Latex on panel
Purchase, The Paul and Miriam Kirkley Fund for Acquisitions
Clare Rojas draws on influences ranging from Pennsylvania Dutch symbols to Native American culture to query gender roles and expectations in our society. She combines figurative paintings with bold and repetitive patterns to create a quilt-like effect. Quilting evokes a powerful symbol for Rojas, who sees it historically “as one of the only platforms for women to engage in politics.” Untitled combines Rojas’s signature quilt motif with a new direction in her work—what she calls “domestic abstract interiors.” Through a focus on color and line, these abstracted interior spaces expand her exploration of gender into new terrain, as she thinks about masculine and feminine energy, tension, and balance.
Large-scale installations such as Untitled encompass the viewer, inviting participation in the work. Rojas herself personifies this construct: She occasionally performs as her alter-ego, the folk singer Peggy Honeywell, using part of her installation as a stage. A self-taught guitarist and banjo-player, Rojas uses the Honeywell character as a means to directly connect with her audience, extending the intimacy she seeks to create in her paintings. Honeywell dresses to blend in with the characters in her painting, just as the red stripes link the seated figure of Untitled to her surroundings. Through such visual echoes Rojas asks us to consider how we are affected by our environments, and how we in turn shape our world.
City (Westward) 2008
Jason Salavon, American, b. 1970
Digital C-print mounted to Plexiglass
Gift by the artist to the Campus Collection
Using software processes of his own design, Jason Salavon generates and reconfigures masses of communal material in an effort to present new perspectives on the familiar. His projects unearth unexpected pattern while exploring the relationship between the part and the whole or the individual and the group. Reflecting a natural attraction to popular culture and the day-to-day, his work regularly incorporates the use of common references and source material. The final compositions are exhibited as art objects, such as photographic prints and video installations, while others exist in a real-time software context.
Born in Indiana, raised in Texas, and based in Chicago, Salavon earned his MFA at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and his BA from The University of Texas at Austin.
His work has been shown in museums and galleries around the world. Reviews of his exhibitions have been included in such publications as Artforum, Art in America, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Examples of his artwork are included in numerous prominent public and private collections. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Art, and faculty in the Computation Institute, at the University of Chicago. He was also employed for numerous years as an artist and programmer in the video game industry.
Jerry's Master Map, Second Edition 2014
Jerry Gretzinger, American, b. 1942
Inkjet on paper with drawn and collaged elements
Gift of the artist
Jerry’s Map began in 1963, with a doodle, and evolved into a life-long adventure, from the first city he created, Wybourne, into the countryside beyond, then into other cities, nations, continents, and now, over fifty years later, into other dimensions. It grew from a single panel to several thousand panels tiled together—enough to cover a basketball court – in concentric rings, with the oldest panels in the center, and the youngest at the edge, from tidy street plans drawn with a black pen on white card stock at its heart to the baroque abstractions collaged from junk mail, discarded cereal boxes, and the like, and painted with bright acrylic at its periphery.
The map consists of almost 3,500 panels worked with acrylic, marker, colored pencil, ink, and collage on inkjet prints, whose evolution is dictated by a deck of cards and a set of instructions that decree particular changes to it. The cards might call for panel “North 17, West 33,” for example, to receive a new transportation hub. In this case, that panel would be scanned and retired from the active layer of the map. In its place, Gretzinger would insert the scan with the transportation hub collaged or painted on top. Some panels have gone through this process many times, others not even once.
On view here is an excerpt of retired panels from the map.
Bhos Kpateia 1980
Francis John Piatek, American, b. 1944
Oil on canvas
Gift of Robert A. Lewis in memory of William and Polly Levey
Born in Chicago in 1944, Frank Piatek attended the School of the Art Institute, achieving a string of early successes. In 1967 he won the foreign travel fellowship and even participated in the Whitney Biennial before he had finished his BFA. By 1970, he had one-man shows at the Hyde Park Art Center, as well as the Phyllis Kind Gallery.
The Chicago art scene at that time was dominated by the “Hairy Who,” six artists known for their irreverent, bold figurative paintings, but Piatek was not one of them. He went his own way, creating an art of spiritual resonances and investigating esoteric symbols. Over time, his paintings became elegant biomorphic emblems, situated between figuration and abstraction, showing intertwining, crossed and knotted tubes. The forms are derived from such ancient mystical sources as the Book of Kells and Aztec and Minoan and pharaonic Egyptian iconography. In contrast to those sources, Piatek’s forms maintain their vigorous physicality. This painting, Bhos Kpateia, is part of what Piatek calls his “archaeology of knots.” The title is an amalgam of several languages, notably Greek and ancient Indo-European language, and suggests revelatory light and power.
Piatek has been a professor at the Art Institute of Chicago since 1974, where he teaches painting and drawing, as well as a studio course concerning sacred, spiritual, and visionary forms of art making
Jordan Davies, American, b. 1941
Acrylic on canvas
Gift of Kay Torshen
Like Francis Piatek, Jordan Davies attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and received a Masters Degree in Fine Art, leaving for New York in 1968. There he drifted from painting, bought an old Vandercook proofing press, and began to set type by hand. Over time, he moved into digital type design. Today, after a 30-year hiatus, he has begun to paint again,
This untitled work reveals Davies’ affinity with the Chicago Imagist tradition, with its strong graphic quality, bright colors, and playful disposition. His art, however, has always been abstract. Recent exhibitions in Chicago have attempted to formalize an “Abstract Imagist” scene retroactively, and his work is central to that effort.
Jeremy Moon, British, 1934-1973
Acrylic on canvas
Gift of Gladius Capital Management LP
Jeremy Moon is best known for his large-scale geometric paintings that explore form and space through unmodulated planes of color. He emerged onto the London scene in the early 1960s and into the framework of Color Field and Hard-Edge Abstraction. Like many artists of this period, Moon sought a degree of wholeness within his compositions, creating works where painted geometries found affinities with the canvas’s overall shape. His use of the grid as a structural device was central to his working method; its rigid organization, yet flexible expandability, allowed him to bracket fields of color in a manner that was exploratory and effectual.
Born in Altrincham, England, Moon received a law degree at Christ’s College, Cambridge. He worked in advertising and enrolled briefly at Central School of Art, before devoting himself to art in the early 1960s. He taught sculpture at Saint Martin’s School of Art and painting at Chelsea School of Art, while exhibiting extensively within the United Kingdom and internationally. He died in London after a motorcycle accident at the age of 39. The first retrospective of his work took place in 1976 at the Serpentine Gallery in London.
We thank the Smart Museum and UChicago Public Art for loaning these pieces to the Computer Science department.