not to scale

Friday, September 14, 2018 - 7:00pm

The phrase not to scale implies an inaccurate representation of something with regards to proportion. It also suggests that the “thing” being represented has rational, accepted dimensions, typically “scaled” or understood in relation to the human figure. Together, Matt Brett and Shir Ende present sculptures, drawings, and videos that combine architectural language and a degree of speculative thinking to explore movement (of both body and eye) within modern space. Both artists look beyond familiar scales and surfaces, past hard edges and rigid grids, to expose constructed barriers that attempt to dictate or inhibit motion. 

“About a hundred years ago some artists were trying to imagine hypothetical invisible structures that drove life and informed experience. Surrealists. Now there are actual invisible forms that drive life and inform experience. These are my attempts to imagine those structures formally.”
---Matt Brett, notes from July 14, 2018

Manipulated by hand, Brett’s works prune and distort the notion of a grid into a commanding, tangible object, scaled in such a way that each form confronts the viewer with the presence of a figure. Each sculpture possesses the dual nature of being both an image that we apprehend as a primary form, like a cone or cylinder, and as a physical thing, a shape that we can peer through and into. The forms are also informational, their structures revealing the process of construction, much like a surface of a woven textile. And yet, even as they mark and delineate space, they do so without visually obstructing it, instead revealing the potential for movement inside the hard lines. 

“If movement can be materialized through repetition, continuity and simplicity, we can now consider ways to dematerialize architecture through the score. The score articulates the imagined and abstracts the real. It has the capacity to contain the ideology and potentiality of movement with architecture while making it more malleable and easy to manipulate.”
--Shir Ende, “Re-imagining architecture: how movement conditions the production of space,” 2018

Through drawing, sculpture, and video, Ende works to reduce the “bigness” of architecture, re-imaging built structures as intimately scaled, malleable forms. In doing so, Ende minimizes architecture’s imposition on the body and softens the authority of modern design. Each of Ende’s hand-drawn “scores” demonstrates the inherent tension between the straight lines of architectural order and the fluidity of bodies within. As she composes the scores and guides the pencil, Ende quietly insists on self-determined movement within modern space, where the body itself is a generative material. 

Matt Brett Matt Brett is an artist living and working in Chicago. His work has been exhibited in Chicago at; Gallery 400, Slow and Heaven Gallery, In Philadelphia at; High Tide, Little Berlin and Icebox, In New York at 136 w 22nd, in New Orleans at Parse, and in Richmond at Reference. He has attended residencies at ACRE and Skowhegan. He holds an MFA in studio arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago (2014) and a BFA in sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University (2009). He is currently a lecturer for the City Colleges of Chicago.

Shir Ende is a Chicago-based artist. Ende received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has shown at Gallery 400, Terrain Biennial, South of the Tracks, Mana contemporary, Woman Made Gallery and was a Sponsored artist at High Concept Labs. She has screened videos at Nightingale, Comfort Station and Roman Susan. She currently teaches at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Elizabeth Lalley is a Chicago-based writer, curator, and administrator. Lalley is the Curatorial and Design Associate at CNL Projects and the Assistant Director of Goldfinch, a commercial project space for contemporary visual practices. She received an MA in Museum & Exhibition Studies from the University of Illinois-Chicago, and holds a BA from the University of Michigan. Elizabeth has worked for the Chicago Artists Coalition, the Smithsonian Center for Folklife & Cultural Heritage, and the University of Michigan Department of English. She is also a Curatorial Fellow with ACRE (Artists’ Cooperative Residency and Exhibitions) and a contributor to Newcity and Chicago Artist Writers.

Performance and Talk will be held October 7th

Event of a Thread

Friday, September 14, 2018 - 7:00pm

“Tangential subjects come into view. The thoughts, however, can, I believe, be traced back to the event of a thread.” -Anni Albers, On Weaving

This exhibition brings together three artists whose nuanced and abiding interests in weaving, fiber, and textile arts evoke the multilinear progression of both thought and material that Albers describes. Melding traditional processes with experimental techniques, Jeffrey Grauel, Melissa Leandro, and Noël Morical create works that are not defined by clear beginnings or ends, but are instead filled with layered compositions that activate color, form, and surface—built thread by thread, knot by knot. “How can [one] know how this thing is done that has never been done before?” Albers asks in a gentle nudge to be adventurous, surprised, and sometimes mystified. These artists push their materials, gestures, and processes into conceptually rich realms and experimental pathways, trusting that one thread of a thought or process may lead in a new direction altogether. Grauel’s shagged rugs, their imagery sourced from decades-old latch hook kits, reveal multiple layers of fibers—rugs buried in rugs—like scents embedded in an old carpet over time. Here, craft kits from the past are adapted into works that are both richly tactile and sculptural, the original imagery obscured and altered into a strangely unfamiliar form. Layered processes likewise comprise Leandro’s vivid textiles which blend weaving, embroidery, adornments,domestic references, and synthetic elements. Each piece pulses with color and shifting shapes and lines, displaying a degree of chaos, as tensions between family history, tradition, and the formation of identity are combined through varied processes and materials. Weaving together the past and present, Morical utilizes the centuries-old technique of macramé to craft colorful hanging sculptures and wall-pieces that exist somewhere between domestic objects, like plant holders or garments, and alien life-forms. Held together through the tension of each tightly worked knot, the pieces seem to generate their own energy—as though filled with the potential to swell and burst apart at any moment.

Jeffrey Grauel is a Chicago-based sculptor influenced by 1970’s hobby crafts. Antiquated images persist. Ideas rendered useless by time remain as flawed foundations. In my work they become advertisements burned in plywood, beer can venetian blinds, rugs buried in rugs. Well-crafted things that are useful outside of an art context, but exceptionally more complex within. His work has been presented in parking lots, former mortuaries, museums, corporate lobbies, malls, abandoned lots, faculty offices, and the windows of Tiffany’s. As co-director at Slow (an artist run gallery and curatorial project) he directs an independent gallery in the bathroom (Loo), brew curated beers, give tours of artwork under hotel beds, and once carried an exhibition in a purse (Clutch Gallery) to the White House in Washington D.C. Grauel received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL; and BA from California State University, San Bernardino, CA.

Melissa Leandro (Miami, FL) is an artist who works between the media of drawing, painting, and textiles. She received her BFA and MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Leandro's woven and embroidered surfaces explore her composite cultural identity through means of intuitive mark-making. Reflecting on her past and present travels, she considers the impact of these environments on the fragmentation of identity and place. Leandro was awarded the Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship and EAGER Grant (Shapiro Center), both for her studio work at SAIC. Leandro has attended ACRE Residency (Wisconsin), Roger
Brown House Residency (Michigan), TextielLab (The Netherlands), and is a BOLT resident at Chicago Artists Coalition. She has exhibited throughout the US at the Chicago Cultural Center;
Efrain Lopez Gallery; Andrew Rafacz Gallery; Arts Incubator; University of Chicago; The Franklin; Gallery 400; Union League Club Chicago; Wright Museum of Art, Beloit, WI; N A W A, New York, NY; ArtSeen Gallery; Flagler Art Space, Miami FL; and internationally at the Central Museum of Textiles, Łódź, Poland. 

Noël Morical (American, b. 1989) lives and works in Chicago, IL. She received her B.F.A. from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2011. Recent solo exhibitions include Skiptracing at Ace Hotel Chicago, High Swoon at Andrew Rafacz Gallery in Chicago and at the Fiberspace Gallery in Stockholm. Group and two-person exhibitions include SLOW Gallery, Chicago; Weinberg-Newton Gallery, Chicago; 99¢ Plus Gallery, Brooklyn; Athen B. Gallery, Oakland; Chicago Artist Coalition, Chicago; LVL3, Chicago.

Outstanding Balance

Friday, August 10, 2018 - 7:00pm to 11:00pm

With Outstanding Balance, Jeffrey Michael Austin presents a new body of sculptural works that offer playful and poetic lenses through which to meditate on the philosophical paradox of desire for private gain in an inexplicable, omnipresent universe; capitalism in the cosmos. How do we measure the value of individual profit on the scale of cosmological time and space? How do we cultivate equanimity amidst a plague of fear and isolation? How do we recognize likeness within a social and political culture defined by its polarity? 

"We are accustomed to figuring out how to flip relationships into more profitable opportunities. Social capital turn our personalities into currency. When is our existence not run through a monetized filter? To learn, to dwell, to heal are valued at their proof of purchase, but what comes of life when supposed given rights are no longer affordable?  For many of us, this is an abusive relationship we cannot leave. The spoils of choice are fueled by aspirational transactions.

The irony of personal debt is buying-in to render debt imperceptible.  Image supplants the reality of a perilous situation. The ironies don't stop there.  Maybe a precarious life of rich experiences is more interesting than what a job title and salary are supposed to deliver.  Technology allows us to be better connected remotely than we are by proximity. This is fast improving (or worsening), but at what costs that are not numerical?  In what ways are we indebted to each other? With whom and where do we live when our time is no longer livable? When is overdue truly too late? How tender is an embrace through a spacesuit?"
-- Lyndon Barrois Jr.


Jeffrey Michael Austin is an interdisciplinary artist and musician based in Chicago. Through a variety of sculptural and installation processes, Austin composes situations characterized by instability, impermanence and illusion -- inviting from their visitors a sense of empathy, mindfulness and openness to the unknown. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, with recent solo-exhibitions at Bert Green Fine Art, The Luminary (St. Louis, MO) and Chicago Artists Coalition and with group exhibitions in such venues as Société d'Électricité (Brussels), DEMO Project, Hyde Park Art Center, Ed Paschke Art Center, Le Carreau de Cergy (Paris), Kunstenfestival Watou (Belgium), The University of North Texas Art Galleries, Lehr Zeitgenössische Kunst (Berlin), The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Fondation Vasarely (Aix-en-Provence), Terrain Exhibitions, The Franklin, and Manifold in partnership with ACRE Artist Residency.

Austin studied at Columbia College Chicago and the Burren College of Art in Ireland before eventually receiving his BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Austin also produces music under the moniker Young Elder and as one third of the Growing Concerns Poetry Collective.

This exhibition is made possible with support from the Luminarts Cultural Foundation and the Montello Foundation.



flowers always...

Friday, August 10, 2018 - 7:00pm to 11:00pm

Alejandro Jiménez-Flores: flowers always…
Accompanied by florencio and Matt Morris

Images of flowers began to appear in Alejandro’s work 3 years ago. At first, Alejandro candidly took these reference images while walking to their studio, but they soon felt uneasy about this act, for it seemed like intruding upon the flowers; framing them and imposing a language onto the flowers that was not their own. Thinking there could be a better language to relate to their subjects (and, in a way, to Alejandro’s own subjectivities), they decided not to take these photos anymore. Around the same time, they started to receive and use photos of flowers sent to them by friends, usually with text (“So happy to have you in my leaf! ”). These images contained a softer language and offered an encounter (interweaving) of Alejandro’s personal narrative with those of the flowers.

In a new series of works, Alejandro traces lines from these floral compositions on film and makes stencils by cutting through the lines. Drawing and tracing from these images, they aim to unravel what lies in between the lines: a kind of writing, a correspondence, a longing (“thinking of you”), a conjuring of a language that is yet to be. The outline of a leaf overlaps over a petal, and they begin to communicate, just like in nature when the sun shines on the petals and casts its outline onto the leaves, and the leaves in the shadow (the obscured presence of the sun) feels the transferred presence of the petals.

Furthermore in this show, Alejandro mines images from memory to explore relationships to self and family (both chosen and determined by birth). Alejandro draws from memory the geraniums from their aunt's garden, where they recall playing with their cousin and collecting dried petals and leaves from the geraniums and placing them into a bucket with water and dirt. Stirring this concoction with a stick, playing witchcraft (“haciendo brujeria”) to conjure up a spell, but what spell? It was probably all gibberish, but perhaps they were already learning to speak a language of flowers, learning from the way the flowers communicate, of pigments and shapes, of color and effect of light, their pure materiality and its exhaustion. Alejandro also recalls when they noticed a small voice in their head, florencio! A conceptual personae, And how in their dialogues they both have been making attempts to break out of subjectification systems by learning how to coexist with others and each other. Asking themselves what it is to write (speak) in place of the other, to conjure a language that is not here yet (that perhaps exists outside of straight time), full of sensibilities and kindness. So florencio asked Alejandro to ask their mother to teach them again, just like when they were a child, how to draw a flower again. florencio also asked Alejandro to ask Matt if he could make a perfume of florencio’s essence and Matt kindly agreed.

So come see and smell (and read) gestural propositions for a new language in flowers always...

Alejandro Jiménez-Flores (b.1989) is a Conceptual Artist & Poet. They attained a BFA in Studio Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago In 2012 & a very minor in Poetry from School of Poetics in Marseille France in 2013 ;). Through a process based conceptual practice, they think, write, & craft about, multiplicities, becomings, de-subjectifications, funny things, & likes using language to assess the limits of semiotics.

Artist Talk - I See Cat People

Sunday, July 22, 2018 - 1:00pm
Join the curator, Eric Ruschman, along with participating artists Sarah Bastress, Erin Hayden, and Elaine Rubenoff for a casual discussion about the exhibition, painting, companion species, internet memes, love and death, and (almost assuredly) at least a handful of cat stories. 
Free event
Coffee provided by La Colombe

I See Cat People

Friday, June 29, 2018 - 7:00pm to 11:00pm

I can hardly remember a time prior to the ubiquity of cat-related memes and the oft- celebrated/oft-derided sharing of adorable pics, gifs, and vids in which these felines present an array of subjectivities we daren’t publicize about ourselves; instead, finding fuzzy avatars to display our joy, our worry, and our vulnerability. In the gathering (mis)assumption that we distract ourselves with overloads of cuteness, we in fact find ways to cope with recognized and unrecognized difficulties, dealing with trauma through meowing pratfalls, unabashed grumpiness, elegance, (c)attitude, playful destructions of language, wide-eyed obliviousness, neediness, and defiance.

However, the mobilization of the feline as widely circulated and highly regarded imagery is of course nothing new, especially within the realm of artistic depiction. As far back as the Egyptian tombs, cats have been visually ever-present in representation; offering companionship to the living, escorting the dead to the afterlife. The artists compiled in I SEE CAT PEOPLE acknowledge and pay homage to this grand history of imagery. They also, and perhaps more importantly, render not just images and objects, but something personal and affecting as well.

The truth is, my first cat, St. Kitten, died over two years ago and I’m not completely done mourning that loss. I SEE CAT PEOPLE brings together a group of artists whom I think understand/understood loss better than I do. They also make, and have made, completely arresting artwork about the potency of companionship; how complicated, beautiful, and tragic it can be when we’re in the thralls of it, and also what remains when we lose it.

I am beyond pleased to be having this conversation at Heaven.

Antonio Adams
Cory Arcangel & Frankie Martin
Sarah Bastress
Judy Chicago
April Childers
Colin Dickson
Edie Harper
Erin Hayden
Elaine Rubenoff
Christina Zion
Curated by Eric Ruschman

Artist Talk - Monster

Sunday, June 24, 2018 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm

Please join us for a conversation between artist Santina Amato and scholar Jeremy Biles on Monster, Amato’s first solo exhibition in the US, currently on view at Heaven Gallery.

Amato and Biles will discuss ‘embarrassment’ as a creative force and motivation in transforming the awkwardness of one’s personal life and the unappeasable need to make the private public into works of art available for unrestricted consumption by the public.

The conversation will be followed by a Q&A.

Jeremy Biles, PhD, is the author of Ecce Monstrum: Georges Bataille and the Sacrifice of Form. He teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Coffee provided by Starbucks

Monster Artist Talk

Sunday, June 24, 2018 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm

Artist talk by Santina Amato

Free event

The Smile Behind the Mask - Artist Talk

Sunday, June 3, 2018 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm

Panel discussion by the artists and curators of The Smile Behind the Mask

Free event

Coffee provided by La Colombe

Classical Music Series - Chicago Solisti

Friday, June 1, 2018 - 7:30pm to 9:00pm

Classical Concert
Friday June 1, 2018
Doors open 7:30 with performance at 8pm

Chicago Solisti joins Heaven Gallery for the third and final concert of the season. Chamber music and chamber orchestra collide in a program that features works by English, American, and Argentine composers. The lesser known but lush and Impressionistic Fantasie for Four Violas by York Bowen sets an adventurous tone that is then juxtaposed with the muscular and dangerous Last Round, an homage to famed tango composer Astor Piazzolla.

The second half of the program begins with a discussion of William Grant Still’s role (or lack thereof) in the Harlem Renaissance, his distinctive compositional style influenced by both European and African-American idioms, and the inspiration for one of his most widely performed works Mother and Child, arranged for string orchestra by the composer himself.

The evening concludes with an archetypal staple of Edward Elgar’s output; his Serenade for Strings, op. 2. Picturesque and emotive, the Serenade provides it’s audience with a scenic, charming, and sincere exercise in Elgar’s English style and a talent for lyricism evident in his larger work

Chicago Solisti is comprised of musicians from the metropolitan Chicago area. They've performed individually across the country as soloists, orchestral and chamber musicians and hold degrees in performance, composition and music education from the most prestigious institutions in the country. Their mission is to provide the cultural landscape of Chicago with creatively programmed and varied format concerts in addition to presenting standard repertoire with fresh perspective.

Refreshments provided
$10 suggested donation 

York Bowen Fantasia for Four Violas
Michael Schneider
Kelly Larson
Danielle Taylor
Emma Strohbusch
Osvaldo Golijov Last Round
Alexandra Switala, violin
Danielle Simandl, violin
Meghan Faw, violin
Alexandria Hill, violin
Michael Schneider, viola
Danielle Taylor, viola
Magdalena Sustere, cello
Aaron Gottl, cello
William Grant Still Mother and Child +
Elgar Serenade for Strings, op. 20
Violin I
Alexandra Switala*
Danielle Simandl
Alison Tatum
Meghan Faw
Violin II
Danielle Taylor*
Alexandria Hill
Susan Miller
Michael Schneider*
Emma Strohbusch
Kelly Larson
Magdalena Sustere*
Aaron Gottl
Double Bass
Joy Rowland*
*denotes principal