SOULAR SYSTEM, A Review
December 9, 2016
By: Jorie Senese
In a pleasant encounter with a new and developing organization, an enlightening and refreshing mission emerges. The mission and intent of S.H.E. Gallery is palpable and felt from the moment guests arrive at its most recent project. In this juried group show, Director Dulce Maria Diaz has curated a sense of communal inclusivity in the exhibition titled “Soular System” and its unity is immediately apparent.
Walking through the door of Gallery 35, who so graciously provided the venue for this exhibition featuring artists represented by S.H.E. Gallery, a nonprofit founded and directed by Dulce Maria Diaz, visitors are greeted by small paintings of interpretations of the Chicago skyline and images of the CTA floating in space. One can safely assume that the artist of these works is a Chicago native, as the solidarity in hometown pride is clear. It is as if the city is within the artist's very being, yet the haunting composition leaves the viewer with a sense of loneliness. These details were the first clue to the aforementioned united atmosphere. Passing through the narrow hallway and into the main space, it is delightful to find artists from as far as California, New York, Canada and even Austria and Bolivia. Still the bonds of the exhibition are felt. Chicago guides the visitor in but taking a further look and learning more about where these artists come from and why they create the work they do is enriching. The walls are scattered with cosmic scenes and figures floating in space; personal stories inhabit the canvases and surreal, contorting sculptures sit strongly on pedestals. The different cultural significances and pride are inspiring. What adds even more distinction, is Diaz seeks out artists who perhaps have never exhibited before and shows them right alongside established career artists; and with such fluidity that it is not evident who is a new comer and who is seasoned. She is truly taking leaps in driving forward who and what she believes is important and what will have a quality, lasting effect.
Arguably one of the more memorable moments could be work by established Chicago based artist Eduardo “EA” Alvarado. His interactive work encourages the viewer to take a crayon and draw directly onto the canvas using their non-dominant hand. Inspired by his daughter when she was young, Alvarado enjoyed the “honest, raw, and pure” childlike way she would experiment with materials. In this way she got to participate and feel included, and in turn has inspired Alvarado throughout his career. The inclusivity also speaks to the curation of the exhibition in a truly beautiful manner. Juxtaposed to an artist like Eduardo Alvarado is a first time exhibitor, Sandra, from California. Her eye for composition and imagination for adding creative photo shopped edits to her shots were a strong highlight to the entire exhibition. The sophistication in the content of what she captures translates beyond a young fresh artists view and into the depths and significance of what Diaz is aiming for.
S.H.E. gallery is taking active strides to push objectives like equality and opportunity to the forefront of their mission. Director Dulce Maria Diaz is using her platform to focus attention on the content of work and ensuring that the voice of the artist is not lost in the ever-spinning carousel that is the contemporary art world. Art can speak to everything throughout all cultures and Diaz is making sure that everyone who has something to say gets heard. She has taken on the task to operate as the voice and legs for artists who might not otherwise find opportunities to exhibit their work, and therein lays the importance of what she is doing.
S.H.E. Gallery partnered with The Art House Studio and Gallery for this exhibition, including artwork from their Artist's in Residence Program and the work of the Founder/Director, Rebecca George, among others. More information about The Art House can be found at thearthouse.us. For more information on S.H.E. Gallery, visit their website at sharinghisenergygallery.net.
Jorie Senese received her B.A. in Art History from Northern Illinois University in 2013. After graduating she began working at an arts organization in the suburbs of Chicago called Water Street Studios. It was there where she initiated the WSS art blog where she was the sole contributor. She currently works at Linda Warren Projects in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood where she acts as Exhibitions Administrator and Registrar. Jorie now writes on a freelance basis.