Addington Gallery is pleased to present “Skyborn”, featuring the work of Didier Nolet, Brooks Anderson, Sandra Dawson, and Michael Dubina. Join us at the opening reception, Friday, May 4, 5-8pm at 704 N Wells, River North, Chicago.
During the winter, Chicagoans keep their heads down - we’re shielding ourselves from the cold, we’re turning from the wind, we’re watching for ice in our path. But when springtime arrives in Chicago, people instinctively start looking up, checking for sunshine, checking for blue skies, watching for signs of life in the trees. We’re not alone. The four artists in “Skyborn” direct our attention to the skies.
For years, France-born Chicago artist Didier Nolet has consistently provided viewers with his optimistic, vibrant and sometimes otherworldly view of nature. Painting in the middle of urban Chicago, Nolet longs for the colorful paces that nature is capable of putting your eyes through, and he communicates this longing in a slightly wistful way. Utilizing both the skilled precision of his oil on canvas technique and a newfound excitement for the gestural possibilities of oil pastel on paper, Nolet throws wide the window of his personal vision, and lets the sunshine in.
Brooks Anderson is, above all, a true believer in the power of painting. With a skilled hand and deft brush, Anderson speaks powerfully of the awe and wonder found in our experience of atmosphere and natural phenomenon. The beauty of this Californian’s rendering of earth and water are anchored by an extensive formal vocabulary and visual intellect. But it is in this new series of cloud paintings that his vision opens up and aspires to majesty. The changing shapes of clouds fascinate us since childhood, and link us together no matter where we dwell. Anderson effectively lifts our eyes and encourages us to marvel again at the powerful billowing commonplace of the sky.
There is a rough, gritty strength found in the mixed media surfaces of Sandra Dawson’s work that belies the gentle imagery of children, trees, sky, and birds. The imagery might reveal her love of nature, but it is the workman-like physicality of her paintings that carry her unique voice. Layering spackling compound, various paints, vigorous drawing, and and layers of collage, Dawson builds her paintings from the ground up. She renders her birds with a direct, detailed authority, poised on branches they have momentarily claimed. The viewer finds herself held in this moment, not only by the image of the bird, but by the palpable matrix of the sky and branch patterns where it rests.
Michael Dubina is a matchless observer of the skies. He is a walking catalogue of atmospheric phenomenon, and a dedicated and prolific painter of that phenomenon. His images of the wide, expansive midwestern sky are evocatively and convincingly painted in oil on the inside of matchbooks, and these objects are floated in over-sized black frames which compliment the matchbook’s physicality. These jewel-like works embody at once a sense of magic realism and an expansive, romantic expressionism. But instead of looking back nostalgically, Dubina brings these qualities into our time, placing his striking attempts to conjure the Sublime on the inside of common everyday restaurant matchbook covers. Taking smart advantage of this scale, Dubina has created a masterfully devised corollary between sky and paint, cloud and brushtroke. Above the horizon, Dubina drives the point home that the sky is an abstract canvas, and he’s holding the brush.
Come look upward with us Friday night, May 4, 5-8pm
704 N Wells St.