Sunday, May 07, 2017

Alex and Shimon Zonis

Parent/child exhibitions are fascinating -- especially this one where the daughter, Alex, is so different from the father, Shimon.


Alex really is an incredible painter - both for the jewel-like craftsmanship, but also for the design (aren't those red and yellow cups beautiful?) -- and the weird, brittle, vulnerable feeling that these pieces give me.

They are disarming - like the screeching sound of chalk pulled across a chalkboard.

There's so much intensity - anxiety - and control.

They remind me of my favorite Wisconsin magical-realist, John Wilde.


This piece won the "best still life" award at the 11th Annual Juried Show sponsored by the International Guild of Realism.

Here is a landscape by her father, Shimon

These fantasy landscapes feel so middle-eastern  to me -- like they might illustrate a tale  from Arabian Nights or the Shahnameh.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Spring Sale 2017

There's so much hopeless drek in the Palette and Chisel bargain sales, you'd think that artists would be embarrassed to be included.

Unless, of course, you feel that your piece will look so much better by comparison.

Here's a table for the work of two long-time sculptor members,  Roger Akers and myself.

Andrew Conklin

This would be an ordinary Chicago cityscape - except for that nifty geoform abstract painting that has sneaked in behind the tree on the right.

That red rectangle is haunting, isn't it?

Andrew Conklin

Making the ordinary feel mysterious.

Kathleen Eaton

There were two wonderful little landscapes in this show
 that scream out "I love painting" as well as "I love the planet"

Kimberly Beck
The white of that barn is so delicious against the colorful trees.
It's early morning -- and I can smell the bacon frying.


Tor Muehl

As it turns out, Tor stumbled upon his true medium last year:  linocut  -- wherein he combines two of  his Teutonic obsessions:  precise mark making and a love of animals.

The piece at the top features a cactus he sketched at the Garfield Conservatory.

The piece beneath it comes from a display he drew at the Field Museum.

Shouldn't it's design be etched into a glass plate made by Steuben Glass ?

Monday, March 06, 2017

Gold Medal 2017

Michael Van  Zeyl

This celebration of contemporary childhood is my pick for this year's Gold Medal.

Half real and half virtual.   

It's kinda funny -- and kinda ominous - with a strange, other-worldly glow.           
(winner - 2017 Gold Medal Award)                      

Stuart Fullerton

Another Fullerton ice queen is my pick for Second Place.  She is cold but gentle -- and her apartment is probably very well kept.

Kimberly Beck

This dramatic portrait is my pick for Third Place.  Something is weighing heavily on her mind.
She's about to make an adult decision.

Lenore Murphy

There's a lot of hope in these simple yet beautiful flowers.

Phyllis Brodny

I would have given this sensuous maelstrom an award -- if the Palette and Chisel were dedicated to abstract instead of figurative art.

George C. Clark

Claudia Selene

Seems to be an illustration for a fairy tale:  Once upon a time a handsome young prince was turned into a mouse....

Clayton Beck III
(winner : Third Place)


Andrew Conklin


Helen Oh

A Dutch treat.

James Kujaca

Jim's bedroom is almost as rockin' as Van Gogh's.

Jose Antonio Bedolla


A possible heroine for young adult fiction.

(winner : Second Place)

Lenin Del Sol

Margaret Small

Echoes of Picasso's pink period.

M. Abbott Tryboyevic

I comprehend how the corkscrew relates to the cork - but am puzzled by everything else in this image

Nancie King Mertz

Nathan Silver

My favorite piece from his recent show.


Soko Okada

Definitely not the male gaze upon a nude young woman.

Stephanie Weidner

A profoundly troubling painting - though I'm not sure why.

Perhaps it's the thought that these ancient creatures will be around long after the big brained apes have driven themselves to extinction.


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Budget 2017

$148,000 general fund
$192,000 building fund
$2,300,000   air-rights fund
250 full-dues-paying members

What will we do with the air-rights windfall ?

There is talk of buying back the air rights over the coach house so we can add another floor.
This might create a studio for special workshops - so our regular workshops would no longer have to be cancelled to accommodate them.

My hope is that we begin to fund invitational exhibitions of non-member art -  to display the best portraits, landscape, and still life from the Chicago area and beyond.

Currently no such  venue exists.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Faculty Show 2017

Erroll Jacobson

The faculty show,
 like the classes at the Palette and Chisel Academy,
 is mostly about technique.
But the above painting is mostly about living in Chicago.

Steven Assael

Here's a piece that's all about technique -- and it's even didactic -- with helpful arrows to show the axis of the shoulders and the hips.

But it really swings!

I actually like it more than this artist's finished figure drawings - which feel too much like biological specimens to me. 

Audrey Cramblit

Audrey Cramblit


Helen Oh

Mary Qian

Steve Puttrich

Michael Van Zeyl

This one seems to capture the spirit of this moment in history.
  It would not be out of place in Lago Del Mar.
(or is it Mar a Lago - I always get the names confused)

Monday, February 06, 2017

Nude Winter: Marina Nemtseva and Boruch Lev

Boruch Lev

This looks a  bit  Classical, doesn't it?  It reminds me of an earlier East European immigrant, Elie Nadelman (1882-1946).  Both of them picked up the Greco-Roman tradition by choice rather than by formal education. It's amazing how good both of them got to be at it.

(note: this website, like the Palette and Chisel Gallery, is mostly about members of the Academy.  Boruch has yet to join. But exceptions can be made!)


(I've written more about Boruch here )

This was avant garde drawing about a hundred years ago.
It's still just as exciting

Boruch has the unusual ability to suggest the infinite on a  small piece of paper.

He's also good at Constructivism.

One of the rare examples of religious art shown at the Palette and Chisel. And even more rare for being so successful at it.

This depicts "The Great Tekiah" -- described on one Jewish site as : "A pure unbroken sound that calls man to search his heart, forsake his wrong ways, and seek forgiveness through repentance. The tekiah called the people to attention and to gather unto Moses. It is the calling note, calling your attention and holding you. It would be in general the summons to listen to God, to receive from Him the orders for the day."


In contrast to Boruch, Marina Nemtseva had a very thorough art education --- at one of the elite centers of Classical art in the 20th Century: the St. Petersburg Academy of the Arts.

Obviously, it involved lots of figure drawing - with much greater emphasis on expressive,dynamic  form and design than is usually found in American classical ateliers or the Palette and Chisel.

If museums showed collections of figure drawing by living Americans as much as 17th Century Italians, this piece might well be hanging now at the Art Institute.

Self Portrait

Here's some work by Marina's father, Viktor Tsvetkov:

 Self portrait
(looks a lot like Marina)

this piece was recently shown at the Russian Museum in Minneapolis