On the Cover, Fall 2016: Jeffrey Breslow

The Jeffrey Breslow Gallery opened in the West Loop at 1015 W. Fulton Market on September 19, 2015. The gallery, dedicated to permanently showing the abstract sculptures of Jeffrey Breslow, rotates work by 2-D artists three to four times a year. Currently on display are realistic figurative sculptures made out of recycled newspaper by Japanese artist Chie Hitotsuyama. Previously the gallery has shown the collaborative works of Meg Frazier and Morgan Winter, cityscape paintings by Chicago painter Sam Rosenthal, and photographs by Chicago artist Laurel Feldman. Future exhibitions feature: Polish fairytale artist Lidia Wylangowska, Dominican artist Byram Bueno, and installation artist Lucy Slivinski.

Breslow is a lifelong Chicagoan, born and raised in Albany Park. He began his artistic journey in high school, building his own pottery wheel and kiln at the age of 15. His obsession with forms and their fabrication led to his discovery of creative dimensions beyond shaping and making designs. He received his BFA in Industrial Design from the University of Illinois, spending 41 years as a renowned toy designer and former president and CEO of Chicago’s Big Monster Toys. Breslow left the toy design world in 2008 to devote himself to his passion for sculpture.

He first began making bronze figurative work but decided that it was not creative enough for him, as it emphasized execution. At a transitional point, Breslow recalls: “I was out for an early morning run along Lake Michigan, and I could see in the distance the water touch the sky. A particularly colorful burst of clouds stopped me in my tracks. Watching the birth of a new day was glorious. When I turned around there was a fallen tree next to some stones, which I wouldn’t have run by if I hadn’t stopped for the sunrise. It was an epiphany for me. Next, I began to create abstract sculptures with small stones affixed to the ends of the branches. I was open and ready for a new direction, and there it was.”

An avid hiker, Breslow is constantly curious, adventuring in the woods and wilderness. His abstract sculptures kindle a conversation between human creativity and the natural world, while his artistic intention is to inspire smiles and invite contemplation. His creative combinations of stones and boulders with shaped steel ultimately balance his love of nature with joy in design, creating a playful and inviting energy in his work.

In 2015, Breslow showed 26 steel and stone sculptures at the first ever indoor and outdoor exhibit at Willis Tower. This fall, Breslow is a featured artist at the outdoor West Loop Arts Festival; he is participating in ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Michigan and in SOFA at Navy Pier. In 2017 he will have an exhibition in the sculpture garden of The American University in Washington, D.C.

Top image: Jeffrey Breslow, Street Talk II; Steel, stones, granite boulder, 168” x 96 “x 48”, 4,000 lbs, 2012