"Mr. Potato Head Goes Steampunk" by Brenda R. Gregory | Steven S. Gregory photo
Updated: October 22, 2012 6:08AM
Union Street Gallery, 1527 Otto Blvd., Chicago Heights, will present a fall national juried exhibit titled “Wanna Play?” from Sept. 26-Oct. 27.
An artists reception, which will be open to the public, will take place from 6-9 p.m. Sept. 28, and many of the artists will be traveling to the Southland to engage the public during the opening reception.
After 72 artists from 21 states across America submitted 165 entries for this show, juror David “Netherland” van Alphen selected 49 pieces. Those works on exhibit will represent painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, digital art, mixed media and sculpture.
“Wanna Play?” is a playful, clever and whimsical exhibit of art that is inspired by toys, games and the act of play.
The artwork represents a range of interpretations of the title. Many of the pieces depict real or invented toys or games, the industry, consumer culture or the roles of toys and games in modern-day Western society.
Some pieces take the form of actual 3-D constructions. There are works of art in “Wanna Play?” that represent the innocence of play and include imagery of childhood relics that invoke nostalgia.
There are also works of art that have a dark and whimsical twist depicting toy mutations or portraying fabricated scenes in which the toys take on a life of their own.
Netherland, the judge for “Wanna Play?” is a professional artist and curator for the Rotofugi Gallery in Chicago.
Curating art for the gallery part of Rotofugi, which sells designer toys and do-it-yourself vinyl toys, Netherland was a natural choice as juror for this exhibit. He brings experience curating and exhibiting this genre of art.
Netherland’s art was another reason he was chosen as a juror for this exhibit.
He said growing up in the 1970s has influenced him greatly, and that is reflected in his art.
Juxtaposing images and his use of color, the new modern context comes through the nostalgic imagery (often toys and games) and helps to isolate and enhance them, creating a montage.
Netherland has shown at many galleries throughout the United States including in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, Phoenix, Ariz., and Detroit. He sold out his first solo show in January 2008.
He has lived and worked in Chicago for the past eight years. From 2004-09, he was owner and gallery director of DvA Gallery in Chicago.
Three cash awards of $500, $350 and $150 will be awarded to artists chosen by the juror at the reception on Sept. 28.
Artists chosen for the exhibit include Jennifer Bittner, Peter Cales, Keri Joy Colestock, Larry Raymond Crist, Jessica Damen, Joe Casey Doyle, Lauren Dunning, Pam Eberlin, Stephanie Evans, Sarah Fagan, Kathi Flood, Jessica Freudenberg-Segal, Jonathan Frey, David Galalis, Irene Ganas, Lea Goldman, Brenda R. Gregory, Liz Heller and Seana Higgins.
Shelly Hokanson, Melissa Huang, Bruce Humphries, Carol Kazwick, Alish Koyanis, Chris Maker, Christine McCullough, Barbara McIntyre, Joe Milosevich, Mic Muhlbauer, Rebecca Mushtare, John Nieman, Michael Pohlman, Randy L. Purcell, Ryan Schultz, Priscilla Ann Smith, Miho Suzuki, Jim Wright and Jave Yoshimoto also are displaying pieces in “Wanna Play?”
Information: (708) 754-2601, unionstreetgallery.org.