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Art & Art History

High Profiles: Graduates of the UIC School of Art and Design

Friday, May 01, 1987–Saturday, May 30, 1987
Gallery 400
400 South Peoria Street, Chicago, IL 60607

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Annette Barbier, Joann Carson, Arturo Cubacub, Anita David, Nancy Davidson, David Helm, Hartja Petrauskas, Michael Peven, Corey Postiglione, Gordon Powell, Edward Rankus, Matt Reed, and Daniel Smajo-Ramirez

High Profiles: Graduates of the UIC School of Art and Design presented works by thirteen artists, all alumni of the UIC School of Art and Design. Featuring recent paintings, drawings, sculptures, installations, and videotapes, this was the first exhibition to highlight the outstanding achievements of the UIC artist graduates who attended school here between 1967 and 1985. Curated by artist Mary Min (1972 BA), High Profiles featured very recent graduates as well as those receiving the first degrees granted by the School  This group has garnered prestigious prizes and awards, including two Rome prizes and numerous Illinois Arts Council Individual Artists Grants, as well as impressive exhibition histories.

While works in High Profiles testified to the artists ’ diverse sensibilities, several unifying themes emerged. Foremost was the love of materials and the will to experiment instilled by the UIC art curriculum. The UIC has long been associated with abstract strains in Chicago art. And, indeed, High Profiles included eloquent examples of non-objective art, such as Daniel Smajo-Ramirez’s austere black and gray diptych and Nancy Davidson’s patterned markings on paper and canvas. Matt Reed, though using the figure in his small, nearly monochrome paintings, explores formal problems seated in geometry, as does Corey Postiglione in a number of his drawings.

Joann Carson, who delights in crossing the boundaries between painting, sculpture, and collage, presented the antithesis of austere abstraction in her playful, ambitiously scaled reliefs, which combine illusionistic drawing with “real” objects. Michael Peven irreverently scratches and cuts into his color photographs, even adding fish hooks and novelty eyes to enliven his comments on the American vernacular. Marija Petrauskas, a photographer, created large-scale installations. David Helm, using projections and celebrity photographs, is also an active creator of installation art.

The video program, featuring two to three short tapes by Annette Barbier, Arturo Cubacub, and Edward Rankus, was one of the strongest components of the exhibition.

While the UIC School of Art and Design was a relatively new Chicago training ground for artists, it produced numerous highly dedicated and accomplished professional artists early on. High Profiles provided an opportunity to study the impact of 1968 on the UIC campus on the local art scene. This exhibition also highlighted the latest wave of Near Westside development – evident in the renovations of office and residential buildings all around Gallery 400, the opening of Presidential Towers nearby, and the groundbreaking for UIC dormitories across the Eisenhower Expressway from the gallery. Most importantly, this exhibition demonstrated the wide-ranging activities of artists grounded in the fundamentals of their crafts at the UIC.

A catalog accompanied the exhibition.

Mary Min’s deep involvement with the Chicago art community is long-standing. She has distinguished herself both as an artist and a leader in local not-for-profit, artist-run organizations. Min has maintained a consistent exhibition record as a sculptural installation artist. Among significant group shows are: The Mile of Sculpture 1980, 1983; sponsored by Klein and Young/Hoffman Galleries; What Artists Have to Say About Nuclear War 1983, Nexus Gallery, Atlanta; Group Invitational 1978, Wustum Museum of Fine Arts, Racine, WI; and the Illinois State Museum Invitational 1975, Springfield, IL. Min worked as Executive Director of the Randolph Street Gallery and was a founding member of A.R.C. Gallery, where she served in various capacities. The Illinois Art Council named Min a member of the Visual Arts Advisory Board. Min graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Art and Design in 1972 and received an MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago.