image“I want to go, what time?” That was Jaime’s comment on my Facebook Summer Of Art group page post about meeting at Jackson Junge gallery. I was so excited. It only took minutes and already I had someone that wanted to join me. This was really going to work!

I am always surprised at how many of my students, who live just minutes from the city of Chicago, never really venture into the city. My first meet up partner is one of those kids. To be fair, Jaime is no longer a kid. She is a grown up studying, now, to complete her certification as an RN. She was a curious, involved and mature student in high school and I imagine her the same way in college. It was a treat to share a couple hours with her at Jackson Junge Gallery in Wicker Park.

Chris Jackson met us upon entering and explained that the gallery specialized in showing work of Chicago natives. “I read that in your website,” said Jaime. I was pleased she did some research but not surprised, like I said: she’s curious. Currently the gallery is featuring work of a young artist named Joey Knox. Knox’s large format mixed media paintings explore the concept of home and our identity with it. He juxtaposes black and white line printed images of subdivision style illustrations with assemblages of found cardboard pieces used by the homeless to beg for money. The large works are layered with dripping stripes of abstract American flags and covered in a clear layer of lawyer so shiny you’ll want to run your finger over it. While the cardboard pieces draw you in with text like, “sorry to be here” and “diabetic, no sweets please” the shiny layered works make you more aware of the divide between the haves and the have nots in our country.

Jaime and I left the gallery to walk, grab a beverage and catch up. She confessed that she was unfamiliar with the area but liked what she saw. I was happy to introduce her to it and have her along with me on this, my first Summer Of Art meet up.

Jackson Junge Gallery