Vertical Gallery presents “Miami in Chicago,” a winter group show running Dec. 1–26, 2020.
“Miami in Chicago” features new work from the same talent — Martin Whatson, Alex Face, Mau Mau, Collin van der Sluijs, Joseph Renda Jr., Mysterious Al and David Heo — that Vertical planned to feature in Miami Beach in conjunction with Art Basel’s postponed Miami Art Week 2020 event. Vertical kicks off the month-long exhibit Tuesday, Dec. 1 from noon to 6:00 pm at the gallery’s 1016 N. Western Ave location.
“Just because the in-person art fairs have been cancelled doesn’t mean we can’t still celebrate the artists that have been working all year on their collection of work,” says Patrick Hull, owner of Vertical Gallery. “We have a very strong group show roster for Miami Art Week, and are excited to feature all of the artists in our Chicago gallery for the entire month of December.”
“Miami in Chicago” gathers artists from across the globe:
Martin Whatson is a Norwegian street artist best known for calligraphic scribbles in grayscale voids. Over the past decade, Whatson has developed an unmistakable aesthetic combining abstract movement with figurative stenciled compositions: His works mirror the rise and fall of the streets, as he symbolically recreates the urban environment, then vandalizes it to reveal his vibrant transformations.
Alex Face is one of Thailand’s most respected and prolific street artists. On the surface, his work appears playful and lighthearted, but upon closer inspection each of his pieces explores deeper themes of poverty, environmental crisis and the present and future of society. His iconic bunny character, Mardi — initially inspired by his daughter — represents the feeling of confronting a troubled world as a vulnerable child.
Mau Mau is a renowned British urban graffiti artist who’s gained an international following with his humorous street, print and graffiti work. His efforts incorporate political, environmental and cultural commentary, often featuring his trademark character, a mischievous and fun-loving fox. With roots planted in the surf and country vibes of the North Devon coast, Mau Mau brings an air of rural sophistication to the art he has been creating for 20 years.
Collin van der Sluijs is a category-defying Netherlands-based artist whose dreamlike, deeply personal work employs a rich color palette and vibrant brush strokes evoking the Dutch masters of centuries past. His third and most recent Vertical Gallery solo exhibit, 2020’s “A Garden of Trust,” revealed profound new depths and dimensions, with van der Sluijs drawing on influences as diverse as vintage comics and his grandfather’s exotic bird aviary to produce his most ambitious, immersive canvases to date.
Joseph Renda Jr. is a Chicago-based artist whose paintings capture the symbiotic connection between humans and the natural world. Inspired by leaders in surrealism including Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte, Renda often depicts highly realistic human forms interwoven with illusive natural elements; his use of classical oil painting methods and modern materials, such as spray paint, provide his work with a distinct combination of old and new artistic techniques.
Mysterious Al is an Australian-based contemporary artist who rose to fame in the early 2000’s alongside contemporaries/fellow street art pioneers D*face and Banksy, developing a notoriety for wall paintings, paste-ups and street installations. His latest paintings are based on ancient tribal masks, reimagined in wild contemporary colors. His work is striking and at first glance intimidating — but look closer, and you’ll see pieces that poke fun at man’s vulnerable psyche and fragile sense of self.
David Heo is a Chicago-based artist known for paintings and collages using non-traditional materials like crayons, house paint and construction paper. Named one of New City’s Breakout Artists for 2020, Heo’s visceral, provocative work frequently documents observations and experiences from his own life, with an emphasis on the complex, emotionally charged interactions taking place in bars, nightclubs and other after-hours milieus. “Honey and Smoke” — his debut solo show at Vertical in March 2020 — sold out on opening night.
Miami in Chicago
December 1 – 26, 2020
Opening day, Tuesday, December 1st, noon – 6:00pm
Vertical Gallery, 1016 N Western Ave., Chicago