7445 N. Campbell Chicago, IL 60645                773.458.3150                [email protected]

Concept Driven

Michael Dinges






Fred Ellenberger

Steven Carrelli

Ruth Cook




This 4-person group show provides each artist with the platform of a small "solo" show within the broader scope of Concept Driven. What I wanted to do was tip my hat to the "conceptual", working with artists whose ideas are well executed and produced by their own hand. Also, within the context of the show, the art and artists would be supported by each other, so to speak, as I normally don't exhibit conceptual work.

Steven Carrelli   In this current body of work, Carrelli creates abstract compositions using mundane household flotsam and jetsam: masking tape, corrugated cardboard, notebook paper and Post-It notes. Using these as raw material, he arranges them formally, frontally, and elegantly. Then working with a combination of egg tempera and oil paint, he creates trompe l'oeil paintings from observation, reproducing the original models at life-size. The result is at once an illusion and an abstraction in which the formal composition and the painstaking technique are at odds with the humble source materials represented. They are intended to be both serious and funny, playful and contemplative.

Ruth Cook   Possibility, reality, and perception of existence, are a lot of weight for a small piece of bubble gum to carry. Though chewing gum and its paraphernalia are not often on the top of a list of liminal objects, Ruth Cook's most recent work, The Poetics of Failure, or Because I thought about Transcendentalism all the time in Fourth Grade, is an installation of gum wrappers as glittered airplanes, simple cloud drawings on lined legal paper and the sound of the artist attempting to make the airplanes cross the dimensional barrier. Other works in the show include sculptural aspects, specifically�chewing gum bubbles cast solid in iron, and an archeology of gold-leafed found chewed gum.

Michael Dinges   Historical instruments of navigation plus the tools and crafts of the 19th century sailor have been the inspiration for Dinges' latest work. These pieces do not use ivory or whale bone to express ideas about globalization but instead, he's chosen to do engravings on PVC plastic because it is both ubiquitous and toxic in nature. Dinges uses the traditional practice of scrimshaw and trench art to comment on the changing nature of labor and global trade. In the past, scrimshaw was the work of idle sailors engraving the teeth or bones of whales. Images were often of the struggles of whaling or scenes of ships, exotic destinations or maritime mythology. Trench art was the engraving of the brass shells left over from battle. This work was made in the idle time between battles or while recuperating in the hospital. Formally, Dinges uses images of container ships, trade goods, and American iconic imagery and slogans to re-enforce, subvert and explore contemporary ideas of what it is like to live and work in the whirlwind that is globalization.

Fred Ellenberger   What you see in Ellenberger's work is quite simply the things you would expect to see in a workshop, possibly in the basement or garage. These objects have to do with life, with the lives of all of us. They represent work, day-in, day-out, and we may have to struggle with ourselves to do the work. Everything appears to conform to reality, but as details reveal themselves, they lead the viewer to a question that arises which is - What is the world we live in?