Eye for Collectors: A New Monthly Series


CGN is excited to announce a new online series called Eye For Collectors. Each month, we talk with dealers and artists to get the inside scoop on affordable artwork for those interested in starting a collection, seasoned collectors who want to discover new artists, or anyone who wants to learn more about purchasing a work of art. Our goal is to pull back the curtain on the process of buying contemporary art while highlighting some of the most exciting artists showing work in Chicago.

Overtaking the walls of the Hyde Park Art Center’s main hallway this past summer was Tina Tahir’s expansive installation Botany of Desire. Tahir painted several species of orchids on the walls and floor to create an immersive experience for viewers. The winding vines reference the deceitfulness and trickery of orchids that can imitate different smells in order to attract insects for pollination. 

Tahir’s interest in vegetal forms can be found in a number of her projects, including Shifting Frames Shifting from 2015. Like Eva Hesse’s Hang Up, Tahir focuses attention solely on the frame itself, removing any material from the center of the work. Inspired by Baroque frames, she creates intricate sculptures made of beeswax, a material that is certain to transform over time. While the frames are based on floral patterns, the result, much like Botany of Desire, is an overgrowth—a barnacle-like formation that at once exudes beauty and decay.

Tahir is represented by Kasia Kay Art Projects and sculptures from the Shifting Frames Shifting series can be purchased for $1,200. Kasia Kay also has a line of fine art wallpaper, and Tahir recently created a number of patterns under the name Tapisseries.

Last fall at the Lillstreet Art Center, Chicago based artist Amanda Gentry presented works from her Brother John series. Seventeen hollow ceramic pillows hung side by side on the gallery wall. In order to make the sculptures, Gentry instructed individuals to lay their heads on the wet clay to make a unique impression on the square clay block. The repetition of the simple, yet haunting forms speaks to the heart of Gentry’s practice. 

More recently, Gentry has been experimenting with additives and oxide washes in her ceramic works. In Ranch Study 4, she mixed silicon carbide into raku clay. The artist then added a copper oxide wash to the unglazed piece to emphasize the textured surface. The smooth lines of Ranch Study 4 are contrasted by the uneven marks, as if Gentry had etched directly into the surface of the clay.

Gentry is represented locally by Matthew Rachman Gallery and Ranch Study 4 is available for purchase for $350. The piece will be included in the upcoming holiday show Peace on Earth, which features a range of works by Chicago artists priced under $2,000. 

At EXPO Chicago in September, Chicago painter Anna Kunz installed Warp, a large, billowing tapestry that hung from the ceiling of the immense exhibition hall. The latex on fabric composition represents Kunz’s aesthetic and material interests well. Her canvases, layered with fabric, often emerge from the wall and expand into three-dimensional space. The installation was part of EXPO Projects, which featured a number of prominent artists including Magdalena Abakanowicz and Alfredo Jaar.

Along with her experiments in painting, Kunz also creates small-scale works on paper. Untitled from 2008 demonstrates her ongoing exercises using contrasting blocks of color. The gouache is applied thickly and bleeds onto the sturdy Sakamoto paper. Fluorescent pinks are contrasted by stokes of soft browns and rich purples. Kunz’s abstract work is evocative on both the large and small scale.

Kunz is represented by McCormick Gallery. This past summer, she was included in the recent exhibition How Much Land, which was curated by Jessica Cochran. Untitled is available for purchase for $1,500. 


Top image: Tina Tahir, Botany of Desire, 2016, installation view. Courtesy Hyde Park Art Center