Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Alumni Opening at DWG

Come see our newest exhibit opening this Friday! Details:


School of the Art Institute of Chicago graduates:
Noelle Allen
Helen Maurene Cooper
Amy E. Mayfield
Michael Ratulowski

February 26 - April 10, 2010

Opening reception Friday, February 26 from 5-8pm

Noelle Allen (b. 1979) received her MFA from the SAIC in 2004. In 2007 she was chosen for an MCA 12x12 exhibition. Noelle lives and works in Chicago and teaches sculpture at Dominican University in River Forest, IL. Noelle’s current work is based on images of the genus Accipiter, birds of prey, as well as fossil studies and scientific renderings of cellular mitosis. These materials are the basis for the fragmented forms and ruptured avian figures that appear in her ink and graphite drawings on mylar. Beyond these particular sources, however, the works demonstrate a sustained interest in corporeal transformation: the ability of physical bodies to break, tear, decay, heal and regenerate. When viewed closely, the drawings can be explored as intricately detailed compositions, or a microscopic topography of precise markings. However, on a macro level, there exists an aesthetic of fantasy, in which there is a quick transition from recognizable forms to abstracted areas of line and movement. In this shift and in the flux of states, there is an investigation of the process of decay and the pleasure and pain of transformation.


Amy Mayfield (b. 1978) received her MFA from the SAIC in 2006. In 2007 she was also chosen for an MCA 12x12 exhibition. Amy lives and works in San Diego. Amy's work is challenging and fun, exuding energy with obscure darkness lurking just beneath the surface. Amy's paintings are highly saturated surreal landscapes, permeated with unusual and fantastical creations that she refers to as "bearded membranes, encrypted anthropomorphic mythical creatures, and biomorphic poisonous blossoms." Her seductive surfaces are at once decadent and disturbing, an exploration of dreamlike imagery resulting in patchwork of non-linear narratives.


Helen Maurene Cooper (b. 1980) received her MFA from the SAIC in 2007. Cooper lives and works in Chicago and teaches at Harold Washington College, Wilbur Wright College and SAIC. Cooper is concerned with the act of storytelling mutated by pop culture. Often, her works take the form of a disjointed narrative, skewing the location, subjects and motivation. These works are influenced by a preoccupation with longing, desire and the containment of wildness. With some works, Cooper takes on the role of producer, director, photographer and subject. In other works she explores the dichotomy between the synthetic and the real, romance and sex, the exchange of power between male and female bodies, and the relationship of the body to landscape. With a minimum of information, Cooper allows viewers to interpret a story and make their own conclusions concerning subject, action and place.


Michael Ratulowski (b. 1980) received his BFA from the SAIC in 2007. Michael's work is deceptively simple. Through a deft and minimal touch, his pieces are profound and sublime. However, Michael is far from a passive artist. He supplies viewers with sufficient information, but also insists on a certain level of engagement from participants in order to realize the full concept and understand every nuance. This is evidenced in his new Anniversary Series, which is at once funny, sad and deadly serious. The title of each work consists of a date, or “anniversary.” Each photo is a self-portrait of Ratulowski pouring out a 40oz beer onto the ground. Ratulowski has mined hip-hop culture through much of his emerging career, but here the work becomes less observational and more personal. There is a stoic air to Michael's actions, which mark the deaths of rappers, many of whom died tragically and young. The viewer is left to decide whether or not the gesture is genuine and (if they don't know) inquire as to whom the anniversary refers. Among artists that Ratulowski has memorialized are Notorious BIG, Proof and Tupac. This will be Michael’s second exhibition with the gallery.


(1) Noelle Allen, Accipiters, 2007, graphite & watercolor on mylar, 42" x 162"
(2) Amy E. Mayfield, Slithering Bear Bread, 2007, 17" x 15"
(3) Helen Maurene Cooper, Untitled, 2006, inkjet print, 32" x 40
(4) Michael Ratulowski, April 11, 2009: 3rd Anniversary (detail), 2009, inkjet print, 24" x 36"
** contact the gallery for pricing information

Thursday, February 11, 2010


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