Vertica Gallery is closed Jan 9 - Feb 4, reopening Feb 5th. Vertical Project Space reopens Jan 29.
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        Kayla Mahaffey "Catch Me If You Can" Print Release

        Kayla Mahaffey "Catch Me If You Can" Print Release

        Before our 8-Year Anniversary Show closes, we have a very special print release from Kayla Mahaffey! This print will be available in-person only beginning at 11am on Thursday, April 22. Limit of one print total per person. If there are any remaining prints when the show closes on April 24, they will be available online.

        On Sale Thursday April 22, 2021 @ 11am
        Limit one print total per person
        Payment by credit card with photo ID 
        Vertical Gallery, 1016 N. Western Ave., Chicago

        Kayla Mahaffey
        "Catch Me If You Can"
        27-color hand-pulled screen print
        24 x 24 in., 60.9 x 60.9 cm
        Edition of 100
        Signed & Numbered by Kayla Mahaffey
        Printed by POP!NK Editions

        Kayla Mahaffey
        "Catch Me If You Can" Variant
        27-color hand-pulled screen print
        24 x 24 in., 60.9 x 60.9 cm
        Edition of 35
        Signed & Numbered by Kayla Mahaffey
        Printed by POP!NK Editions

        Please note: for in-person sales, you must have a credit card (with chip), and a matching photo ID.

        Vertical Gallery, Louis Masai Hatch Breakthrough Interactive Exhibit ‘MEAT my Friends’

        Vertical Gallery, Louis Masai Hatch Breakthrough Interactive Exhibit ‘MEAT my Friends’

        Vertical Gallery is very proud to present ‘MEAT my Friends,’ an interactive solo exhibition featuring British painter, muralist and sculptor Louis Masai.

        ‘MEAT my Friends,’ which runs from May 1-22 at Vertical’s 1016 N. Western Ave. location, assembles 13 new paintings of varying sizes, all on reclaimed wood, alongside a series of hand-embellished vintage lithographs. This one-of-a-kind exhibit also features a custom-built chicken-coop installation titled ‘What came first?’ complete with webcam-enabled, remote-control chickens — developed by Louis in collaboration with artist and creative engineer RoboJ — letting viewers experience the show and explore the gallery setting in real time from the comforts of home. ‘MEAT my Friends’ opens on Saturday, May 1 from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm.

        ‘MEAT my Friends’ urges patrons to contemplate humankind’s relationship to the myriad creatures who share our planet, and endure great pain and suffering to keep us fed. “This show is about the animals that humans digest,” Louis says. “The word ‘MEAT’ is the first clue for the audience. The animals in these paintings are not considered animals — they’re considered something else, which for me is very troubling, as an artist and as a human being.”

        Louis renders this menagerie of cows, chickens and even exotic animals as images he calls “patchwork quilt toys” — brightly colored, dazzlingly intricate patches, inspired by world fabrics and popular culture.

        “These paintings are based off toys. I try to make the animals look like they’ve been stuffed with fibers, and that a kid could give them a big hug,” Louis says. “It’s my warning: if you don’t conserve and look after these species, there won’t be any rhinos anymore. All that will be left is a toy — a souvenir, or a relic.”

        The patchwork quilt motif, which sews together images encompassing a wide range of cartoon characters and other pop culture signifiers, further underlines Louis’s commitment to conservation and his distaste for mass consumerism.

        “Patchwork quilting is traditional. It’s something humans have done forever, but we don’t do it anymore,” he says. “The reason we don’t is because of fast fashion: we don’t need to fix our socks or trousers, or stitch together all of our kids’ clothes to make a blanket. We just throw it in a bin, and Amazon delivers us the next best thing. I’m juxtaposing that with very unusual patterns you wouldn’t see on a traditional patchwork quilt — Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Peppa Pig. These things exist inside a society that no longer patchwork quilts. The idea is to refresh something that is past, and make it trendy and cool again.”

        In addition to these paintings — all of which are presented on pieces of disassembled vintage furniture, wood that Masai lovingly restores with varnish and beeswax — ‘MEAT my Friends’ features roughly a dozen lithographs culled from the pages of a vintage picture book on wildflowers, each illustration newly embellished with paintings of bees.

        Bees are a signature throughout Louis’s body of work: in 2016, he traveled to the U.S. to mount ‘The Art of Beeing,’ a two-month, 12-city mural painting tour that commemorated 20 different endangered stateside species, each stitched up by bees. “I can paint a bee in less than hour, which means I can paint in some pretty illegal spots and just get away with it and run away in time,” Louis chuckles. “Everybody can appreciate the connection between bees and humans, and everybody knows that bees are under pressure from pesticides. They’re nature’s slave, and nature doesn’t function without pollinators. If the bees are gone, we’re fucked.”

        ‘MEAT my Friends’ extends far beyond the two-dimensional work gracing Vertical Gallery’s walls. ‘What came first?’ was created from papier-mâché chickens fabricated using broken-down blue cardboard egg boxes: these chickens dwell inside a wire cage with mirrors on three of its four sides, and gallery visitors can look inside to experience what Louis calls “an eternal battery-farm chicken coop.” (Battery cages are the principal form of housing for laying hens: they are deemed to reduce aggression and cannibalism, but severely restrict movement and limit many natural behaviors, often resulting in exactly the outcomes they were developed to neutralize.)

        “Because we’re in lockdown, and people can’t get to the gallery in the same numbers, I’m going to open up this show to the web,” Louis says. “Inside the eyes of the chickens are webcams. You can be invited into the gallery via the internet, and you can look through the webcams into an infinite chicken cage. There also will be wild, free-range robotic chickens. These robots can be manipulated by somebody sitting at home on their computer. You’ll get a login code, and you’ll be able to move the chicken around the gallery.”

        ‘What came first?’ encourages viewers to consider the difference between a battery-farm chicken egg and a free-range chicken egg, Louis explains. “For me, it’s very important to find many different avenues to coax someone into the conversation about the food we eat.”

        Louis was raised in Surrey, just southwest of London adjoining the River Thames, and grew up directly above his parents’ restaurant. His father, a chef, was himself an accomplished painter as well, and his creative philosophies and techniques remain a fundamental influence on Masai’s own work: “He taught me how lines connect, and about the interrelations between colors,” he says.

        After completing a fine art degree at Falmouth University in Cornwall, Louis relocated to London, where he honed his patchwork-quilt ethos across a series of striking, large-scale murals depicting rare and endangered species. In 2018, Louis curated ‘Missing,’ an installation at London’s Crypt Gallery (a genuine catacomb below St. Pancras Church); he’s also exhibited in Berlin, Paris and Los Angeles, and created murals throughout the U.K. as well as the States, France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest, Shanghai and Malawi. Louis currently lives in seaside Margate, and is at work on a fully-illustrated vegan cookbook.

        Louis Masai
        MEAT my Friends
        May 1 – 22, 2021
        Opening day: Saturday May 1, 11a-6p
        Vertical Gallery, 1016 N. Western Ave., Chicago

        Water The Plants! curated by Joseph Renda Jr.

        Water The Plants! curated by Joseph Renda Jr.

        Save the date for: Water The Plants! curated by Joseph Renda Jr., April 24 – May 30 at Vertical Project Space


        This special exhibition includes collaborative paintings between: Joseph Renda Jr. and: Collin Van Der Sluijs, Sergio Farfan, Steve Seeley, Jason Brammer, Karl Jahnke, Kate Lewis, Kayla Mahaffey, Wingchow, and Grant William Thye.

        Plus hand painted flower pots by: Adam Augustyn, Ant Ben, Bird Milk, Blake Jones, Elloo, Emmy Star Brown, Fedz, Goosenek, Vivian Le, James Sturnfield, Laura Catherwood, Merlot, Samantha Decarlo, Sentrock, and Tracy Danet.

        Plus the release of Joseph Renda Jr.'s first sculpture.

        Opening weekend, Sat & Sun April 24 & 25, will be by reservation appointment only. CLICK HERE to make a reservation

        Email us at to be added to the digital collector's preview. 

        Vertical Gallery's 8-Year Anniversary Group Show!

        We are very excited to announce our 8-Year Anniversary Group Show! April 3 - 24, 2021.

        The exhibition will feature: Ador, Alex Face, Ben Frost, Blek le Rat, Brad Novak, Collin van der Sluijs, Copyright, Chris Cunningham, Chris Uphues, Eelus, Eric Pause, Expanded Eye, Fake, Grant William Thye, Griffin Goodman, Hama Woods, Hebru Brantley, Joseph Renda Jr., Kayla Mahaffey, Langston Allston, Lefty Out There, Martin Whatson, Matthew Small, Mau Mau, Melanie Tatangelo, Pipsqueak Was Here!!!, Pizza in the Rain, Pure Evil, Sergio Farfan, Steve Seeley, Stikki Peaches, 2MIL, and Word to Mother.

        A print release from Pizza in the Rain on opening day (April 3).

        A print release from Kayla Mahaffey April 14 (in-person only).

        A book & print release from Hebru Brantley at the end of April (in-person only).

        More details soon!

        Email us at to be added to the collector's preview.

        OakOak returns with 'some parts of parts'

        Vertical Project Space is very excited to present OakOak's newest collection of work. "some parts of parts" features 32 A4-sized original drawings.

        Born and based in France, OakOak is a world-renowned street artist who specializes in creative, place-based interventions. Playing upon existing elements of the environment, OakOak wields his wit and humor to enliven public spaces and draw our attention to oft-overlooked details of our urban habitats. Accessible and endearing, his street work draws on comic books, video games, tv shows, and other beloved staples of pop culture.

        Whether it’s a sewage cover turned PacMan game or a stop sign altered to warn against climate change, OakOak’s interventions transform the mundane elements of city life into amusing and inspiring pieces of art. Declared one of Juxtapoz’s all-time favorite street artists, OakOak has been featured everywhere from BBC Brazil to Beijing’s biggest newspaper and has shown in galleries worldwide.

        Oak Oak "some parts of parts"
        March 13 - April 11, 2021
        Vertical Project Space
        2006 W. Chicago Ave. #1R (entrance in the alley off Damen)
        Open weekends 12-5.