Joanna Frueh

  • Robert Lostutter

    If he imagines himself as a Flemish master I wouldn’t be surprised, for in him the legacy of luminous color and fastidious execution has found an heir. Indeed, Robert Lostutter is an artist whose mystic-emotional insights, unique imagery and deliberate compositions make him no mere disciple but rather an adept in his own right.

    Although he entered the public arena along with the Imagists over ten years ago, he has not shared their recognition. Devotees, however, have established him as a Chicago cult figure, and during his last exhibition, four seasons ago, I too was converted.

    Lostutter’s watercolor

  • Michelle Stone

    I cant wait any longer to write about Michelle Stone. Last winter, in her first one-woman show, she filled a large portion of Artemisia’s huge front gallery with a zany yet infernal zoo of creatures sawed from thick foam board and painted in lurid and ashen colors. I was delighted, fascinated and frightened,watching her menagerie seem to soar and swoop, crawl and slither, stalk, bite and waddle. Innocently animal-like yet unequivocally beastly, these hellish minions, in their plenitude and primitively emotional energy, conveyed a frenzy that was integral to Stone’s sensibility but had reduced

  • John Obuck

    John Obuck is full of tricks. Formal jugglings create optical illusions and recombine geometrics in a way that compositional transformations sometimes seem to be puns on the painter’s own elements. However, these figure/ ground deceptions and distortions do not seem contrived, for Obuck’s esthetic legerdemains also seem irrational as though the products of lucky accidents. The overall effect is dual: orderly, because of consistent, crisp, black figures on white fields; confusing, because these figures function as both problems and solutions.

    Obuck constructs paintings and paints small constructions.

  • Elyn Zimmerman

    One of science fiction’s appeals is its imaging of the outskirts of time and space. In these realms beyond reason we may feel like observers, intruders, or nervous wrecks, all because the strange stillness of distance between our present and those alien possibilities allows us to experience, even commune with capacities and inhibitions that everyday activities hold in check. Dispossessed of such constraints, the products of monotony, we gain possession of our own otherworldliness, our power to penetrate the superficial constructs of our lives.

    In one spacious gallery, enclosed except for a doorway,

  • Edith Altman

    Late last summer I was walking by the lagoon in Lincoln Park, near Lake Michigan, and stopped on the bank across the water from a cluster of magnificent trees. They magnetized me, and as I shivered in the heat a generalized image of Edith Altman’s time/space drawings came to mind. I had not previously thought of these geometric configurations of white conte pencil on black Pellon as representations of nature, but their elegantly mystical energy, like that of the natural world, indicated a simultaneously suave and artless attunement with cosmic forces and principles of control and creation.

    Altman

  • Skip Koebbeman

    The desire to thumb one’s nose at the “culture lords” is typically “provincial”whether or not the wishful artist is a declared iconoclast like SKIP KOEBBEMAN. Such an attitude is boring if self-righteous or utterly serious, but Koebbeman assumes the role of outsider looking in, a characteristically alienated and often ironic rock ’n’ roll, particularly Punk stance.

    Two years ago Koebbeman formed a Punk band and named it No Fun. Maybe it’s no fun to be the outsider because you can’t play inner-circle games. But we sense from the ebullience and exhilaration of his sculpture that Koebbeman has had

  • Nicholas Africano

    It would be easy to dismiss Nicholas Africano’s work as the soap opera of New Image painting. Because his figures act in dramas of friendship and the family, their situations may seem clichéd, their emotions exploited, their privacy infringed upon. However, soap opera gloats over pain and passion and delights in sleaziness. It stimulates voyeurism, draining everyday life of emotional depth while pretending to show crises. Soap opera fails to understand the significance of events or feelings and becomes pacifying and monotonous, but Africano plumbs the emotional intensity of crucial moments and

  • Chicago’s Emotional Realists

    THE STRENGTH AND CONVICTION of Funk is its peculiar seductiveness, its capacity to excite while at the same time repelling us. Such art flatters and then violates us. No doubt a society like today’s that offends, then deadens, our sensitivity to each other, deserves a punch in the gut. And no doubt Chicago Funk is obsessive—about sex, aggression, physical and psychological pain and whatever ecstasy may be gained through their transcendence. But where obsession in reality can trap us in evasions, in Funk it expresses the voyeurism and brutality we fastidiously hide within ourselves.

    Funk’s lumpy,