THE INDEPENDENT VOICE OF THE VISUAL ARTS

August 7, 2017

 

Amy Krouse Rosenthal at Carrie Secrist Gallery

I was unprepared to be so moved by Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s show at Carrie Secrist Gallery. The show “AKR: A Beauty Salon” (through August 12th) is an interactive installation like no other. It speaks of a special spirit and radiates joy. (Unfortunately, Amy succumbed to ovarian cancer a few months ago). The exhibit is her first iteration for a different kind of beauty salon where artists, writers, musicians and others could meet to talk about and do their work. The gallery is divided into several areas: a reading space containing Rosenthal’s books, a lounge with couches, a Filter Café recreation complete with free coffee. Even a gumball machine that dispenses “missions.” I was transfixed by the bright yellow wall filled with visitors’ contributions. The gallery will celebrate Amy Day on August 9 in Millennium Park starting at 5:05 p.m. and then march to the gallery for a closing ceremony. Carrie Secrist is at 835 West Washington St.

Tom Mullaney

 

   “AKR: A Beauty Salon” installation view

 

Mariah Karson

at Firecat Projects

Mariah Karson has a small show of her stunning photographs at Firecat Projects Gallery in Bucktown through August 19th. Karson spent several years touring four American Legion posts across America (Illinois, Delaware, Nebraska & California). She spoke with old veterans and her camera captures their fading world. Her shots depict a true picture of these peoples’ surroundings. Karson positions herself perfectly and each chosen photograph is expertly framed and lit. I found myself lingering over each one, imagining the setting portrayed. One of a lone cowboy on horseback overlooking a deserted Nebraska plain or the bar at the Legion post in California were totally mesmerizing. Firecat is at 2124 North Damen Ave.

Tom Mullaney

 

Cody

 

Omar Iman at Catherine Edelman Gallery

Another photo exhibit by a Syrian war refugee, Omar Imam, at the Catherine Edelman Gallery through September 1st, is overpowering. In about 8 images, Imam manages to convey not just the personal pain of the Syrian conflict but also the resistance, and even the humor, of his family subjects in the face of chaotic absurdity. Imam’s work is part of a group show that he titles “Live, Love, Refugee”. Imam, an activist turned photographer, was kidnapped and tortured in 2012. He fled with his family to Beirut and he now resides in Amsterdam. The way his poignant images tell his and his family’s story must be seen. They speak louder than any news story can convey. Catherine Edelman is at 300 West Superior St.

Tom Mullaney

 

Untitled, 2015 (there was only grass)

 

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