It’s been 50 years since Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead and many more artists performed at Woodstock on an August weekend in 1969, but the undying messages of good old-fashioned love and peace are undeniable at Edgewater Artists in Motion’s newest exhibit.
On Friday, Aug. 16, Edgewater Artists in Motion (EAIM) unveiled “Peace, Love and Understanding” to the public at 1070 W. Granville Ave. The gallery compiles the works of dozens of Chicagoland artists, while remembering Woodstock through art inspired by themes of pacifism and anti-war sentiment.
Kevin Flynn, president of EAIM, said it occurred to him that 2019 was the 50th anniversary of America’s most historically iconic music festival, sparking the idea for the exhibit.
“I came up first with [the title] “War and Peace,” and then we went through the board and people thought that sounded kind of bleak and maybe too controversial,” Flynn said in an interview with The Phoenix. “So I just thought, well, peace, love and understanding.”
Among the works was an homage to The Beatles by Rebecca Bowlin, who painted four oil-on-canvas portraits, one for each member of the peace-promoting band.
Works by Susan Spero, another artist featured in the exhibit, detail brightly colored oil paintings of Native Americans engaging in celebrations, playing games and dressed in traditional feathery headwear, producing a desire in the viewer to join in on the fun.
In the second room of the gallery are two hard-to-miss charcoal-on-canvas works titled “Self Portrait” and “Untitled.” Stretching several feet across the wall, the black-and-white “Self Portrait” features detailed hands casting shadow puppets, and “Untitled” shows hands linking together as a young woman looks scared or unsure.
While these illustrations indicate artistic maturity, they’re actually the work of 23-year-old student Emily Nakamoto.
The shadow puppets in “Self Portrait” represent how stress can make things appear different from how they actually are, she said in an interview with The Phoenix. The hands in “Untitled” are the hands of her loved ones, making a chain of support, according to Nakamoto, who studies forensic science at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Those who seek the artistically unique, eccentric or just plain weird need to look no further than the creations of artist Diana Gonzalez. Her mixed media work features collages composed of peculiar little oddities that may appear harmless on their own, but when brought together resemble something rather eerie.
Making frequent appearances in these collages were animal skulls, broken doll parts, newspaper clippings and vintage photographs. The creations were reminiscent of ofrendas, which are the altars presented at celebrations of the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos.
Many of the exhibit’s works are up for sale, and prices range from $75 to $3000, depending on the piece.
Though most of the gallery is consumed by unique and experimental artwork, there is a corner reserved for solely for jewelry and accessories. The unique work of Hedda Lubin is a standout, as her use of copper distinguishes itself from the typical silver and gold palettes found in most jewelry.
For those on a budget, the jewelry at the exhibit sells for less than the artwork, ranging from $35 to $150.
“Peace, Love and Understanding” will be open for viewings from noon to 6 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Sept. 15.