s exhibition of Artists of the Washington Glass School:

Washington Glass School: The First 10 Years
LongView Gallery
1234 9th Street, NW, Washington, DC May 19 – June 19,2011
Artist Reception, May 19th, 6:30-8:30 PM

For other Washington Glass School artist profiles:

Diane Cabe

Sean Hennessey

Allegra Marquart

Teddie Hathaway

Elizabeth Mears

Jackie Greeves

Erwin Timmers

Jeff Zimmer

Robert Kincheloe

Chicago’s Art Institute Re-Opens Chagall "Windows"

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Emily Heye, associate conservator of objects, uncovers the restored Chagall stained glass windows at their new location in the Art Institute Wednesday. The windows, which were removed five years ago for the construction of the Modern Wing, will open to the public on Nov. 1. (Michael Tercha/Chicago Tribune)

After five years out of sight, one of the Art Institute of Chicago’s most popular works is back.

Artist Marc Chagall’s “America Windows,” dismantled in 2005 for safe keeping during the lengthy, construction of the Art Institute of Chicago’s new Modern Wing, reopens to the public Monday.

Chagall created the stained glass panel wall as a result of the city’s and the Art Institute’s response and support for his mosaic “Four Seasons.” He presented the work to the museum in 1977 and dedicated it to Mayor Richard J. Daley for supporting public art.

The artist called his piece America Windows to recogize a country on its bicentennial that valued and supported the arts.

Bueller…Bueller?

The glass wall was also featured in the classic John Hughes film “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off“.

After nearly 30 years on view overlooking the Art Institute’s McKinlock Court, the glass windows, subject to slight condensation, had attracted atmospheric deposits of oil and calcium carbonate, which appeared as a sheer white film dulling their filtered, colored light, muting the brilliance of colors. Seizing on the opportunity provided by the 36-paneled windows’ removal during the lengthy construction, the museum’s conservation staff investigated various methods of cleaning, and, beginning about two years ago, the restorative work began.

Detail of one of the Chagall windows.

Associate Conservator Emily Heye commented: “Imagine large Q-tips and lots of time spent carefully rinsing after the fact.” Simultaneous to Heye’s immaculate restorative work, a new exhibition space was designed and constructed for the windows in the east end of the museum’s Arthur Rubloff building.