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12 Art Gallery Openings You Shouldn't Miss This Season

By Carrie McGath in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 8, 2016 9:34PM

Showing at Galerie F, Penny Pinch, Armour Square, Acrylic on wood,30" x 27"

Instead of starting 2016 with the pressure of the typical New Years resolutions, why not use it as a chance to enjoy one of the true gems of the city, its art scene?

Chicago is a city of distinctive gallery districts that highlight the diverse, creative and industrious edge that is the very backbone of the city's art world. We have compiled a list of some early season gallery openings that look particularly promising. Resolving to take in more culture while being a part of the vibrant and creative arts community that is so much a part of our city sounds much better than those dreaded (however well-meaning) resolutions of years gone by.

River North / Loop

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Daniel Beltrá, Greenland 72014, From the GREENLAND series, 24 x 36", 40 x 60", 48 x 72", mounted digital chromogenic dye print

Catherine Edelman Gallery is an inviting and intimate gallery devoted to contemporary fine art photography and Friday night from 5 p.m to 8 p.m., they will host an opening reception to unveil an exhibition of photographs by Daniel Beltrá called, Ice / Green Lands. The artist's work brings to view our planet's current reality, including its fragile beauty and dwindling resources. Engrossing and deeply poetic, these aerial shots of Iceland and Greenland become a kind of paradox as they possess a hyperbolic detail despite the distance between the artist's lens and the topography way below.

The exhibition goes through March 5. 300 W. Superior St.

Zolla / Lieberman Gallery is kicking off the new year with two exhibitions sharing the space. René Romero Schuler's Identity and Erin Washington's Useful Knowledge open Friday night with a 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. reception. Schuler's philosophically-charged work has a depth created using a variety of media with oils and acrylics such as sand, wax, handmade paper and more to illustrate the winsome figures at play in her work. Washington's use of a variety of media will entice further discussion of surface and what rises to the surface with her cosmically-focused work. These artists exhibited in tandem will make for a stimulating experience and a strong opening night centerpiece.

The exhibitions go through Feb. 6. 325 W. Huron St.

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Mary Lou Zelazny, Lilac Swirl ,Acrylic, collage and oil on canvas ,46" x 32"
Carl Hammer Gallery gives gallery goers the chance to see art by some of the artists represented by this successful eponymous gallery from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday during the opening reception. The group show, Something Old, Something New, will showcase new work by artists represented by the gallery such as Mary Lou Zelazny, CJ Pyle, Hollis Sigler and more. Specializing in contemporary art and Outsider Art, this will be an inclusive and engaging way to discover a range of artists working in an array of mediums.

740 N. Wells St.

Elephant Room may be small, but it is a mighty space that is consistently curated with a daring hand. This Thursday's opening reception for James V. Allen's Fourteen to Seventy-Four is a great way to begin the opening art season a day ahead of many other galleries throughout the city. The title of the series of pattern and color-based works by Allen represents the ages of African Americans who have been shot by police. A haunting and timely exhibition, this exhibit adds another dimension to the senseless, unjust tragedy of victims losing their lives to police violence.

The exhibition goes through Jan. 19. 704 S. Wabash Ave.

West Loop

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Gordon Parks, At Segregated Drinking Fountain, Mobile, Alabama , 1956, Archival pigment print, 34" x 34", Courtesy of and copyright The Gordon Parks Foundation

Rhona Hoffman Gallery is holding an opening reception Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. for its new exhibition, Gordon Parks: A Segregation Story 1956. Documenting daily moments of segregation in America in 1956, his deeply affecting images are timely amid our current time’s continuing battle for civil rights. After the Laquan McDonald shooting here in Chicago, and the nationwide issue of racial profiling, violence and a continued aura of segregation, his quiet yet disarming work will undoubtedly be a exhibition highlight of the season.

The exhibition goes through Feb. 20. 118 N. Peoria St.

Chicago Artists Coalition will deliver a night of divergent, fascinating artists and curators who are a part of the Hatch Projects along with Bolt Residency artist, Alejandro Figueredo Díaz-Perera, for his second solo exhibition, Home Coming (revisited) that investigates the notion of home through objects and images from dreams. In addition to these encompassing exhibitions, Hideous Beast will perform, First Art Work, during the 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. opening reception Friday night.

The exhibitions go through January 28th. 217 N. Carpenter St.

McCormick Gallery is a gallery with a deft focus on American abstract painting and the exhibition that opens Friday, On Edge: Hard Edge Abstraction, will be a kind of ode to its mission to the genre and will include work by Melanie Pankau. Representing over 50 artists, the prolific drive of gallery owner and collector, Thomas McCormick, gallantly comes through in any exhibition the space hosts, showcasing and tirelessly supporting its represented artists.

The exhibition goes through Feb. 27. 838 W. Washington Blvd.

Wicker Park / Logan Square

Once a structure created to provide comfort for commuters along the boulevard system, one of the original nine to survive, Logan Square’s Comfort Station now brings another level of comfort to its visitors. Operating as an arts and performance space, it has a communal feel as it gives emerging artists and their audience a venue for film viewings, visual art shows and performances. Friday, the Tudor-style cottage will host an opening reception for Amelia Charter's People, a work that will takeover the space. Charter will be performing with Adam Kerbel. Charter is also contributing a sculptural installation to accompany the live performance that takes place on Friday, Jan. 15 at 8 p.m.

The exhibition goes through Jan. 30. 2579 N. Milwaukee Ave.


Efrain Lopez Gallery will celebrate the opening of Documents for the Past-Present-Future during the opening reception Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The group show will feature work by Caroline Abbotts, Kayla Anderson, Liene Bosquê, and Liz Ensz and is curated by Stella Brown. These works examine a kind of archive, documenting spent moments and the residual objects and marks that come of life experiences. Each artists uses different media to ponder and document, discuss and represent.

The exhibition goes through Feb. 7. 1620 W. Chicago Ave., Suite 304.

Galerie F sits among the burgeoning corridor of restaurants and bars along Milwaukee Avenue near the California blue line stop. One part gallery and another part shop, Galerie F sells original prints of artwork and concert posters while giving the space a thematic focus with an exhibition. The 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. reception Friday night marks the opening of Penny Pinch's Seventy-Seven: A Collection of New Work. Comprised of 77 works to represent the 77 community areas that make up Chicago, Penny Pinch aims to observe and probe the divisions and the resulting richness that makes up our city.

The exhibition goes through Jan. 31. 2381 N. Milwaukee Ave.

South Side

Prospectus Art Gallery in Pilsen will hold an opening reception for their latest show, Endangered Species, that will feature paintings and prints by Mark Nelson. A Pilsen-based artist, Nelson's work has a graphic quality while they are deeply dimensional due to the artist's deftness of perspective and light and shadow. His early life traveling with his family and his time in Panama, gives his work an edge of social commentary, particularly in regards to race and labor issues as well as colonization and the role of the conqueror and conquered.

The exhibition goes through March 13. 1210 W. 18th St.

Hyde Park Art Center will have their exhibition openings on Sunday, Jan. 10 to unveil two exhibitions. Justin Witte's Regenboog Broer is an installation of that discusses the lack of safety in what should be deemed as safe spaces, an opportune time to have such a discussion amid senseless shootings in schools and public places. His use of a fake malachite as a medium will bring a viewer into the installation, giving a viewer a space to ponder the toxic entering the sacred and the obscured entering into clarity. Also opening is The Weight of Rage, the third annual exhibition of work created through the Prison and Neighborhood Arts Project (PNAP) at the Stateville Prison in a variety of media. Discussion and events are slated during the duration of the show.

The John Witte exhibition goes through April 3rd and the PNAP exhibition goes through March 20. 5020 S. Cornell Ave.