Jackson Junge Gallery proudly presents Chicago Works, a remarkable exhibition curated by Chicagoans, for Chicagoans. Delve into the essence of Chicago's music, politics, architecture, food, and culture as a community of artists converge to offer their unique interpretations of what truly defines the Windy City.

From frost-laden back alleys to renowned candy shops and iconic lake views, this exhibition aims to strike a chord of familiarity while unveiling novel perspectives that encapsulate the spirit of the city. In our ambitious endeavor to capture the vibrant narrative of an entire city's culture, we have made the bold choice of transforming the entire gallery into an immersive showroom for the exhibition.

The exhibition is an amalgamation of both our in-house artists and artists selected through our open call, showcasing the very essence of Chicago’s artistic brilliance. The exhibition will be running through the summer months of July and August, giving an opportunity for city dwellers and summer visitors alike to see the artwork in person.

Among the diverse array of artists featured in this exhibition, renowned painter Laura Lee Junge will be showcasing her latest creation, “City by the Lake” during Chicago Works. This magnificent large-scale painting captures the vibrant spirit of Chicago's lakefront during the summertime. With fluid brushstrokes, Junge skillfully portrays the dynamic movement of Lake Michigan’s water, juxtaposed against the steadfast and unwavering city skyline in the distance. The harmonious blend of blues, oranges, and purples evokes a nostalgic atmosphere, reminiscent of both sunrise and sunset. As one of Junge's most recent creations, we are thrilled to present this captivating artwork to the city this summer, promising an extraordinary visual experience for all.

Similarly, in-house artist Dimitre’s photograph contrasts Lake Michigan against the majestic Chicago skyline, symbolizing the intricate relationship between nature and humanity within our urban landscape. His knack for capturing the world from unexpected vantage points constantly challenges the viewer to reinterpret familiar scenes. Dimitre believes, "The ever changing man-made jungle of the city buildings juxtaposed behind the calming or raging sky represent the fortitude of man co-existing with the beauty of nature all in one powerful scene". Our proximity to downtown and the captivating waters of Lake Michigan is indeed a dream realized, and Dimitri's art beckons us to cherish this treasure, especially during the vibrant summer months.

Photographer Stafford Smith strives to capture the ever-evolving nature of Chicago by immortalizing construction signage through his photography. He elucidates, "Negative forbidding signage creates a hostile impression, but it will lead to a rejuvenated neighborhood. This is part of the ebb and flow of the city, the rhythms of the street. Destruction is necessary for Construction." For Smith, the city is a living organism, continuously redefined by its dynamic environment.

Far from romanticizing the city, this exhibition seeks to unveil the raw grittiness of Chicago's lived experience while nurturing a profound admiration and appreciation for its familiar aspects. In his artwork titled "Bearing the Elements”, Kevin Nadro captures the chaos and anxiety of traversing the city amidst never-ending construction. He remarks, "As I walk around my neighborhood of Wicker Park the improvements made to the infrastructure put a strain on small sidewalks and streets. Where are you supposed to park several large trucks on a residential street? The noise, detours, and space are apparent to all". One might smile as they read this description, knowing full well the pain of trying to find parking while construction is underway. And should we even mention wintertime “dibs” law?

Similarly, Morgan Murphy's captivating triptych, "Northside, Southside, Westside," employs collage techniques to shed light on pervasive issues that afflict our city. She explains, "The purpose of the work is to call attention to the continued challenge of lead in our drinking water, to interrogate racist infrastructure system in our city, and to foster conversation around lead service line replacement in our city, with the hope that it will be more equitable in the near future". Through her abstract representation of Chicago's topography in vivid red and blue, Murphy raises awareness of the city's racially charged history, urging us all to actively contribute to its improvement.

The question remains: How will we engage in this discourse, and whose interests will we safeguard as our city's infrastructure transforms? Chicago Works represents a comprehensive exhibition that captures the multifaceted nature of the city, encompassing its triumphs, struggles, and imperfections. Assembled from the works of dozens of Chicago-based artists, this exhibition offers a spectrum of perspectives on the city, spanning from the tranquil moments to the bustling energy of its streets, from the lakefront to the hidden corners. Whether you are a visitor from afar or a native Chicagoan, we invite you to embark on a transformative journey, where this exhibit promises to illuminate an iconic place with new perspectives.

Chicago Works is a collection of artworks by local artists that explore our Windy City. The exhibition runs July 11th, 2023 – September 3rd, 2023, and is curated by Chris Jackson, Kaitlyn Miller, Maddie Kirmse, and Edith Copp.