Maryam Safajoo

“REPETITIOUS INSECURITY “  Opening Reception Fri.  July 22, 5-8pm  Closing Reception Sat.  Aug 13, 1-3pm

My paintings narrate the stories of the contemporary situation of the systematically persecuted Iranian Baha’i community – Iran’s largest religious minority – after the 1979 Iranian revolution.

I experienced this oppression myself in Iran. I remember the day in the early morning when government security forces burst into my home, ransacked it and took my father to prison; my younger sister was crying on her way to school. Later my sister was denied access to university and because of her quest to understand why, was placed in solitary confinement. These are only a few examples of what Baha’is around Iran have and are currently experiencing. My paintings narrate these stories which are a result of my conversations with the people who were near these actual events. Many of the incidents I depict only exist in the memory of those who experienced them and have no pictorial existence. In many cases if visual records did exist, they have been confiscated by the Iranian authorities in raids of homes. My depictions are often the first time these events have taken visual form. I record the details of this history. For example, the shoes, clothes, artifacts, and environments seen in my paintings are very close to those that were there in the event.

I take inspiration from interviewing, hearing, feeling, reading, and researching the stories of the Bahai’s of Iran.

My paintings tell the stories of this systematic persecution— including execution or murder, arrest, detainment, and interrogation. Tens of thousands more have been deprived of jobs, pensions and educational opportunities – including a systematic denial of access to higher education. Bahá’í cemeteries, and properties have been confiscated, vandalized, or destroyed, and many Bahá’ís have had their homes and other property seized or damaged etc. Throughout my work, I am constantly reflecting on the concept of a humanity free from religious prejudice including how we can eliminate all prejudice such as racism, sexism, nationalism, and how our prejudices can complicate or obfuscate the development of our community and prevent each other from growing. I often use my own body and those of my friends and family in my paintings. I’m working on this subject since 2013.


Opening Reception, Friday, July 22, 5:00-8:00pm; Closing Reception, Saturday, August 13, 1-3pm

  • Exhibition dates: July 21 – Aug 13, 2022
  • Gallery hours: Thurs – Fri 2-6pm, Sat – Sun 12-4 pm  

Some Essential Paradigms and Critical Observations in Contemporary Art

“Some Essential Paradigms and Critical Observations in Contemporary Art”  Sat, June 25, 1:00pm

David Reif, the Juror for “Consciousness of Abstraction II”, will offer a presentation on “Some Essential Paradigms and Critical Observations in Contemporary Art”, followed by an open Q&A discussion. This will take place on Saturday, June 25, 2022, at 1:00pm at ARC Gallery, 1463 W. Chicago Ave, Chicago. Professor of Art for 35 years and Emeritus Professor since his retirement from full-time teaching in 2001, David Reif has given extensive workshops on Contemporary Art and its theoretical principles. He has exhibited as a visiting artist and lectured as an invited scholar at numerous universities around the country including the University of Wisconsin, Yale, Michigan, Houston, Colorado State and Northern Arizona, among others. Reif has also held chairmanships and memberships on many arts organizations and boards including the Chair of The Wyoming Arts Council and the Denver Art Museum, College Advisory Board and has juried numerous exhibitions nationally and regionally.

If you are interested in understanding the intellectual framework that has shaped the ongoing evolution of Contemporary Art, this event is not to be missed.

Saturday, June 25, 1:00pm

  • Gallery hours: Thurs – Fri 2-6pm, Sat – Sun 12-4 pm  

Consciousness of Abstraction II

Consciousness of Abstraction: Beyond Literal Appearance II



The terms “Abstraction” or “Abstract Art” are perhaps among the most common references describing particular way(s) of understanding and perceiving the cosmic and daily realities in which we find ourselves. (We might note, too, that the terms are often mis-applied as though they are necessarily in opposition to “Realism” or “Realistic Art”.) The truth is, however, that the abstract art “movements” of late 19th and early 20th century (Impression, Cubism, Expressionism, Surrealism, etc.) were driven by a passion to get closer to the complex realities of nature and human condition, not depart from them. Later, Minimalism, Neo-Dada, Geometric Abstraction, Conceptualism, Art Povera and other developments continue this “Big Bang” inquiry. Put simply, “Realism in Art” could no longer be described as an explicit fidelity to direct, observed, experience. This basic axiom remains, arguably, just as valid today: Reality is often far beyond simple, static appearance and can be highly counter-intuitive. Over the decades, the concepts of Relativity, Quantum Theory and the advent of photography – among many other ideas – have helped clarify, how and why this is so. Abstraction, of course can be many different things, driven by many different principles and suppositions: some conscious, some intuitive.

We opened our original “Consciousness of Abstraction” exhibition, in March 2020, and it was cut short because of COVID. We had a wonderful response to this call for work, and we are now presenting “Consciousness of Abstraction II” with the same outstanding juror. Please join us in celebrating this very important genre.


Jillian Albano, Mariona Barkus, Alice Becker, Darcy Berg, Lisa Bjornstad, James Bowden, Grant M Brownlow, Nancy Cusack, Hyunhee Doh, Anthony Failoa, David Feingold, Micaela Felix, Tori Foster, Shelley Gilchrist, Nicolei Gupit, C. Annie Hart, Kristine Hinrichs, Frederick Hovey, Alessandro Joabar, John Kirkpatrick, Carley Knight, Jamie Kost, Ginny Krueger, Louise Lamphere, Carrie L. Larson, Ryan Lewis, Elyse Martin, Margot McMahon, Jane Michalski, Katherine Nemanich, Bryan Northup, Brian Petrone, Darlene Poloniak, Joy Ray, Sara Risley, Kim Rorhs, Chris Ruys, Sabrina Sabella, Fran Sampson, Preeti Schaden, Howard Schwartz, Paarshav Shah, Philip Shapiro, Casey Sills, Gage Sixkiller, Anne Stagg, Jill Sutton, Diane Thodos, Karen Tichy, JA Vieux, John Zilewicz


DAVID REIF — Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Univ. Wyoming. BFA, Painting, Drawing, Printmaking, The Art Institute of Chicago, MFA, Sculpture, Yale Univ.; Assoc. Professor, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.; Chair and Board, Wyoming Council for the Arts, Visiting Artist: Univ. of Northern Arizona; Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison; Univ. of Michigan; Colorado State Univ., Ft. Collins, Centenary College of Louisiana; Univ. of Houston, TX., Wayne State Univ. Detroit.

Opening Reception, Friday, JUNE 24, 5-8pm
Exhibition dates: June 23 – July 16, 2022
Gallery hours: Thurs & Fri – 2-6 pm,  Sat & Sun – 12-4 pm

Consciousness of Abstraction II

See “Everted Sanctuaries V”, by Ryan Lewis, here:
See “Downtown” by Torie Foster, here:



JUROR: Adrienne Kochman, PhD, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, Chicago




ARC Gallery calls for Anti-War Art to protest the current situation in Ukraine

“When you’re standing under winter skies,
and the heavens turn and sail away,
you know you’ve got to live somewhere you aren’t afraid to die.”
Serhiy Zhadan, Ukrainian Poet

For artists accepted into the show who are unable to ship their work to the gallery due to being in or near the Ukrainian conflict, ARC will include an image of your work in the exhibition in a video slideshow. You may also apply to the exhibition with the entry fee being waived.

Without any provocation, Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February, 2022. The attack is considered an act of aggression internationally. It has triggered Europe’s largest refugee crisis since World War II with more than 5 million Ukrainians leaving the country. As UN Women states, “wars affect women and children differently and disproportionately.” Women and children in Ukraine are being targeted by Russian forces as reports from Bucha and Irpin indicate, and women and children refugees who have left Ukraine are being targeted by human traffickers.

In support of the Ukrainian people, and to protest the Russian invasion, ARC Gallery invites artists to respond to the war in Ukraine using their creativity. We envision an inclusive exhibition that protests this, and other, acts of aggression through thought-provoking and thoughtful artwork. The submitted artwork can specifically address the current war in Ukraine and the refugee crisis created by this war, as well as previous and current wars that create a refugee crisis for women and children.

Ukraine celebrates its National Flag Day on August 23rd and its Independence Day on August 24th. In order to honor these important dates in Ukraine, ARC Gallery will host an artist panel discussion on Saturday, July 23rd one month early to celebrate and support the Ukrainian Spirit.

All mediums and materials are eligible for submission including video and performance. Due to space limitations, no large projections or media-based installations will be accepted.

For artists accepted into the show who are unable to ship their work to the gallery due to being in or near the Ukrainian conflict, ARC will include an image of your work in the exhibition in a video slideshow. You may also apply to the exhibition with no entry fee.

“Ukraine hath not yet perished, nor her glory, nor her freedom,
Upon us, fellow Ukrainians, fate shall smile once more.
Our enemies shall vanish, like the dew in the sun,
And we too shall rule, brothers, in a free land of our own.”
Beginning Stanza of Ukrainian National Anthem

Deadline for Submission of Applications: Saturday, June 18, 2022 at 11:59pm CST
Notification of Acceptance: Will go out by email on Monday, June 27, 2022.
Work Delivered to ARC: Thurs & Fri, July 14-15, 2-6pm; Sat, July 16, 12-4pm
Pick-Up Work at Gallery: Sat, August 13, 12-4pm
Shipped Work Return Date: week of August 14, 2022 *Pre-Paid FedEx or UPS label is required.*
Do not use the U.S. Postal Service.

$40 for one to three images. $10 for each additional image. (Lower charge for students — high school or college students can pay a reduced fee of $25 per 3 entries with $10 for each additional entry. Please include copy of Student ID.) If paying by check, it must be received prior to jurying.

Click HERE to apply.

Juror: Adrienne Kochman

The show will be juried by Dr. Adrienne Kochman, Curator of contemporary art at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art in Chicago. Dr. Kochman has a PhD in Art History from the University of Chicago. Dr. Kochman, PhD has been working as an art historian, curator and educator in Chicago and its art community since the 1980s. Formerly Associate Professor of Art History and Adjunct Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Indiana University Northwest, she currently teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and since 2017, is curator at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art. Recent curatorial projects include The Ukrainian Diaspora: Women Artists, 1908-2015 (2015) and Reality Check: Directions in Contemporary Art Since Ukrainian Independence (2016); Increment: Barbara Cooper, Shona MacDonald, Yoonshin Park (2018); Raw Reckoning: Michael Paxton (2019). Her exhibit on Paris-based Ukrainian refugee artist Michel Andreenko opens in June.

Opening Reception, Friday, JULY 22, 5-8pm
Exhibition dates: July 21 – August 13, 2022
Gallery hours: Thurs & Fri – 2-6 pm,  Sat & Sun – 12-4 pm

Granite Palombo Amit

“THE MOVEMENT FOR THE LIBERATION OF THE NARRATIVE – Exodus and the Divine Humor “  Opening Reception Fri.  May 27, 5-8pm

The Movement for the Liberation of the Narrative-Exodus and the Divine Humor is an installation focused on the hermeneutic and psychological examination of sacred texts free of didactic presentation and respectful of all paths.

Sacred texts are understood as agents or vessels of transformation, whose purpose is to propel us out of our comfort zone and to enable change and growth. The literal layer of the story is treated as a “temporary structure” for understanding the human journey. The same systems of decoding sacred texts that Granite explores may be applied to our personal narrative, starting with the question, What is the purpose of the narrative?

This installation focuses on Exodus as an allegory for collective paradigm shifts and the ever-present yearning for freedom.

The installation is composed of 11 short animations that are the chapters/stages of the story/transformation. The context behind this installation/examination is the concept of the “Breaking of the Vessels,” “Shevirat Ha-Kelim,” meaning the purpose for the creation of the world and for humanity in its ultimate role. The visual space includes the staging of the animations and large-scale prints of broken glass, as a visual metaphor for our fragility and the essentiality of gentleness.

The animations are available on Granite Palombo Amit’s website:

Or her YouTube channel:


Granite Palombo Amit is an interdisciplinary artist who has exhibited nationally and internationally in Chicago, New York, Paris, Edinburgh, Washington, Toronto, and Hamburg.

Integrating her training as a therapist, she initiates outreach projects with people who were previously incarcerated, youth at risk, residents of domestic violence shelters, youth in detention centers, and people seeking asylum. She developed her own therapeutic model, which concludes in a collaborative exhibit or performance with her clients to demonstrate the paradigm shift that they undergo, from survivors of socioeconomic conditions such as trauma, poverty and systemic racism to becoming the ambassadors, teachers and healers of those same phenomena.

These performances and exhibitions were displayed at the Art Institute of Chicago, Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago, the Hamlin Theater, and ARC gallery.

Granite Palombo was ordained as a Rabbi in 2016, exploring Jewish mystical texts and healing. She focuses on the principles of sacred texts and animates them. By making them more accessible, the contemporary and transformative essence of these texts is revealed.

Granite Palombo Amit integrates interdisciplinary art, therapy, and rabbinical training.


Opening Reception, Friday, May 27, 5:00-8:00pm

  • Exhibition dates: May 26 – June 18, 2022
  • Gallery hours: Thurs – Fri 2-6pm, Sat – Sun 12-4 pm  

Zoe Beaudry

“DEEP TIME, GARBAGE MINUTES”  Opening Reception Fri.  May 27, 5-8pm

Each painting in this show is a kind of meditation on mortality and death. Together they form a series of scattered conversations between one another; a pattern of calls and responses realized over a span of five years. In this way, time is both a medium and a subject.

“Deep time” refers to the time scale of geologic events, which is vastly greater than the time scale of human lives. “Garbage minutes” refers to the final minutes of a sports game in which one side has an enormous lead, and the teams are playing out the clock without hope of changing the final result.

The recent works were inspired by Federico García Lorca’s poem Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias, whose rhythmic chanting of “five in the afternoon” creates a cadenced flow that evokes the passage of time, as the writer elegizes a lost friend. Repetition creates a sense of continuity, of an unbroken pattern (opposed to the extreme discontinuity of endings and death). The idea of repetition as a meditative denotation of the passage of time is central to this work.

Opening Reception, Friday, May 27, 5:00-8:00pm

  • Exhibition dates: May 26 – June 18, 2022
  • Gallery hours: Thurs – Fri 2-6pm, Sat – Sun 12-4 pm  

Kelly Boehmer

“GROWLING STOMACH”  Opening Reception Fri.  April 29, 5-8pm

Boehmer’s soft sculptures display a tragic sense of humor. Using art history as a starting point she creates tension and anxiety through sewing the work by hand, with raw, anxious stitches of red thread. Her old sculptures are cut up and are incorporated with upcycled taxidermy to make new work.

Opening Reception, Friday, April 29, 5:00-8:00pm

  • Exhibition dates: April 28 – May 21, 2022
  • Gallery hours: Thurs – Fri 2-6pm, Sat – Sun 12-4 pm  

Meryl Levenstein

“FOUND MY FOOTING ON THE FOREST FLOOR”  Opening Reception Fri.  April 29, 5-8pm

Mine is a collaborative process. With help from Mother Nature, I create weapons for the army of folks who are battling real or imagined demons. Our minute of history has been eclipsed by exhaustive and shameful political buffoonery, a ghastly pandemic, dreadful combative heads of state, inflation and on and on. What is the average and tireless world citizen supposed to do to be hopeful, to enjoy control? I worry, because it is my makeup. I worry, because we are too fragile to withstand the onslaught of misery that has become commonplace.

So, I thought about options for supporting emotional wellness. I decided that each of us needs what the most fortunate already have… that enviable feeling of empowerment and confidence, the joyous realization that we all count. We need the stuff of sovereigns. We need tools for might.

So I make scepters. One of kind, doused with jewels and distinctive textiles, remarkable embellishments from everywhere, embroidered to the hilt, my magical wands are multi-faceted. Along with the regal implications of privilege and entitlement, the ornamental branches have mystical capabilities, or so I am suggesting. See them as “divine rods” with supernatural means to manage stress and heighten awareness.

My work is contemplative. It is therapeutic. Each stitch and decorative detail is thoughtfully placed. While I work, I am ridiculously focused and not easily distracted. The work is slow and deliberate and hell on my hands. But I am happiest when I am designing my scepters, because I do not fret about the world and my role on the planet while I am sewing and sharing. Instead, I feel strong and optimistic about being present in this messed-up era. The repurposed branch reminds me that I, too, am noble enough and mindful enough to live my life boldly.

Hopefully, my scepter will arouse enlightening moments for you, allow you to reflect on your own layered story rather than brood about what has become regrettably normal. May the dazzling accessory be part of your private arsenal against self doubt and fear. May it be a symbol of spunk. Should you find comfort in its meaning, consider my power-packed piece a gift to modern weary warriors.


Opening Reception, Friday, April 29, 5:00-8:00pm

  • Exhibition dates: April 28 – May 21, 2022
  • Gallery hours: Thurs – Fri 2-6pm, Sat – Sun 12-4 pm  

Elyse Martin

“SERENDIPITOUS FLOW”  Opening Reception Fri.  April 29, 5-8pm

My current work explores the possibility of making visual sense through a process that, though sometimes complex, turns out to be a kind of managed serendipity. I create large abstracts, worked flat.  I start with acrylic paint, begin with colors in different areas, and manipulate the canvas until I find what works. The beginning is almost arbitrary, but what emerges is usually surprising. I combine paint with a variety of textures—sometimes pouring medium, sometimes varnish, sometimes gels—to create surfaces that I embellish, remove, scrape, splatter or puddle.

Walking around the canvas as I work, I discover the perspective that best suits the piece. Whether vertical, horizontal or angled, there is a struggle between disarray and harmony, comfort and discomfort that I try to resolve in each piece, a process that can be completed through a minute detail or disparate dash of color. I try to keep the viewer simultaneously engaged by the complexities of the work and soothed by the empty spaces in between.

Opening Reception, Friday, April 29, 5:00-8:00pm

  • Exhibition dates: April 28 – May 21, 2022
  • Gallery hours: Thurs – Fri 2-6pm, Sat – Sun 12-4 pm  


“EPILOGUE”  Opening Reception Fri.  April 1, 5-8pm

Epilogue is a group-exhibition displaying select pieces by seven graduate-candidate students finishing their final semester at Northern Illinois University. Artists Ina Murphy, Marco Camacho, Marisol Cervantes, Nicholas Phan, Shinan Wu, Sixing Qi, and Zoë Couvillion are showcasing a variety of printmaking mediums, ceramic vessels, sculptures, paintings, and new-media works. The show is a culmination of the craftsmanship and conceptual growth gathered over the course of their three-year scholarship, and is an exciting springboard into their newfound artistic careers.


Opening Reception, Friday, April 1, 5:00-8:00pm

  • Exhibition dates: March 31 – April 23, 2022
  • Gallery hours: Thurs – Fri 2-6pm, Sat – Sun 12-4 pm