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Indulging at SOFA

By Justin Sondak in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 3, 2007 8:00PM

A few minutes walk from Bubba Gump, Shakespeare Theater and the IMAX is this weekend’s Exposition of Sculpture Objects and Functional Art (SOFA) Chicago, bringing around 100 similarly eclectic galleries to Navy Pier’s Festival Hall. Considering the show’s artistic star power and the stacks of bills changing hands, Friday afternoon seemed positively mellow. Visitors seemed more intent on finding that perfect trinket for their living room or personal adornment than investing in the next Picasso.

reconciliation_2007_11.jpgAn artist hacking into a spinning block at the 4:30 wood art demonstration set the tone: “Materials are important, but ideas are far more important than materials.” Through Sunday, the Festival Hall is wall-to-wall packed with art objects embodying ideas—love and family, home, an idealized past and a foreboding future, and of course, more than a few works about being an artist.

If you go to SOFA, allow at least 3-4 hours for gawking and consider riding the Art Shuttle from River North or the MCA. If you can’t be there but want in on the action, the “Offering Reconciliation” online auction of ceramic bowls continues through 2 p.m. Sunday, with proceeds benefiting Parents Circle – Family Forum, an organization of bereaved families working for Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation.

Highlights from behind the temporary walls after the jump.

liacook_2007_11.jpgObject Lust in Aisle 100: A tribute to Lia Cook’s gorgeous, intricately woven work (at left) hangs mere feet from Sun Koo Yuh’s Long Beach Summer, a glazed porcelain totem pole of characters straddling the natural and mythological.

Biggest Show Offs: Habatat Galleries (Michigan) trucked over a storefront’s worth of glasswork. Best of the lot was Emily Brock’s frosted fairy tales, delicate pieces straight out of a child’s dream.

Best Endowed Exhibitor
: In the prime spot between the entrance and “Cafe SOFA,” Holsten Galleries (of Stockbridge, MA) woos visitors with the work of two living legends, glass blowers Dale Chihuly and Lino Tagliapietra. Their work's in virtually every major world city, but seeing them in the same space is a treat.

gymnast_2007_11.jpgFun With a Capital F: Christian Faur hand-casts and assembles 5000 crayons for each of his portraits, three-dimensional trips back to childhood. David Bennett’s blown glass and bronze sculptures (sample at right) eloquently capture the human form in full gymnastic glory. Eden Gallery has David Kracov’s newest Looney Toons shadow boxes, the only licensed work of its kind.

Vacation on the brain: Arizona and Paris were well represented by Santa Fe Clay and Modus, respectively.

Images via SOFA