The Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art is proud to present a retrospective exhibition celebrating the life, work and many friendships of Chicago artist and gallerist Joseph Welna (d. 2007). Part of Welna's attraction is the mystery that surrounds his life and art. Although it is well known that Joseph "Joe" Welna was a generous benefactor of the arts in Chicago via his tireless work for over 25 years as founder of the Welna gallery - very little is known about his career as an artist.
While directing the Welna gallery and teaching commercial design at the American Academy of Art in Chicago Joe was an inspirational figure to many artists, designers and curators alike. Yet all the while he remained very secretive about his own work, thus UIMA is proud to present the first ever comprehensive Joseph Welna retrospective exhibition. The show includes several large scale paintings on canvas, silk-screen prints, and sculptural pieces in wood, bronze and polished steel. Not to be missed are the mesmerizing ‘colorist' striped paintings produced between 1973 and 75, some of which span over 9 feet in length!
Besides the work of Welna, the exhibition also features a selection of pieces by some of his very good friends. Joe's role as director of Welna gallery put him in close contact with many well known Chicago artists. During the 1970s, he was especially influential in providing necessary support and encouragement to many young, aspiring and immigrant artists. Thus the exhibition will also include the work of such well known Chicago artists as Joseph Burlini, Robert Cottingham, Richard Hunt, Robert Middaugh, Konstantin Milonadis, and Richard Schmid.