Australian sculptors, an Israeli cartoonist, and a furniture maker meet on Navy Pier | Art Sidebar | Chicago Reader

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Australian sculptors, an Israeli cartoonist, and a furniture maker meet on Navy Pier

Together again: SOFA and the Intuit Show of Folk and Outsider Art


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Last year the exhibition of Sculpture Objects and Functional Art took on a roommate. For the first time, SOFA linked up with another annual event, the Intuit Show of Folk and Outsider Art, at Navy Pier's festival hall. Their union continues this time around with a joint three-day show featuring 80 galleries and dealers, plus lectures and special exhibits. Some highlights:

Among the many artists represented at SOFA are Tanija and Graham Carr (Habatat Galleries), an Australian couple who sculpt objects—especially bowls—out of leather and bronze; Dawn Walden (Jane Sauer Gallery), whose Ojibwa heritage informs the design of her baskets made from various types of tree bark, tree root, grass, and even porcupine quill; John Chamberlain (KM Fine Arts), who since the 1950s has sculpted with crushed ribbons of steel; and Vivian Beer (Wexler Gallery), a furniture maker who says her sleek, painted-steel pieces develop from a process of "sophisticated daydreaming."

Israeli cartoonist Michel Kichka curated Cartooning in Conflict, a special exhibit of editorial cartoons on the Palestinian-Israeli tragedy presented by Parents Circle-Families Forum, an organization for those from both sides who've lost members of their immediate families. Two PCFF members, Robi Damelin and Seham Abu-Awwad, lecture Friday, 3:30 PM. Among the other special exhibits: Two Generations, comprising work by mid-20th-century jeweler Earl Pardon and his son Tod, and Monomater, a show of objects made from a single material by metalsmiths from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan.

Images by iconic Chicago vernacular artist Henry Darger (Carl Hammer Gallery) are among the attractions at the Intuit show. Other outsiders represented include Milwaukee-based painter Eugene Von Bruenchenhein (Carl Hammer), who created more than a thousand apocalyptic landscapes; William Traylor (Just Folk), who was born a slave on an Alabama plantation and started drawing when he was in his 80s; and another Alabama native, Thornton Dial (Russell Bowman Art Advisory), whose 30 years as a welder for Pullman Standard paid off in large-scale steel sculptures.

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