“American Roulette” Exhibition

The Clemente

poster for “American Roulette” Exhibition
[Image: Cesar Conde "Bang Bang Project" oil on canvas]

This event has ended.

The Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center Inc. kicks off the fall art season on the Lower East Side with an exhibition highlighting gun violence in the United States, showcasing the work of three Chicago area artists in, “American Roulette”.

Violence and disregard for life have become so ingrained in American society and culture that our collective consciousness is now shaped by paranoia and fear. The media we choose to consume numbs us and the suffering endured by others becomes nothing more than flickering images on a screen, slowly turning our desensitizations to apathy and fascination. The black market is awash in cheap weapons and in most cities if someone wants one, they can get one, legally or otherwise. Where change needs to take place is with the individual. All of us must speak out against violence of any type, no matter the circumstances, race, religion, or creed. This exhibition stands as a monument to our current state of affairs, to our gun-culture, to our kneeling at the altar of hate and intolerance, and to all the victims; past, present, and future.

These artists seek to open dialog and foster discussion versus create converts to their viewpoints through their version of “activist” art. The best way to spur these conversations, especially with those of differing opinions, is to present provocative images and engage in the discourse that they initiate. This exhibition melds the practices of three artists from the greater Chicago area, all making work about gun violence and how it impacts our society.

Cesar Conde, a product of Filipino diaspora, landed on Chicago’s west side at the age of 9. The following year, he relocated to Washington where he participated in Seattle’s first school busing integration program and had his first experiences with racism. Often bullied and picked on for his size, color and accent, Cesar relied on silence and invisibility. These early experiences ignited Conde’s passion for justice and planted the seeds for him to become a contemporary painter dealing with relevant social issues. Conde’s large scale photo-realistic paintings address the systemic racism and violence faced by people of color, often at the hands of the ones entrusted to “protect and serve”. His work demands empathy for the victims and places the viewer in their shoes. Cesar studied at Angel Academy of Art in Florence, Italy. He also studied with the French master, Patrick Betaudier in his atelier in southern France and with Ed Hinkley in Chicago. He has exhibited nationally and internationally; most recently in Purdue University, The Field Museum, Chicago, and the Museo de Arte Moderno in Turin, Italy. His artwork has been exhibited in France, Italy, Mexico, Philippines, Taiwan, Germany and across the U.S.A. Cesar currently resides in Chicago, Illinois.

CJ Hungerman’s mixed media paintings of visual riot address the trauma and chaos that follows in the wake of every senseless shooting and every death. These paintings take the audience on a sensory stunning trip that brings a new experience with every viewing. His use of dissonant colors and flat shapes creates the illusion of a three dimensional surreal environment. The medley of colors and intermingling shapes represents the diversity of people residing in our communities and demonstrates the way all of us can interact with each other as we traverse through the friction of life. CJ, originally from Pittsburgh, holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from West Virginia University, a Bachelor of Science degree from West Liberty State College, and completed his Master of Fine Arts in Painting at Northern Illinois University. CJ has long resided in the picturesque town of Geneva Illinois with his wife and children. In the last several years CJ has made a name for himself in the Chicago public art scene with several commissioned works including a mural for the new Chinatown Library in Chicago, funded by the Mayors Office and the City of Chicago as well as nearly 2000 square feet of paintings for the Islamic Food & Nutrition Council of America.

Dominic Sansone fills spaces with oversized and garishly painted handguns and assault rifles, forcing viewers to acknowledge the absurdity of their influence in our culture. These objects transform spaces into preposterous shrines dedicated to glorified violence. His visually stunning sculptures call attention to the dangers and peculiarities of living in a society that profits and thrives on violence and bloodshed. Dominic is best known for his room-filling installations and repetitive cast objects that combine to create an industrial mass-produced sensibility to his sculpture. His thinking and approach to art making are heavily influenced by his time spent working in the Aerospace industry. Dominic holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign and a Master of Fine Arts from the Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis. Dominic has exhibited in group and solo exhibitions across the United States. Originally from the South Side of Chicago, Dominic now lives in St. Charles Illinois with his wife and two sons.



from September 04, 2019 to October 19, 2019

Opening Reception on 2019-09-04 from 18:00 to 21:00

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