The Chicago Art Scene


ALA Booklist / March 15, 1999 / Page 1282
Donna Seaman

Sundell, Ivy. The Chicago Art Scene. 1999. 152 p. Crow Woods, P.O. Box 7072, Evanston, IL 60204. $27.95 (0-9665871-9-7) DDC 709.
Books about Chicago's dynamic, diverse, and distinctive visual arts are too few and far between, and none have ventured beyond the usual focus on the city's most famous artists as boldly as Sundell's finely produced volume. Determined to broaden the public's limited and stale perception of Chicago art. Sundell used pages like museum walls and asked three distinguished art experts to serve as jurors and, in essence, curate a group show of the best of the city's current painters and collagists. They selected 68 artists, each of whom is represented by three pieces reproduced in full-color and accompanied solely by their artist's statement and a brief biography. The resulting range of styles, subject matter, mood, and intention conveys a strong sense of Chicago's great patchwork of cultures and experiences and charts art's evolution from classical images to abstract expressionism and back again. What these works have in common, besides their city of origin, is high technical proficiency, a fascination with detail, and a love of color. 1999

"Chicago as a mecca of art? Why not? Rising on one side from the prairie and on the other from a great lake, it is a city of endlessly interesting planes and angles and diffusions of light. A recent show, inspired by the book, 'The Chicago Art Scene' (Crow Woods Publishing), made the point by featuring the work of 68 contemporary painters." / March 1999
by Jurek Polanski

'The Chicago Art Scene' is an exhibition which begins with a book. An excellent book. Perhaps even a landmark event for the current art environment in Chicago. And it just might prove to do more for living artists and contemporary art in Chicago than all the combined grants, arts appreciation courses, and "blockbuster" shows of the last few years....

'The Chicago Art Scene' is a successful effort to gather together practicing artists of quality, direct from their studios and individual venues, and present an overview of what is currently being done for the art-going public. This project as much as possible stands apart from the categories and '-isms,' cliques and affiliations or professional coteries that are a norm in the art world. It is a well-executed contribution to art-at-large.

'The Chicago Art Scene' book ranges from established celebrities like Ed Paschke through to newly emerging artists, and includes quality work from nearly every conceivable expression and style, media and career status...

It is an honest project. Exhaustively so. The Editor and initiator, Ivy Sundell, outlines her intents and methods of seeking out artists and jurors; the jurors outline their methods and criteria for selection; and all sources and collaborators are fully acknowledged. And sixty-eight estimable artists are showcased, complete with informative biographies, artist statements, and high quality reproductions which accurately survey each artist's output. The book documents itself meticulously, and there is little one can add. It even closes with a two-page directory of artists' phone numbers and where present, Internet Home Pages.

Near North News / August 14, 1999

Local artists in beautiful volume
by Arnie Matanky

The big, beautiful 'The Chicago Art Scene' is a must for your own coffee table or as a gift for a treasured friend.

It showcases 68 contemporary painters, ranging from David H. Abed through Louis Zygadlo and including Lee Barth, Mary Reed Daniel, Lisa Parenteau, Ed Paschke and Amy Lee Segami.

Each artist is represented with excellent full-color reproductions of typical work, biographies, phone numbers and the artists' own statements.

The artists represent a cross-section of current work by diverse local painters. They are selected by a panel consisting of Tim Ade, Grace Cole and Marta Pappert.

The cover carries a striking depiction of Wacker Dr. near Michigan Av. at night by Takeshi Yamada.


"Ivy Sundell's book on Chicago art is an exhaustive examination of the variety of ongoing styles one can find here. It is a beautiful and well-researched document. This book will be regarded as an important asset for years to come."
Ed Paschke, Artist, Northwestern University Professor of Art

"A lot of pages with a great deal of text and graphics of all dimensions. I really enjoyed going through it as it is a lovely piece."
Jeannie Araujo, freelance writer for Rand McNally, formerly with Encyclopaedia Britannica, reviewer

"I have been absorbed in reading your Chicago Art Scene publication. It is beautifully put together and I love reading each artist's statement which helps to understand their art through their eyes. I'm really impressed with your professionalism as a first and yet so polished and articulate."
Doris Lilliott, Sudbury, MA.

"I have a copy of The Chicago Art Scene in my possession, and must say it is very beautiful and a wonderful collection of work done by long neglected Chicago area artists! Thank you for helping create a new and better awareness of the wonderful talent of Chicago area artists!
Rita Dianni-Kaleel, artist

"...a published, full-color collection of works by nearly seventy contemporary Chicago artists... Styles range from the fluidly impressionist watercolors of Erik Koelle and Margaret Derwent Ketcham to Sharon DeLaCruz's multi-media zen quilts, to John Rush's haunting, mythological figure paintings and Al Tyler's vibrantly modern and yet somehow retro figures."
Shelly Ridenour, New City

"Sundell compiled a visually striking book, and gave a boost to several Chicagoland artists." Timothy Rooney, Daily Herald

"...the Chicago region lacks a book featuring local artists. Her (Sundell's) new book, The Chicago Art Scene, fills the gap...The bios and personal statements provide a context for the pictures and give glimpses into the artist's lives."
Elizabeth Canning, North Shore Magazine

"The Chicago Art Scene, Ivy Sundell's 1998 survey of local artists ...stood the standard exhibition process on its head. Rather than a catalog designed to document a show, the book was conceived as a stand-alone method to spotlight the Chicago art community. It was so persuasive of local artists' merits, however, that gallery owner Charles Belloc Lowndes decided to feature all of the book's 68 artists in a group show..."
Anne Nordhaus-Bike, writing for Chicago Artists' News

"Beyond the pretty pictures and lists of art schools, grants, awards and galleries, we get a glimpse into the personal sides of the 68 featured artists..."
Marcia Gawecki, writing for Chicago Sun-Times

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