Chicago-born artist, James Jankowiak, in his first solo show in Chicago since 2012, will be exhibiting a new series of paintings in conjunction with creating a mural on Corner’s exterior wall.
The artist uses everyday objects as his source material, reduced to their essential forms and elevated into vibrant abstractions with a meticulous technique of hard-edged color and radiating repetition that highlights the metaphysical qualities of their ordinary origins. As a nod to this conceptual process, Jankowiak is retaining the subject matter of Corner’s existing mural – butterflies — a leftover from the days when the storefront was home to a Mexican bridal boutique. By transforming, rather than eradicating, this local landmark he acknowledges the ever-changing nature of Avondale’s population.
Jankowiak studied at Columbia College of Chicago and SAIC but is mostly self-taught. In 2014 he was chosen for a full scholarship to the Hyde Park Art Center’s Center Program and received a certificate from the University of Chicago’s Graham Foundation in Visual Art. Last year he was commissioned to design the artwork for the Chicago Transit Authority’s new Union Station Transit Center. He has been awarded grants from the Illinois Arts Council in 2010 and 2012, and from DCASE in 2010 and 2014. His next solo exhibition is slated for February 2018 at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.
This project was partially funded by Corner, Urban Gateways, the Julie Shaw Memorial Grant, and crowd-funded through AIM/Hatchfund. Justin Clemons, a former student and now the artist’s co-instructor, and three teen apprentices will be assisting with the mural.