Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Museum of Art



Steve Christensen

The Contemporary Arts Council Presents New Icon at LUMA

Annual Exhibition Set to Open on Saturday, June 5

CHICAGO, May 17, 2010  New Icon, the 16th annual exhibition sponsored by Chicago’s Contemporary Arts Council (CAC), opens at the Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA) on Saturday, June 5. This exhibition continues the CAC’s long tradition of supporting the local art community by presenting nine Chicago-based contemporary artists. New Icon will be on view through Sunday, August 1, 2010.

New Icon is a group exhibition that explores iconography in contemporary society, employing a broad interpretation of the spiritual. Working in a variety of media—sculpture, painting, drawing, and video—these artists present objects and ideas that reflect definitions and attitudes about the things in our lives that hold meaning. By creating new interpretations of an old definition through personal and public relationships to symbols and signs, the artists reassess iconography.

The curator of New Icon, Britton Bertran, said of the exhibition, “LUMA is an ideal venue because of the museum’s tagline ‘art illuminating the spirit.’ I hope the exhibition will cause viewers to question what constitutes an icon.” From the socio-political to abstract metaphors, New Icon challenges the ritual and the object, as well as our relationships to them. Through historical, spiritual, social, and conceptual approaches, a new future might be discovered.

Artists in New Icon
The artists featured in New Icon include Zachary Buchner, Pamela Fraser, Carrie Gundersdorf, Dan Gunn, Diana Guerrero-Maciá, Brennan McGaffey, William J. O’Brien, Sze Lin Pang, and Kevin Wolff.

Zachary Buchner is a sculptor who uses common materials to create abstract objects that retain an inkling of traditional molded forms akin to busts of religious or political figures. These stand-alone objects placed on top of artist-built pedestals represent and question the complex relationship society has with reverence.

The spare abstract paintings of Pamela Fraser use color as a signifier, raising the status of color to iconic. Through the relationship of one color to another within a single painting, as well as from one painting to another, viewers are encouraged to understand the impact of color in their own lives.

The collages of Carrie Gundersdorf extend her prolonged study of otherworldly astral events to a cut-and-paste, process-oriented technique. The results create a sense of awe.

Dan Gunn creates sculptural installations that take the act of seeing into another dimension by realizing the aggregation of materials—from found to handmade—to create exponential possibilities. Akin to shrines, these sculptures transport the viewer to another plane of awareness.

Diana Guerrero-Maciá’s fabric-based works use the daily language of signs and symbols. Her literal presentations, which are not quite paintings nor quite craft, convey the positive and negative aspects of the science of semiotics.

Through the use of ephemeral items, Brennan McGaffey promotes different kinds of social interaction. His stickers, letters, pamphlets, and mailers promote his own semi-secret events and share the appearance of corporate branding, but with a different purpose and intent.

William J. O’Brien’s sculpture and works on paper combine to make an emotional installation that is predicated on a spiritual relationship with humanity. Made with an accumulation of materials, the corpse-like sculpture lies in front of abstract ink drawings. Although evocative of a tomb, it is a celebration of life.

The audio and video installation of Sze Lin Pang is a playful, yet serious, interpretation of how language can be a source of anxiety, confusion, and relief. Here, language as a symbol and the symbols of language create an unconventional iconography that demonstrates how society’s dependence on comprehension can also lead to less idealized results.

Kevin Wolff’s figurative paintings evolve from a long creative process that includes photography, drawing, and molded clay during which the original idea has been abstracted and refigured. The representational paintings further intensify the significance of the creative process implying an adoration of human form and nature, as the subjects are frozen in their final state of being.

Exhibition Details
A catalogue, with essays by Dan Gunn, Jason Foumberg, and Britton Bertran, will be available at the museum’s gift shop. The exhibition was organized with the assistance of the artists, the staff of the Loyola University Museum of Art, and the Exhibition Committee of the Contemporary Arts Council. Support was also provided by Casey Kaplan Gallery, Andrew Rafacz Gallery, Traywick Contemporary, and Shane Campbell Gallery.

Public Programs

Walk-thru with the Curator
Tuesday, June 22
6 p.m.
LUMA, 820 N. Michigan Avenue

Come and learn about the artists featured in New Icon and gain insight into the exhibition process. Curator Britton Bertran and select artists will lead the discussion. This event is free and open to the public.

A Musical Response to New Icon
Tuesday, June 29
6 p.m.
LUMA, 820 N. Michigan Avenue

Join us for a performance of chamber music inspired by the work on view in New Icon. This contemporary music program will explore styles and techniques, representing some of the recent trends in American music. By combining electronic music with mixed media and traditional with avant-garde styles, this concert will provide the audience with an emblematic representation of the creative American spirit. This event is free and open to the public.

A Look at the Contemporary Arts Council
Tuesday, July 27
6 p.m.
LUMA, 820 N. Michigan Avenue

Board member Tim Flood will explain the origin of the Contemporary Arts Council (CAC) and address the mission of this non-profit organization. Showing examples of art work previously exhibited, Flood will briefly review the first 15 CAC annual exhibitions before discussing CAC’s role in the production of New Icon. This event is free and open to the public.

About The Contemporary Arts Council
The Contemporary Arts Council is an independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1994 by a group of art enthusiasts devoted to supporting Chicago-area contemporary art and artists, and expanding members’ appreciation of the diversity of Chicago’s arts scene. The CAC’s mission is to support, learn about, and enjoy the Chicago-area art scene with an interesting group of like-minded art enthusiasts including artists, collectors, and business and professional people of all types.

About LUMA
Opened in 2005, the Loyola University Museum of Art is dedicated to exploring, promoting, and understanding art and artistic expression that illuminates the enduring spiritual questions of all cultures and societies. As a museum with an interest in education and educational programming, LUMA reflects the University’s Jesuit mission and is dedicated to helping people of all creeds explore the roots of their faith and spiritual quests. Located at Loyola University Chicago’s Water Tower Campus, the museum occupies the first three floors of the University’s historic Lewis Towers on Chicago’s famous Michigan Avenue. For more information, visit the museum’s website at LUC.edu/luma.

Art illuminating the spirit!