Reception & Mezz S Lounge :
John Airo was born in 1971 in Chicago where he still resides as a working artist. He attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago starting in 1990 but dropped out to “find himself”. After a decade and a half (or so) of aimlessly searching in shitty nightclubs, bands, and dysfunctional relationships Airo’s journey led him to his calling, which is to create art.
Airo focuses most of his energy on painting, using acrylics and pushing the medium from thinned out watercolor techniques to heavy layering to add texture and mimic the richness of oil paint.
Airo also hates bio’s, and probably should have stayed in school.
Jane Barthès was born in Nigeria to a fiery and passionate Catalan, French father and a reserved English mother. This inherited duality has strongly impacted her work as an artist as she grapples with the concept of relationships between all things; the ebb and flow between matter and energy, the clash between chaos and order and the struggle to find clarity and harmony in a world filled with uncertainty. Moreover, Barthès has always been fascinated by the concept of space, carving into it and taming it to find order.
Barthès has traveled and lived many lives around the globe. After graduating in 1994 from Wimbledon School of Art at the University of London, she left the UK to spend a decade living and working in the South of France where she established herself as an abstract artist in London and France while also teaching life drawing and designing sets for the theater.
In 2005, curiosity and a desire for change lead her to travel to New Mexico, US, where the extremes of the desert inspired her work for a few years before the recession set in. Barthès then moved to Chicago in 2009 where she is currently in her studio full time, working on her exploration of what she calls her “molecules” of energy now deeply informed and inspired by the architectural beauty of the city she now calls home.
Kelly Reaves (b. 1985, FL) lives and works in Chicago as an artist, writer, musician, art handler, etc.
Her work and life is driven by a fascination with the natural world and a hyperactive inner dialogue. The process-driven, intuitive work is the tangible product of a meditation, intended to clear the mind. The paintings simulate and warp three-dimensional space to draw in and disorient the viewer. Their vague imagery is pulled from the fluid materiality of the inks and paints used, derived subconsciously in response to chaos and uncertainty.
The uniqueness of my art is from the successful use of dissonant colors and flat shapes to create the illusion of a 3 dimensional surreal environment. The medley of colors and intermingling shapes represents the diversity of people residing in our communities. Even though the colors and odd shapes should not collectively work together I have found a way to place them side by side successfully rendering them as one harmonious piece. I do this to demonstrate the way all of us can interact with each other as we traverse through the friction of life.
As an artist I often feel as though I am taking the long way home. Every piece represents a different journey, provoking questions and new lessons, each fueling a desire to see what comes next. This anticipation, this discovery, is what above all else drives my art and produces works that are woven with affection and passion. Each sculpture or painting is more than a piece of art – it is an intimate reflection of a newly discovered adventure.