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Gaines, Anne Farley

acrylic painting
teaching artist
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Website: Pilsen Screens

Anne Farley Gaines received her BA in Studio Art from Principia College, Elsah, Illinois in 1976 and her MFA from Bowling Green State University in Ohio in 1980. That year she moved to the Pilsen area of Chicago, now called the Chicago Arts District. She now owns a Victorian home there which she remodeled and where she lives and works with Geoffrey Novelli, her sculptor husband. Gaines has exhibited extensively in various parts of the United States, most recently at the Fountain Arts Center in Belmont, NY, and has been both a member and later an affiliate member of A.R.C. Gallery since 1984. In addition to having had numerous exhibits at A.R.C., Anne has shown at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art and Mars Gallery in Chicago in addition to such alternative venues as the Health Clinic for the Arts at University of Illinois, the Chicago Botanic Gardens in Glencoe, Raue Cultural Arts Center in Crystal Lake, IL and the Rockford Art Museum, where a portrait she did of collectors June and Francis Spiezer was unveiled in 2009.

Additionally, Gaines has works in such collections as the Kalamazoo Institute of Art, Borg-Warner in Rockford Hills, MI, Amoco, Ripon College in Wisconsin, Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, New Jersey, the new Palos Heights Public Library and the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago for which she completed two very detailed renderings of newly-restored interiors. Noteworthy of her large works in mixed-media and acrylic are four 20'x12' solar fabric banners completed for Sara Lee in 1992-93 entitled "Heartland Almanac." She was an adjunct faculty member of the International Academy of Design and Technology in Chicago from 2000-2011 and taught design and drawing classes there. In late 2008 she completed a 12'x25' mural entitled "West Town Dining" for the West Town Chamber of Commerce on Chicago Avenue one block west of Halsted Street.
The notoriety of her mural work led Gaines to be commissioned in 2011 to do a mural for the city of Palos Heights, IL in paint and mosaic with a ceramic tile border. It is titled "Treasures of Palos Heights." She involved students in local schools and local artists for the creation of the tile border and was assisted extensively by her husband, Geoffrey Novelli, an accomplished sculptor.

Gaines has been a two-time recipient of a Chicago Cultural Affairs CAAP Grant - 2006 and 2008. As a 2012 recipient of a Neighborhood Arts Program Grant, she has created a 26-foot by 72-foot bilingual mural in paint, ceramic, and mosaic for San Jose Obrero Mission, a women's shelter in Little Village, that took a year to execute titled "Progress Happens Here/ Aqui El Progreso Ocurre." She celebrates the fact that over 100 pairs of hands has helped in the creation of this work. Being an 'artist for artists,' Gaines has curated a travelling exhibition that is now in its fourth venue, "Chicago Artists Interpret Shakespeare As They Like It." Already having been exhibited at the Beverly Arts Center in Chicago, Concordia University in River Forest, and Carthage College in Kenosha, WI, it is scheduled to open this fall at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, OH, her graduate school alma mater.

Anne Farley Gaines' contact information is: Pilsen Screens Studio, 713 W. 19th St., Chicago, IL 60616-1023. She can be reached by calling her mobile phone at (312)203-9964. She also has web visibility at under 'members.'

I have been an artist for almost 40 years. Having grown up in the country in South Haven, Michigan is most likely why nature is my central theme. The Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago is where I've lived since 1980. In recent years imagery and influence from the neighborhood has crept into my paintings, drawings and mixed-media works. Some works have included views of my home from unusual angles. In 2006 and 2008 I received CAAP grants to subsequently produce works of two different series - "Lessons from a House" and "Pilsen Homes and Gardens." A number of the works from "Lessons from a House" are represented in this show at Prospectus Gallery. The other series is yet in progress. In "Lessons" I sometimes used a shaped, 3-dimensional surface for surprise and variety.

Favorite works have been nature scenes encountered through travel. In the summers of 2003 and 2004 I took groups of students from the International Academy of Design and Technology where I taught to 5 different countries in Europe. I did considerable 'pleine-aire' painting in watercolor. Similar to the Impressionists, I enjoyed capturing the light on subjects to bring out the vibrancy of color. Like the ex-patriot John Singer Sargent, I em-ployed a spontaneous approach to brushwork and for painterly 'surprises.'

Multiple visits to state parks in Crystal Lake and Starved Rock in the fall and winter months have been inspiration for several of the on-location watercolors that are purely of natural subject matter. I have also painted on location in subtropical regions such as Florida and the Caribbean and use imagery from those travels in studio works. Por-traiture is also a serious love. I relish painting people I know well, several times painting them non-commissioned for the sake of painting them. In 2002 there seemed to have been a mass exodus of artists from the East Pilsen neighborhood, as rents were rising. Being saddened by this, I did a series of portraits of neighbors and friends, several of them artists, and installed the work at a neighborhood café.

Sometimes needing to abandon logic and wanting to deal with pure design, I like to work full-throttle in abstraction. I have done several abstract mixed-media works, usually na-ture-based. Among them are shaped wall pieces and folding screens in addition to the traditional rectangular format on paper and canvas. The materials used in these works are acrylic paint, oriental papers, polymer mediums, and hundreds of canvas threads for line emphasis. I also sometimes enjoy using montage, or multi-image, as a change from traditional perspective. It brings me into the realm of the spiritual in my consciousness and allows my imagination to roam.

Speaking of change -- in recent years I have ventured into painting on ceramic tile, and in recent months I have incorporated shaped ceramic tile into my mixed-media works. This resulted from a large mural commission, "Treasures of Palos Heights," that I completed for that city with the assistance of my sculptor-husband, Geoffrey Novelli, in paint, ceramic and mosaic. Collaborative murals and folding screens are a large part of what I do. Most recently, I used ceramic and mosaic in seven angels in a very large mural I produced for San Jose Obrero Mission in Little Village through partial funding from a Neighborhood Arts Program Grant. I enjoy the challenge of working large and involving several people in the process. It's invigorating, and a way of 'giving back.'
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