Michael Bonesteel

  • Jo Anne Carson

    Jo Anne Carson’s transition from shaped abstract paintings in the late 70s to figurative, three-dimensional, constructed paintings in the early ’80s was a dramatic leap for the artist—about as dramatic a change as that undergone in her present body of work. The catalyst for the current transformation would seem to have been the time Carson spent in Italy, most of 1984, on a Prix de Rome. Unfortunately, the flattened and disappointingly “illustrative” works that have resulted from her year abroad raise some disturbing questions, Why has Carson retreated from daring, evocative sculptural spoofs

  • Mark Jackson

    Mark Jackson’s new work is disturbed by fear and paranoia. Not that his previous paintings weren’t psychologically pregnant with a certain dread, but what was before a covert unease has now blossomed into full-blown horror and hallucination. A man looks over his shoulder as giant facial features materialize behind his back; a woman balances precariously between leering, disembodied men’s heads bobbing around her like balloons; a man raises his arms to fend off a woman’s grinning face coming at him from the upper right corner of the canvas. Titles like Out of the Darkness, 1983, and Between the

  • “Joseph Yoakum: His Influence On Contemporary Art And Artists”

    This homage included a dozen artists who, according to curator Ken Hodorowski, were in one way or another affected by Joseph Yoakum, the black naive artist from Chicago. All the participating artists collect or own works by Yoakum, and their apparent “responses” range from rather obvious stylistic influences to more subtle emulations of his sensibility. Seven of the twelve artists belong to the group that has come to be labeled the Chicago Imagists, a loose aggregation that came into prominence in the late ’60s—around the same time Yoakum’s work began appearing. Yoakum has been described as a

  • James Grigsby

    James Grigsby is a Chicago performer whose works are distinguished by precision and polish. Usually highly crafted combinations of narration, movement, and sound compositions, they often achieve a near-perfect balance of ingredients. “Rust Never Sleeps” is not as ambitious a piece as previous ones, yet Grigsby manages to make it memorable despite the lack of music or movement. There were no sets, no costumes, only the artist and a chair; dramatic lighting was provided by Alicia Healy, who followed Grigsby around with a handheld, heavy-duty light, capturing fragments of his face or creating

  • Ed Paschke

    The notion of distortion has been a key idea in nearly all of Ed Paschke’s work, although its ways and means have taken various twists and turns. The early paintings, while executed in a highly realistic manner, showed physically unconventional human beings—androgynous transvestites, deformed circus exhibitionists, outrageous pinups and porno stars. The second stage of Paschke’s development continued to feature such types as pimps, prostitutes, and show people, those who only come out at night; these grotesque beauties, however, were more stylistically caricatured, and the technique of distortion

  • Ronald Cohen

    There is nothing mannered about Ron Cohen’s expressionism. Certainly striking, these works, ranging from large canvases to big, two-sided pieces on wheels with one or more mattresses attached, are not pretty. The surfaces are predominantly painted black; projected on these dark backgrounds like fleshly X rays are translucent, ghostly-white figures, their heads always cropped by the canvases’ top edges. (The cropping recalls the formal approach of Philip Pearlstein, once a teacher of Cohen’s.) We view these nude male forms from the rear, often observing testicles hanging below the buttocks. In

  • Chema Cobo

    Of all the young Spanish neoExpressionists showing in Madrid since Luis Gordillo paved a path into new figuration in the ’70s, Chema Cobo perhaps comes closest to Gordillo, both formally and spiritually. Cobo does not divide his canvas into grids of smaller, individual paintings like Gordillo, but he wrestles with the same dichotomy between the geometric and the organic. After a ten-month stint at P.S. 1 in New York, where he painted on a Spanish government grant, Cobo came to Chicago for an eight-month stay sponsored by this gallery. The result is the present exhibition of oils and pastels.


  • Janet Cooling

    Janet Cooling is an outspoken young painter; her figurative subjects run the gamut from tender bunnies through fornicating women to Godzilla-like monsters. In her work she has shown herself to be a lesbian feminist, an environmentalist, and an antinuclear advocate, but whatever she may be and as powerful as her art is, the point that her imagery tries to make is not always clear.

    The current work amounts to an art tailor-made for an urban/suburban apocalypse. The eight new paintings here are generally related to Cooling’s earlier acrylic canvases in that they are multi-imaged compilations of

  • Paul LaMantia

    Paul LaMantia is probably the most ignored and underrated artist working in the Chicago Imagist tradition. The reason for this may be his use of violent sexual imagery combined with figures that appear to be part human, part insect or reptile, and part machine. His paintings are intimidating and monstrous in both size and subject matter, and the degree to which many people seem to have gone out of their way to avoid confronting LaMantia’s art is an indication of how effective it is.

    To say that LaMantia is a misunderstood artist would be incorrect. He is perhaps understood all too well—at

  • Dennis Nechvatal

    The overwhelming reason one is drawn to the idiosyncratic paintings of Dennis Nechvatal is the fact that he has the moxie to pull them off. They are unfashionably phantasmagorical, esthetically gauche, and highly imaginative. But it takes more than Nechvatal’s disturbing brand of courage to make such paintings work, and he has the raw talent to bring them to life.

    Nechvatal, a young Wisconsin artist, completed the 56 oil and acrylic paintings and charcoal drawings in this show at a prolific rate over the last three years. Any doubts raised by his first one-person show here, in 1980—that this