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Vertical Gallery brings Miami heat to Chicago with all-star winter group show

Posted on November 22, 2020 by Patrick Hull

Vertical Gallery, Chicago’s premier urban-contemporary art gallery, presents “Miami in Chicago,” a winter group show running Dec. 1–26, 2020.

“Miami in Chicago” features new work from the same talent — Martin Whatson, Alex Face, Mau Mau, Collin van der Sluijs, Joseph Renda Jr., Mysterious Al and David Heo — that Vertical planned to feature in Miami Beach in conjunction with Art Basel’s postponed Miami Art Week 2020 event. Vertical kicks off the month-long exhibit Tuesday, Dec. 1 from noon to 6:00 pm at the gallery’s 1016 N. Western Ave location.

“Just because the in-person art fairs have been cancelled doesn’t mean we can’t still celebrate the artists that have been working all year on their collection of work,” says Patrick Hull, owner of Vertical Gallery. “We have a very strong group show roster for Miami Art Week, and are excited to feature all of the artists in our Chicago gallery for the entire month of December.”

“Miami in Chicago” gathers artists from across the globe:

Martin Whatson is a Norwegian street artist best known for calligraphic scribbles in grayscale voids. Over the past decade, Whatson has developed an unmistakable aesthetic combining abstract movement with figurative stenciled compositions: His works mirror the rise and fall of the streets, as he symbolically recreates the urban environment, then vandalizes it to reveal his vibrant transformations.

Alex Face is one of Thailand’s most respected and prolific street artists. On the surface, his work appears playful and lighthearted, but upon closer inspection each of his pieces explores deeper themes of poverty, environmental crisis and the present and future of society. His iconic bunny character, Mardi — initially inspired by his daughter — represents the feeling of confronting a troubled world as a vulnerable child.

Mau Mau is a renowned British urban graffiti artist who’s gained an international following with his humorous street, print and graffiti work. His efforts incorporate political, environmental and cultural commentary, often featuring his trademark character, a mischievous and fun-loving fox. With roots planted in the surf and country vibes of the North Devon coast, Mau Mau brings an air of rural sophistication to the art he has been creating for 20 years.

Collin van der Sluijs is a category-defying Netherlands-based artist whose dreamlike, deeply personal work employs a rich color palette and vibrant brush strokes evoking the Dutch masters of centuries past. His third and most recent Vertical Gallery solo exhibit, 2020’s “A Garden of Trust,” revealed profound new depths and dimensions, with van der Sluijs drawing on influences as diverse as vintage comics and his grandfather’s exotic bird aviary to produce his most ambitious, immersive canvases to date.

Joseph Renda Jr. is a Chicago-based artist whose paintings capture the symbiotic connection between humans and the natural world. Inspired by leaders in surrealism including Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte, Renda often depicts highly realistic human forms interwoven with illusive natural elements; his use of classical oil painting methods and modern materials, such as spray paint, provide his work with a distinct combination of old and new artistic techniques.

Mysterious Al is an Australian-based contemporary artist who rose to fame in the early 2000’s alongside contemporaries/fellow street art pioneers D*face and Banksy, developing a notoriety for wall paintings, paste-ups and street installations. His latest paintings are based on ancient tribal masks, reimagined in wild contemporary colors. His work is striking and at first glance intimidating — but look closer, and you’ll see pieces that poke fun at man’s vulnerable psyche and fragile sense of self.

David Heo is a Chicago-based artist known for paintings and collages using non-traditional materials like crayons, house paint and construction paper. Named one of New City’s Breakout Artists for 2020, Heo’s visceral, provocative work frequently documents observations and experiences from his own life, with an emphasis on the complex, emotionally charged interactions taking place in bars, nightclubs and other after-hours milieus. “Honey and Smoke” — his debut solo show at Vertical in March 2020 — sold out on opening night.

Miami in Chicago
December 1 - 26, 2020
Opening day, Tuesday, December 1st, noon - 6:00pm
Vertical Gallery, 1016 N Western Ave., Chicago

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Joseph Renda Jr. Explores the Surreal World with ‘Biophilia’

Posted on June 04, 2020 by Patrick Hull

Joseph Renda Jr. Explores the Surreal World with ‘Biophilia’

Vertical Gallery is very proud to present “Biophilia,” a solo exhibit spotlighting Chicago artist Joseph Renda Jr.

Running from June 6-27, 2020, “Biophilia” brings together 32 new paintings and drawings examining humankind’s innate desire to connect with the natural world, urging viewers to contemplate their own role and responsibility in maintaining this relationship for the benefit of future generations.

“Biophilia,” Renda’s first-ever solo gallery showcase, juxtaposes intricate, highly realistic imagery with boldly surrealistic flourishes to illuminate humanity’s complex relationship to the flora and fauna that enrich our shared environment. “I’ve always had an interest in nature and an interest in the connection between humans and nature, and that’s what the term ‘Biophilia’ embodies,” Renda explains. “I don’t mean for this work to be political. I simply want people to connect with the show in their own way — to experience their own Biophilia effect.”

While ‘Biophila’ draws on the classical oil painting techniques that distinguished Renda’s earlier work, these new pieces also pay explicit homage to the Surrealist and Dadaist movements of the early 20th century, in particular the innovations of Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte. “My work has always had a surreal outlook, but it was very subtle. This time I pushed it more,” Renda says. “I’ve always been in love with the Surrealists, but they were about what was going on in the subconscious. That’s not how I create. It doesn’t come from the subconscious — it comes from the outside world.”

Renda first attracted attention for his work while in high school, claiming first-place honors in the 2012 Congressional Art Competition. He entered the American Academy of Art with a focus on illustration, but embraced fine art and oil painting at the urging of his instructor and mentor Anthony Adcock, earning his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2018. Renda made his Vertical Gallery debut in 2017 as part of an all-star holiday pop-up event, subsequently exhibiting at another Vertical pop-up headlined by Collin van der Sluijs and LIE. Renda has also curated and shown in numerous group exhibitions both at home and abroad, created public murals and graced the pages of magazines including New York’s Creative Bloch. In addition, he owns and operates ArtBuilds LLC, an artist service and woodworking company.

Joseph Renda Jr.
“Biophilia”
June 6-27, 2020
Vertical Gallery, 1016 N. Western Ave., Chicago

VIEW THE EXHIBITION

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Artist talk with Joseph Renda Jr. and CROP

Posted on July 10, 2018 by Patrick Hull

Join us on Saturday, July 14th at 3pm for an artist talk with Chicago artist's Joseph Renda Jr. and Crop. Both artists are part of the July exhibition COUNTERPARTS (also featuring Pizza in the Rain).

About the artists:

Fine artist Joseph Renda Jr. is a recent graduate from the American Academy of Art and is intrigued with unifying conflicting ideas such as life and entropy, chaos and order and nature and mankind. Different styles can be seen through his work from classicism, abstraction to urban contemporary art.  Joseph utilizes urban materials such as spray-paint with traditional oil painting mediums and techniques.  Now with a degree in hand, this young artist is here to stay and will be a major player in the contemporary art world for years to come.

Crop (aka Alex K Krueger) is a visual artist from Chicago. His work acts as a diary of emotional responses to the highs and lows of daily stimulations and consumption. The buildup of layers, lines, color, form and abstractions speak to Crop’s methodology, the complete transformation of the medium that renders newfangled forms. Crop’s process is an adventure— teetering on light and dark, ghostly and loud—until the layers and lines feel complete. This brilliant mixed media artist crosses into uncharted  artistic territory and is on the verge of major notoriety.

See you Saturday!

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