Saturday, January 26, 2013

Artist Jason Houchen at Las Manos Gallery

Illinois-based Artist Jason Houchen is influenced by classical folk art, street, 
and a burgeoning pop surrealism art scene.  Through his wood burnings, 
sculptures, mixed media and paintings he has developed a style that coalesce 
his Midwest influences with these newly found worlds.  Described as being full 
of life and death, spirits and spirituality, history, as well as memories, his 
work provokes more questions than answers.

Houchen's series titled "Adornment" features historical figures 
that boast extensive facial hair configurations. 
Matching animals with similar extraordinary adornments 
creates an amusing comparison to past aesthetic 
trends. Houchen uses cigar bands to add to the sense of 
history and prestige. 


Artist Brandy Barker at Las Manos Gallery

Chicago-based Artist Brandy Barker explores the psychology behind manipulative communication. Role reversals and disorientation are two reoccurring themes in her print work, blurring the lines of recognizable letterforms and "new symbols" of communication.

The letter "E" creates the letter "S" through abstraction in the multiple layers of "Noise" (1/1)

A detail of "ReDo" (1/1)


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Las Manos Gallery hosts the "CUBE"

Chicago Filmmaker Elijah Alvarado can usually be found creating music videos for artists such as Chance,
Thelo Stokes, Rockie Fresh and King Louie.

Alvarado teamed up with Production Designer Kelsey Fox and Furniture Designer William FitzPatrick to create
the "Cube" made of reclaimed wood and multi-media elements. The cube was actualized from Alvarado's
long-term sketches on the same subject. The finished Cube was both photographed and filmed in a green-screen
studio at Shiftfocus Productions in Ravenswood.

Finished photographs where rendered together much like a digital flip-book. The result is an interactive piece
featuring moving parts and corresponding wood panels that speak to both use of space and the curious exploration of material!

The CUBE will be at Las Manos Gallery for the duration of the WOOD show.

For more information on Alvarado, check out his company High Ambition TV.

The "CUBE" at Las Manos Gallery.

The CUBE at the Shiftfocus Productions green screen studio. Each angle was  photographed.

The short film featuring digital photography of the cube is built into one of the two wood panels on
opposite walls of the CUBE. The film depicts the cube as seen from all angles; doors opening, wood
grain changing color.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Aissawa Fundraiser Tonight!

                         Chicago Aissawa performs with their teachers in Meknes, Morocco

Chicago Aissawa Project
January 19th, 7:30-9pm 

Chicago Aissawa is excited to play for the Las Manos community, 
and is looking forward to bringing Meknes- Morocco's culture back 
to share at Las Manos in the future.

Chicago Aissawa (pronounced “eye-saah-wah”) is a six member percussion
ensemble dedicated to Moroccan style polyrhythm and the use of music
as a trance-healing tool. Since 2007, they have experimented with
weaving drum patterns into compositions, accenting them with folkloric
horns, reeds and flutes.

This January the group is running a campaign to create a Morocco
Scholarship Fund. Recipients are valued members of the ensemble who
plan to take part in an upcoming music study trip. Maintaining close
ties with musicians in Morocco is an important goal for the group, and
this Fund will enable Chicago Aissawa to reach that target.
From Jan 1-31st you can help “Send an Aissawa to Morocco” by
donating to the campaign, attending an event, and getting the word
out. Ultimately, you will be helping Chicago Aissawa to continue
their unofficial mission of ‘infusing local music with Moroccan sound’
so stay tuned and help them out if you can.

Donate to the campaign at

Chicago Aissawa has a webpage with more about the 
Scholarship Fund and samples of their music.

Aissawa's interview on World View today:


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Las Manos Gallery's WOOD opening!

The Wood exhibition at Las Manos Gallery got off to a great start on Friday night! The gallery is
hosting artists Elijah Alvarado, Kelsey Fox, William Fitzpatrick, Brandy Barker, E.C. Rolwing, 
Michelle Peterson-Albandoz, Jason Houchen, Lindsey Pearson and Garth Borovicka!

The best part of our new space on Foster Ave is the ability to use the alley to get to the sculpture
courtyard! Patrons did just that during the opening.

Mild temperatures encouraged folks to stay out late on Friday. A big crowed did form inside even
thought it was a balmy 50 degrees outdoors.

Musician and Artist Jeremiah Lee stands with one of his cigar box guitars. Fully functioning
pieces made from boxes and found objects!

Elijah Alvarado, Kelsey Fox and William FitzPatrick stand in their creation the "CUBE."

Jeremiah Lee plays a few songs on his cigar box guitars during the opening!

Work by Jason Houchen uses wood burning techniques and cigar bands.

Garth Borovicka stands with a few of his bookends created with wood, felt, wire and rock.

Warm toes out back in the sculpture courtyard! Work by Eric Gushee hangs suspended above patrons' heads.

Brandy Barker stands with her letterpress work. Barker also uses relief techniques to create her own language of symbols.

Aritst E.C. Rolwing stands outside the gallery on Friday. His sculptures stand in the front windows.

Work by Lindsey Pearson!


Sunday, January 6, 2013

"WOOD" opening at Las Manos Gallery, January 2013


Opening Reception, Friday, January 11th 2013. 7-10pm

Las Manos Gallery hosts an exhibition surrounding wood as the matter utilized in the creation of film, sculpture, print and musical instruments. Each of the show’s ten artists regard the material in a different light, using their skill to create pieces with a common thread- but with vastly contrasting results.

The collaborative efforts between filmmakers Elijah Alvarado and Kelsey Fox, along with furniture artist William FitzPatrick, yielded a unique multi-media installation. A 4’ x 4’ cube made of reclaimed wood contains a representation of its animated form within itself. The project was to create a modular system of walls that could transform into as many shapes as possible while retaining its original frame.

Chicago printmaker Brandy Barker works primarily in letterpress and relief. Barker presses cross-cuts of wood forms into crisp paper, resulting in aesthetic designs while also capturing the history of a once-living tree. Her use of new symbols blur the lines of recognizable letterforms, creating work that disorients but exudes familiarity.

Artist Jeremiah Lee creates cigar box guitars, using the simple objects to load the viewer with visual energy. Lee’s love of folk history and utilitarian functionality lends to each piece’s finely tuned acoustic presence and sophisticated visual appearance. The hand crafted instruments come together with elements found in local junk shops, hardware stores and alleys.

Exhibition Artists:

Artists Elijah Alvarado, William FitzPatrick, Kelsey Fox, Jason Houchen, Brandy Barker, Jeremiah Lee, Garth Borovicka, E.C. Rolwing, Michelle Peterson-Albandoz and Lindsey Pearson

Las Manos Gallery is now located at 1515 W. Foster Ave., Chicago IL. 60640.
For more information please contact:

Details of Jeremiah Lee's cigar box guitars. Fully functional and gorgeous!

Bookends by Garth Borovicka grace the gallery and remind viewers of the layers of sediment that make up the earth underneath their feet...



Work by E.C. Rolwing, left, and Brandy Barker compliment each other well in the gallery's front window...


Reclaimed Wood Wall Construction!

Michelle Peterson-Albandoz, owner of Las Manos Gallery, works on a giant 
reclaimed wood wall at Beau Thai in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood 
 in Washington D.C.