Fall 2019 Preview – Part II: Mid–September Openings

Leon Polk Smith, Constel: Blue Red straight line thru three Ovals, 1969, Paint on canvas, 121" x 132"



Last weekend was populated with the first cluster of openings of the season, putting gallery-goers in the mood to see new art, meet artists and to take stock of what's fresh and exciting in area galleries. To see some of CGN's images from last week's openings visit our Instagram feed. 

The momentum continues this weekend, primarily on the west side in West Town, but also in Pilsen East and River North, as well as beyond the immediate Chicago limits. As we head into the second half of September, there is a lot of important art being shown this month.

These are just a few highlights from this coming weekend around the city. We will share more of the season's highlights and coverage as the fall goes on, and don't forget to view our full calendar of events

Don't forget that next weekend is EXPO CHICAGO

See you in the galleries! 


Gladys Nilsson: New Work

Rhona Hoffman Gallery

Opening Friday, September 13. 

1711 W Chicago Ave., Chicago

Rhona Hoffman Gallery presents their first exhibition with Gladys Nilsson, one of the foremost Chicago artists of her generation and a member of the Hairy Who, the venerable group that came to prominence through a series of radical exhibitions at the Hyde Park Art Center on Chicago’s South Side in the late 1960s. Featuring paintings and works on paper made in the last five years, the exhibition highlights Nilsson’s continued experiments with form, color, and figuration.


Leon Polk Smith: Endless Space

Richard Gray Gallery

Opening Friday, September 13.

2044 W. Carroll, Chicago

Leon Polk Smith: Endless Space features paintings from the artist’s iconic Correspondence and Constellation series which he produced over a nearly twenty-year span between the late 1950s and the 1970s. Characterized by their interactive multipart compositions, the canvases created during this time period have come to be known as the artist’s most signature works. Endless Space expresses Smith’s nimble and daring shift from rectilinear canvases to shaped supports, and from single-panel works to complex, polyptych installations. Fusing together bright colors at a curved edge, Smith’s compositions push the confines of the canvas.

As Smith’s large-scale paintings reveal an abundance of formal ingenuity, they also contain elements of personal narrative that demand further examination. Smith was born in 1906 to mixed, half-Cherokee parents near the territory of Chickasha one year before it was incorporated into the state of Oklahoma. The artist’s Native heritage and proximity to indigenous traditions provide a nuanced background for the role of space and color within his compositions. 


Dianna Frid, "NYT, June 26, 2003, Fred Sandback," 2014, canvas, paper, embroidery floss, and graphite, 15" x 20"

Dianna Frid: ​More Time than Life

Alan Koppel Gallery

Opening Friday, September 13. 

806 N Dearborn, Chicago

More Time than Life, an exhibition of new and selected works by Dianna Frid. Situated at the intersection of text and textiles, Frid’s work embraces non-hierarchical relationships between art and craft, and between concept and form. Either explicitly or in nuance, Frid engages themes of time, process, death, and the mutability of matter.

For her current show, Frid presents work from three interrelated series: “Words from Obituaries,” “Text Textiles,” and “Evidence of the Material World.”

Julia Fish: bound by spectrum

DePaul Art Museum

On view beginning Thursday, September 12 

935 W Fullerton, Chicago

For three decades, Julia Fish has used her house and its vernacular architecture — a Chicago storefront designed by Theodore Steuben in 1922 — as the basis for a system of mapping color, form, and light in paintings and works on paper. Julia Fish: bound by spectrum presents a survey of the last decade (2009–19) of Fish’s paintings and works on paper while providing new scholarship around her ongoing project that brings together the disciplines of painting, drawing, and architecture. Rendering architectural details at actual size and from observation, she creates a subjective response to objective information, informed by effects of light in space, time of day, the seasons, cardinal direction, and her own physical vantage point. Fish examines and recontextualizes evidence of the house, most recently thresholds between rooms, within paintings, which elude pure abstraction: they are, in fact, depictions of transitional spaces filtered through Fish’s increasingly complex visual logic.

Also opening are Remember Where You Are; and Architectural Annotations



Darrell Roberts: New Work

McCormick Gallery

Opening Saturday, September 14. 

835 W. Washington, Chicago

This is the gallery's 5th show in 12 years with Roberts, whose signature style features thickly applied paint in a range of bright colors. The artist's acrobatic dance with luscious oil paint seems to define the theme of the show: succulence. 

Orkideh Torabi: Heaven on Earth

Western Exhibitions

Opening Friday, September 13 

1709 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago

Torabi’s paintings depict caricatures of men, a gender which in many cultures will enjoy and benefit from social freedoms that women are forbidden or discouraged from engaging in.

Taking art historical cues from the Western Canon’s portrayal of the figure in landscape, Torabi’s men are seemingly oblivious to their coveted social freedom. Rendered with simple button-eyes, gnarled noses, and alien skin, her unabashedly humorous figures are stuck in an emasculated state of being. She banishes women from her paintings altogether, crafting scenes which offer an eerie parallel to daily life in Iran. Without women, the men are left to coddle their baby boys, care for each other at public baths, and engage in intimate conversations amongst themselves. 


David Driesbach. La Polina, 2006. Intaglio, ink on paper, (9.875 x 7.875 in.) Collection of the NIU Art Museum. 2017.90. Gift of the artist.

Exploring Aspects of War In and Through the Visual Arts

Northern Illinois University (NIU) Art Museum

Opening Thursday, September 12. 

DeKalb, IL 60115

The Visual Arts have served in all cultures and periods to document, motivate, memorialize, facilitate healing, critique and protest military action.

Exploring Aspects of War in and Through the Visual Arts considers views on war and military conflict from the perspective of the homefront, the battlefield and back home again.