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SOFA 2018: Artist Round Up

November 9, 2018

Artist Round Up: We’re profiling four new artists I discovered at SOFA Chicago 2018.

SOFA 2018: Artist Round Up

SOFA (Sculpture Objects Functional Art and design) Chicago ran this past weekend from November 1st-4th for its 24th consecutive year. Inaugurated at the Sheraton Hotel in 1994, SOFA is now held annually at Navy Pier, drawing a crowd of 35,000 and showcasing the work of 80 different galleries. SOFA is dedicated to presenting only 3D art and design, with an emphasis on pieces that cross boundaries between art, design, and architecture.

Photo Via: Jun Kaneko

I attended for my fifth consecutive year and remain continually impressed with the talent exhibited during the event. As always, I took over 100 photos and left with the business cards of at least 20 different artists and galleries. This year I was drawn to pieces that were exceptionally simple, falling in love with the work of four artists in particular.

Photo Via: Studio Brunstrum

Michael Boroniec: Lyons Wier Gallery

Michael’s work incorporates two of my favorite themes: deconstruction and circles. I’ve always been drawn the circular shapes, as I believe they represent the circle of life. Michael’s ability to combine circles and deconstruction was fascinating; he draws your eye to the negative spaces in his work. He has made something beautiful and then pulled it apart, simplifying the work and brining it back to its core. There’s an overt beauty in the imperfections of his pieces and the messages between the negative space.

Photo Via: Mitchell Lonas

Mitchell Lonas: Blue Spiral 1 Gallery

Mitchell’s metal etching was so simple, it was elegant. He’s taken objects and shapes we see and bypass in nature everyday and turned them into something to look at. His bird’s nest was awe-inspiring and made me wonder how many other everyday objects we overlook and take for granted. The empty nest had me contemplating the concept of “home”; the bird’s nest looked lonely and made me wonder what type of bird it was home to. Do our homes look the same when we are not in them?

Photo Via: Studio Brunstrum

Tim Edwards: Traver Gallery

Tim’s art is so powerfully graphic; again, it is beautiful in its simplicity, yet undoubtedly awe inspiring. His new body of work focuses on the use of lines and their ability to distort and define our perception. His work also plays with the concept of negative space, encouraging the viewer to look in between his harsh lines. I love his use of glass and drawing; he combines the two mediums to create and contort our viewpoint.

Michael Bauremeister: Steidel Gallery

Michael’s works, while not as literal as Mitchell’s, also focused on the concept of nature. His emphasis was placed on patterns found in nature: striations in the sand, bark on a tree, and waves in the ocean. He employs wood as his primary medium and shapes and stains it into different forms. The use of one material also brings a simplicity to his work and the result is breathtaking.

The pieces I gravitated towards all brought their mediums back to the basics of what art is at its core –if you have to spend too much time figuring out what a piece of art means or represents, then what is the point? Exceptional art should make you feel something upon the moment you see it; the artists I discovered at SOFA did just that. I’ll be back for a 6th year in 2019!

Susan Brunstrum
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