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James Jankowiak

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Chicago IL

Birth year

Lives in
Chicago IL

Works in
Chicago IL


graffiti/street-art, abstract, modern, installation


Over the last five years, my work has centered around my fascination with mutation through replication. Since childhood I’ve consistently gravitated towards natural history, establishing a logical direction of investigation through painting. By using simple form, I organically build intricate compositions based on a process of layering and repetition, emphasizing the evolution of the work. Just as a paleontologist meticulously scratches at a piece of stone to unearth a prized fossil, I methodically transform my surfaces one small step at a time until the painting finally reveals itself. Some of the forms may recall the same experience a fossil hunter has, discovering rows of ribs, teeth, distorted by time and nature, in a state of a recognizable death throe, a testament to the life left behind.

All of my current work uses flat surface, repetitive line and boisterous color. When a new work begins, the empty color field begins a slow transformation, one line at a time, that changes hue line to line. They also tend to reveal my hand, as lines clearly begin to change size, angle and contour… when the work is in early stages, I clearly feel a “leap of faith” moment, where I firmly believe at the beginning that this process is meaningful, and that the object will retain painterly energy, resonating life. Constantly converging the lines begin to take on unmeditated form. I love the idea of using painting as a method to investigate the form making process, it deliberately slows down an action most would simply knock out with a methodical, thought out form. I like to leave the mystery intact, not only for myself , but allowing the viewer to come to their own conclusions.



Columbia College 1987-1988
School of the Art Institute of Chicago 1988-1989

Solo Exhibitions
2010 The Architrouve, Chicago, Il., “Leao of Faith”
2010 Co-Prosperity Shere, Chicago, Il., “Entoptic Phenomena”
2010 De Zwarte Ruyter Gallery, Rotterdam, NL., “James Jankowiak”
2010 Beverly Art Center, Chicago, IL. “Homegrown”, Works , 2005-2010
2009 Antena, Chicago, IL. “James Jankowiak”
2008 32nd Urban, Chicago, IL. “Southside Spiritual”
2007 Blackbird, Chicago, IL. “Salon Series”
2007 Mustache Gallery, Chicago, IL. “Dirty Little Whirlwind”
2001 Century 900, Chicago, IL. “Snap”

Selected Group Shows
2010 Gallery 414, Fort Worth, Texas.“Shikawwa”
2010 Next, Art Chicago, Antena Gallery, Chicago, IL. 2009 Version Festival, Chicago, IL NFO/XPO, “I Against I”
2009 2640 Space Chicago, IL. “Unusual Suspects” Installation
2008 Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL.. “Living and Working”
2007 Northwestern University Settlement House, Chicago, IL. “Summer Show”
2006 Lloyd Dobler Gallery, Chicago, IL. “Wondergems” curated by Patricia Courson
2006 Highland Park Art Center, Highland Park, IL. “Remembering Childhood”
2005 Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL. “Artists and Their Kids”
2005 Scion Culver City Gallery Los Angeles, CA. “Installation”
2004 1920 Gallery, SAIC Roger Brown House, Chicago, IL. “Throwing a Spin in the Works”
1999 The Butcher Shop, Chicago, IL. “Ten by Ten Release”
1993 Mary Leigh Block Gallery, Evanston, IL. “From the Border” curator, Johannes Birringer

Awards, Media
2010 Illinois Arts Council “Individual Artist Support Initiative Grant ”
2010 Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Chicago “CAAP Grant”
2010 Hyde Park Art Center “Open Critique Program” Facilitated by Susan Snodgrass and Dawoud Bey
2010 Trendbeheer “James Jankowiak at De Zwarte Ruyter” Coverage by Niels Post, Rotterdam, NL.
2010 Time Out Chicago “James Jankowiak at the Beverly Art Center” Review by Lauren Weinberg
2010 Jettison, Volume 4 “The Metamorphosis” written by Stan Goluvchuk
2009 Chicago Tribune “Chicago Art Galleries, Fall Exhibits for Every Personality”written by Lauren Viera
2008 New City, “Recommended”, review of 32nd Urban show, written by Sara McCool
2007 Timeout Chicago “Beak Preview” article on Blackbird exhibition, written by Judith Sutton
2006 City of Chicago Arts for Transit Program , finalist for CTA project, 35th Street station
2004 National Public Radio “8:48”, interview with Sylvia Ewing on teaching artists
2001 The Reader Featured artist in “Culture Club”, written by Deanna Isaacs
2000 Chicago White Sox, “100th Anniversary: Sox History Mural” 256’ timeline mural



Recent Exhibits

James Jankowiak participated in these exhibits:

Oct, 2010 Leap of Faith
The Architrouve
Jul, 2010 Religare: Artists explore the concept of Religion
Apr, 2010 Antena@NEXT
NEXT Art Fair
Jun, 2009 The Synesthetic Plan of Chicago: A Multi-Sensory Journey
Chicago Cultural Center
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