Richard Gray Gallery Hosts Art Encounter

Last Saturday, venerable Chicago contemporary art gallery Richard Gray played host to Art Encounter, a nonprofit visual art education organization founded in 1978 with a mission to "bring an appreciation of art and the creative process to people of all ages and backgrounds."

Led by founder and artistic director of Art Encounter Joanna Pinsky, the two hour event allowed the dozen or so guests access to Richard Gray's exhibition space on the 38th floor of the iconic Hancock Tower. Therein works by artists ranging from Roy Lichtenstein to Theaster Gates were on view, and subject to Pinksy's hawkish eye for detail.

E. Stat

Evelyn Statsinger, Sections of Change (1st Mode). Photo courtesy of Richard Gray Gallery.

The discussions ranged from the exploitative tension of the clean-lined formalism evident in Evelyn Statsinger's Sections of Change (1st Mode) (categorized by one member of the group as "obsessive") to the psychological implications of Jim Dine's use of charcoal on his Dying Thistle. The latter being a standout work on paper measuring 50"x40" that commanded immediate and complete attention upon entry to the primary gallery space; one of those rare works that could only have been executed late in a long and fruitful career. Full of wistfulness and willful submission, with implications of something much more sinister churning just beneath the surface in a subsumption of texture and inner turmoil, this powerful work was the only to draw a consensus from those present.

Jim Dine

Jim Dine, Dying Thistle. Photo courtesy of Richard Gray Gallery.

This allowing of interjection and argument to flourish amid the group, and between the group and docent, was a unique break from the typical informative lecture method employed by most gallery tours. In opening up the floor to not just multiple interpretations of the work, but various analytical styles, Pinsky makes good on Art Encounter's claim to provide "an interactive approach in discussing art that helps participants understand art in depth by sharing perceptions." Art Encounter works to bring original art works and workshops to schools, residences for the elderly, and community centers, as well as leading groups to museums, art galleries, and private collections to discuss works of art. For more information on their upcoming tours, classes, and travel programs, visit their website. Richard Gray Gallery is located at 875 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 3800. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 10:00am-5:30pm, Saturday's 11:00am-5:00pm.
Picture of the author
Bianca Bova

Bianca Bova is a Chicago-based curator. She has worked with national and international contemporary arts organizations including Gunder Exhibitions, SiTE:LAB, the Chicago Architecture Foundation, The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and EXPO Chicago.