Andrew Steiner: Wide Awake Dreaming
@ Eat Paint Studio
5036 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625
Opening Friday, August 2nd, from 6PM - 9PM
On view through Saturday, September 7th
Eat Paint Studio will open a solo exhibition of photographs by Andrew Steiner on August 2, on view through September 7. Wide Awake Dreaming suggests an internal experience transposed on an observed external moment. Following personal themes of isolation and longing that reflect a larger socioeconomic portrait of America, Andrew’s photographs document Chicago neighborhoods as well as small towns like East Chicago, Indiana and Andrew’s hometown of Fairport, NY. An opening reception will take place on Friday, August 2, from 6-9pm, at Eat Paint Studio, 5036 N Lincoln Ave.
An intuitive awareness of space and time permeate Andrew’s work in his current exhibit, Wide Awake Dreaming. In “Man at the Beach,” a hirsute man looks out over an overcast lakefront, seated on a white towel and surrounded by weedy flowers. There is a gentleness in the slumped repose of a man in self-reflection; a beauty in the details of grass, dandelions, and bushy tufts of shoulder hair. “It is beautiful because it exists,” the image seems to say. The white towel on the ground could almost be a magic carpet as it mirrors the active passage of clouds above. A bald patch on the ground near the rocks merges with the bald patch on the man’s head – a humorous connection between man and nature. The jetty extends to meet the open water and ends in a vertical structure to warn off boats. A single breaker is weathered but upright. The man, the breaker, the jetty are all lone sentinels sharing a single viewpoint of the lake. Like the lake, we see the surface of everything in minute detail, but the depths remain hidden. We see him and at the same time he remains a stranger.
Echoes of the work of Helen Leavitt and Walker Evans are clear in Andrew’s subway portraiture. The pathos and isolation of modern life seem to seep into the frame from the rush hour press of humanity. Three tightly packed people are illuminated by the light of an overhead advertisement. They adopt a distant glower even as the advertisement above them shows a similarly arranged trio enjoying the shared experience of meeting new people.
We can also see the influence of Bruce Davidson in Andrew’s ability to get up close and personal with his subjects. Their candid, unvarnished expressions become intimate and real in the context of the bunny-eared, audience-aware trend of selfies and personal brands. Choosing to work in black and white creates a heightened awareness of nuanced detail.
Andrew Steiner is a largely self-taught documentary photographer originally from Rochester, New York. He started shooting film at age 15 when he took a photography class with early mentor and documentary photographer Bruce Bennett at the Norman Howard School in Upstate New York. Andrew moved to Chicago in 1998 and began shooting for NewCity and UR Chicago magazines. Andrew’s clients include The Gene Siskel Film Center, Crain’s Communications, and The Jane Goodall Institute. Mr. Steiner’s work has been published in burn. Magazine, PDN News Online, and other online journals. Andrew shoots both film and digital. He currently lives in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago.
Eat Paint Studio is an artist-run gallery and studio located at 5036 N Lincoln Ave in the Lincoln Square neighborhood. We exhibit emerging and mid-career artists. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 10am – 5pm, and by appointment. Street parking, easy access the Western Brown Line, and Western/Foster/Lincoln/Lawrence bus routes. Our storefront space has an accessible entrance.
Eat Paint Studio, Owner/Curator
5036 N Lincoln Ave (at Winnemac)
Office: 773 878 8737
Cell: 773 954 7419
Wednesday through Saturday, 10am – 5pm
Also by appointment.
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