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Group Exhibition
Around the Coyote
1815-25 W Divison St., Chicago, IL 60622
November 15, 2008 - December 20, 2008

Photography Competition at ATC
by Thea Liberty Nichols

Around the Coyote’s (ATC) mid-season group show, on view for the next few weeks, features the work of nineteen* emerging Chicago photographers in an exhibition curated by Chicago gallerist Catherine Edelman. Edelman owns and operates Catherine Edelman Gallery, which has devoted itself exclusively to photography since 1987. She also selected the winner of the Second Annual Mary Beth Cregier Award for best in show, an award in memory of ATC’s former director, and also the exhibition’s namesake.

Edelman bestowed the honor on photographer Philip Dembinski, who was reviewed in this column last month. He was given the prize, and subsequent $1000 cash reward, for a grouping of two photographs, one of which was part of his series depicting solitary female figures in domestic interiors, entitled Unexpected Discovery.

Philip Dembinski. Unexpected Discovery. Courtesy of Around the Coyote.


Ranging from a mélange of documentary photography (Laura McGlone), to staged portrait photography (Niki Grangruth) to kinetic sculpture with sound (Sean Culver) the other stand-out works in the exhibition were by Donna Arntzen and Ryan Zoghlin. Arntzen’s Bathroom-Scape is a colored photograph of a middle-class bathroom interior prominently displaying a vinyl shower curtain depicting a team of wild horses charging across a generic plains landscape (seen at top) The same Wild West motif is repeated behind the shower curtain, emblazoned small-scale on the wallpaper trim that encircles the top of the bathroom’s walls, creating a kitschy but endearing interior “landscape.”

Ryan Zoghlin’s excellently crafted silver gelatin prints feature actions shots of skywriters spewing curly-cued smoke and stunt planes performing hair-raising loop-the-loops. The 9” x 11” pictures are printed on glass backed with gold powder, which makes the resulting image twinkle darkly as the white from the black and white photos is replaced by a diffused, reflective layer of antique gold.

ATC's substantial 2,400 square foot gallery is lined with excellent wall space and flanked by windows overlooking both Milwaukee and North Avenue, providing direct natural light. The only catch was matching the many photos on view to their artists, because the minuscule labeling of each work, which was done in pencil directly onto the wall, made it very difficult.

Instead of winding your way through the warren of other studio spaces and galleries that occupy the Flat Iron building when entering through the older, Milwaukee Avenue door, come around to the preferable North Avenue entrance where you can view muralist-in-residence Jesse Brown’s  warm, geometric patterning which climb the walls of the entryway and stairwell on the way up to the main gallery.

--Thea Liberty Nichols

*Jane Fulton Alt, Donna Arntzen, Sarah Beckstrom, Jeremy Bialowas, Andrew Bruah, Sean Culver, Philip Dembinski, Virginia Garramone, Niki Grangruth, Stephen Jensen, Raquel Ladensack, Joyce Lopez, Jorge Manghi, Nate Mathews, Laura McGlone, Christopher Meerdo, Brad Pogatetz, Stephen Shapiro, and Ryan Zoghlin.

Posted by Thea Liberty Nichols on 12/8/08

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