Nov 7th 2013

Simone Chagoya, Amanda Brown, and Stephanie Del Carpio: Contemporary Romance

@ Frogman Gallery

23 E. Madison

Opening Thursday, November 7th, from 5PM - 8PM

On view through Friday, November 29th

You won’t find romance in an artist statement. But you might find it wandering the walls of Frogman Gallery. Simone Chagoya, Amanda Brown, and Stephanie Del Carpio offer their work as examples of art freed from the shabby conceptual frameworks that imperil both artist and viewer alike. Rather than provide a space for shocking political statements or hermetic swaths of postmodern abstraction, their work highlights the simple pleasures of urban isolation. Like the early 19th century Romantics, Chagoya, Brown, and Del Carpio suggest that loneliness is a necessary—and increasingly endangered—part of daily life.

Simone Chagoya’s paintings are immediately charming. Her paintings feature bodiless clothes floating on blank backgrounds splayed out like preserved butterflies offering themselves for inspection. Sugary whites and lacy blacks greet the viewer like frosting on a cake. Chagoya invites viewers to populate the vacant clothing with their own stories and memories, urging us to find beauty and dignity in a humble pair of underpants.

Amanda Brown’s paintings chronicle the unpeopled urban landscapes that can yield moments of sublime loneliness. Morning on Paulina shows a winter street scene dominated by a barren tree whose shadow appears like cracks upon the façade of an unwelcoming building. It’s a building you might stare at every morning while waiting for the bus without even realizing it. Paulina Sideyard and Shell on York find claustrophobic parallel lines juxtaposed with small patches of organic forms—tiny moments of public solitude that let the mind wander.

The first thing you notice when looking at Del Carpio’s paintings is that she renders the eyes of her subjects warmly and with care. Self-Portrait with Braid shows the artist expressionless and staring away from the viewer with her head slightly tilted as if in deep contemplation. The artist is alone with herself reminding us of the necessary solitude of artistic production. In Devon with Masks the subject stares directly at the viewer while standing next to a shelf bearing drama masks. These are the thoughtful women and men who people the desolate urban landscapes of Amanda Brown and the modest clothing of Simone Chagoya. We can’t know what they’re thinking or feeling, but the masks lay there daring us to try.

–Tyler Jagel

About the Artists:

Raised in Miami, Florida, Chicago based artist Stephanie Del Carpio began her figurative art practice at the Art Center/South Florida in 2003 under the tutelage of Argentinean artist Pablo Contriciani. Moving to Seattle she continued studying representational oil painting at the Gage Fine Arts Academy before completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2012. Most recently, Stephanie has participated in various group shows in Chicago and Boston and completed a residency with the South Logan Arts Coalition. Stephanie is in the private collection of James Cuno, the President and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust and is currently working at the Art Institute of Chicago as Assistant to the Chair and Curator of Ancient and Byzantine Art, Karen Manchester. She continues her studio practice in Chicago at the Fulton Street Collective.

Amanda Brown, a Chicago based artist, began her academic career as painter at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she graduated with her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Studio Art. With a focus in perceptual painting, Amanda also studied painting and art history at the International School for Painting, Drawing and Sculpture in Umbria, Italy where she spent a summer painting landscape from observation. Since graduating, Amanda has participated in shows both in the Fine Arts building, the Cornelia Arts Building and the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival. She currently maintains her studio practice out of the Fulton Street Collective.

In 2011, Simone Chagoya graduated from the School of The Art Institute of Chicago with a BFA in painting. She works in oils and sometimes in collage and found materials. Simone lives and works in Chicago Illinois.

Curated by Gwendolyn Zabicki

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