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Vertical Gallery, ArtBuilds prove their metal with aluminum group show ‘Atomic Number 13’

Posted on November 23, 2021 by Patrick Hull

Vertical Gallery is very proud to present ‘Atomic Number 13,’ a year-end holiday group show featuring new work from a local, national, and international roster of artists, curated by Chicago-based art services and custom framing company ArtBuilds.

‘Atomic Number 13,’ which runs from Dec. 11 to Jan. 8 at Vertical’s 1016 N. Western Ave. location, brings together close to 80 artists in all, each working on an 11x14 aluminum composite panel handcrafted by ArtBuilds. The company’s founder, artist Joseph Renda Jr. — the subject of the summer 2020 Vertical Gallery solo show ‘Biophilia’ — also handpicked each artist included in the exhibit, some of whom (including Renda) will be in attendance at the gallery on Saturday, Dec. 11 in celebration of the show’s opening (noon-6pm). 

The title ‘Atomic Number 13” honors aluminum’s spot on the periodic table of elements. Renda began painting on aluminum composite panels five years ago, inspired by his mentor Anthony Adcock, an instructor at the American Academy of Art. “Once I realized I could make these panels whatever size I wanted, or build them in different shapes, I was hooked, and I stopped painting on canvas and wood,” Renda says. “These panels are the smoothest, most archival surface you can paint on, and unlike other surfaces, they don’t absorb moisture, so they’re not going to warp over time.”

Renda launched ArtBuilds in 2018 to provide much-needed framing and construction services to his peers in the artist community. “I make everything by hand, all from natural wood — not just frames, but also custom canvases, shipping crates and pedestals. Artists make up 90 percent of my clientele, and the other 10 percent are galleries and collectors.” ArtBuilds has been working with Vertical since before Renda officially founded the company: when the gallery needed assistance with multiple projects, Renda offered his support, and the partnership continues to this day.

With ArtBuilds manufacturing an increasing number of aluminum panels for use by Renda and clients alike, he decided to assemble a large group show spotlighting the possibilities inherent in creating on aluminum surfaces. ‘Atomic Number 13’ boasts contributions from friends, collaborators and strangers Renda admired from afar, many of whom he discovered via social media. There was no theme for what the artists had to create: the theme is the panel itself, Renda says. 

“Beyond showing the versatility of the aluminum panels, I wanted to show the diversity of art out there,” he explains. “With so many artists working in so many different styles, everyone who attends this show is going to discover something that they love.”

The artists featured in ‘Atomic Number 13’ include:

Adam Augustyn, Alex Face, Allie Kushnir, Anthony Adcock, Arrington Porter, B. Robert Moore, Bird Milk, Blake Jones, Cera, Chris Cosnowski, Chris Rentas, Christy Grossmann, Collin Van Der Sluijs, Courtney Collins, Crop, Daniel Wilson, Danny Torres, David Heo, Dazeyface, Delisha, Denise Duong, Diosa, Dj Auld, Ellena Lourens, Elloo, Elsa Muñoz, Emmy Star Brown, Face, Goosenek, Grant William Thye, Greg Gossel, Hama Woods, Isabella K. Cancino, Jake Merten, James Lipnickas, James Sturnfield, James Thistlethwaite, Jamiah Calvin, Jason McPhillips, Jason Brammer, Jennifer Cronin, Jenny Frison, Jesse Hora, Jettila Lewis, Joseph Renda Jr., Joshua Lawyer, Karl Jahnke, Kayla Mahaffey, Keelan McMorrow, Kelly Yarbrough, Keya Tama, Kirsten Valentine, Kristine Campbell, Kurt Kreissl, Kyle Cobban, Laura Catherwood, Lefty Out There, Lie, Liz Flores, Martin Whatson, Miss Birdy, Oscar Joyo, Philip Bosmans, Pipsqueak was here!!!, Pizza in the Rain, Ramiro Silva Cortes, Rubén Aguirre, Sabrina Sabella, Samantha DeCarlo, Sentrock, Sergio Farfán, Steve Seeley, Troy Scat, Vivian Le, Wingchow, Z

‘Atomic Number 13’ curated by ArtBuilds
December 11, 2021 – January 8, 2022
Opening day: Sat Dec 11, noon-6pm
Vertical Gallery, 1016 N Western Ave., Chicago

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