Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Emotional Content

Mary Qian

"I have also been very impressed by Mary Qian. She has a lot of talent and a lot of personality. That's a weird painting, but I love it. Let's hope Mary can avoid the pull of the market down. What may allow her to do that is the new mixed gallery, which Ann Nathan in Chicago is just one example of. Nathan is not what one would call a realist gallery, by the old delineations, and Qian is about the most traditional artist there. Nathan has no problem with weird, and would appear to require it. But this means that Qian is straddling the old markets, showing at both Nathan and Legacy, for instance. I don't think Legacy would show this work, and neither would Saks or Greenhouse. This seems to be confusing for Qian, who is experimenting with a lot of styles and subjects. Nothing wrong with that, though, as long as she keeps producing good work."

Painter, and internet curmudgeon, Miles Mathis, has recently singled out Mary Qian for admiration in one of his periodic rants about the emotional content of contemporary realist painting.

Also mentioned, though not as positively, are several other artists/teachers associated with the P&C : Richard Schmid, David Leffel, Sherrie McGraw, Greg Kreutz.

"I remember hearing a speech by Richard Schmid, an influential realist, who stated this pretty much in those words. For him, art seemed to be a technical matter and little more. Although his paintings did not lack all content (at least back in the 80's), his teachings stressed the technical and abstract side of painting to such an extent that almost all students misunderstood him. The students became so obsessed with “edges” they forgot that a painting also required a subject, and not only a subject but an object. Meaning, there had to be a reason to paint the thing beyond your desire to refine edges.

As I recall, Schmid has also advised students to "paint what you love", but who can write a "how to paint" book without prioritizing technique?

Can I really feel such horror in a realist gallery? I can and do. It is now a revulsion beyond any argument about taste. There are many things in this world I don't care for but can abide. Art has now gone far beyond that. It fills me with a dread: not an existential dread like Sartre felt when he picked up the rock at the beach (see the book Nausea), but a real and immediate dread, like the dread a cat would feel in a room of a million mice. Or, more precisely, the sort of dread you would feel in a room with a million robots. These androids have faces like yours, but they do not see the world as you do: are they really your brothers, or will they malfunction the next moment and tear you limb from limb?

Some have tried to sell realism as a humanizing force in contemporary art, or as a counterbalance to the brutalities of modernism and postmodernism, but even where realism has avoided being absorbed directly into the postmodern agenda (as Currin or Saville or Nerdrum has been absorbed, for example), it has not avoided being being de-spiritualized and corporatized with the rest. An art drained of all content cannot be a humanizing, and so realism has become little more than an alternate dehumanizing. Conceptual art and realism have become two paths to the same end.

Do you agree with him?

I share his preference for Jeremy Lipking over Nerdrum, Currin, and all of the other figure painters that he mentioned, while I don't think that contemporary landscape painting is as emotionally barren as he suggests.

Mostly I'm just glad that someone looks at so much contemporary realism and then writes passionately and succinctly about it.

Ever since American academia bought into Clement Greenberg's distinction between art and life (i.e. avant garde and kitsch) most of those who love paintings of people and the world around them have been burdened with an intellectual inferiority complex that keeps them silent and clannish, just as the members of the Palette and Chisel have little interest in having their gallery display any work other than their own.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Exhibition: Sculpture and Drawing 2011

Susan Frolichstein

Sheila Hori

Roger Akers

Roger Akers

Robin Power

Misha Livshultz

Lois Raub

Lois Raub

Lenore Murphy

Lenore Murphy

Larry Paulsen

Larry Paulsen

Keith Raub

James Johnsen

Ivonne Hobfall

Henry Mcalevy

Gilbert Ghez

George Clark

Don Yang

Debra Balchen



Brian Clare

Brian Clare


Bert Stephens



Barbara Humbert

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Vision 2006

In 2003, P&C board members
retreated to a meeting room
in Lakepoint Tower
to establish some organizational goals
to be realized over the next 3 years.

Unfortunately, within a few months
all of the officers would resign,
and the members who replaced them
have spent the last 8 years,
trying to avoid the kind of confrontations
that drove their predecessors to quit.

So this list was abandoned
within a few months of its creation.

Whenever a board
is finally ready to resume
building the Palette and Chisel,
this list would be a great place to start.

(items of interest to me
are highlited in red )


Palette and Chisel Academy of Fine Arts
Vision 2006
Strategic objectives to guide our planning for the next three years.
Authored by
The Board of Directors of the
Palette and Chisel Academy of Fine Arts
Spring, 2003
Alan C. Hruby — FacilitatorlScrivener


Palette and Chisel Academy of Fine Arts
Vision 2006

Educational Services
The Palette and Chisel will define itself to the public as the place where a serious student can receive a first-class education in representational fine art at a fraction of the cost of alternative venues. We will also continue to serve the needs of the professional or recreational artist who desires a less formal experience.


We will focus on creating a balance in our course offerings in order to develop both fundamental and advanced artistic talent. We will also consider how we might offer non- studio art courses such as art history. We will continually review curriculum offerings as to their success and question how to improve our services.

Academy-Faculty Relationships
We will improve communications between the Board of Directors, the Education Committee and the faculty through an ongoing more formal relationship that fosters the exchange of information and the expression of needs. An element of this relationship will be to request that the faculty choose representatives to participate in Education Committee meetings.

Managing Resources
We will develop a disciplined process to enable us to determine optimal use of space currently designated for educational purposes in our buildings. This process will consider anticipated revenues and costs of alternative uses, the demand for each alternative use, and the consonance of each alternative use with our mission. In situations where the merits of alternative uses are comparable, we will give preference to the more artistically advanced use.
We will be also guided by these goals for the next three years:
• To increase the cumulative number of Paid Workshops by one each year,
• To increase the cumulative number of Class Offerings by one each year,

• To not only maintain the current number of Open Sessions but to also increase the number of Open Sessions as much as practical, subject to cost and demand considerations,
• To create an ongoing process, which will state expectations and then monitor, measure, review and evaluate the success of each educational activity, and
• As demand for educational services grows, to carefully uncover and evaluate all alternatives before adding or converting building space to classroom use.

Organizational Structure
As a first step, we will determine an appropriate organizational entity that will develop and implement appropriate action plans for the attainment of our growth and member commitment goals. This entity will also identify financial and human resources required for meeting the goals, and with concurrence of the Board, implement the action plans.
Growth Objective
The Palette and Chisel annual growth objectives of dues paying members (net of losses) are as follows:
EQY Objective
2003 5% over EQY 2002 actual
2004 10% over EOY 2003 objective
2005 10% over EOY 2004 objective
We will attain these objectives through a variety of recruitment and retention initiatives aimed at creating a member-friendly organizational culture and demonstrating our value as a resource for the serious artist.
We will develop and implement membership recruitment initiatives including, but not limited to, the following:
• Promotion of the Palette and Chisel in local media
• Reciprocal recruitment efforts at other schools, universities and other art organizations
• Recruitment efforts directed to non member class and drawathon participants as well as other nonmembers wishing to exhibit their work in our galleries
• Patron membership drives
• Out-of-area membership drives of possible nationwide scope

We will also develop and implement membership retention initiatives including, but not limited to, the following:
• Developing the Palette and Chisel as a resource for serious artists both as to the business of being an artist and as to a place where they can obtain ongoing artistic mentoring as an Advanced Student
• Actively listening to the needs of members and making reasonable efforts to accommodate them
• Actively cross-promoting additional programs to those attending classes and workshops at the Palette and Chisel
• Giving appropriate recognition for the volunteer services provided by members
• Distributing information packets covering bylaws and other helpful information to new associates
• Assigning mentors to new associate members to facilitate their socialization within the organization
• Actively recruiting new associates to serve on committees
• Arranging for second portfolio reviews for new associates
• Recognizing long-term members for their continuing support
Member Commitment
We will communicate the need for a greater sense of personal commitment from the members and students of the Palette and Chisel. We will establish minimum expectations for volunteer service for all members bearing in mind that extenuating circumstances may excuse individuals from such service.
We will develop a mechanized system that will match an individual’s service interests with the needs of the organization and will actively solicit his or her participation. Finally, we will develop plans to facilitate the conversion of associate members to artist members after one year to foster their personal sense of commitment to the organization.

Overarching Goal
In consonance with our mission and bylaws, we will seek to serve and enrich the public through the display of fine works of art created by our members, our students and selected other artists. We will increase the Palette and Chisel’s visibility to the public and in so doing enhance our members’ exhibition benefit.

Gallery Operations
We will professionalize our gallery operations by establishing specific hours of operation and making the public aware of these hours. We will enhance the visitor experience of our guests by commissioning a volunteer Gallery Manager to have general responsibility for creating a positive public image for our galleries with the aid of member and exhibitor support. Responsibilities of the Gallery Manager will include the management of volunteers, contractual compliance with exhibiting artists, and the recommendation and subsequent oversight of appropriate security measures. The Gallery Manager will participate in the Exhibition Committee meetings.
Exhibition Promotion
As a service to our member exhibitors, we will establish and offer mailing lists of other art gallery owners, public and private art administrators, and corporate collection curators for their use in promoting their shows. We will also offer to them a list of individuals who purchased works at our prior shows. We will append to this list the names of purchasers of their work and make the updated list available to subsequent member exhibitors.
We will create and maintain a slide and digital file of Palette & Chisel artists’ work to assist in compiling group shows. In addition, we will explore the uses of the Internet as a promotional tool to feature previews of exhibitors’ works.
We will develop partnerships with other art organizations, small art galleries and ethnic museums with the goal of creating reciprocal fine art exhibition opportunities. We will also investigate additional venues for the exhibition of selected member group shows.

Relations with Exhibiting Artists
We will review and update the contracts, guidelines and forms we provide our exhibitors. The revised contracts will incorporate gallery use and installation standards. We will also clarify deposit requirements that will (1) provide security that the artist will in fact have a show, and (2) provide security against damage to the gallery as an incident to the show. We will also establish a non-contractual expectation with exhibiting artists that they have some presence in the gallery during their show, particularly if there is no one available to sit during a specific time period.

Optimal Use of Gallery Space
At this time, we have contractual commitments with exhibiting artists well into 2004 that we must honor. Therefore, we recognize that we will have to defer the complete achievement of any changes in our gallery use policies until some time in 2005.

Nonetheless, we delegate to the Exhibition Committee the transition to an exhibition scheduling process that recognizes the following guidelines:
• Allow for an annual show aimed at attracting the best artists in the country. This show would require a separate detailed plan and would be subject to the approval of the membership.
• Allow for an annual Gold Show displaying works of members aimed at inspiring the continuing improvement of their artistic expression.
• Allow for an all media student show that would be invitational by their instructors.
• Enable workshop instructors to display their work coincident with the duration of their workshops.
• Allow for one or two theme exhibitions (still life, landscape, etc.) each year.
• Allow for an annual fund raising event such as the Spring Cleaning Show.
• Allow for a Palette and Chisel instructor show.
• Accommodate reciprocal agreements with other galleries for the display of their artists’ work.

Overarching Goal
In consonance with our mission and bylaws, we will preserve and enhance the value of our building to foster its use as a center for art education, exhibitions, workshops, studios and as a meeting place for its members. We also will develop the Public Areas of the Palette and Chisel into an attractive venue for fund raising.

Building Aesthetics
The Public Areas shall mean the grounds, front building façade, front entrance, foyer, galleries, dining room and front staircases to the second floor and basement. We will preserve and restore these areas as closely as practicable to their original architectural character and elegance.
The Members Areas will consist of the second and third floors, kitchen, rear staircase to the second floor, coach house and basement studios. We will preserve the current aesthetic for these areas, which we view as utilitarian functional spaces meant for serious artists at work.
We will make select improvements to the Administrative Area to foster a more professional business image.

All modifications to the building will be subject to (1) the need for adaptive reuse of the building as a public not-for-profit arts organization, (2) certain modernization considerations listed below, and (3) the spending approval processes in effect.
We will consider modernizing our building with respect to bathroom fixtures, kitchen appliances, utilities, air conditioning, lighting fixtures, wall surfaces, security and safety measures, office functions or as otherwise required by law or as approved by a member quorum majority.

Leveraging our Building for Fundraising
We will create and sustain a momentum in the restoration of the Public Areas to demonstrate to potential donors that the Palette and Chisel is a vibrant, proactive organization that provides vital cultural services to the public and is worthy of their support. We will hold fund raising events in our building. We will show these potential donors that they can expect the impact of their donations to be manifest in additional specifically identifiable improvements to the property or services.
As part of our print campaign, we will tell the public of the long, rich history of our building and its stature as a National Historic Landmark and Chicago Landmark

Investment Guidelines
We will apply a disciplined approach to evaluating possible investments in our building. We will clearly understand the rationale for each investment. Examples of such rationale are as follows:
• Legal necessity
• Safety and security
• Repair and restoration
• Maintenance of current building functions
• Enhancing the gallery visitation experience
• Enhancing the educational/workshop experience
• Other improvements
The Building Committee will have primary responsibility for resolving spending priorities subject to the approval of the Board. In developing these priorities, they will first recognize that investments to meet legal requirements or to assure safety or security are of paramount priority followed sequentially by repair and restoration and then maintenance of current building functions. In considering the prioritization for enhancements or improvements, they will be assigned priorities based on considerations of (1) how strong is the need or want, (2) how urgently is it needed, and (3) how much will it cost and (4) how will it be funded?

Financial Assurance
Showing Our Appreciation
Appreciating our donors is paramount to our success. We will recognize that donative support can be given in a number of ways, including cash contributions, sales commissions and the personal service of members beyond what would normally be expected. We will continue existing member recognition programs as well as establish criteria to distinguish a class of member-donors whose contributions significantly exceeded the norm so that we may express special appreciation for them. We will also develop new recognition programs for nonmembers to express our appreciation and to foster a closer continuing association between them and the Palette and Chisel.

Funding our Future
We recognize that sustaining our financial health underlies our ability to deliver our services. We will prudently manage our existing lines of business as well as our fundraising efforts in order that their total contribution to the Palette & Chisel will meet the financial requirements of our Vision. As part of our annual budget cycle as well as a new three-year budget view, we will establish annual income targets for each line of business, which will become targets for the respective committees to achieve:
• Membership Dues -- Membership Committee
• Classes and Workshop Income -- Education Committee
• Exhibition Commissions -- Exhibition Committee
• Studio Rentals -- Building Committee
• Donations, Event Income and Grants -- Fundraising Committee

Fundraising Organizational Structure
We will determine an appropriate organizational entity that will develop and implement appropriate action plans for the attainment of our fundraising goals. For purposes of discussion herein, this organizational entity will be referred to as the Fundraising Committee. The Fundraising Committee will also address the following considerations:
• The need for member involvement in fundraising planning and events.
• The role of the Palette and Chisel staff in fundraising activities.
• The need for and best uses of consultants.
• The knowledge gained from an examination of historical giving.
• The extents to which we use Palette and Chisel funds and staff resources to sponsor activities which in turn are intended to raise additional funds.

• The creation of a “Case for Support” identifying and articulating why both members and the public should support the Palette and Chisel.
• The creation of attractive and compelling media to present our “Case for Support”.
The development of professional fundraising techniques for approaching donors including annual drives, targeted drives and deferred gifting programs.
• The creation of an annual calendar of fundraising events.
• The standards for and maintenance of our list of wants, needs, priorities and costs to present to donors wishing to make targeted contributions. This list will require coordination with our Executive Director and the various other committees and will encompass all aspects of Palette and Chisel operations where donations are welcome.
• The continued observance of our donor’s Bill of Rights to assure that donors remain satisfied after they make their contribution.
• The development of activities in which donors can involve themselves with the Palette and Chisel.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Lowly Links

Two Palette and Chisel people,
Andy Conklin and Helen Oh,
have just been included
in Tim Lowly's
rather remarkable
listing of visual artists

As he puts it, it is:

"somewhat biased towards conceptually engaged representational painting"

Which seems to categorically exclude the more Romantic kind
as exemplified by Richard Schmid and Jeremy Lipking,
as well as the social realist kind
as exemplified by the 20th C. Russian and Chinese schools.

So don't expect many more P&C artists to make the cut.

But do expect to see a lot of good artists
from around the world
whom you have never seen before.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Exhibit : Rich Morrow

Incredibly enough,
I was driving past the ball park
on June 21, 1984,
listening to the game
on the car radio
when Sandberg hit that second home run,
and like everyone else in Wrigleyville at that moment
I began to scream.

Self portrait

As Rich explains above,
the following is a tribute
to his new home town,
New Salem, Illinois

Here's his foray
into Greek mythology