Claire Molek isn’t afraid to find things that push her outside her comfort zone. At least when it comes to art, that is.
“I’m excited to find work that scares me and kind of upsets me,” Molek said. “You’re doing something right if you’re pissing me off.”
While Molek can’t always put her finger on exactly what that “it” factor is, she knows there’s a lot of it in Chicago right now. And she would know. After she co-founded This Is Not The Studio at age 22, the Chicago native co-founded and worked as director of the HAUSER Gallery at 25.
Then, at 26, Molek turned that venture into the Brave New Art World, a group focused on making the art world accessible and building a community around emerging artists.
“There’s just an incredible wealth of emerging talent [in Chicago]. I haven’t seen anything like it before,” Molek said. “There’s something about the work here that’s definitely not as rooted in conceptualism as it used to be. I’d say a lot of artists are making super honest stuff that has to do with their experiences and how they see the world around them.”
These days Molek is shifting gears to focus on building a new structure that will help create a sustainable market for emerging artists. If the past is any indication, her new project will be one to watch.
In the meantime, Molek created a Pinterest board for Modern Midwest showcasing a collection of work from seven emerging Chicago artists to get on your radar now.
Julia’s work has changed exponentially in the last year – it is less representational or champions it. I’ve closely watched the series grow and am a bit biased, but I will say I am completely absorbed in it.
Kenrick occupies a more formalist, subtle kind of subversion, and it’s stuff that sticks with me in a way I never expect it to. I met him as a high schooler and am continually impressed with each new painting.
Brittany is the leading feminist voice that I know and whatever she makes becomes an instant part of my mental landscape. She is to say the least, on top of it.
I have no words to explain the mad love that is me toward this work.
Blaha is creating sculptures on the computer and photographing them in simulated environments. What you can’t see here is the actual object which is mounted between plexi and slightly off the wall with elegance and satire and reverence and hilarity.
Balanced tension and whimsy and color and study and so much yes. There’s something about it too that reminds me to call my mother and eat more vegetables – I cherish that in this market.
There is a strength in Anders’ vulnerability within a precisely fractured narrative that I am particularly drawn to. He is a true painter.