Friday, June 04, 2010

Life Lines: The Drawings of Charles Steffen

Charles Steffen studied art during the 1940's and suffered a mental breakdown at the time.  He spent 15 years at Elgin State Hospital diagnosed with schizophrenia.  He continued to produce drawings daily after his release.  During the last 5 years of his life Steffen decided to start saving his artwork and leave his drawings with a nephew who had taken an interest in his art.  Christopher Preissing ended up receiving over 2,000 artworks.

Intuit is presenting a show from Preissing's collection.  Info from their site... This retrospective features 30 pieces of Charles Steffen's work, covering a variety of imagery he knew in his limited sphere: neighbors, his mother, flowers and plants from the yard, a woman he once loved, and scenes from the Elgin State Hospital. More fantastical drawings show his experimentation in creating human forms merged with plants and distorting or combining male and female features.  

Russell Bowman Art Advisory in River North will also have a group show opening tonight of work by James Castle, Joseph Yoakum, and Steffen.  All three are self-taught artists.  Castle was born deaf and lived his life on a farm in Idaho.  He made drawings on paper using materials like soot and saliva.  Yoakum produced drawings based on his railroad travels while working for various circuses in the mid-20th century.  

Life Lines:  The Drawings of Charles Steffen
756 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL

Opening reception, Friday, June 4, 2010
5 to 8 pm
This free exhibition will be up through August 28, 2010

at Russell Bowman Art Advisory
311 W Superior
Chicago, IL

Opening reception, Friday, June 4, 2010
5:30 to 8 pm
This show will be up through July 17, 2010

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