Friday, October 23, 2009

November is all about local artists

Las Manos is proud to present a group show featuring artists that are represented year-round by the gallery. This collective of Chicago artists will run through the end of December. Stop by and see what's new!

Michelle Peterson-Albandoz recycles. Not exactly like you and I do. Giving that tin can an extra rinse really doesn't compare to the heavy lifting she does. Old fence posts, broken down porch railings, abandoned heaps of wood in empty lots. All this material could easily have been left decomposing or taking up space in a landfill. Instead, it's given a second chance to serve more form than function. The 4X4 wood construction panels she meticulously melds together capture the original essence of the tree it once was, while at the same time creating warm, abstract pieces that keep the eye busy and everybody's green side happy.

Joe Boudrea's images are sometimes crammed with layers of images and thick brush strokes. At first glance everything blends into expressionistic abstraction, but with a little time and interest dogs, suits, tents and swords come into focus. Boudreau's past pops up in his work, the campfires he sat around as a boyscout, the suite shirt and ties his father would leave the house in every day. The patterning of these nostalgic symbols create an edgy image that leaves you intrigued and slightly off-kilter.

Chuck Meyers works capture beauty in objects most of us would dismiss if not walk past outright. Gummy bears, old fashioned plastic water guns, pennies, popsicles. They are taken out of their normal context and placed on a deep gray background and hit with a warm summery light. The deep quality of the colors and richness of the forms not only catch the eye in a surprising way, but stand on their own to become small, fascinating centerpieces.

Michael McGuire's panoramic photography not only makes people do double-takes, but often has them pouring over minute details in each image. Painstakingly stitched together in Photoshop, simple beach scenes turn into waves of copied clouds, water and sand that create a soothing repetition. Achieving a good balance in photo-manipulation is difficult, McGuire does it flawlessly and at the same time creates beauty and humor.

E.C. Rowlings fills his canvases to the brim. Layer upon layer of sunny colors that keep the eye moving unendingly through the mazes of wide brush stokes. Built into these perky colors are snippets of cityscapes, floating heads with heavy eyes and dream-scape plants that put you into an inquisitive state of mind. The pieces are calming in a spring-color-kind-of-way, but deep enough to make you ponder for quite some time.

Michael Manni's petite wood panel paintings strike your color fancy foremost. Reds, greens and blues that are subdued only a little by layers of darker paints. Upon closer inspection, incredible portraits greet your eyes with small smiles and beaming eyes. Look even closer and you will surprisingly see teeth, hair and wrinkles. How these details are even possible is hard to gather, but each of Manni's pieces let you tap into a small, very private world of the person portrayed.

Amos Kennedy's woodblock prints blend a love of literature, politics and art together in layers of vibrant colors and thick lettering. Messages that ring true for any generation are made powerful and beautiful by the intensive printing technique. Glimmers of metallics, drawings and graphic design attract the mind's attention while also gathering inspiration from the inlaid quotes.

Mieke Zuiderweg's small square photographs lure you in with odd details and a touch of humor. Shot on medium format film with a toy plastic camera, colors and images bear the sign of a photo era gone by. Strange fuzziness, candy colors and wacky subject matter does not just make these images interesting but nostalgic.

Ohio Photographer Brad Phalin lets us peak into a world that most don't even know exists. That of abandoned farm houses and homes left vacant through out the Midwest more than three decades ago. Captured with a hasselblad, the colors and light in these ghostly homes are as beautiful as the objects people left behind. Funiture, photographs, clothing, heirlooms. The images are both heartbreaking simultaneously stunning.