I went to Expo Chicago this year and was pleased to see a lot of painting. There were lots of big, bright abstract works, but also quite a bit of figurative stuff, which felt like a nice change of pace for Chicago.
Corbett and Dempsey had a great booth (bringing the figurative stuff!) Especially this:
This fantastic Wayne Thiebaud was there, which was new to me. He's made so many great paintings and drawings he probably doesn't even count this one. I'm not sure when he made this, but it looks both fresh and timeless.
In the same booth there was a Stephen Coyle (Seaside #2, 2013) and...
...this Tom Birkner (Foggy Foster's Freeze, 2013).
When ever I go to art fairs, I always look for trends. So I was delighted to see this artist had already done most of the work for me:
William Powhida, A subjective Classification of Things, 2013 (detail)
Other trends I noticed were...
1) Things that look like things (but aren't those things). This piece by Conrad Bakker is actually carved out of wood.
Even this cinder block and this book (The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen) are carved out of wood.
2) Paintings that are impossible to photograph:
David Klamen Pantheism, 2011. I had to include the man standing in the corner so you could tell what the heck was going on.
Ena Swansea's shiny, gorgeous oil painting on graphite on canvas. (14th Street Pile Field 4, 2013 at Locks Gallery)
(David Schutter, AIC 244 S, 2013, oil on linen at Rhona Hoffman Gallery) You can't tell what is going on here, but rest assured it is beautiful in person.
3) Big loud paintings with stuff stuck to them, or holes cut in them, canvas stretched over pokey things, or something crazy. Paintings with silicone, resin, or some kind of poured plastic.
5) Lots of wood, tree trunks, branches in the sculptural works.
And finally, every year I wish that I had spent more time taking photos of the people there.
Some of the most beautiful art ladies in the world can be spotted.
As well as costumed, rich dudes.
And elegant, all-black wearing German/Belgian/Swiss art dealers.
Wish I had a photo of the boys whose style I can only describe as "gay teen monk." They looked great. I have no idea if they were gallerists, or fashion students, or performance artists.
Also that weekend and worth mentioning was the Fountain Fair. The performance piece by Claire Ashley was just as strange and surreal as it looks below:
About a dozen people were inside an inflated colorful cube doing a line dance while wearing yellow boots in a parking lot lit only by car headlights.