A New Approach to the Chicago Art Scene – ‘REVERIE’ RecapArtist Replete
For this blog we’re joined by guest writer Kyle Lilly. Make sure to check out his blog for more information about Chicago art culture and rising talent within the city. Kyle joined us to give a behind the scenes look and an unbiased opinion on our recent show ‘REVERIE‘. This was the first solo exhibition by Chicago artist Rawooh.
I have always been a fan of modern and street art. A question that has been on my mind is “what goes into the making of an art show? How much time and effort does it take for a show to happen?” About two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to answer these questions at Midwest Auto Collision in Avondale. Artist Rawooh and Curator Artist Replete, organized the show, Reverie.
Reverie is defined as, “the state of being pleasantly lost in one’s thoughts; a daydream.” Keep this in mind as you continue to read.
For the last year, I had asked Matthew (the founder of Artist Replete) about getting more involved in the world of modern art curation and exhibiting art. When the opportunity came to get involved with their upcoming show, I leaped at the chance.
Our first collaborative task was hanging a larger collection of 4ft x 5ft pieces. While putting the work up, I couldn’t help but notice Rawooh’s mural. If you haven’t seen this mural, you would be truly missing out. There is no way I could give it justice with a description. This vibrant and smoky menagerie of female hands and faces demanded attention against the white brick walls. With all of the intricate detail and color of this piece, my mind was blown to the other side of the city when I was told that it only took Rawooh a day to complete it.
On the other side of the room were blank metal walls, an area that is normally used for painting cars. This transformation created a different feel for the show. We propped up two colorful pieces. The first one was called ‘Who Knew The Devil Could Slow Dance’. This was a square canvas portraying the back top view of a French braided woman dancing the night away. Both figures seen in the piece were entangled by shadow in an eerie but romantic setting. This piece would later sell that night.
In the middle of the room was the husk of what was once a white car. Artist Replete used this to showcase a large wooden pallet Rawooh had painted earlier that day.
Halfway through the set up we were joined by Kristina, Matthew’s partner in Artist Replete and life. Following her arrival was special guest star, Rawooh. Both added the remaining details to the set up. Beside the Gundam piece on the side of the van, we decided to prop two of Rawooh’s portraits up on tires that we rolled from the other side of the shop. Art on tires?? Normally, this would be frowned upon in the traditional art world. However, this is no traditional business and Rawooh is no traditional artist.
A vehicle with the body of an ice cream truck was used as a back drop. In front of the truck door, we used this same energy to prop up a longer wooden piece “She Don’t Wanna Be Saved“. This piece depicted a purple woman against a darker purple background. She looks into the beyond in a forlorn manner with her two sets of pupils per eye. The strands of her hair stand up and become four hands with extended fingers clawing and grabbing at the space that surrounds her. Somehow I convinced Matthew and Rawooh that my favorite piece of the show was a painting called, “In The Back Room of A Dream,” which stood out against the van’s windshield. This piece was a highlighter yellow painting of a woman in a passionate embrace with a skull. All done on a repurposed speed limit sign. The use of a non-traditional painting surface really made this piece stand out not only on the truck, but also at the show overall.
Once the show finally started at 7PM, I was exhausted from the lifting & curating. Despite this, it was really worthwhile to see people starting to pour into the space and admire Rawooh’s pieces. The array of different mediums used (canvas, wood, napkins, paper, wooden pallets) as well as the unique space helped elevate this show to new heights. To me, this show represented what I want to see more of in art shows. It was truly refreshing to have an art show outside the walls of a traditional gallery, as it really allowed Rawooh’s work to shine and to be recognized in the best way possible. Be sure to check out the video recap if you haven’t.