First Street Gallery
Reception Thursday, March 30, 5 to 8 PM
- Additional Information -
Presenting an exhibition of recent paintings and sculpture by Hank Feeley. The new work dates from 1999, and further explores the theme of "meetings" that Feeley first began to conceptualize and exhibit in 1998. The pictorial subject matter of the paintings presents modern-day social satire, with roots in German Social Realism. Unlike the Social Realists (Otto Dix, Max Beckmann), Feeley's intention is not a condemnation of society, but a means to express a humorous, often biting, observation of the human condition. His characters, corporate men and women, act-out in exaggerated posturing, high drama staged in the arena of meetings. Painted in heroic figurative style and classically composed tableaux, the work makes offbeat allusions to art, history and culture. Meticulous attention is paid to the methods and materials of making art. Feeley's color is gutsy, and his brushwork vigorous; the paint is worked in a visceral impasto.
Day of Reckoning for the Prophets of Ennui (1999, O/C, 56 x 44"), is taken from The Book of Daniel, The Old Testament. Daniel is called upon to decipher the meaning of "the handwriting on the wall," and prophesies an impending downfall. Feeley's Daniel is a businessman in shirt and tie, who, standing at a blackboard, forecasts ruin to a startled, out of control group assembled around a central conference table. Hanging in a balance above the scene with a measure of gold coins is the ever-present "clown bear" that Feeley uses to symbolize the trivial pursuits his characters engage in. Tomb of the Unknown Fool, (1999, O/C, 30 x 24"), is a departure from meetings as motif; a lone statue of a man crouched in despair looms in the foreground, the stock exchange a metaphorical background. A cast bronze sculpture of the same crouched figure, Oh No! (1999, 9" hi, on a 6" marble base, edition of 8), is one of 5 bronzes in the current exhibition.
Hank Feeley knows his subject well. He is a retired corporate CEO and has attended, he estimates, some 40,000 meetings over his lifetime, in business, as well as on numerous civic and charitable boards. See following bio.
A televised interview with Hank Feeley will run concurrently with this exhibition on Discover-Art, Chicago Public Access, channel 21; and on the web at www.Discover-Art.com
For further information contact the gallery at 212 226 9127.
Biography in brief:
Henry J. Feeley, Jr. (b. 1940)
Hank Feeley was born in Boston and moved to Chicago in 1952, where he and his family continue to reside.
Feeley received a BA in Philosophy, 1963, from the College of Holy Cross, Worcester, Mass.; and graduated Harvard Business School in 1976. In 1993 he enrolled at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1995.
A retired Vice Chairman/CEO with Leo Burnett Company advertising agency, Feeley has also taught, at Roosevelt University, Chicago; and has been Artist in Residence, Lecturer and Member of the Board of Trustees of Oxbow School of the Arts, Michigan; and Visiting Artist at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
His work has been exhibited at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Loyola Academy, Chicago; Oxbow School of the Arts; the University Club, Chicago; the Art Center, Quincy, Ill.; and Viridian Gallery, NYC. He is represented in Chicago by Lyons Weir Gallery; and shows in New York with the First Street Gallery.
From 1994 to 1999, Feeley completed painting commissions for the Archdiocese of Chicago; Allendale Homes; the Oxbow School of the Arts; and the L. Mawbry Winery, Michigan. His work is in the collections of the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago; the Illinois State Bank of the Lake; and The Van Horn Collection, as well as numerous private collections.
Articles on Hank Feeley have appeared in the Pioneer Press, 1996; Where Magazine, 1997; the Chicago Tribune, Barbara Buchholz, 1998; and most recently in the Chicago Reader, "Art People: Hank Feeley gets down to business," by art critic Fred Camper, August 6, 1999.