Expo Chicago and Fall Previews

After combing through numerous gallery previews for Expo Chicago, I wanted to share the highlights for the fair before it opens. I also wanted to send you an exclusive look at my favorite pieces from the gallery previews I have received this month.


Nathan Mabry
Nostalgia of the Infinite (Le Portrait), 2019

Aluminum, bronze, stainless steel, paint | 91 x 39 x 105 inches

Mabry first became known over ten years ago for works that utilized the sculptural forms of ancient cultures, like Peruvian Moche, in contrast with the forms of American sculpture of the 1960s. Mabry's sculptures allow neither of the sourced forms to operate in their original frameworks. His works force each system of representation to bend in the face of the other; and to force the user to interpret the final result.

Devan Shimoyama
After the Black Ecstatic, 2019

Oil, color pencil, rug, sequins, collage, glitter, jewelry and Flashe on canvas stretched over panel | 84 x 72 inches

February II, 2019

Silk flowers, rhinestones, jewelry, sequins, and embroidered patch on cotton hoodie with steel armature, coated wire and fishing line | 45 X 72 x 12 inches

Devan Shimoyama is a visual artist working primarily in portraiture and narratives inspired from classical mythology and allegory. Shimoyama seeks to depict the black queer male body as something that is both desirable and desirous. His work showcases the relationship between celebration and silence in queer culture and sexuality. With the usage of various materials: jewels, stencils, black glitter, rhinestones and sequins, Shimoyama creates pieces that capture the magical spirit of human beings.

Amani Lewis
MURJONI (NITT edition), 2019

Acrylic, pastel, glitter, and digital collage on canvas | 38 x 56 inches

Negroes in the Trees #9, 2019

Acrylic, pastel and digital collage | 40 x 60 inches

“I grew up in Columbia, Maryland, a predominantly white new-suburban town. Once I attended the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, for the first time, Black people made up most of my community. The drastic differences between these two experiences challenged my self-identity. At quick glances, it’s easy to allow the stereotypes associated with Baltimore (drugs, alcohol, homelessness, poverty, and crime) to skew one’s understanding of individual personal experiences. I am constantly challenging these perceptions, and digging into the root causes by asking questions such as: How have these issues been ignored over time? What can we do to change these realities? In my work, I draw viewers into my compositions, and aim to reveal a missing, but, vital element in these conversations: the people."

Anila Quayyum Agha
Shimmering Mirage (red), 2019

Lacquered steel and halogen bulb | 48 x 48 x 48 inches

Anila Quayyum Agha examines issues of global politics, cultural identity, mass media and gender roles in her multi-disciplinary practice. The Pakistani-American artist is best known for her immersive, large-scale light installations in which she laser-cuts elaborate patterns into three-dimensional cubes. Suspended and lit from within, the cubes cast lace-like, floor-to-ceiling shadows that completely transform the surrounding environment, alluding to the richly ornamented public spaces such as mosques that Agha was excluded from as a female growing up in Lahore.

Hank Willis Thomas
Peace, 2019

Glass | 8 x 8 x 3 inches

Peace is an extension of Thomas’ button works, which explore the truisms and symbolist language of socio-political parties, movements and ideologies throughout the twentieth century. This sculpture is based on a political pin worn in support of Civil Rights and in condemnation of all forms of segregation and discrimination in the 1960s. In tribute to the universal gesture of peace, Thomas underscores the everlasting faith and hope embedded in the Civil Rights Movement. Through reproducing mass-produced historical ephemera, Thomas allows viewers to examine the meaning of the work through a different context. Peace is also a continuation of his investigation of signs and the way images are designed to convey meaning in popular culture.

Target (with One Arm), 2018

Mixed media including mirror and molded forms | 37 1/2 x 45 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches

Continuing to recontextualize modern artists of the 20th century, such as Ellsworth Kelly, Sol LeWitt, Robert Rauschenberg, and Andy Warhol, Thomas places himself and the viewer into new work inspired by Jasper Johns’ iconic Target with Four Faces. Unlike Johns, who did not want to discuss the interpretations or potential political statements in his work, Thomas poses the question of what it means to exist and see ourselves as the target.


Zoë Buckman
Show Me Your Bruises Then, 2019

2 boxing gloves, vintage linen, chain | 35 x 9.5 x 7 inches

Squish Squish, 2019

Porcelain | 3.25 x 4.75 x 5 inches

Inaction/Apathy, 2018

Embroidered Fabric | 22.5 x 40 inches

Culled from deeply personal experience, the exhibition embraces the domestic archetype by balancing an ambiguity between vulnerability and strength. After learning of her mother’s terminal diagnosis, Buckman began to employ a variety of techniques and materials traditionally adorned by women; embroidered tea towels, quilting and pottery. The works which take form as misshapen tea cups, clusters of boxing gloves, and framed flatworks are intrinsically referential to the bodily form; all at once unveiling a complex dichotomy of trauma and pleasure and the slippage in between.

The ceramics emulate a feeling of loss and trauma from their decaying non-functioning form, while the series of tea towels present a moment of stability and strength through the embroidered text and formal presentation. Text is omnipresent in Buckman’s work, yet the meaning of these words and their implications are not straightforward. The verses are derived from multiple sources ranging from teenage trauma and her exploration of domination and submission.

Jeppe Hein
Sun Mirror, 2019

High polished stainless steel, steel, motor, LED | 118 1/8 inches in diameter

The huge mirror circle revolves slowly around its center point. The reflecting surface consists of fragmented pieces mirroring both the viewer and the surrounding in an unfamiliar manner. The fragmentation and the rotational movement of the sculpture create a disjointed perception of the space, as if the room is reconstructed by the combination of reflected fragments. The abstract composition of line, color and form is reminiscent of the view through kaleidoscope.


Powder-coated aluminum, neon tubes, two-way mirror, powder-coated steel, transformers | 39 3/8 x 39 3/8 x 4 inches

Finding inspiration in the constant regeneration of perception, Hein's work asks the viewer to become aware of the elemental processes that form sensory reality. Born from ideas in Eastern philosophy and sculpture's potential for profound spatial recombination, the works offer a world of experiential simultaneity. I AM WITH YOU uses neon text inside of two-way mirror, creating a literal space for reflection within the piece.

Alex Prager
Speed Limit, 2019

Archival pigment print | 59 x 74.3 inches

Hours, 2019

Archival pigment print | 48 x 64 inches

Turnstile, 2019

Archival pigment print | 48 x 60.75 inches

Well established for her genre-defying approach to image making that timelessly combines eras, cultural references, and personal experiences, the photographs and the film debuted in this exhibition are a fresh reflection on Prager’s place of origin, site of inspiration, and frequent character—the city of Los Angeles.

In Prager’s newest film, Play the Wind, we are led on a journey throughout Los Angeles with our protagonists Dimitri Chamblas (dean of the Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance at the California Institute of the Arts) and Riley Keough (American Honey and The Girlfriend Experience). Depicted from the vantage point of driving in the city, Prager cultivates a surreal sentiment of passing moments that feel like a fabricated memory or a dream.

Enrique Martínez Celaya
The Virtue, 2019

Oil and wax on canvas | 116 x 150 inches

The Faithful, 2019

Oil and wax on canvas | 150 x 116 inches

"My work has been concerned with displacement and exile—mostly in its psychological sense of alienation and estrangement—as well as with the nature of longing, embarking, and journey. I am interested in them as ideas or notions with multiple dimensions and histories, and also in the feelings from which these ideas arise or that they bring forth, and in their implication to life, especially those aspects ·of living related to choices and the pacts we make with ourselves and time. This body of work seems to revolve around three dualities: our alienation from and interconnectedness with all that there is, the absurdity and redeeming possibility of embarking, and the tension between promise and risk. The imagery brings together skaters, ice covered lakes, black apple trees, golden landscapes, bullfighting, moonlit butterflies, and whale bones."