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Artists agree: "All Politics Are Local"...Do you?


A visit to All Politics Are Local at Jackson Junge Gallery, 1389 N. Milwaukee Ave., can make you feel some pain or anger, have you ponder, smile and even laugh…after all, it's Chicago, it's winter and the political chaos is over the top in Chi Town right now. 

Fourteen artists (Alfonse Pagano, Anne Evans, Brian Morgan, Denise Poloyac, James Mesple, Kaitlyn Hwang, Kelly Mathews, Kelly Witte, Laura Lee Junge, Mark Nelson, Nancy Bechtol,Peter Broitman, Richard Laurent and Tiphanie Spencer) are exhibiting 23 pieces in this mixed media show which is up through March 3. 

"Relic" is part of a series in which Alfonse Pagano expresses his outrage and shock regarding the state of affairs in our country. “Relic is my interpretation of the recent violations of the Constitution and destruction of vitally important programs in the United States as it relates to and impacts the common citizen under the Trump administration. In my deconstruction and manipulation of the American flag, I intended to transform the flag into something physically and emotionally separate from its previous pristine, iconic state, distinct from its origin, as a way to express the current toxic political climate.” 

"Cell Block" provides another way to ponder our past. Photographer Anne Evans shares her thoughts, “While photographing inside the shuttered Joliet Prison, I started thinking of all the people incarcerated falsely over the years. It seems every several months, I still read in the local news the stories of innocent citizens being released from prison after being falsely accused of crimes they did not commit.”

To fight against the establishment, venting anger and frustration, there have been many protests. A black and white photo series by Denise Poloyac plays back some of the faces of protesters and observers. 

The despair of Chicagoans reflected in the many protests over the last few years began to lift when the news broke that Rahm Emanuel decided not to seek a new term. Laura Lee Junge expresses her hope that elected officials act in good faith. But she depicts the temptation to take advantage of power and be swayed by less virtuous forces in her oil on canvas titled "Monkey Suit." 

What better way to face the many mood swings of living in Chicago and the United States but with some humor. It may not solve the problem but it can lift the spirits. Thanks to Richard Laurent for doing the heavy lifting with that in this show. 

Describing himself as a full time artist living a schizophrenic life as a painter, political cartoonist and Columbia College teacher, he has several cartoons in this show as well as in his book Laughing Matters, which addresses many issues from violence and immigration to geopolitics and, of course, "fake news." 

His work may look familiar as he was a Chicago Reader pictorial illustrator for 20 years beginning in 1975. Then Laurent was with the Sun-Times 2007-8, during the ramp-up to the Obama election. 

"I work a lot in metaphors, My paintings are very narrative oriented so that has always come easily to me. It seemed a logical thing to do in my political cartoons," explains Laurent. 

Each day for the two years leading up to the last presidential election, Laurent created a cartoon which resulted in his book. "I think I left a piece of my soul on the road, but it was great therapy covering some of The Donald's shenanigans." 

Below is a cartoon that is not in the show or in his book but Laurent is generously sharing with Our Urban Times readers.


Be sure to stop by Jackson Junge and see if you agree that “All Politics Are Local.” 

Hopefully this will further motivate you to vote in the very important upcoming local elections on Tues., Feb. 26, 2019.


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