Cornered + Fission Fusion Artist Talk

Sunday, March 25, 2018 - 1:00pm

A discussion with Scott Mossman and Tanner Bowman about their respective exhibitions at Heaven Gallery with a performance by violinist, Brandi Berry Benson

An avid collector as long as he has been making art, Scott Mossman's sculpture has always been colored by a longtime fascination with "the object." Most intriguing to Mossman is a works relationship to the wall where it's placed, the viewer and the gallery space. His sculptures hung curiously high, often times with a dramatic cast shadow, appear to serve a purpose other than art, the function of the oftentimes eccentric, seemingly worn tool, appliance or artifact not being as obvious as the soffit, burglar alarm sensor or boxy precariously mounted heating and air conditioning units that might occupy a similar spot on the wall.

Following up his recent one-person exhibit "Overhead" at the Noyes Cultural Center in Evanston, where his sculptures were hung high and heavily lit, his current exhibit at Heaven Gallery "Cornered" is dominated by recent works, many created for the space, that play off the meeting of two walls, the point where walls end and where the ceiling begins. As with the aforementioned Noyes exhibit, his pieces, oftentimes reflective of his fascination with architectural styles and structures, choose to interact with the idiosyncrasies of Heaven's Victorian vernacular roots.

Fission Fusion:
Fission Fusion is collaborative show by Tanner Bowman and Brendan Luchik, examining the push and pull between two individual artists working with collage and painting using experimental processes. The work began at a time of transition, as Luchik was in the middle of moving to New York City. The artists questioned how they could salvage remnants of Luchik's studio space, which may have otherwise been discarded, and use the collected scrap materials in an attempt to capture the essence and grit of a domestic studio space which would no longer exist. During the construction of the work the artists used their time to to reflect upon philosophy, psychology, poetry, landscape, and the connections between their creative outputs. These personal conversations, ranging in topics from Jungian Psychology and William Blake’s “Proverbs of Hell”, to Sedona sunsets and gridded city living, directed the subject matter and processes used in constructing the images and assemblage. Also on display are Bowman and Luchik’s individual work which is meant to distinguish the visual conversation between the two artist's work and style. 

Berry Brandi Benson:
Violinist and 3Arts awardee Brandi Berry Benson will perform unaccompanied violin pieces from the 17th and 18th centuries at the opening reception of Overhead - Recent Sculptures by Scott Mossman, at the Noyes Cultural Center Nov 13 from 2 to 5. Ms. Berry Benson has appeared with numerous ensembles in the U.S. including Newberry Consort, Ars Lyrica, and Bach & Beethoven Experience and her "four-string acrobatics" and "indispensable skill" (TimeOut Chicago) have been praised as "alert [and] outstanding" (Chicago Classical Review), has also been noted for her "riffs…powered by a flashing blur of bow arm, [as they] rolled out with irresistible glee" (Washington Post).

Inspire & Empower: Women Creating Change in Their Communities

Saturday, March 10, 2018 - 10:30am

Inspire & Empower: Women Creating Change in their Communities
Free Event

In celebrating International Women’s Day, Heaven Gallery invites nine women who are making positive impacts in their communities. This group includes women that are running for office, activists that are creating housing and art cooperatives, and community leaders. These women will speak about their community-based projects, share their stories, and open the conversation about the importance of women in leadership. The goal of this event is to inspire women to create new initiatives and to bring visibility to the various projects being presented. This day is for women inspiring women to aim higher and that no dream is too big. #PressforProgress 

Speakers include: Amara Enyia, Amina Ayo Norman-Hawkins, Barbara Koenen, Carlyn So, Delia Ramirez, Laura Weathered, Natalie Figueroa, Sendy Soto and Elaine Coorens

Starbucks Coffee and refreshments provided

Dr. Amara Enyia is a Public Policy expert on city and state policy as well as international affairs/foreign policy with expertise in Central Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. She writes extensively on issues of education, economic development, fiscal policy, equity in policy, and systems thinking. Dr. Enyia has worked in various policy areas including economic development, public finance, housing, education, food security, and community development. She holds a Masters degree in education, a law degree, and a PhD in Education Policy. In addition to her public policy consulting work, Dr. Enyia is a political consultant and strategist. She is the Founder and Director of the Institute for Cooperative Economics and Economic Innovation (ICEEI), an entity that seeks to diversify the
economic ecosystem through educating, advocating, and developing policy for cooperative economic models and financing tools that support cooperative enterprises. She serves the Executive Director of the Austin Chamber of Commerce and serves as Policy Consultant for several education organizations. Dr. Enyia serves on the boards of
the Chicago Community Loan Fund, the Communities First Association, and Life Development Center. She is a Public Policy Global Leadership Fellow with the Global Strategists Association and serves as a regular commentator and contributor on policy and politics for various media outlets.

Delia Ramirez is currently running for 4th district representative. She an accomplished social service director, community leader and coalition builder who has dedicated much of her life and career to the Humboldt Park and Logan Square communities. She has served as the board president of Logan Square Neighborhood Association, District Advisory Chair of the 14th District Police Department, Co-founder of the Chicago Justice for our Neighbors Free Immigration Clinic and currently the President of LUCHA, a community development and affordable housing organization in the district. Delia is Deputy Director of the Community Renewal Society, Chicago's oldest faith-based social justice organization, where she oversees the development, organizing and policy units. Her bid for office will bring a uniting spirit, political savvy and independent fortitude that will allow her to lead coalition building efforts across caucuses, understanding that leverage, strength and influence in a united black and brown caucus are better positioned to lead a progressive agenda that leads policy change on the issues that impact them most. United With Delia’s campaign has recruited family, friends, neighbors, old colleagues, and fellow voters to join the massive grassroots mobilization effort. Delia is committed to developing the campaign’s volunteer infrastructure into a sustained independent political organization that steers Delia’s legislative priorities as an elected official.

Sendy Soto has been a policy advocate and community activist for over 20 years. Born in Guatemala and raised in Logan Square where she remains a resident, she is the System Director for Community Benefit and Advocacy at AMITA Health System. Her role is to increase access to health for underserved and uninsured populations. She also advocates for federal policies that improve health outcomes across the United States. She is currently a fellow of Chicago United for Equity and a board member of Healing to Action. Sendy spends her free time empowering individuals and families who are assimilating to the United States either by hosting international students or mentoring immigrant and refugee families. Her previous experience includes the offices of then-Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, supporting them in their fight for DACA, DREAM Act, and VAWA. Sendy received her B.A. in Justice Studies from Northeastern Illinois University.

Carlyn So is active in Chicago’s cooperative housing scene, using her background in web design and architecture to explain and promote co-ops and connect people. She has a passion for design strategy and community development, especially affordable housing, and believes shared property ownership can reduce real estate speculation and increase human interaction. Carlyn grew up in Bridgeport and is working to start a co-op there. She is on the Steering Committee of the Pilsen Housing Cooperative (PIHCO), which is forming as a limited-equity housing cooperative for artists and families in Pilsen; it is an anti-displacement strategy. 

Barbara Koenen is the founder and director of Creative Chicago Reuse Exchange (CCRx) which cultivates creativity and reduces waste by reimagining and redistributing surplus. Prior to CCRx, Koenen was an artist and bureaucrat who worked for the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs for over 20 years, creating and directing programs like Chicago Artists Resource, Creative Chicago Expo, and Chicago Artists Month.

Natalie Figueroa is an activist and community organizer that has lived at the intersection of art and resistance for over 18 years. Natalie, a Chicago Native, began as an HIV activist at age 15, organizing alongside youth of color to address issues of police brutality, segregation, access to comprehensive health education, and racial injustice. As a member of Housing Works and Leftist Lounge Chicago she helped create platforms for artists and activists to come together creating a space for both healing and action. Currently, she is focused on collective liberation, connecting like-minded souls and building with her “Y.G.B.Portland family." 

Laura Weathered is the director of Near NorthWest Arts Council. NNWAC is a artist/activist organization committed to preserving, maintaining and developing community. This non-profit organization directed by artists to advocate for resources that supports affordable space for creative work, to build a vital, healthy, sustainable community. NNWAC worked directly with artists to design, develop and build a 25 unit work/live condo community in a 46,000 square foot industrial building. The organization is also a partner in the Bronzeville Artist Lofts, a mixed use rental property which provides 16 work/live studios on 47th Street completed in 2014.

Elaine Coorens Long time resident and Community leader of Wicker Park. She is the editor and publisher of Our Urban Times, a locally owned and published community newspaper dedicated to news and information relative to the near northwest Chicago community. Elaine is on the Wicker Park Preservation & Development Committee and currently leading a forum on women running for 4th district Illinois State Representative. She is also the author of Wicker Park from 1673-1929 and Walking Tour Guide.

Amina Norman-Hawkins born in the United States and raised in Nigeria, she is an internationally recognized voice of grassroots hip-hop activism. She is a writer, performing artist, filmmaker, and hip-hop practitioner who has spent the past 20 years actively involved in the preservation of Chicago’s hip-hop culture and community; as well as a staunch advocate of Hip-Hop as a vehicle for social change. She is co-founder of Chicago Hip-Hop Initiative, Chicago Hip-Hop Heritage Month, and the ‘B-Girl Power’ movement. In 2010 Amina became a U.S. Cultural Envoy spending two weeks leading a team of three Chicago-based Hip-Hop artists on a Peace & Tolerance tour throughout the West African nation of Cote d’Ivoire. She produced the documentary ‘Keep It Moving-The Movie" which premiered to in the 2011 Chicago International Movies & Music Festival. Currently, Amina performs around the country as one half of the Hip-Hop duo Urbanized Music, alongside producer/emcee Coolout Chris. She is also currently an adjunct faculty member at Columbia College, and additionally serves as a Teaching Artist for Columbia College’s Community Schools. In both roles she brings her expertise as an artist into the classroom with the hopes of inspiring and empowering students unlock their most authentic creative potential through the arts.

Classical Music Series - Chicago Solisti

Friday, March 2, 2018 - 7:30pm to 9:00pm

Classical Music Series - Chicago Solisti
Friday March 2
Suggested donation $10

Starts at 8pm
Doors open at 7:30pm

The Chicago Solisti String Quartet embarks on a program of music embodying the pillars of the Harlem Renaissance coupled with the irresistible charm of Fritz Kreisler’s String Quartet.

Take the A Train became the staple of Duke Ellington’s band in the 40’s and 50’s. Lyrics by the Delta Rhythm Boys (or Joya Sherill, depends on who you ask!), orchestrated by Billy Strayhorn and arranged for quartet by Paul Chihara- the A Train pays homage to the NYC subway system that bound inner city musicians after the Harlem Renaissance.

Composed in 1960, William Grant Still’s Lyric Quartette- subtitled ‘A Musical Portrait of Three Friends’- portrays three distinct personalities immersed in his signature harmonic language. Three movements depict the versatility of the string quartet fashioned among the canvas of the Renaissance: The Sentimental One, the Quiet One, and the The Jovial One.

Impetuous. Seductive. Playful. Chivalrous. Charming. These are all words commonly used to describe Kreisler’s violinistic prowess and compositions. A Viennese virtuoso residing in NYC at the height of the Renaissance, his quartet nods prominently to his Austrian roots yet somehow remains positively American in sound, scope, and subject matter.

Kyle Dickson, violin
Caitlin Edwards, violin
Seth Pae, viola
Magdalena Sustere, cello

1550 N. Milwaukee Ave. 2nd floor, Chicago, IL

Classical Music Series - Aether Ensemble

Friday, February 16, 2018 - 8:00pm

Aether Ensemble joins us at Heaven Gallery to perform works by Ravel, Milhaud, Koechlin, Francaix, and Joplin.

Performers include: 
Jenny Shin, flute
Mika Allison, oboe
Jessica Smith, clarinet
Emma Sepmeier, horn
Midori Samson, bassoon

Suggested donation: $10

Doors open at 7:30pm

Formed in 2016, Aether Ensemble is a Chicago-based woodwind quintet committed to bringing quality performances of wind chamber music to the Chicago music community. They have performed with a variety of Chicago organizations, such as Make Music Chicago and RefugeeOne. Members of Aether have diverse backgrounds, holding degrees from Depaul University, Northwestern University, Boston University, The Juilliard School, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In addition to their love for chamber music, Aether musicians are established orchestral players, having performed with such groups as the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Northbrook Symphony, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Quad City Symphony, West Michigan Symphony, Elgin Symphony, Chicago Composers Orchestra, and Peoria Symphony Orchestra. Musicians of Aether Ensemble are also passionate educators, dedicated to involvement in various community outreach programs as well as maintaining active private teaching studios. To learn more about Aether Ensemble, please visit their Facebook page.

Gallery Talk

Sunday, February 25, 2018 - 1:00pm

Sunday, February 25

HEAVEN IS A PLACE is proud to present a halo of talks, presentations and performances on and for other exhibitions and contexts. Including but not limited to Ross Jordan, Hope Esser, Lorelei Stewart, Tamara Becerra Valdez, Stella Brown, Ruslana Lichtzier, Kathe Bowen, Brandon Alvendia, Anna Showers-Cruser, Becky Bivens and Danny Floyd, our bill includes artists, art historians, curators and critics drawing from and on and into the great beyond, a multitude of media and mediums, feminist futures and what an art is even for. Or from. Doors open at 12, performances start sharply at 1. Be there or -ware.

Coffee donated by Starbucks.

There is also a film screening at the Nightingale Tuesday, March 6 at 8PM

Heaven Is a Place

Friday, January 26, 2018 - 7:00pm

Heaven is a Place
January 26 - March11
Alex Chitty, Anna Showers-Cruser, Sherwin Ovid, Danny Floyd, Jory Drew, Allison Yasukawa, Josh Rios, Stella J. Brown, Brandon Alvendia, Meg Nafziger, Lauren Edwards
Curated by Jesse Malmed


Most of the words used in this text have been used thibsing’d of times. Aside from the occasional neologism, they’re generally used and well used and, like so many luxury goods, we don’t own them, we’re just their temporary steward. It's hard to imagine an exhibition that isn't site-specific. If the works work in a vacuum, well that's about as specific a place as we can imagine. You will have to trust that every word in this sentence was not typed but pasted from a sprawling series of fascinating and far better texts.

Heaven Is a Place brings together a banker’s dozen of artists each making work for a specific show, just not the same one. Each work constitutes a(n art) historical insertion and a speculative citation and a wormhole to another exhibition. Featuring some of Chicago’s sharpest, this exhibition offers the opportunity for a bit of historical re-vision-ing, in which the august museum group show from our birth year—first discovered through a tattered library copy of the exhibition catalogue—finally includes our work; where the hot new show at the cool new space in the temperate old town that included every idea you have but not the name you use gets rectified; where the doodle in the margin becomes canon with the blithe affect of a butterfly. 

Artist Talk
Sunday February 25th

Princess Kazayah: New Years Meditations & Reggae Music

Saturday, January 13, 2018 - 9:00pm to 11:00pm

Join Heaven Gallery and Dove Muzik for a musical performance with Princess Kazayah featuring Wadadah and Ras I-Dre.
Gather your closest friends and celebrate the new with positive vibes.

Princess Kazayah's aims to touch as many hearts as possible and point them to a better tomorrow. Through her music, she wishes to show the people a positive way to live and to look at life no matter what circumstance they are facing. Her music brings light, joy, and most of all peaceful vibrations. With the voice of an angel mesmerizing her audience with soothing sounds & harmonies, she causes automatic “feel good” vibrations and thought provoking meditations. Her music is one of a kind and is a blend of R&B, Gospel, Roots-Reggae, Lovers Rock & Dub.

Doors open at 9
Performance at 9:30pm
$10 suggested donation
Refreshments provided

Shanelle Mitchell "Princess Kazayah" was born & raised in the city of Evanston that borders Chicago. She was born to two Jamaican parents and grew up in the 7th Day Adventist Church from her youth. That has given Kazayah a deep spiritual essence in her music. She is used to singing at her church from a very young age. After connecting with local producer Ras Wadadah II, who exposed her to original roots-reggae, she found a deep love for the King's music. Her music is regarded as angelic when hearing her soft melodic voice and her uplifting lyrics in praise of the Most High.

Kazayah is busy working with D.O.V.E Muzik's band as well as working hard in D.OV.E Muzik studio on projects of her own as well as collaborations with various artists. In Summer of 2014 she released a mixtape entitled, "Troddin: The DubTape" with 12 songs on the project. She then went on to be featured on a new release by D.O.V.E. Muzik & Riddim Yut Productions called "Chimurenga." She has even indulged in the craft of producing her own music as well as others for her musical family.

After performing live for the first time in 2013 locally in Evanston she has went on to perform on stages all around the Chicagoland area as well as Jamaica, Belize, Mexico, California etc. In 2015 she performed alongside some of Reggae music's top up & coming artists such as Dre Island, Cali P, Micah Shemaiah, Mr. Williamz, Keida, Exile Di Brave, Suns of Dub, Pentateuch, The Uprising Roots Band, Kelissa McDonald and more. Recently in Chicago Kazayah has performed at the Wild Hare, "the reggae capital of the Midwest," alongside her D.O.V.E. Muzik family. Since the she has performed at various shows around Chicago, also opening up for Sizzla along side her D.O.V.E muzik family when he came to Chicago. Most recent Kazayah has teamed up with Warrior King for a single (remix)/ music video that was released on June 9th 2017 distributed by VPAL music.

The Finger is Also Pressed by the Stone Opening 12/1

Friday, December 1, 2017 - 7:00pm

The Finger is Also Pressed by the Stone
Soo Shin and Kate Hampel

Binaries are useful. They provide structure, they help us say firmly, “This is this and that is that.” They simplify a world that is chaotic, obscure, and largely unchartable. Paying attention to such clean, definitive lines allows us to put on socks and shoes in the morning, to live our orderly lives.

The cost of wearing shoes, though, is not knowing the feeling of the ground under one’s feet. The heavy cost of certainty is flatness. To be positioned too definitely in pragmatic order is to miss the richly indeterminate space where “this” and “that” become question marks, pulses, flows. This gray area, where multiple gravities compete, is a conceptual staging ground for Kate Hampel and Soo Shin.

In their work, both artists suggest body as the foreground where the dynamics of power, seeing/being seen, and knowing/not-knowing is constantly challenged. These works are at home in a day-to-day world of indeterminacy. They invite the viewer to move around them to look at and consider them, and to slowly walk into the borderless landscape that they engender. The finger is also pressed by the stone is a space of ambiguity where the rough, textured surface of the ground can be truly felt.


Kate Hampel examines the aesthetics of violence, from the individual to the institutional. Her current projects draw material from geopolitical power struggles, with all their attendant implications for the gendered or othered body, as well as from sensationalized narratives. Text works, sculpture and installations speak with multiple voices and implicate the viewer through their presence in the space.

Soo Shin (b.1981, based in Chicago) investigates the psychological experience of uncertainty and vulnerability in our search for certainty and translates these into bodily experiences. In her work, the idea of uncertainty has been emphasized as a potential space for new understanding and acuity. Her work provides physical space for the body and is presented as physical conditions for viewers. By suggesting work as a mixture of internal and physical experiences, she explores body as an abstract agency where objectivity and subjectivity is inseparable.

The viewer’s own physicality has a presence in the show, reflected in textures and activated by scale. These gestures are deliberate on both artists’ parts—for Hampel, as an examination and undermining of contemporary understandings of the gendered body, while for Shin the body serves as a locus for internalized struggle.

Alchemist Opening 12/1

Friday, December 1, 2017 - 7:00pm


Cole Pierce, Esau McGhee, Kelly Kaczynski 

Presenting three alchemical practices, each focusing on construction and speculative philosophy, working intuitively to transmute materials and language into the experiential equivalent of turning lead into gold. Coming from different contexts and conceptual bearings, these artists begin with base elements: simple geometry, primary colors, and raw materials.

Pierce implements a relief painting process by taping off geometric-based grids and applying several bold gradients of acrylic. The tape is removed to reveal rigid layers of accumulated paint that have formed triangle, square, and circular shaped patterning across the canvas. Although his use of geometry is informed by the Op Art movement of the late twentieth century, he dedicates his practice to confronting the expectations of the errorless, measured precedent set by Op Art. His subtle inconsistencies and evident brushstrokes violate this expected, calculated abstraction and lend itself toward a more unpredictable form. The interruptions circumvent the viewer’s perception and create a phenomenological experience by challenging the viewer’s ephemeral transition between comprehension and delusion.

Esau’s studio practice represents an archive. Years of accumulated and excavated material rest throughout the space similar to an anthropological study. This approach allows Esau’s work to move through materials and work across multiple mediums to invent new ways to give material form to language. Dealing with current concerns ranging from displacement to systemic violence on those deemed as other… There is a misnomer that through project “completion” some ideas are laid to rest, but over time these things are always present as material and remnants or actions are reassessed and reintroduced, catalyst are created between works from the past and present ideas.

Kelly Kaczynski is an artist working within the language of sculpture.


Cole Pierce received his MFA from Northwestern University and received his BSS in Art and Sociology from Cornell College. He has recently exhibited at THE MISSION, Roman Susan and Johalla Projects. He received a DCASE (Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events) grant in 2016 and was a SÍM (Association of Icelandic Visual Artists) resident in Reykjavík, Iceland. He recently completed a 60’x11’ mural in the Rogers Park neighborhood, funded by the 49th Ward. He lives and works in Chicago, IL.

After receiving an MFA from Northwestern University in 2013, Esau has gone on to be a HATCH resident at the Chicago Artists Coalition. He’s also turned out challenging exhibitions such as Economy of Movement at Harper College, Blackitolism at Sector 2337 and 80 Blocks From Tiffany’s at Elastic Arts. Esau has also exhibited in New York and Los Angeles.

Kaczynski received an MFA from Bard College, NY and BA from The Evergreen State College, WA. She has taught with Northwestern University, University of Chicago, University of Illinois, Chicago, University of Pennsylvania and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Kaczynski is currently a Lecturer with the School of the Art Institute, Chicago, IL.

This project is partially supported by an Individual Artists Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, as well as a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a state agency through federal funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Façades Artist Talk

Sunday, October 22, 2017 - 1:00pm

Walk-through of Façades with Ella Wearing and Frances Lightbound.