Sunday, February 13, 2011

Photo Show in Chicago Reader!

Variations: A Photography Exhibition Reviewed in the Chicago Reader.

Article by P. Raleigh.

For three weeks, Las Manos Gallery is exhibiting a group of photographers from Chi-town and abroad. Patrick Manning of New Mexico is exhibiting a selection of serene sky photos with jet trails entailed "Automatic Writings". Any photos of cloud formations, directly or indirectly, will reference Alfred Stieglitz's mid-1920-1930's series called "Equivalents" which was celebrated during its time for it's liberation from a literal translation of its subject. The beauty of Manning's photos is the interpretation his audience can attach to them. There's something serene, yet haunting about his skyscapes when one reflects about how looking up must have been a daily religious experience for our god-fearing ancestors and their deities siting atop clouds. In today's time, there are no visible gods or thrones of clouds in the blue sky, but only the jet exhaust of men disrupting them.

Eric Robinson and Antonio Martinez are two additional Chi-town outsiders exhibiting exciting and fresh work at Las Manos, too. Both young men base their operations in Saluki territory of Carbondale, IL and prove to be equally as talented and creative as Chicago-resident artists. Eric uses an antique photographic process called ambrotypes, which are one-of-a-kind images exposed onto 4x5 glass plates. The installation of his series called Leathermen show environmental portraits and close-ups of tools of sexual play that define his San Fransico subjects of interest. The aesthetic offered by the ambrotype process provides a new interpretation to the daring and shocking nature of leathermen and their sexual-deviant activities. More ever, Eric is able to present a quality of tenderness and everyday specialness not commonly attributed to such sexual "deviancy" by the mainstream audience. Eric will be a photographer to watch out for in the future in Chicago, for he plans to direct his camera away from San Francisco and towards Chi-town.

Lastly, Antonio Martinez returns to Las Manos Gallery with three new and budding bodies of work about amateur-level sports of which he writes, "when compared to the glitz and glamour of professional athletes, an amateur athlete exchanges big bruises for small praises". These images move beyond the typical sports photography, instead they involve a remorseful quality that calls into attention the violence, valor, and pursuit of feeling powerful for male athletes performing feats of madness as either a cagefighter, bodybuilder, or rodeo rider. His first body of work called "How to Hug and Other Sublimations of Men" is a study of southern Illinois Cagefighters competing for honor and regaining feelings of powerfulness and self-worth in today's changing 21st century. The painterly use of color and abrasive surface treatment of his images moves away from the strict tradition of straight color photography, instead he is able to evoke a high degree of expressionism. His images of exquisite violence calls attention to the admirable and deplorable sport of cagefighting as a modern ritual and site where two men, through violence, compassion and respect, experience feelings of sublimation.

"Bending Cages" is his sequel to the "Near the Egress" project. If you missed Near the Egress, then you should visit and search for it. Although the stop-motion tintype video of "Bending Cages" is still in production, Antonio continues to combine digital and alternative photographic processes to create slick, glossy images of muscle men on aluminum. These men of muscle appear strong but Antonio is able to express another interpretation such as the haunting feeling of loss and entropy. Accompanying his larger float-mounted aluminum prints are smaller modern tintypes of muscle men which were used to construct the larger version, and, ultimately, will be used in his next stop-motion video.

Antonio's Faith Into Madness is a short experimental stop-motion video, completed entirely with Polaroid emulsion lifts which shows a bronco and cowboy romping into a loop of madness. The sound design is exquisite and complements the erratic movements of the subject and the fluttering film emulsion. This month, Faith into Madness is being featured on Portland-based Blue Mitchell's popular blog

Overall, "Variations-a Photography Exhibition" at Las Manos Gallery is a pleasant surprise, with enough scope and range in style and subject matter for everyone to enjoy. I encourage everyone to check out this exhibit before it snows another 20 inches.

Click HERE for article.

Las Manos at Equality Illinois Justice for All Ball!

Ten artists with Las Manos Gallery donated work for the silent auction to raise money for Equality Illinois. The bidding was fierce in the last hour of the event!

Equality Illinois had more than 1,000 guests attend its annual Justice for All Benefit Gala, continuing its more than decade-long tradition as the largest LGBT black-tie gala in the Midwest – and a fun and exciting event for everyone. The 2011 Gala will be held Saturday, February 12, 2011 and will celebrate 20 years of Equality Illinois’ accomplishments. As in past years, the 2011 Gala will generate substantial media attention in the gay as well as mainstream Illinois media.

Equality Illinois (EQIL) was founded in 1991 to secure, protect and defend equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people throughout Illinois. In 2000, the Equality Illinois Education Project, our 501(c)(3) arm, was created to focus on the educational and charitable aspects of the mission. EQIL’s initiatives extend throughout every sector of Illinois life, reaching individuals and organizations both in the LGBT community and the mainstream, across the private, public, and nonprofit sectors.

Variations Opening Reception

Variations: A Photography Exhibition drew in a great crowd on Friday evening.

A gallery-goer takes a closer look at some Polaroid emulsion lifts.

Photographer Paul Clark's 90 images of variations in brick walls in Chicago.

Photographer Antonio Martinez with one of his three photographic series.

"How to hug and other sublimations of men" by Martinez.

From "Bending Cages" images of body builders on tin type.

"Faith into Madness" Polaroid emulsion lifts.

Tommy Reyes with his images that reach well above five feet in height.

Gallery artist Michael McGuire stands with a few of his images that find an unusual rhythm in groups of people photographed in the city.

Eric Robinson and "leathermen" series on ambrotype, a glass negative that is one-of-a-kind.

A detail from "leathermen."

Mieke Zuiderweg and two images from her Holga #2 series of reflections in store fronts.

Gallery artist Chuck Meyers in front of Sarah Midkiff's work.

Midkiff photographed every bed she slept in for a year.

Antonio Martinez's images on aluminum.

Patrick Manning's images of contrails.

"Faith into Madness" was translated into a short film.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Opening Tonight!

A Photography Exhibition

Opening Reception:

Tonight! 7-10pm

Join us tonight for the opening of Variations: A Photography Exhibition at Las Manos Gallery!

Each photographer has a unique series of images that they've spent years collecting through their lens. A few artists that stand out for their originality are Eric Robinson, Sarah Midkiff and Antonio Martinez.

Robinson's "Leathermen" are intensely dark but moving images of a subculture not usually open to being photographed. Robinson's pictures are one-of-a-kind ambrotypes- images on delicate glass plates.

Sarah Midkiff photographed each bed she slept in for a year, leaving us with a very personal and vulnerable view of twisted and wrinkled sheets. The soft black-and-white images leave the viewer with much to imagine!

Antonio Martinez, who is also one of Las Manos gallery's artists, brings us not one but three separate series. Small modern tin types featuring weight lifters preening for camera, large, shocking images of cage fighters twisted together in sweat and violence and finally Polaroid emulsion "lifts" of cowboys on horseback. Each of his series captures men in brutal but beautiful moments.

Please stop by the gallery tonight, and and on weekends through February 27th to see this incredible show!

Las Manos Gallery
5220 N. Clark St
Chicago, IL

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Photos are up!

Photographer Eric Robinson, left, helped hang the photo show in time for the opening happening this Friday from 7-10pm. Robinson's photographs are stark images of leather men
on ambrotype - which makes them one-of-kind. Stop by tomorrow for the opening and
catch Robinson along with other artists Sarah Midkiff, Zach Sabin, Patrick Manning, Antonio Martinez, Michael McGuire, Mieke Zuiderweg, Tommy Reyes, Paul Clark and Samantha VanDeman.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Last Day of StatiCCreep!

Sunday is the last day to see the comic book-
inspired show at Las Manos Gallery!

Take a look at this video to see what you'll
be missing if you don't stop by!!!

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Photography Show at Las Manos Gallery

Variations: A Photography Exhibition

Opening: Friday, February 11th, 7-10pm

Paul Clark, Mark DeBernardi,
Colby Jennings, Patrick Craig
Manning, Antonio Martinez,
Michael McGuire, Sarah Midkiff,
Eric Robinson, Zack Sabin,
Samantha Van Deman and
Mieke Zuiderweg

Sneak Peak!

Variations: A Photography Exhibition
Opening Friday, February 11th, 7-10pm

Here's a little preview of some artists' work:

Sara Midkiff documented every bed she slept in for a year.

Michael McGuire's Chicago cityscapes blend images to create visual illusions.

Patrick Manning photographs vapor trails left by jets.

Samantha Van Deman captures forgotten rooms left eerily untouched.

Antonio Martinez's darkroom process leave his images with a ghostly presence.

Zach Sabin catches weather not normally seen on film...

Paul Clark captured the inconsistencies and beauty of Chicago alleys and walls.

Mieke Zuiderweg uses reflection to play with your sense of reality.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cover Art!

Las Manos Gallery Artist E.C. Rolwing's work is featured
on the first issue of Rabbit Catastrophe Review!

Click HERE for the link.