Monday, September 16, 2019

Weidner and Jacobson

Stephanie Weidner

Another great show from Stephanie and Errol 
 who seem to be pushing each other up  to greater heights 
even though their visions are so radically different.

Stephanie is unintentionally re-creating one of the more exciting chapters in Midwestern art -- the above piece bearing some resemblance to one of the Wisconsin Magical Realists:

John Wilde, "Still Life with Melons"

And Stephanie has that unusual ability,
 especially among older artists, 
to dramatically improve 
from one painting to the next.

Here are two  examples of her treatment of a similar  subject

Guess which one came first.

It's just some pears on a piece of piece of printed cloth
but there certainly is some magic about it.

Stephanie has a story for this that has something to do with national politics.

It also works, however, just as a strange and wonderful vision.

Meanwhile Errol has been expanding his repertoire as well.

The above piece is almost as large
as its subject matter.

It was displayed on an easel 
making it more like a free standing object
than a window in the gallery wall.

A nice lonely feeling.

Errol's paintings feel as public as Stephanie's feel personal.

She's a Surrealist from seventy years ago;
he's an American-Scene-Regionalist
from the same era.

Which would condemn them as hopelessly outdated,
except that the current fashion for Dada
 dates back to the Cabaret Voltaire of 1916
while all conceptual appropriations
 date back to the Duchamp "Fountain" of 1917.

This is  Chicago -- at least as I know it.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Labor Day 2019

Roberta, a volunteer from the neighborhood, 
 is the best gate-keeper ever.

How the hell does Tony do it ?

On the last day of his show,  Tony demonstrated his technique.

 Having discoverd the Ipad,
I'll never draw on paper again

 One knife is cutting onions -- another is being held to my throat.

Possibly this has something to do
with a foolish comment about "women's work"

The grill master
(and the only sculptor to have ever won
the Palette and Chisel Gold Medal award)

all photos by Del Hall

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Courtyard Garden

Anyone who wept when Ruth Page tore down the ivy behind our fountain 
will be thrilled by this year’s floral installation,

All glory to the morning glory !!

Above we see the principal gardener at work.

He’s Audry Cramblit’s husband, John.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Antonio Bedolla

These paintings and  drawings
appear to closely follow a very strict regimen:

sharp, clean execution
delicacy of detail
strong sense of three dimensional volumes
pleasant, balanced  graphic design
the convincing presence of a subject

They also create a peaceful, charming facial expression,
perfectly articulating the eyes
when the face has been slightly turned.

... and most importantly for me ... 

they offer recognizable features of so many of people
 who have modeled at the Palette and Chisel 
 as well as some of the furniture and draperies found in the studio.

A hundred years ago Tony would have been too busy
making illustrations for glossy magazines
to still work at the CFD.

This one looks like it could fit right into a classical re-creation
by Alma-Tadema

Goofy hair and intelligent eyes.

Could be a cannabis entrepreneur.

looks like she was runner-up
for harvest queen.

that drapery in the background looks quite familiar

Thursday, August 29, 2019

John Nasko

John Nasko has had the northwest second-floor studio 
at the Palette and Chisel for as long as I can remember. 
 ( thirty years ?)

He never comes to the model workshops ,
 he seldom  (never?) exhibits in the shows.

What the hell is he doing up there?

Finally, like the Puya Raimondii plant 
that flowers once-in-a-hundred-years, 
he has mounted a retrospective in our two galleries.

In some ways, John is like most of us here. 
He's fascinated by representational art
 and  has some talent for it.

  Actually, quite a bit.

These early pieces were  done many decades ago.

And like almost all of the early members of the Palette and Chisel,
 he was once employed in  commercial graphic art.

But while most of us have been obsessed
with representing the infinite beauty
 that we see in the world,
John has primarily been interested in himself.

The world is just that crazy place
where he's ended up living.

Though far from mainstream Palette and Chisel,
John does fit better within what has been mainstream 
in Chicago art for the past fifty years:
 the Hairy Who and the Chicago Imagists.

The above "Note from the teacher to Parent: Worry" 
questions and mocks adult authority.

It's straight out of the Hairy Who playbook.

Jim Nutt, "Miss E. Knows"

But John does take a more cosmic view of some things.

It's not just human society that is screwed up...
the entire universe is a joke
and the joke's on us.

So unlike Chicago's famous painters,
John has felt no need to validate his rebellion
by making paintings that validate themselves
with apparent virtuosity and craftsmanship.

They're more like casual thoughts
that have passed through his mind
while waiting for everything to eventually
 come to an end.

It's quite a rational point of view,
which is why John is also an outsider
in the world of outsider art.

He just doesn't fit in anywhere -
except, of course,
in that tiny, cluttered studio
that overlooks our courtyard.


I get the feeling that John is thinking
that his voyage to Ithaka is almost over.

As Cavafy's  poem says,
there was never anything there worth visiting.

All that really matters is the voyage itself,

May all of ours be 
"full of adventure and full of instruction"