Rhona Hoffman Gallery Moves to West Town; First Show Features Judy Ledgerwood

After 15 years on North Peoria in the West Loop, and over 40 years in the art business, Rhona Hoffman Gallery has relocated to 1711 W. Chicago Ave. in West Town, joining a growing group of galleries who have moved for more affordable rent and to be part of an emerging gallery community. Hoffman's inaugural exhibition in the new space, Judy Ledgerwood: Far From The Tree, opens Friday, April 6 and runs through May 19. This is the artist's fifth solo show with the gallery. 

Three years ago, Hoffman signed her last lease in the West Loop. Since then, the surrounding neighborhood, and its price per square foot, changed rapidly, spurring the consideration of a major move instead of closing the doors. 

Hoffman told CGN on Thursday, "The exhibition of Judy Ledgerwood's unbelievably beautiful, color-filled paintings make us even more excited to show the public our new gallery space designed by John Vinci."

Ledgerwood is known for using bright colors in her paintings and experimenting with various textures and patterns. According to the gallery's show description, "The visual pleasure, luminosity, and optical stimulation primary in Judy Ledgerwood’s new paintings are hinged upon their embedded conceptual complexity. For over thirty years the Chicago-based painter has been dismantling the canon of Abstract Painting from within by using disruptive color combinations, deconstructing the minimal / conceptual grid, and employing decidedly feminine forms.

Maximalist color and provocative shapes are primary agents in Judy Ledgerwood’s engagement with historical painting. Whether interrupting rich blues with unexpected green, orange, and yellows in Tiny Dancer or combining glowing orange with translucent mustard browns in Sheela, Judy Ledgerwood always provokes viewers to extend beyond complacent enjoyment and actively engage with looking. In Hopscotch Chelsea Rose and Drunkard’s Path, quilting patterns serve as the instrument to organize Ledgerwood’s characteristic chevron and quatrefoil matrix. 

In Far From The Tree, Judy Ledgerwood’s signature shapes are augmented with circles, diamonds, chevrons, and seed-like forms associated with Paleolithic and Neolithic goddesses. The artist refers to these shapes as “ciphers of feminine power” - rooted in the generative, flexible Yonic form. Manipulating the grid, shape, and color of large-scale contemporary painting, Ledgerwood shatters the canon from within to create a distinct, feminist painting voice.

Far From The Tree opens Friday, April 6, 5-7:30pm at Rhona Hoffman Gallery at 1711 W. Chicago Ave. in West Town.


Click here to read Kevin Nance's 2015 interview with Rhona Hoffman.

Click here to read Laura Mettam's 2015 interview with Judy Ledgerwood. 


Top image: Left – Photo of Hoffman by Kevin Nance for CGN from 2015;  Right – Judy Ledgerwood, Drunkards Path, 2018, Oil and metallic oil on canvas, 78 x 48 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Rhona Hoffman Gallery