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Vacant Berwyn/Winthrop Storefront Transformed Into Temporary Art Installation

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Photo: Julie Weber FB

The long vertical photographic paper Julie Weber unveiled bit by bit from its black plastic cover not long after 5:30 p.m. at the new temporary art gallery at the corner of Winthrop and Berwyn in Edgewater on Thursday initially included nine bars of differently parallel diagonal bars in a pattern separated by thin scores across the paper.

Yet the more the paper was exposed to the cloudy late afternoon light, the more the individual lengths themselves started to disappear. Nine distinct bars blended into eight, and eight bars fused into seven, and so on, as part of the series’ final reveal into one solid color that had neighbors and others turning their heads to see what everyone else was looking at.

It was the last appointed time for the public to watch the photographic paper in Weber’s “Light Chronology” exhibit suddenly develop, change and merge colors before its very eyes.

The exposure of the photographic paper began on March 2 and took place each day until Thursday. The project will remain on display in the interior windows of For The Thundercloud Generation Gallery, 1101 W. Berwyn, until April 2.

“Every day is a little different,” Weber said on Thursday while standing near a camera fitted to a tripod so as to film and photograph the evolution of the last panel. “Fifty percent of the piece is made in the studio. This is paper that you use to make a black or white photograph. If you don’t use it traditionally, putting it through chemicals, you can get a range of colors from the photograph.”

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Photo: For The Thundercloud Generation FB

Initially, each panel displayed one hanging black bag, inside of which was the unexposed photographic paper. Each one, according to the gallery’s website, is 7 feet long and about 3 to 4 feet wide.

“It was kind of mysterious and kind of intriguing,” curator Polly Yates said. “And then we started revealing them one by one. Because of the nature of the process, it would be a bit of smudging where one color would blend into the next. There was a kind of warmth to it. My favorite ones were when these colors were these clean pink and plum kind of tones, and cherry blossoms. On other days, the colors were (similar to lilac) and other days more cold blue.”

Weber’s “Light Chronology” exhibit continues until April 2 and is the second exhibit to be shown at the former laundromat-turned-art-gallery owned by Ernst Walter. Yates said the gallery will continue to present exhibits in its windows for as long as the property is unrented.

Weber, who lives in North Center, said preparing and presenting the exhibit has been fun for her and she has received a lot of support from friends and other artists. Yates, who lives very near the new gallery, said she loves the diversity of Edgewater.

“We can shape our neighborhoods,” Yates said from the interior of the gallery. Because the space is a work in progress, only the interior windows will be used to display art exhibits. On Thursday, the gallery’s interior windows remained covered by previously exposed photographic papers that, at that time of the day, were more a solid light brown than anything else. But Yates said their colors are still apt to change, depending on the light, time of day and the weather.

Danny Hein, a painter and friend of Yates who lives near the gallery, said each panel was a little bit different every night. He added that each day’s 5:30 p.m. unveiling meant there would likely be a new or different group of people wanting to see what the exhibit would reveal.

For The Thundercloud Generation’s previous exhibit was “New Demands?” by Chicago-based artist, critical writer and educator Lisa Vinebaum. The 12 text-based digital prints installed in the windows of the gallery included slogans and demands of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union. The texts spanned roughly 90 years, from 1895 to 1982, and were used by the ILGWU to campaign for the collective bargaining rights and a regulated work day and work week, among other things.

The next artist scheduled to exhibit in the 1011 W. Berwyn space is Joshua Kent.


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