Tethered to My World, Contemporary Figure Painting: Location Chicago
An exhibition organized by Phyllis Bramson, that deals with contemporary figuration in all forms, chosen from Chicago painters or artists who regularly show in Chicago. Continuing the tradition of using the figure, that began with Ivan Albright, Seymour Rosofsky, early Ellen Lanyon, Leon Golub and Peter Saul, among others showing earlier in Chicago. Using the figure as a metaphor for the human condition, rather then necessarily an exact reflection... and often that reflection, is abstracted OR IMPLIED as well.
Bramson decided to arrange “Tethered to My Word, Contemporary Figure Painting: Location, Chicago”, out of a certain amount of frustration, feeling that there seemed to be little interest in following this thread these days, in terms of organized exhibitions. Choosing painters she has followed throughout the years; early Ellen Lanyon and Nicholas Africano anchor the exhibition, and their work still looks fresh and vital. The work selected varies widely - Judith Raphael’s beautiful craftsmanship is in direct opposition to David Sharpe’s almost childish, albeit very sophisticated painterly moves.
Each of these artists require the figure as a reference, to chart or map the human condition, always looking for a personal connection. Often presenting multilayered situations that can induce many narrative interpretations, the work in the exhibition may walk along various lines between heartfelt sentiment, irreverence and satire.
Finally, Bramson's main criteria was that the paintings communicate to the viewer. There are basic human needs we all experience: the need to be loved, the psychological consequences of being human, and the twists and turns of truth manipulated with duplicitous thinking. The artists included are genuinely intrigued by the changing and challenging peccadilloes of life.