by James Jankowiak
Kristin Wigley-Fleming Fine Arts Gallery
February 16 - March 20, 2018
This show features abstract paintings and site-specific work that focuses on the role of color and familiar form as a means of communication in our day-to-day environment. Jankowiak says the term "vernacular" in the exhibition title "refers to speaking a particular language, using a combination of hard edged and free hand techniques that connect to history and the contemporary world, both a history of painting and of our daily exposure to coded colors and archetypal forms, modes of visual communication associated with our shared past collective experience and the subconscious meanings we assign to them." His technique is rooted in repetition and ritual, and he considers his painting practice as meditation, an attempt to assign spiritual meaning through the deconstruction of everyday objects. In addition to his studio practice, Jankowiak is a dedicated teaching artist who brings contemporary practice to under-resourced students in his home city of Chicago. He believes everyone is an artist, and he sees abstraction as a means to allow easy access to those who might not realize their potential as a visual artist.
Jankowiak was born and raised in Chicago's South side Back of the Yards neighborhood, where he crafted the knowledge and skills honed from his early years as a graffiti artist and applied them to his full-time endeavors as a professional artist, activist and educator. He has worked in the Learning and Public Programing department of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago since 2003, and he has led numerous permanent public art projects both within Chicago Public Schools and neighborhood streets. He was recently commissioned to design artwork for the CTA's newly constructed Union Transit Center in 2016.
Jankowiak's work has been exhibited in the Netherlands, France, New York, Miami, and widely in Chicago, including at the Museum of Contemporary Art, SAIC's Roger Brown Study Collection, the Hyde Park Art Center, Western Exhibitions and the Chicago Cultural Center.
More information about Jankowiak and his work may be found at his website.