Outstanding Balance

Friday, August 10, 2018 - 7:00pm to 11:00pm

With Outstanding Balance, Jeffrey Michael Austin presents a new body of sculptural works that offer playful and poetic lenses through which to meditate on the philosophical paradox of desire for private gain in an inexplicable, omnipresent universe; capitalism in the cosmos. How do we measure the value of individual profit on the scale of cosmological time and space? How do we cultivate equanimity amidst a plague of fear and isolation? How do we recognize likeness within a social and political culture defined by its polarity? 

"We are accustomed to figuring out how to flip relationships into more profitable opportunities. Social capital turn our personalities into currency. When is our existence not run through a monetized filter? To learn, to dwell, to heal are valued at their proof of purchase, but what comes of life when supposed given rights are no longer affordable?  For many of us, this is an abusive relationship we cannot leave. The spoils of choice are fueled by aspirational transactions.

The irony of personal debt is buying-in to render debt imperceptible.  Image supplants the reality of a perilous situation. The ironies don't stop there.  Maybe a precarious life of rich experiences is more interesting than what a job title and salary are supposed to deliver.  Technology allows us to be better connected remotely than we are by proximity. This is fast improving (or worsening), but at what costs that are not numerical?  In what ways are we indebted to each other? With whom and where do we live when our time is no longer livable? When is overdue truly too late? How tender is an embrace through a spacesuit?"
-- Lyndon Barrois Jr.


Jeffrey Michael Austin is an interdisciplinary artist and musician based in Chicago. Through a variety of sculptural and installation processes, Austin composes situations characterized by instability, impermanence and illusion -- inviting from their visitors a sense of empathy, mindfulness and openness to the unknown. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, with recent solo-exhibitions at Bert Green Fine Art, The Luminary (St. Louis, MO) and Chicago Artists Coalition and with group exhibitions in such venues as Société d'Électricité (Brussels), DEMO Project, Hyde Park Art Center, Ed Paschke Art Center, Le Carreau de Cergy (Paris), Kunstenfestival Watou (Belgium), The University of North Texas Art Galleries, Lehr Zeitgenössische Kunst (Berlin), The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Fondation Vasarely (Aix-en-Provence), Terrain Exhibitions, The Franklin, and Manifold in partnership with ACRE Artist Residency.

Austin studied at Columbia College Chicago and the Burren College of Art in Ireland before eventually receiving his BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Austin also produces music under the moniker Young Elder and as one third of the Growing Concerns Poetry Collective.

This exhibition is made possible with support from the Luminarts Cultural Foundation and the Montello Foundation.



flowers always...

Friday, August 10, 2018 - 7:00pm to 11:00pm

Alejandro Jiménez-Flores: flowers always…
Accompanied by florencio and Matt Morris

Images of flowers began to appear in Alejandro’s work 3 years ago. At first, Alejandro candidly took these reference images while walking to their studio, but they soon felt uneasy about this act, for it seemed like intruding upon the flowers; framing them and imposing a language onto the flowers that was not their own. Thinking there could be a better language to relate to their subjects (and, in a way, to Alejandro’s own subjectivities), they decided not to take these photos anymore. Around the same time, they started to receive and use photos of flowers sent to them by friends, usually with text (“So happy to have you in my leaf! ”). These images contained a softer language and offered an encounter (interweaving) of Alejandro’s personal narrative with those of the flowers.

In a new series of works, Alejandro traces lines from these floral compositions on film and makes stencils by cutting through the lines. Drawing and tracing from these images, they aim to unravel what lies in between the lines: a kind of writing, a correspondence, a longing (“thinking of you”), a conjuring of a language that is yet to be. The outline of a leaf overlaps over a petal, and they begin to communicate, just like in nature when the sun shines on the petals and casts its outline onto the leaves, and the leaves in the shadow (the obscured presence of the sun) feels the transferred presence of the petals.

Furthermore in this show, Alejandro mines images from memory to explore relationships to self and family (both chosen and determined by birth). Alejandro draws from memory the geraniums from their aunt's garden, where they recall playing with their cousin and collecting dried petals and leaves from the geraniums and placing them into a bucket with water and dirt. Stirring this concoction with a stick, playing witchcraft (“haciendo brujeria”) to conjure up a spell, but what spell? It was probably all gibberish, but perhaps they were already learning to speak a language of flowers, learning from the way the flowers communicate, of pigments and shapes, of color and effect of light, their pure materiality and its exhaustion. Alejandro also recalls when they noticed a small voice in their head, florencio! A conceptual personae, And how in their dialogues they both have been making attempts to break out of subjectification systems by learning how to coexist with others and each other. Asking themselves what it is to write (speak) in place of the other, to conjure a language that is not here yet (that perhaps exists outside of straight time), full of sensibilities and kindness. So florencio asked Alejandro to ask their mother to teach them again, just like when they were a child, how to draw a flower again. florencio also asked Alejandro to ask Matt if he could make a perfume of florencio’s essence and Matt kindly agreed.

So come see and smell (and read) gestural propositions for a new language in flowers always...

Alejandro Jiménez-Flores (b.1989) is a Conceptual Artist & Poet. They attained a BFA in Studio Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago In 2012 & a very minor in Poetry from School of Poetics in Marseille France in 2013 ;). Through a process based conceptual practice, they think, write, & craft about, multiplicities, becomings, de-subjectifications, funny things, & likes using language to assess the limits of semiotics.

Artist Talk - I See Cat People

Sunday, July 22, 2018 - 1:00pm
Join the curator, Eric Ruschman, along with participating artists Sarah Bastress, Erin Hayden, and Elaine Rubenoff for a casual discussion about the exhibition, painting, companion species, internet memes, love and death, and (almost assuredly) at least a handful of cat stories. 
Free event
Coffee provided by La Colombe

I See Cat People

Friday, June 29, 2018 - 7:00pm to 11:00pm

I can hardly remember a time prior to the ubiquity of cat-related memes and the oft- celebrated/oft-derided sharing of adorable pics, gifs, and vids in which these felines present an array of subjectivities we daren’t publicize about ourselves; instead, finding fuzzy avatars to display our joy, our worry, and our vulnerability. In the gathering (mis)assumption that we distract ourselves with overloads of cuteness, we in fact find ways to cope with recognized and unrecognized difficulties, dealing with trauma through meowing pratfalls, unabashed grumpiness, elegance, (c)attitude, playful destructions of language, wide-eyed obliviousness, neediness, and defiance.

However, the mobilization of the feline as widely circulated and highly regarded imagery is of course nothing new, especially within the realm of artistic depiction. As far back as the Egyptian tombs, cats have been visually ever-present in representation; offering companionship to the living, escorting the dead to the afterlife. The artists compiled in I SEE CAT PEOPLE acknowledge and pay homage to this grand history of imagery. They also, and perhaps more importantly, render not just images and objects, but something personal and affecting as well.

The truth is, my first cat, St. Kitten, died over two years ago and I’m not completely done mourning that loss. I SEE CAT PEOPLE brings together a group of artists whom I think understand/understood loss better than I do. They also make, and have made, completely arresting artwork about the potency of companionship; how complicated, beautiful, and tragic it can be when we’re in the thralls of it, and also what remains when we lose it.

I am beyond pleased to be having this conversation at Heaven.

Antonio Adams
Cory Arcangel & Frankie Martin
Sarah Bastress
Judy Chicago
April Childers
Colin Dickson
Edie Harper
Erin Hayden
Elaine Rubenoff
Christina Zion
Curated by Eric Ruschman

Artist Talk - Monster

Sunday, June 24, 2018 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm

Please join us for a conversation between artist Santina Amato and scholar Jeremy Biles on Monster, Amato’s first solo exhibition in the US, currently on view at Heaven Gallery.

Amato and Biles will discuss ‘embarrassment’ as a creative force and motivation in transforming the awkwardness of one’s personal life and the unappeasable need to make the private public into works of art available for unrestricted consumption by the public.

The conversation will be followed by a Q&A.

Jeremy Biles, PhD, is the author of Ecce Monstrum: Georges Bataille and the Sacrifice of Form. He teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Coffee provided by Starbucks

Monster Artist Talk

Sunday, June 24, 2018 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm

Artist talk by Santina Amato

Free event

The Smile Behind the Mask - Artist Talk

Sunday, June 3, 2018 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm

Panel discussion by the artists and curators of The Smile Behind the Mask

Free event

Coffee provided by La Colombe

Classical Music Series - Chicago Solisti

Friday, June 1, 2018 - 7:30pm to 9:00pm

Classical Concert
Friday June 1, 2018
Doors open 7:30 with performance at 8pm

Chicago Solisti joins Heaven Gallery for the third and final concert of the season. Chamber music and chamber orchestra collide in a program that features works by English, American, and Argentine composers. The lesser known but lush and Impressionistic Fantasie for Four Violas by York Bowen sets an adventurous tone that is then juxtaposed with the muscular and dangerous Last Round, an homage to famed tango composer Astor Piazzolla.

The second half of the program begins with a discussion of William Grant Still’s role (or lack thereof) in the Harlem Renaissance, his distinctive compositional style influenced by both European and African-American idioms, and the inspiration for one of his most widely performed works Mother and Child, arranged for string orchestra by the composer himself.

The evening concludes with an archetypal staple of Edward Elgar’s output; his Serenade for Strings, op. 2. Picturesque and emotive, the Serenade provides it’s audience with a scenic, charming, and sincere exercise in Elgar’s English style and a talent for lyricism evident in his larger work

Chicago Solisti is comprised of musicians from the metropolitan Chicago area. They've performed individually across the country as soloists, orchestral and chamber musicians and hold degrees in performance, composition and music education from the most prestigious institutions in the country. Their mission is to provide the cultural landscape of Chicago with creatively programmed and varied format concerts in addition to presenting standard repertoire with fresh perspective.

Refreshments provided
$10 suggested donation 

York Bowen Fantasia for Four Violas
Michael Schneider
Kelly Larson
Danielle Taylor
Emma Strohbusch
Osvaldo Golijov Last Round
Alexandra Switala, violin
Danielle Simandl, violin
Meghan Faw, violin
Alexandria Hill, violin
Michael Schneider, viola
Danielle Taylor, viola
Magdalena Sustere, cello
Aaron Gottl, cello
William Grant Still Mother and Child +
Elgar Serenade for Strings, op. 20
Violin I
Alexandra Switala*
Danielle Simandl
Alison Tatum
Meghan Faw
Violin II
Danielle Taylor*
Alexandria Hill
Susan Miller
Michael Schneider*
Emma Strohbusch
Kelly Larson
Magdalena Sustere*
Aaron Gottl
Double Bass
Joy Rowland*
*denotes principal

The Smile Behind the Mask

Friday, May 18, 2018 - 7:00pm to 11:00pm
The Smile Behind the Mask is about the fantasy in everyday. The process of manipulating appearance is common place in how we dress, act, and construct personal avatars on social media. The painters in this show who engineer a space through real life moments, color, shapes, and people, are no different. They employ bathroom humor, sexuality, body building culture, and drunken shenanigans- all while referencing visual tropes from art history. The works range from tender to unapologetically bragging and hope to champion individuals necessity to reconstruct reality.
The Smile Behind the Mask includes eleven painters all working in Chicago:
Caleb Beck
Chris Capoyianes
Hyegyeong Choi
Katie Hammond
Ellen Hanson
Roland Miller
Amadeo Morelos
Kailyn Perry
Tk Suh
Patrick Wilkins
Bryant Worley
Curated by Kenneth Heyne of Rover and Kailyn Perry
Artist talk date: June 3rd 2018
Exhibition runs May 18 - June 24


Friday, May 18, 2018 - 7:00pm to 11:00pm
Monster is the first solo exhibition in the US of Australian-born, US based artist, Santina Amato. In this exhibition, Amato contemplates the idea of performance in the everyday both within the public and private realm, presenting ceramic vessels designed to ‘perform’ using freshly made bread dough alongside a series of cryptic painted works on paper and an epistolary to an unknown reader.
The opening night of Monster sees Amato ‘activating’ one of the ceramic vessels on exhibit, making the fresh dough in situ. The rising of the dough physically transforms the sculpture during its live performance as it spews out onto its surface. Exhibited at once and all together but activated individually, the penultimate experience of the dough’s post-performance varying stages of decay, becomes an integral part of the work: the yeast ferments, consuming the gallery with the stench of the dough’s initial stage of ‘decay’, until it eventually dries out, becoming a brittle, yet essential, extension to the ceramic form. Referring to the work as Re-Performing Sculptures, Amato’s ceramic vessels require maintenance, care, and attention after each activated public or private performance: the ceramic vessel require its cavity to be cleaned out, post their prurient performance.
Assuming the role of supporting actor to both the ceramic vessels and the epistolary, the series of cryptic painted works on paper result in abstract reflections on the psychosexual nature of intimacy. They offer a pause among the exhibited works by acting as documents to a moment in an ongoing stage of metamorphosis.
An accompanying text, a rambling epistolary to an unknown reader where discussions on life, death, intimacy, desire, anxiety, the need for making art, and the thoughts leading up to the exhibition by the artist, provide a raw insight into questions of public performance, private expression, and the erotic tension that exists between these two modes of being. The writings reflect on public performance and private authenticity, ending in a space in which one finds a freedom from the loop.
Monster creates an environment that submerges the spectator into a constructed reality, a subjective experience where performing the grotesque aspects of female desire, manifests into a multidisciplinary stage for the Monster.
The works in this exhibition were created at ACRE Residency (Artists’ Cooperative Residency and Exhibitions), Wisconsin (2017) & Process Park Residency (Artslant & Chashama), Upstate New York (2018).
This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.
Santina Amato is an interdisciplinary artist whose work addresses the basic notion of the intimate body, especially the female body. She was born in Australia to Italian immigrants, and has lived and worked in USA since 2010. She received an MFA (Photography) from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2017) and a BFA (Painting) from the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne Australia (2009). Exhibitions and screenings include Governors Island Art Fair, NY, Leroy Neiman Centre, Chicago, IL, Detroit International Videonale, Kuntshalle Detroit Museum of Contemporary Art, MI CURRENTS, Santa Fe International New Media Art Festival, NM, ExFest Film & Video Festival, Chicago,; Brooklyn Public TV, New York,; and The International Women’s Day Video Screening in Melbourne, Australia. In 2018, she will present a solo exhibition at Heaven Gallery, IL, supported by the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a co-curated group exhibition with Sarah Skaggs at HERE Arts Center in NYC and fulfil the role of Artist-in-Residence at MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA supported by the City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events (DCASE) Individual Artists Program (IAP) Grant and Crosstown Arts Center, Memphis, TN. Amato is Founder and Director of Moving_Image_00:00, a biannual festival in Chicago of moving image works created by Chicago-based artists.
Amato’s work is part of a collective photographic portfolio at The Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection and The Art Institute of Chicago and video collection at the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne, Australia.
Image Courtesy of the Artist.
Re-Performing Sculpture I, 2017, Ceramic and Bread Dough. Governors Island Art Fair, NYC.
Exhibition runs May 18 - June 24
Gallery hours Friday & Saturday 1-6, Sunday 1-5