Photo ’11: Captivating Views of Reality

by Danielle

Surrounded by skyscrapers in the heart of Chicago’s Loop, is the small but unique Gallery 180. The gallery is a part of The Illinois Institute of Art and currently features sixteen intriguing photographs. At the Photo ’11 exhibition, artists display their views of reality, using different kinds of photographic techniques. From silver gelatin print to digitally enhanced photography, Photo ‘11 has it all.

The gallery’s white walls display works of art, each telling a different story. Black and white photography as well as full color images draw viewers in, showing people, nature, and culture from a new perspective. Every artist submitted a definition of their work, which gives the viewer a wonderful peek inside the artists’ minds.

I found myself drawn to two images in particular, one of them being “Subway” by Ginny Mangrum. The light inside the subway cart immediately caught my attention. The black and white contrast gives the image a mysterious feel and lets your eyes wander back and forth between what can and cannot be seen. The fact that there are no people in such a public place makes this picture incredibly fascinating.

“Subway” – Ginny Mangrum

Not far from Mangrum’s “Subway” hangs “Joe” by Maggie Meiners. The black and white portrait of a man covering his eyes instantly caught mine, arousing curiosity. The rings on his fingers, his shiny front tooth, and the pattern on his clothing left me wondering about his identity. Meiners’ definition of her work reads: “…our conversation became playful. I was nervous to ask if I could photograph him, but mustered up the courage and finally did. Despite the fact that you cannot read his expression or look into his soul, this image captures the very essence of Joe.” Meiners managed to not only capture Joe’s personality, but show the playfulness of her conversation with him as well.

“Joe” – Maggie Meiners

Mangrum and Meiners are two of the ten artists chosen to exhibit their work at Photo ’11. I asked Exhibition Curator Chuck Gniech what he was looking for while selecting the exhibited images. Gniech said: “A national show attracts artists from around the country, offering a larger and more diverse collection of pieces from which to select a show. My intention was to select pieces that were in some way intriguing, approachable to the masses, and that would work together as an exhibition.”

For those who are interested in decorating their home with one of these captivating works of art, Gallery 180 offers the opportunity to take one home. Purchasing an image not only supports the artist, but contributes to charity as well. Photo ’11 is produced in conjunction with The Art of Human Rights and commissions from the sales are donated directly to Heartland Alliance, an organization working to support and defend human rights.

Be sure to stop by Gallery 180 on the corner of Lake and Wabash. Photo ‘11 will be featured until March 3rd. For more information on Photo ’11, visit their website.

Photos courtesy of Gallery 180.


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Filed under Danielle, gallery beat, photography

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