RAC Spotlight | Kim Piotrowski

Kim Piotrowski: While Here
Curated by Anne Harris
December 2, 2018 – January 5, 2019

Artist’s Talk and Closing Reception: Saturday January 5 at 3pm


Studio of Kim Piotrowski in Riverside, IL.

The RAC is pleased to present Kim Piotrowski’s solo exhibition While Here. This is part of RAC’s Spotlight Exhibitionseries, which highlights artists who are part of the RAC community.

For sixteen years Kim Piotrowski has balanced parenting and art-making here in Riverside. In that time, she’s made hundreds of paintings and drawings, exhibited across the country and in Europe, while developing a vivid body of work notable for its fluid restlessness. Although defined as an abstract painter, she still depicts. Guns, crowns, beds, water and war are among her subject matter, but all congeal and melt into Piotrowsk’s marks — torqued, attenuated, with a graphic snap and deftness. Her touch is liquid and gentle. The overall effect, even in tiny pieces, combines intimacy with the monumental baroque. Mass spirals and space unfolds into painted worlds that are both tangible and enigmatic.

This site-specific exhibition will represent Piotrowski’s artistic growth and her personal balancing act. Every year of her life in Riverside will be represented in an installation that will fill the entire Freeark Gallery as well as our Flex Space. Old and new work will hang together, connected by marks—a visual thread formed by painting, drawing, writing and personal ephemera applied directly to the gallery walls. Our entire space will transform into a grand-scale embodiment of private experience — extroverted action depicting sixteen years of life, love, and painting.

–Anne Harris

Kim Piotrowski at work in her Riverside, IL studio.

Daughters Stella (8) and Cora (10) in the studio with ‘Corner Lot”, 2011 mixed media on Yupo paper, 60” x 120”

Kim Piotrowski at the beginning stages of her painting “Lost Laurels”, 2018. Acrylic ink, acrylic and flashe on canvas, 72” x 54”

“Lost Laurels”, 2018. Acrylic ink, acrylic and flashe on canvas, 72” x 54”

Purchase the catalogue for Kim Piotrowski: While Here

Order Kim Piotrowski: While Here catalogue Kim Piotrowski catalogue @ $25.00

Andreas Fischer: Are You OK?

October 14 – November 17, 2018

Curated by Freeark Gallery Director Claudine Isé

Artist’s Talk: Saturday, November 10, 3-5pm

“Are You OK?” continues Chicago artist Andreas Fischer’s longstanding inquiry into the meanings, roles, pleasures and possibilities of painting today. In a recent artist’s statement, Fischer writes that “confusion is all we really have, particularly about the everyday – the usual, the common – mainly because they seem so neutral. Nothing is neutral, right? There is also confusion about whether qualifications of those concepts resist exploding well enough for them to mean anything. Your everyday is not our everyday. Can we talk about this?” Fischer’s exhibition at RAC stages the conversation these words invite. Each of Fischer’s paintings is a conundrum, positing itself simultaneously as a mirror, a window, an arena, as a form of escape and an indexical confrontation with who he, the artist, and we, his viewers, think we are. So too, Fischer’s paintings put forth propositions, statements, mixed-messages, affirmations, apologies and perhaps most importantly,  a series of open-ended questions, starting with: ‘Are you OK?’  Which may in turn lead to other questions, like: ‘Is it ok for me to be me? For you to be you? For us to be ourselves, together?’  In this way, Fischer’s paintings combine the metaphorical, the lyrical and the literal as they enact the questions and struggles of what it means to be human together, with and through the medium of painting.

–Claudine Isé, Director, Freeark Gallery + Sculpture Garden

Top image caption:
Andreas Fischer, “Phillip Drummond explaining to Willis and Arnold that his ancestor bought and sold their ancestors,” 2018. Acrylic, pencil, cut fabric, and oil on canvas.

Images from the exhibition:

Artist’s Bio

Andreas Fischer has had solo exhibitions at The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Hudson Franklin, New York; Dan Devening, Chicago; Andrew Rafacz, Chicago; and Zolla Lieberman, Chicago. He has participated in projects and exhibitions at The Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh; Nathalie Karg Gallery, New York; Regina Rex, New York; Green Point Terminal, New York; Minotaur Projects, Los Angeles; LaMontagne, Boston; Hungryman, San Francisco; Important Projects, Oakland, CA; Chicago Cultural Center; and The Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, among others.  He has been a resident at the International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York and is an Artadia award winner.  Fischer has a BFA in Studio Art from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA in Studio Art and an MA in Art History from The University of Illinois at Chicago.

Indira Freitas Johnson and Garland Martin Taylor: Gathering

Exhibition on view September 7 – October 6, 2018

Guest curated by Joanne Aono
Opening Reception Sunday, September 9, 2018, 3-6pm
Closing Reception and Artists’ Talk Saturday, October 6, 2018, 3pm, moderated by Lise McKean

Exhibition catalogue now available – scroll to bottom of post to order.

Indira Freitas Johnson. “Searching #2,” 2018. Chicken wire, vines, onion bags, wire. 40 x 18 x 12 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Garland Martin Taylor.
“Spint,” (detail), 2018. Spent 9mm bullet shell casings, vintage Victor Topper gum ball machine, old record LP’s, aluminum turntable platter, Gull Wing skateboard trucks, ceramic sealed bearings, 69mm Sector Nine wheels, Whisky barrel, oak and kitchen table legs in black and chrome. 53” x 21” x 21”.















The Riverside Arts Center Freeark Gallery and Sculpture Garden is pleased to present Gathering, a two-person exhibition of sculpture and installations by Indira Freitas Johnson and Garland Martin Taylor. A catalogue will be published in conjunction with the exhibition.

Both artists address societal issues through their mixed media sculptures and community involved projects. Gun violence, racism, immigration, and individual rights are among the topics conveyed in their assemblages, as they seek to heal and invoke dialogue. Influenced by her artist father, a follower of Mahatma Gandhi, and her social activist mother, Johnson creates forms reflecting non-violence from found objects and castings. Taylor channels his research of Henry Jackson Lewis, the first African American political cartoonist, as he welds bronze and stainless steel pieces with found materials such as skateboard parts, kinky hair, wood, stone, and pheasant feathers into 3-dimensional statements.

Johnson’s sculptures of hands and feet convey a calm spirituality in our main gallery space along with an interactive grid prompting the viewer to consider how we label ourselves. She will have an installation in the Freeark Sculpture Garden, combining pieces from her Ten Thousand Ripples project with a site-specific new construction questioning our inability to live harmoniously. Taylor will be exhibiting his iconic Conversation Peace and a recent related sculpture in the main gallery. Our rear gallery room will consist of an array of Taylor’s newest sculptures in an immersive installation of art and other items from his Southside studio.

Artists’ Bios

Indira Freitas Johnson

Indira Freitas Johnson is a sculptor, cultural worker, peace activist and educator. She holds undergraduate degrees from the University of Mumbai and the Sir J.J. Institute of Applied Art with a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She founded Shanti Foundation for Peace, later merging with Changing Worlds, to teach art and nonviolence decision-making skills to Chicago area public school children. Johnson created one hundred emerging Buddha sculptures as part of the Ten Thousand Ripples, Public Art, Peace and Civic Engagement initiative. This citywide project is a collaboration with Changing Worlds, the lead arts organization, and over thirty-five Chicago area cultural, educational, and community organizations.

Johnson’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and is represented in numerous private and public collections including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; City of Evanston; Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, Rhode Island; Haeinsa Temple, South Korea; Chicago Transit Authority; Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, Alabama; State of Illinois Building, Chicago; and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia. She has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including the prestigious Illinois Governor’s Award for the Arts, Arts Midwest NEA, and Arts International Travelling Fellowship, and was named the 2013 Chicagoan of the Year. Artist’s website: www.indirajohnson.com

Garland Martin Taylor

Garland Martin Taylor is a sculptor, researcher, lecturer, and educator with a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His scholarly studies of the first African American political cartoonist, Henry Jackson Lewis, have been honored with several grants and speaking engagements throughout the country. He has been awarded a Crystal Bridges Research Fellowship in the History of African American Art at Crystal Bridges Museum, Bentonville, Arkansas and a Mellon Collaborative Fellowship in Arts Practice & Scholarship at the Richard & Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at the University of Chicago.

Taylor’s art has been exhibited throughout the country including Artemis Gallery, Northeast Harbor, Maine; Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut; and Manchester University, North Manchester, Indiana, while his Conversation Peace has traveled 5,000 miles with the artist across the United States. He has exhibited extensively in the Chicago area including the Southside Community Art Center, the Museum of Science and Industry, Hyde Park Art Center, Weinberg Newton Gallery, Ignition Project Space, and the African American Cultural Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Taylor’s sculpture can be found in numerous private and public collections. His art has been reviewed in The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Reader, The Charleston South Carolina Chronicle, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, and on WBEZ and WGN radio stations. Artist’s website: www.garlandmartintaylor.com

Guest curator Bio:

Joanne Aono’s drawings, paintings, and installations have been exhibited at museums, galleries, art centers, and alternative spaces. Her art has been awarded and reviewed by numerous venues and publications. She serves on the Riverside Arts Center’s exhibition committee and runs the alternative art exhibition project, Cultivator, from her farm and studio in rural Illinois. Artist’s website: www.JoanneAono.com

Artist’s Talk Moderator Bio:

Lise McKean is a social anthropologist, writer,and editor. Her research and writing range from contemporary art to religion and politics in India to social justice. She’s a regular contributor to Bad at Sports and writes essays for exhibition catalogs. Her alma maters include University of Chicago, University of Hawai’i, and Sydney University, where she completed her Ph.D.

Purchase the catalogue for “Indira Freitas Johnson and Garland Martin Taylor: Gathering”:

Order Gathering Exhibition Catalogue Gathering Catalogue @ $15.00

Women Painting Men

May 20 – June 23, 2018
Guest Curated by Gwendolyn Zabicki

Gallery Talk: Saturday June 9 at 2pm

Featuring paintings by Karen Azarnia, Mel Cook, Katie Hammond (Halton), Jessica Stanfill, Celeste Rapone, and Gwendolyn Zabicki.

Coverage in the Chicago Tribune:  “Crushing the Patriarchy in One Look” by KT Hawbaker

“Women Painting Men” is a group exhibition featuring the work of six female painters.

In this show, we see portrayals of men that run from sexual to sympathetic to sentimental. This exhibition asks viewers to consider: is the female gaze simply a reversal of the male gaze–that is to say, men rendered as sexual objects for the viewer’s pleasure; or is the female gaze best understood as a new generation of women learning to look at themselves and others in a new way?

Laura Mulvey coined the term “the male gaze” in her 1975 essay, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema.” In the essay, she states that the female gaze is women looking at themselves through the eyes of men. More than 40 years have passed since Mulvey wrote her still powerful essay. Do alternative modes of seeing and representation exist in the world, or are artists and viewers alike still trapped in a binary of active and passive?

2018 RAC Members and Kids Shows

SUBMIT YOUR ARTWORK TO RAC’S 2018 Members’ and Kids’ Shows!

Our annual Members Exhibition and RAC Kids Shows will take place July 1-July 28, 2018. We invite all current RAC members and students to submit artwork for display.  The RAC community looks forward to these exhibitions every year, because they celebrate and showcase the creations of our talented members and students!

Exhibitions on view July 1st – July 28 , 2018

Artists’ Reception: Sunday, July 1st, 3-6pm

Guidelines: Each member and student is invited to submit one piece, no larger than 24″ in any direction. All work must be framed and/or ready for hanging or display with wire hanger or sawtooth hanger affixed to back. RAC Kids’ Show artists must be 18 or younger. When you deliver your work to the gallery, please include the following information: artist’s name, title of artwork, medium, and price (if for sale). For your convenience, you can click here to download a Member’s Entry Form: 2018 Member + Kid Show Entry Form.  Please include with your artwork submission when dropping off. You and/or your kids can drop your artwork off at RAC (32 E Quincy Street) between 1-5 pm on the following dates and times:

Tuesday, June 26, 1-5pm | Wednesday, June 27, 1-5pm | Thursday, June 28, 1-5pm

Questions?  Call RAC at 708–442 -6400 or email Freeark Gallery Director Claudine Isé at cise@riversideartscenter.com


Download the Entry Form: 2018 Member + Kid Show Entry Form

Make sure you are a member by joining or renewing today!





Sculpture Garden Installation: Mara Baker, A Mountain One Fence High—A Ribbon Two Yards Wide

Curated by RAC Freeark Gallery Director Claudine Isé

May 20 through mid-Summer 2018
Opening Reception Sunday, May 20, 3-6pm

Mara Baker, A Mountain One Fence High–A Ribbon Two Yards Wide, 2018. Found chain link fence, plastic fencing, flagging tape, found mesh produce sacks, rope, twine, aluminum wire and other studio debris.









The Riverside Art Center’s Freeark Gallery + Sculpture Garden will present a new, site-specific installation in our Sculpture Garden by Chicago-based artist Mara Baker, who says of her work: “The primary inspiration for my paintings, site-specific installations and animations comes from found materials and the recycled byproducts of my studio practice. I often work site-responsively in alternative raw spaces like repurposed factories and homes, treating the sites as an opportunity to engage with larger ecological issues of decay and life-cycles. My work also explores the interplay between the real and the representational, often using tactile materials that reference the language of formal painting.”

Mara Baker, A Mountain One Fence High–A Ribbon Two Yards Wide, 2018, (detail). Found chain link fence, plastic fencing, flagging tape, found mesh produce sacks, rope, twine, aluminum wire and other studio debris.


For RAC’s Sculpture Garden, Baker will create a new, site-specific piece titled A Mountain One Fence High— A Ribbon Two Yards Wide and inspired by the urban fences of Baker’s neighborhood in Avondale, which function in both geographic and psycho-geographic ways to divide, cage, catch, block and color-code the environment. Baker’s installation at RAC repurposes chain link fence found on Craigslist in nearby River Forest, deconstructing and then reconstructing the fence in ways that challenge our ideas and expectations of their role and purpose in our communities.

Mara Baker, A Mountain One Fence High–A Ribbon Two Yards Wide, 2018, (detail). Found chain link fence, plastic fencing, flagging tape, found mesh produce sacks, rope, twine, aluminum wire and other studio debris.


Mara Baker, A Mountain One Fence High–A Ribbon Two Yards Wide, 2018, (detail). Found chain link fence, plastic fencing, flagging tape, found mesh produce sacks, rope, twine, aluminum wire and other studio debris.

STRIKE/SLIP: John Grod, Stacy Isenbarger, Harold Jeffries and Jennifer Mannebach

March 11 – April 14, 2018
Guest curated by Jennifer Mannebach

Guest curator walkthrough and artist’s talk with Jennifer Mannebach and John Grod takes place Saturday, April 14, 2-3pm

STRIKE:SLIP image flat

Guest Curator’s Statement:

STRIKE/SLIP brings together the work of John Grod, Stacy Isenbarger, Harold Jeffries and Jennifer Mannebach–artists who share a deep interest in borders and boundaries. What is the condition of existing at a border or threshold? Whether it’s a geographical area or a philosophical point of view, to inhabit a headspace while simultaneously empathizing with someone else, one or the other must be slightly blurred. ‘Around,’ ‘Between,’ ‘Within,’ ‘Delineate’ and ‘Across’ are words that, as Stacy Isenbarger once said, “draw us to an edge, but more importantly our need to define it in reflection to our place in confronting it. We shift.”

The tectonic implications of STRIKE/SLIP, a type of fault line where the ground shifts horizontally in an earthquake, are especially resonant in this context. I’ve asked three other artists who have these proclivities to join me in this exhibit. Working with Harold Jeffries is particularly freighted with these concerns. Although I have worked with him professionally at Little City Center for the Arts as a facilitator for his singular work, he is also a friend and collaborator. While the content of his work is already rich with polarities and borderlines (heaven/earth, real/imagined), there is also the circumstance of Jeffries’ everyday interactions with people. Jeffries’ spoken communication is often discursive and fragmented, and I believe this kind of collaboration could only happen authentically within the context of longstanding friendship and trust. Jeffries’ empathy and generosity of spirit are asserted through his deep concern about the housing needs of all people, on earth and elsewhere. His drawings, or “blueprints for heaven,” are designs for something yet to be built; they are mutable and in the moment, but reflect a concrete intention.

The relationship between John Grod, Jeffries and me as we collaborate contains thresholds that are vacillating, only becoming more legible through a longer arc of time. Grod has a persistent and tenacious pursuit of expanding creative possibilities through video; more than just a facilitator, he is able to harness his own formidable creative and technical skills to collaborate in a way that gives others a voice but also reflects his own distinct sensibilities. His choice of labor intensive processes reveal his empathy and dogged pursuit of these ideals. Stacy Isenbarger’s work invites closer inspection while never allowing for a comfortable place to settle. Superannuated upholstery and padded surfaces imply domesticity and comfort, but also insinuate questionable issues of decorum or even subterfuge. New and old structures and notions of inside/out dichotomies are underscored by the absurdity of a velvet covered rock or stick. Thoughts turn to mutations, a transmutation of nature and culture as well as private/public implications. It is not so much about marking the contours, but rather, exploring possibilities in that liminal space.  –Jennifer Mannebach

Artists’ Statements:

Jennifer Mannebach, artist, guest curator:
I’ve always been interested in remnants, mistakes, awkward encounters. In past work,
I’ve explored the shifting ground of casual moments between people. My most recent
body of work explores the boundaries and architecture around, between and within
people. Inspired by city maps, honeybee navigation charts and human genome maps,
my references also extend into tracking methods of larger group identities, conflating the
boundaries of the body with geographic boundaries, underscoring the inauthenticity of
maps that can never tell a complete story and the reduction of an individual to a genetic
map. A housing map of Chicago was the catalyst for Vouchers, which also references
illuminated manuscripts, a grand contrast to the important stories swept under the rug in
anonymous representations of people’s lives. In recent work, my use of paper
emphasizes these tectonic shifts in the transition between areas that are cut and
sanded, placed comfortably, and sections that are applied more in the tradition of
marquetry, revealing a seam rather than overlap.

Stacy Isenbarger:
Detached from expected presentations, my work is empowered by cultural associations
to materials, language, and iconography. Poetic intersections at play create dialectical,
contextual space for viewers to experience. As viewers perceive their place in relation to
these suggested boundaries and directives, they can reflect on their own ability to
navigate the complexities of our restrictive environments. This outside dynamic
highlights the shortcomings of labeling and dividing lines of cultural, spiritual, and
political judgment. Through this philosophically charged space, viewers are asked to
challenge their assumptions of their environment and the restrictive barriers they build
for themselves.

Harold Jeffries:
Harold’s empathy and generosity of spirit are asserted through his deep concern about
the housing needs of all people, on earth and in heaven. Harold’s drawings or
“blueprints for heaven” are designs for something yet to be built, yet paradoxically they
are mutable and in the moment. They seem constantly renewable, the desire to create
an ideal fixed home a guiding principal, perhaps to remedy the transiency of his abusive
and unstable childhood. Though physically manifested in singular drawings, these plans
are a lifelong project with no beginning, middle or end.

John Grod:
Formerly the Little City Center for the Arts Media Arts Manager, John received a degree in fine arts from The University of Illinois at Chicago and went on to work at The Center for New Television; a non-profit media arts center for ten years. There he conducted workshops in video production and post-production as well as being the on-line editor for “The 90’s”, a nationally syndicated PBS magazine style show that won numerous awards. He has served as a freelance independent video consultant, editor and production assistant for numerous award-winning productions. He maintains a strong commitment to educate and counteract mainstream media’s marginalization of those on society’s fringes. Grod has won over 30 awards for media programs produced at Little City. In 2013 he directed Share My Kingdom, which premiered at the Gene Siskel Film Center and has been featured in various film festivals since then.


Andrew Falkowski: Flat Earth

Andrew Falkowski, "Read Between the Lines," 2017, Acrylic, Modeling Paste, 34” x 23”

Andrew Falkowski, “Read Between the Lines,” 2017, Acrylic, Modeling Paste, 34” x 23”

January 28 – March 3, 2018
Reception: Sunday, January 28, 3 ‐ 6pm
Artist’s Talk: Andrew Falkowski with Terry R. Myers, Saturday February 24th at 3pm
Curated by Anne Harris

Click here to listen to a recording of the conversation between Andrew Falkowski and Terry R. Myers on SoundCloud.

Click Link to download a PDF of the exhibition essay by Anne Harris: Andrew Falkowski Two Paintings and Fake Tape Essay

The RAC is pleased to present Andrew Falkowski’s solo exhibition Flat Earth.

Andrew Falkowski’s newest text paintings riff off pop-culture sources culled from junk mail, commercial packaging, magazines, art history and punk songs. In reproduction, this work reads as smart and wry — a sleek visual stylization of audio aggression. A sustained look at the actual paintings reveals a layered conversation. Meaning is found through the intersection of paint, image and language, combined with playfully loving swats at painted illusion.

This ranges from trompe l’oeil to replication. For example, duct tape: Falkowski seems to use it, but it’s really acrylic paint. He’s cast this from a mold and then applied it to the surface of his painting. The illusion is so convincing that we see none – the cast tape looks just like duct tape. Once we understand the wit behind the process, the experience of the painting flips. The look of jury-rigging becomes painstaking craft. First impressions dissolve into contradictions. Fiction is fact; fact is fiction. In the end, we have work that extends the inherent irony in painting: that surface meaning differs from deeper meaning.

Art doesn’t transform. It just plain forms. – Roy Lichtenstein

–Anne Harris

About the Artist

Andrew Falkowski is a Chicago-based painter. His work has been exhibited at venues ranging from Rosamund Felsen Gallery (Los Angeles), to Mixed Greens Gallery (NYC), to Chicago galleries such as Andrew Rafacz, Kavi Gupta and Julius Caesar, as well as The Suburban (both Oak Park and Milwaukee). Falkowski’s work has been discussed and reviewed in such publications as Time Out, Chicago Art Magazine, and Artforum.com. His art criticism and essays have appeared in publications such as New Art Examiner, Cakewalk Magazine and Shifter Magazine. He is now currently a contributing writer to Chicago Artist Writers and New City Art Online. Falkowski is Assistant Professor in the Painting and Drawing Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as Core Faculty in SAIC’s Low Residency MFA program.

RAC Spotlight | Natalie Jacobson – Seeing Things: the difference between you and me

Guest Curated by Mark Booth
OPENING RECEPTION: Sunday, December 10, 3-6PM
Exhibition Dates: December 10, 2017 – January 13, 2018

Natalie Jacobson, Untitled, 2016, acrylic and spray paint on burlap and stretcher, 10" x 8".

Natalie Jacobson, Untitled, 2016, acrylic and spray paint on burlap and stretcher, 10″ x 8″.

Natalie Jacobson’s work explores the states between inside and outside by focusing on the ‘thingness’ of a painting. While hinting at pictorial space, she looks for ways to erode the hierarchy of supports, surface, and picture plane by using all components to create an image.

Untitled, 2017. Spray paint and ink on burlap and stretcher, 18"x16".

Untitled, 2017. Spray paint and ink on burlap and stretcher, 18″x16″.

Untitled, 2016. Spray paint on burlap and stretcher, 10"x 8".

Untitled, 2016. Spray paint on burlap and stretcher, 10″x 8″.

Untitled, 2016. Spray paint and thread on scrim and stretcher, 10" x 12".

Untitled, 2016. Spray paint and thread on scrim and stretcher, 10″ x 12″.

RAC Spotlight exhibitions are annual solo shows highlighting the work of artists in the RAC Community. Natalie Jacobson is RAC’s Arts Programming Manager and heads up our FlexSpace program. She has exhibited her work in group shows at the Hyde Park Art Center; the Rockford Art Museum; The Guest Room, Chicago; and Dogmatic Gallery, Chicago, among other venues. “Seeing Things: the difference between you and me” is her first solo exhibition.

Guest Curator Bio: Mark Booth is a Chicago-based interdisciplinary artist, sound artist, writer and musician. He is an assistant professor in the Writing and Sound departments at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has exhibited his work widely both nationally and internationally. Most recently, he has had solo exhibitions at Devening Projects + Editions (2017); Sector 2337 (2016) and Adds Donna (2011) in Chicago.

AP ART 2018 – Riverside Brookfield High School Annual Exhibition


Exhibition on View April 21 – May 12, 2018
Opening Reception: Friday April 27th, 6-8pm

*Please note that although our opening receptions typically take place on Sunday afternoons, we will hold the reception for “AP Art 2018” on Friday, April 27th from 6-8pm to accommodate the schedules of students and families.

The Riverside Arts Center’s Freeark Gallery + Sculpture Garden and Riverside Brookfield High School are excited to announce our 9th annual presentation of exceptional artworks made by students enrolled in RBHS’s AP Art class. This group exhibition includes paintings, sculptures, drawings and photographs by students in their sophomore, junior and senior years.

Artwork by Ryan Kodama.

Once again, the “AP Art” exhibition will occupy both the Freeark Gallery AND our FlexSpace next door! The exhibition of approximately 50 artworks is on view for three weeks, from April 21st through May 12th. Come share the creativity of our community’s young artists by joining us for a celebratory reception on the evening of Friday April 27th from 6-8pm! Light snacks and refreshments will be served. Thank you to our sponsors Paisans Pizza for providing food for the reception!

Artwork by Audrey Hicks.

Artwork by Brianna Diaz.

Artwork by Michaela Espisito.

Artwork by Will Gerena.

Artwork by Xjavier Olvera.


A big thank you to our reception sponsors Paisans Pizza (http://www.paisanspizza.com/brookfield/) for providing food for the opening reception event!





This exhibition is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation; and sponsorship from the Riverside Township.

The Riverside Arts Center Freeark Gallery + Sculpture Garden
32 East Quincy Street, Riverside, IL 60546

GALLERY HOURS: Tuesdays – Saturdays 1-5pm. Closed Sundays, Mondays and major holidays.

All of our exhibitions are free and open to the public.

For additional information, visit www.riversideartscenter.com
or contact Freeark Gallery Director Claudine Ise: cise[at]riversideartscenter.com.

The Riverside Arts Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
This program is funded in part by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation; and sponsorship from Riverside Township.

Aimée Beaubien: Twist Affix

October 29 – December 2, 2017
Curated by Claudine Isé, RAC Freeark Gallery Director

Artist’s Talk: Saturday, November 11, 3pm 
Opening Reception: Sunday, October 29, 3-6pm

Installation view of "Twist Affix," 2017, at RAC's Freeark Gallery.

Installation view of “Twist Affix,” 2017, at RAC’s Freeark Gallery.

The Riverside Art Center’s Freeark Gallery + Sculpture Garden is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new work by Aimée Beaubien.

“Leaning, shooting, bedded, staked, staying. Drooping, reclining, pitched, and placed. Sloping, jutting, braced. Holding, heaped. Planted and spread. My recent collage-based installations map networks of meaning and association between the garden, the ephemeral, and the photographic. Qualities of the garden run parallel to the nature of photography: they are spaces defined by interactions of the scientific, the accidental, and the temporal.

IMG_9035 copy

In my garden installations, cut forms interweave, encircle, and hang; trail in ribbon-like shreds; and become wild ornamental outgrowths. Hothouse grow lights create plays of intensely colored light and shadow; an oscillating household fan may keep these enmeshed forms actively swaying with life.

Installation view of "Twist Affix," 2017, in rear gallery.

Installation view of “Twist Affix,” 2017, in rear gallery.

My collage practice is driven by the translational space between image and material, and by generative and cumulative strategies of making. I embrace the documentary capacity of the camera, recording what I encounter. My images become printed photographs, then sculptural forms. Cutting and reassembling, I draw with scissors.

Photographic paper is my sculptural material. Through it, I explore physical and perceptual relationships. Within the visual and temporal entanglements of my installations, perception slips between recognition and abstraction: from a sky, a topography, or a textile, into fields of color and pattern and back again.

Detail of "Twist Affix," 2017.

Detail of “Twist Affix,” 2017.

Immaculately tended or grown wild; in public space or as private refuge, gardens are collections. They are the products of migration, accumulation, curation, and caprice. Culled from the orderliness of scientific taxonomies, we assemble our gardens for aesthetic pleasures, and for contact with wildness.

Our hours spent in leisure or in the attentive labor of cultivation are hours spent contemplating temporal bodies. In the botanical, we watch biological time, reproduction, death, and renewal. In the fragile and heavy shapes of blooms, we find the erotic. Heat, moisture, light, earthy fragrance, soft din of ambient sound: a bouquet of the sensory.

Detail of "Twist Affix," 2017.

Detail of “Twist Affix,” 2017.

In the store of family pictures I have inherited, it is evident that my great-grandmother photographed her garden throughout the seasons and her lifetime. Now I photograph in my tiny backyard garden, in my mother’s amazing garden in Florida, and in the botanical gardens near each of our homes. In these spaces, varied life cycles move at different speeds: interdependent systems bloom, grow, intertwine, and die. Gardens portray time.

My studio is on the first floor of my home, and the garden is out back. Wild, fast growing vines creep about the garage, slink through the yard and climb all around our house. I have noticed my domestic environment influences my work in unexpected ways. Last summer I began pulling out thickly entwining morning glories, plucking the heart shaped leaves and rolling them up into large tumbleweeds. In my studio, the hanging dried and drying plants mingle with huge tangles of cut and woven photographic pieces that dangle down from the ceiling.


I often allow everyday objects from my domestic space to become integrated into the structure of my sculptures and installations. Surrounded by suspended, propped, and perched objects, I consider perceptions of weight: the weight of things, the weight of images, the weight of representations, and the emotional ties interlaced throughout.


I am captivated by many different types of collections, from the significant objects curated and presented by museums to idiosyncratic displays in homes. My photographs are often made in institutional exhibits of art and artifacts, in quirky home museums, in urban plant conservatories, and in my domestic space.  As I work in the studio, I jot down fragmentary impressions of what I am making. Titles evolve from these sketches, encouraged by William S. Burroughs cut-up techniques. My titles are collages in text. These transformations – cutting up visual material, making associations, writing, then cutting and fashioning new written forms – mirrors the iterative, recombinatory process of my site-conscious installations.” — Aimée Beaubien

Portage: Duncan Robert Anderson, George Blaha, and Dan Gamble

September 10 – October 21, 2017
Opening Reception Sunday September 10, 3-6pm

Panel Discussion with the Artists Held on Saturday, September 30th at 3pm, moderated by Troy Klyber

Exhibition Curated by Troy Klyber

Signed exhibition catalogues available with essays by Troy Klyber, Douglas Reichert Powell, and David Richards. Order signed catalogues at bottom of this post (shipping costs included).

Dan Gamble, Cascade, 2011/2016. Oil on canvas, 72" x 64".

Dan Gamble, Cascade, 2011/2016. Oil on canvas, 72″ x 64″.

Portage is the act of carrying from one navigable passage to another, or a route through which this activity occurs. As human beings we navigate our own individual streams. But we are also social beings, compelled to reach out, to find and connect with fellow travelers. Some make creative works to serve as signposts and markers, or maps, of their journey. Carrying these creations, they occasionally leave their streams to converge and compare notes, to share what they have learned along the way.
Three artists–Duncan Robert AndersonGeorge Blaha, and Dan Gamble–have made a portage, so to speak, to Riverside, which itself occupies an area near the historical Chicago Portage. They come from parallel streams, bearing work rendered from disparate media and materials — sculpture, digital images, painting, and drawing. Yet there is a natural affinity and kinship in their works, arising from shared interests in history, cosmology, mythology, physics, science fiction, and philosophy. It is through their individual searches for meaning, and their works, that the artists seek to connect with fellow travelers and cultivate a sense of wonder in the world, marking points along their exploration of this and other realms, real and imagined.
Duncan Robert Anderson, "valentine sevier in supplication to Nwt," 2017. Gouache and colored pencil, 30" x 26".

Duncan Robert Anderson, “valentine sevier in supplication to Nwt,” 2017. Gouache and colored pencil, 30″ x 26″.

George Blaha, "LM"

George Blaha, “LM”, 2014, inkjet print mounted on dibond.

Purchase the Portage exhibition catalogue:

Order Portage Exhibition Catalogue Portage catalogue @ $25.00

RAC Sculpture Garden: Laura Miracle and Mark Parslow: Bouquet Garni and a Sandwich

The Riverside Arts Center’s Freeark Gallery and Sculpture Garden is pleased to announce our newest installation for the Sculpture Garden, on view through mid-September 2017.


In this collaboration, Mark Parslow and Laura Miracle explore the potential of reclaimed building materials for creating public spaces for exploration and contemplation. Named for its combination of herbs and edible plantings, ‘Bouquet Garni and a Sandwich’ is an invitation to reflect on the role of the senses in experiencing both time and place.

The materials used in ‘Bouquet Garni and a Sandwich’ have humble beginnings: a demolished home in Evanston; a torn-down bowling alley. These materials show their history through their patina: nail holes, layers of adhesive and wax, the stamp of the lumberyard.

The raised beds in ‘Bouquet Garni and a Sandwich’, with their various plantings of edibles and herbs, are meant to be an ongoing source of cuttings for Art Center visitors, adding taste to the senses that are engaged in this work. The plantings also serve as a screen that will guide views both in and out of the space, highlighting the potential of the bench to be both a place for restful seeing and an object of playful looking.




2017 RAC Members Exhibition (Freeark Gallery) + Kids Show (FlexSpace)

Exhibition Dates: July 1st – August 5, 2017

Artists’ Receptions are Saturday, July 15, 3-6pm

Our annual Members Exhibition and RAC Kids Show is a time to celebrate the creativity of the RAC community and our artist-members! We look forward to this exhibition every year, because it foregrounds the paintings, drawings, sculptures and photographs of our talented supporters.

Selected installation views from 2017 Annual Member’s Exhibition:

Anna Kunz: Physical Sunshine

May 21 – June 24, 2017

Reception: Sunday, May 21, 3 ‐ 6pm
Curated by Anne Harris

Anna Kunz, detail of work in progress: Physical Sunshine, latex
and acrylic on fabric, daylight, 5’3” x 4’ x 2’, 2017.

Download a PDF of the exhibition essay written by Anne Harris by clicking here: Anna Kunz–essay

The Riverside Arts Center is pleased to present Anna Kunz’s solo exhibition Physical Sunshine.

Anna Kunz’s paintings are flowing plains of fabric that transform rooms. She steeps porous open-grained cloth in paints or dyes, and also paints through fabric against the wall — allowing pigment to penetrate and mark the surface beneath. The paint on the wall becomes a piece but so does the material itself, which is then hung loose so that daylight passes through it. And the light itself is also a piece. That light is saturated with color, which leaks through space and splays across the floors and walls.

This interaction between material, pigment, light and air — the physical three-dimensional experience of translucency — is the body of Kunz’s work. We are the heart. The work comes alive as we move through it. These lushly seductive color-spaces only exist as art when they contain us. The meaning lies in the experience. As the work transforms from attractive to mesmerizing, we’re lured into hypnosis, a full body engagement, like music and dance.

Kunz’s work descends from non-figurative painters of the sublime such as Turner and Rothko, and also from color field painting, particularly Helen Frankenthaler. Today it sits between the juicy geometry of Mary Heilmann and Robert Irwin’s ethereal scrim pieces. Its 3-dimensionality has been woven around experimental dance, and she has worked collaboratively with choreographers and dancers, most notably the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in both New York and Chicago. Although her installations are body-less, they are completed by us — our moving physical selves.

All is a procession,
The universe is a procession with measured and perfect motion

Walt Whitman, I Sing the Body Electric

–Anne Harris

In the artist’s studio: a model of the RAC Freeark Gallery, as plans for the installation unfold.

About the Artist

Anna Kunz lives in Oak Park, IL, and teaches at Columbia College Chicago. She received her BFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1991, her MFA at Northwestern University in 2000, and attended the prestigious Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2009. Kunz has exhibited her paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures and installations at such venues as White BOX, NYC, Art Expo Projects Chicago, and the Smart Museum at University of Chicago. Her work can be found in such public collections as the Prudential Building in Chicago, the Philadelphia Art Museum, the Block Museum at Northwestern University, and St. Salvador’s College in Scotland. Honors and awards include residencies from the Edward Albee Foundation and the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation, as well as nominations for grants such as 3Arts, the Artadia Fund and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award. In addition to her own work she has curated exhibitions such as the HATCH GALLERY PROJECTS for the Chicago Artists Coalition, and NATURE, Unframed, at the Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL. She is currently Director of Tiger Strikes Asteroid (TSA) in Chicago, part of a national artist-driven coalition of alternative galleries. More information on the artist can be found on her website.

Currently, Kunz’s solo exhibition Heroes for Ghosts is on view through June 17 at Galleri Urbane in Dallas, TX. She also will be having a solo show in 2018 at the Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, curated by Alison Peters Quinn. She is represented by McCormick Gallery, Chicago, IL, and Galleri Urbane Dallas/Marfa.

Anne Kunz, the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation, 2010

Anna Kunz: Heart of Glass, latex on fabric, C2C project space, San Francisco, CA, 2017

This exhibition is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation; and sponsorship from the Riverside Township.

The Riverside Arts Center Freeark Gallery + Sculpture Garden
32 East Quincy Street, Riverside, IL 60546

Gallery Hours: Tue-Sat, 1-5pm. Closed Sundays, Mondays and major holidays.

All of our exhibitions are free and open to the public.

For additional information, visit www.riversideartscenter.com
or contact Freeark Gallery Director Claudine Isé at cise[at]riversideartscenter.com.

Like us at: www.facebook.com/RACFreearkGallery
Not a RAC member yet? Become a member today and support the creative vision of RAC!  Memberships are available online.

The Riverside Arts Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
This program is funded in part by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation; and sponsorship from Riverside Township.