Featuring Rayed Mohamed, Kemba Olivache
Featuring Renata Berdes, Christianne Msall, Andrew Sloan
Arts of Life is a non-profit founded in January 2000, with a shared vision to create a working, person-centric, artistic community while providing a work environment of equality in Chicago. Motivated by founding artist Veronica Cuculich, Arts of Life grew from a passion for artistic expression and a need for an alternative system. For artists at Arts of Life, a career in the visual arts is an opportunity for meaningful employment. Each artist has their own studio space and works independently from individualized project plans or receives 1:1 visual arts facilitation to increase their artistic skill set. Artists earn a monthly stipend for participation in the program with eligibility to receive bonuses based on personal annual art sales.Today, we have two professional art studios and represent over 60 artists with varying levels of physical and intellectual disabilities. Each studio is 6,000 square feet and includes a community gallery that is open to the public.
Andrew Sloan (b. 1976)
Born in 1976, Andrew Sloan is a Detroit native known for his elaborate drawings of muscle cars, urban architecture, and sports icons. Often informed by an aspiration to capture the “Motown spirit”, his vision and style remain cohesive across his body of work while referencing disparate interests and subject matter.
Sloan’s distinct aesthetic is one of incredible detail and careful execution, with thoughtful compositions often breaking the borders of his substrates. Relationships found in nature or within urban landscapes are depicted with subtleties deduced through contemplative observation. Alongside the dynamism and compelling distortion unique to Sloan’s work, each drawing evokes a diligent, meditative quality reflecting the patience and attention invested in his creative process.
Christianne Msall (b. 1969)
Born in 1969, Christianne Msall has been a member of Arts of Life’s Chicago studio since 2008. Always a strong self-advocate, she’s dedicated to both her personal and professional development. Msall’s meticulous graphite and colored pencil drawings are a vibrant marriage of intuitive shapes and symbols, primarily inspired by her spirituality. Using a kaleidoscopic array of colors, she spontaneously articulates the detailed patterns and recurring motifs that appear across her work – crosses, drooping flowers, hearts, wine glasses, and candles. Recent exhibitions include Wake Me Up, Pantheon, and Dance Dance Dance at Circle Contemporary.
“When I look at my work, I see how happy I am, my positivity. When others look, they see how wonderful I am, that I have good ideas and good techniques. I’m very proud of myself.”
Renata Berdes (b. 1994)
The persistence and laser focus Renata Berdes possesses in pursuit of her artistic outcomes is indomitable. She continually pursues her themes, or “obsessions” as she calls them, with voracity and intention.
“I really like the art because you can see everything through art.”
Her sculptural works viewed collectively suggest the assemblage of a new space that plays with scale and permanence. Individually her sculptures are imbued with the magic of what is possible; first there was nothing, and now by Berdes’ hands and imagination the object exists. Found objects are unified through an intimate connection with the sense of touch that manifests in rich textures.
“I got plexiglass for the door because I can see through it. I can see stuff in there. I really like what I made. I was using some string for that water. I like that box that you gave me. It was a good idea, using that box.”
Berdes delivers with confidence and honesty, engaging viewers through her own vulnerability. She invites us to see the world from her viewpoint and delights us with her reinterpretation of what is.
“I want to do it because I am capable. I want to do art.”
Berdes’ artwork has been exhibited at the Chazen Museum of Art in Wisconsin, and is in the permanent collection at the University of Wisconsin” Waisman Foundation. Her artwork is included in Arts of Life’s 20 year anniversary limited edition Platinum Print Collection.
Arts of Life/Circle Contemporary
2010, W Carroll
Chicago, IL 60612
+1 312 829 2787