August 27, 2015 § Leave a comment
When I was a young adult I longed to be free like a tumbleweed. The tiny shrub doesn’t grow upright, it grows crooked as it follows the sun. With age that tumbleweed becomes unhitched from earth. It begins to wander by rolling and hovering above the land on currents of air. Wind creates a course filled with both speed and stillness.
-Lee Tracy, Held Up
In her projects, Lee Tracy embraces the energy of the terrestrial—using her hands to dig into the red clay of the New Mexico desert, ’cleansing’ symbolic shrouds in crystal lake waters in Maine, or spending days collaborating with the Onon River in Mongolia. But these large installations are only part of her prolific media-spanning, socially-driven work over the past decade.
As an artist, she leaves no medium untouched– she explores painting, writing, drawing, installation and sculpture. In her oil paintings she plays with the vital lyricism of color, form, & texture creating large pieces with tremendous presence. Often playing off nature, the environment, philosophical ideas, and deep personal experiences, her works feel at once emotionally vivid and alive; projecting her voice through magnificent hues and an expressive brush.
The upcoming exhibition hosted by the Josef Glimer Gallery and The Arts Palette, Memories from the Future, will feature Lee Tracy‘s paintings accompanied by a theatrical reading of the artist’s diary by Sheila Willis and music by cellist Lilianna Wosko.
Opening reception is Thursday, September 10th 6:00pm-9:00pm at Josef Glimer Gallery.
Reading begins at 7:30pm.
Hope to see you there!
February 27, 2015 § Leave a comment
“…I like that ‘The Chicago Angels Project’ is straight-forward enough to be an uncluttered memorial.” —Christopher Borrelli, Chicago Tribune
“You can feel their spirits lifting off the wall.” —Exhibition co-organizer Laurie Glenn, in an interview with WDCB Public Radio
“There’s something compelling about seeing the violence done to young people through the eyes of their peers.” —Sue Ontiveros, Chicago Sun-Times
December 19, 2014 § Leave a comment
December 10, 2014 § Leave a comment
Ellen Holtzblatt: From Birth to Memory opened on November 21 to an excellent turnout, including a large group of anthropology students from Heidelberg University in Ohio.
As part of her artist’s talk, Holtzblatt walked visitors from painting to painting. She shared how the works were affected by her most inmate memories, including travels to rural Scotland, the death of her father, and her withdrawal and return to art-making.
One of the highlighted paintings was Holtzblatt’s self portrait I Have Let You See It With Your Own Eyes, a transitional piece that led the artist from her ancestral-focused Yizkor series to her nature-rich, escapist Morning paintings. Gallery director Josef Glimer likens the piece and Holtzblatt’s subsequent landscapes to works from the 19th-century Barbizon school, a pre-Impressionist movement in which painters fled bustling Paris life and Neoclassical aesthetics to draw inspiration from nature in the French countryside.
View the reception’s Facebook album here. We look forward to many new visitors to the exhibit before we close for the holidays on December 23!
October 29, 2014 § Leave a comment
Ellen Holtzblatt is a Chicago-based artist who creates paintings, woodcut prints and artist books. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally at venues including the Museum of Biblical Art in New York, Inselgalerie in Berlin, Harold Washington Library and the Chicago Cultural Center. Her work is also conserved in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection and The Center for Book Arts in New York. Many of her paintings utilize religious texts and old photographs to reveal a paradoxical access to and disconnection from the past. In preparation for Holtzblatt’s exhibit From Birth to Memory, opening at Josef Glimer Gallery on November 21, assistant director Nicole Rhoden sat down with the artist in her Rogers Park studio to discuss how her practice is shaped by spirituality, familial dynamics and the mystery that lies between personal and collective memory.
Nicole Rhoden: Can you talk a little about what you’re trying to summon or access by creating these images?
Ellen Holtzblatt: I’m trying to summon my dead relatives. They’re like a séance! [laughs] I’m just joking. I think, not just with these images, but every time I’m painting, I’m working from a pretty internal place. So it’s mostly about making connections. When I’m painting, that’s when I feel the most connected to myself emotionally, with who I am as a person, and in general—just feel connected to living. When I go through periods when I’m not painting, I feel very disconnected. There’s a discordant quality to my life.
NR: All of the paintings I’ve seen do have a similar feeling of connecting with ancestors.
EH: When I first started my other series, Yizkor, my father died on my birthday. He had been sick for a while. There were a few years that had sort of a surreal quality, because you’re supposed to celebrate your birthday. I’ve heard that people who are dying, if there’s an event coming up, often will die on that day—on an anniversary, or on a birthday, something that has some emotional meaning. Of course I would think of him on the day he died, but now it’s especially built into my calendar. I can’t celebrate my birthday without also remembering the day of his passing. They’re eternally connected.
After he died, I said Kaddish [a ritual prayer] every day for a year—that’s a Jewish tradition. There are many purposes for it, but one of the purposes is when you’re mourning, like the anniversary of someone’s death. It depends on who it is and your relationship to them; in the case of a parent, you say it for eleven months. Then there’s another prayer you say four times a year to remember people from your life who have died—it’s called Yizkor. I remember the first Yizkor we had after I finished saying Kaddish. It’s actually more about life than it is about death.
Then I started also painting images of my mother when she was younger, after going through old photographs and taking some photos from her house. She kind of wondered [why I was painting her] because I had titled the series Yizkor and she’s a living person [laughs]. But it started becoming not just about people who had died, but also about the spirit that was—the spirit of a person.
At different points in our lives, we are these different parts of ourselves. It’s kind of a strange thing. I have memories from when I was younger, where I can’t imagine why I behaved in certain ways. I’m trying to access that, to remember, “Where was I at that point?” I think everybody at different points in their lives has that. We evolve, but as we’re evolving, we really don’t lose those parts of ourselves. We are still that person, but we also become different people. « Read the rest of this entry »
September 25, 2014 § Leave a comment
We’ve just acquired some wonderful new works by Chicago-based artist Ellen Holtzblatt. Holzblatt’s ethereal paintings examine identity through personal and ancestral memory, found images, and religious texts. She was most recently featured in the solo exhibition Memory and Birds at the Chicago Cultural Center. Stay tuned for more information about her upcoming show From Birth to Memory, opening at Josef Glimer Gallery on November 21!