In November 1993 Chicago Tribune art critic Alan Artner called Dennis Kowalski "one of the few real maverick artists in the city, one who occasionally has prefigured here kinds of work that eventually caught on in more open art centers."
Kowalski, a sculpture professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a 25-year veteran of the local scene, has exhibited both at nonprofit spaces, such as N.A.M.E. and Randolph Street Gallery, and at commercial galleries in River North, including Deson-Saunders and Mindy Oh. Kowalski's 1993 Beret show "How Does Astroturf and Water Mix?" had one work consisting of Astroturf patches supporting coils of rubber garden hose. Inside each sculpture was a small black-and-white photo of a nature scene.
"I have an affinity for spaces where there's more of an experimental, risk-taking atmosphere," Kowalski says. " I find them more interesting than hard-core commercial spaces, though I don't have anything against them. With a lot of places, the major concerns are salability and consistent quality. But Ned has always been a lot better at talking to you about your work, making suggestions and observations."
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Nathan Mandell.