Sirimas Benz Amatayakul creates abstract paintings to honor the unrelenting energy, rawness, innocence, courage, spontaneity, and joy that she observes in her children when they’re creating art.
Alex Stark’s drawings describe the body and its surroundings. Birds are a personal symbol representing both fragility and an alternate way of seeing that comes from flight. The birds are seen in relation to a vulnerable nude figure that establishes a connection or kind of empathy between them. Under the transformative night sky these emotively drawn elements find strength in each other.
Benz Amatayakul is an abstract painter working primarily with acrylics. She is self-taught and began painting in 2016. Before discovering abstract painting, she studied marketing communications and worked in brand management. She received a Master’s Degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University in 2007 and a Certification in Expressive Art Facilitation from Open Studio Project in 2015. Benz currently maintains her daily studio practice while teaching expressive art classes to children and adults with a mission to free them from the fear of creating. Her works are held in private collections in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Spain, Japan, and Thailand.
Alex Stark is a painter, curator and advocate that lives and works in Chicago. Alex earned his BFA from School of the Art Institute Chicago in 2016 and recently returned from a residency at Vermont Studio Center. He has been included in exhibitions in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Colorado. Currently Alex is curating a show at the Hyde Park Art Center, and operates a gallery in Boulder, Colorado. In addition, Alex works as an Advisor to the Disability Learning Resource Center at the School of the Art Institute Chicago, serving as a consultant on the creation of events and student engagement.
“Act as if I’m not Here”
I have stood in the position of Monsieur X for years now. Looking with both eyes instead of one camera eye, with pencil or brush in hand, visiting for hours in the various rooms of that fleshy hotel or with trampled grasses and weeds under my feet in the countryside. I’ve imagine that the only spoken direction from photographer to model was ‘act as if I’m not here’ because the resulting postures are so uncouth, so bizarre, so watched. In the drawings I attempt to psychologize the body in ways that confuse its usual readings. Each composition makes space to contemplate womanhood, desire, tension, friendship and love.
Amanda Joy Calobrisi is a painter living and working in Chicago. She is an alumna of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago; MFA 2008. She is currently teaching drawing and painting at SAIC as a lecturer. Her recent work has been exhibited at Fundación del Centro Cultural del México Contemporáneo, Mexico City, Mexico; Onishi Civic Center Hall, Fujioka, Japan; Unspeakable Projects, CA, Field Projects, NYC and with Chicago Artists Coalition as a Bolt resident. Her work has been published in New American Paintings, Sixty Inches from Center, Peripheral Vision Arts and ArtSlant.