Group Exhibit

September 20 – October 20, 2019

OPENING RECEPTION: Friday September 20, 2019    6-10PM

The Jackson Junge Gallery presents BLUE, its fourth and final group exhibition of the 2019 season. The exhibition features 50 works of art in various mediums by artists from all over the United States. The exhibition opens with an artists' reception on Friday, September 20, 2019, from 6-10pm. Admission is FREE to the public.

Blue, one of the three primary colors, has evolved over time to symbolize an array of definitions. Leaning more towards green or violet, blue appears everywhere in our daily lives. The color of the sky, bodies of water, stones, various flora, and the like have inspired creativity for millennia. Not only does this hue appear in a tangible capacity, it is also used in association with abstract and ephemeral descriptions such as sadness, tranquility, death and inspiration in an amalgam of ways. 

The term “feeling blue” dates back to the early 1800’s and has been an expression often used to describe one’s sadness and frustration with their immediate situation. History and current events parallel the never-ending cycle of peace and strife. Currently, the world is experiencing the reality of global climate change. Richard Laurent expresses his anxiety at this current situation in his painting Great White Hope. Laurent states, “This painting is from my climate change series that address the issues that literally make global citizens feel, well, blue. Arctic forms literally haunt me–these silent sentinels that have millions of micro biotic wildlife teeming beneath them.”

Art making is an excellent way of expressing one’s emotions. Anitra Frazier’s piece Sometimes it Pours expresses the artist’s depression and anxiety by depicting a self-portrait in different shades of blue. When feeling the blues, it is a common practice to do ones best to lift the spirits. Jason E. Jones’ painting Fly Away IV illustrates hot-air balloons rising into the sky. The balloons themselves are different shades of blue with little bits of bright color. When asked about his piece, Jones stated, “After receiving a Kidney transplant in 2015 and recently, as of this year, being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, dealing with life can be a traumatic experience. During that process you find yourself to be a little down in the dumps where all you want to do is ‘fly away.’  You find yourself in a blue mood but you also find you are not alone. There are many people going through their own life experience and looking for the same freedom as you.” Picasso’s blue period is arguably one of Picasso’s most famous bodies of work and exhibits his low emotional state at the time. That blatant expression of the color blue depicting sadness has inspired monochromatic paintings like Blue Moon Mood, the painting featured above. RenO’s painting characterizes with a palette of blue, the concepts of depression, captivity, dementia, and nightfall.  

Blue is one of the most mature of colors and is seen as infinite. Take the sky and ocean for example; the color blue is vast and appears boundless. Blue, unlike yellow can be mixed with other colors and always be present. Blue implies infinity and eternal rest. Cynthia J. Lee’s encaustic painting Memento Mori is named after the Italian phrase meaning "reminder of death" or a reminder of our mortality.  When asked to speak more about her piece she stated, “This painting was inspired while I hiked trails in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. I became profoundly aware of how fragile life is in the wild, and wondered how many lives were lost there when someone lost direction, ran out of water, broke a bone, was bitten by a snake or attacked by something larger.  It was a humbling experience!  I chose a deep blue in this painting to capture the fear and sadness which often accompany thoughts of death, and to convey the vastness---like ocean or sky---of what lies beyond our lives in this world.” Samuel Schwindt says of his piece Elysium 1, “This work literally and figuratively embodies the theme of blue…it plays with references to the body and the afterlife (souls rising to the sky, into the heavens of blue) with material choice and color. Blue is the color of death in this piece, the color of the body in the afterlife. It is a layered sculpture of form and meaning, layers of stories of the bodies examined in the x-rays — morphed, challenged, and complexed by the materials of lenses wire mesh, and test tubes. The piece is testing its boundaries, exploring blue and its layered history.”

Inspiration materializes in unexpected ways; however, color is often the most inspiring thing around us. The sky on a clear day, the sky on a cloudy/stormy day, the vastness of lakes, seas and oceans. Blue inspires artists like featured artist, Laura Junge. Junge’s, M. Jackson abstract series encompasses the profound power and meaning of the color blue. Junge’s love for expression through physical activity and music has inspired her paintings for years, she states, “When laying out my color pallet I let music determine which colors and tones to use, inspired by intense to soft rhythms. Blue and red are often the most dominate colors in my paintings.”  Junge’s process is methodical and controlled, however, when she is listening to music she allows the rhythms to inspire spontaneity in her color and form choices.

Carol Hamilton’s silver leaf encaustics are a part of her Breathe series. Hamilton states, “These two works explore the concept of contemplation, meditation and balance.” The “dots” on Hamilton’s encaustic Breathe, spell out the word “breathe” in Braille. Although they are not readable in the sense they cannot be felt, they are there just as the inscrutable cosmos is always “there.” Others are inspired by others famous works of art. Blue has been a common motif and often makes an appearance in the Post-Impressionist colorist era. Derek Walter’s piece Blue Window depicts, “Matisse's early abstraction where he was turning three-dimensional space into a painted canvas.  I am reinterpreting his painting and rendering it through ceramics.” Other cultural references, like Julie Rivera’s piece Shades of Tranquility, show her love for the depths of the color blue. Rivera states, “I love the history associated with indigo. My piece is a contemporary take on Japanese Boro. Combining the shades of indigo and handwork brings me peace.” Kim Laurel investigates symbolic forms and shapes, specifically, icons and totems with sociological significance. Cultural icons explore the associations of figurative images and objects. Laurel states “I love making images with animal, plant, kimono and kite icons. Blue is one of my favorite colors and is always a strong element of color and form in my work. I love primary colors. Blue is a color of emotions: joy, hope or sadness, to name a few.”

Blue Lagoon (Tranquility Disrupted) by painter, James Mesplé is a play on Chicago’s current events. Mesplé was inspired by this summer’s resident alligator in Humboldt Park. Mesplé states, “The tranquil beauty of the Humboldt Park Lagoon was disrupted this summer with the appearance of an alligator – quickly dubbed ‘Chance the Snapper’ by the media. The story of the alligator and its capture went viral and made national news for over a week. My painting depicts both the alligator and the Native Spirit of the Lagoon, whose blue tranquility was disturbed by the event. I imagined the lagoon as a stage for a mystery play veiled in midnight blue.”

BLUE is a collection of 50 artworks featuring painting, photography and sculpture by 35 American artists. Exhibiting the multi-faceted visual and conceptual interpretations of the color blue.  


Carol Hamilton, Cristinia Velazquez, Cynthia J. Lee, David Decesaris, David Moenkhaus, Derek Walter, Dimitre, Faye Earnest, Fletcher Hayes, Helen Dannelly, James Mesplé, Jason E. Jones, Jill Sutton, Jim Storrs, Joan Mclane, John Stillmunks, Julie Rivera, Kelly Mathews, Ken Tremback, Kevin Connaughton, Kim Laurel, Kristi Sloniger, Kurt Kreissl, M. Jackson, Paula Loomis, Pearlie Taylor, Peter E. Russell, RenO Franczek, Richard Laurent, Richard Sperry, Rita Dianni Kaleel, Ryan Blume, Sam Arnold, Samuel Schwindt, Smith

BLUE runs September 20, 2019 – October 20, 2019 and is curated by Gallery Director Chris Jackson, Assistant Gallery Director Kaitlyn Miller and Gallery Assistant Maia Bussolo.

Artist’s Reception is Friday, September 20, 2019, from 6-10pm. Free to the Public



Group Exhibit

September 20 - October 20, 2019

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