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10 Nov. 2018 - 12 Jan. 2019


Var West will be exhibiting a solo show by Chicago based artist Ian Sonsyadek. The exhibit, “Landscape, New Development” will feature a series of paintings that investigate the constructed landscape and the dichotomy of nature vs. the man-made. With collage like elements, his paintings are a modern critique of urban development and a nod to our historical notion of landscape painting.


Ian’s personal history, being born in Ukraine, living in urban centers such as Milwaukee for undergrad and ending up in Chicago, gives him an awareness of not only the constructed landscape, but of the implications that developing urban environments have on the migrations of people and culture. Currently, Ian works as a real-estate agent, staying engaged with his subject of interest. The building, navigating, and processes of the assembled structure mimics the activity of his art making, and vice versa.


Ian states, “I have been focusing on the parallel between how neighborhoods come to be as they are and the piecemeal process with which I make my paintings. In my view, both things are based in the ideas of collage. Neighborhoods shift and transition over time, houses get built and destroyed and built again, cultures and ethnicities migrate, spots of nature are dropped in, the landscape of the city changes.”


The paintings, peculiar in their infrastructure, are meticulous topographies of color and texture. Both built and broken, his work resembles moments of the sprawling metropolis, the ongoing re-development of its neighborhoods, the push and pull of occupancy and eviction. There is an uncanniness that feels both empty and decorated, a critique that is lighthearted yet “requisite of further investigation into one’s environment and what its inevitable changes are indicative of.”


Ian Sonsyadek is a 2012 graduate of MIAD. He has continued to hone his craft and develop his concepts while exhibiting work. Currently residing in Chicago, Ian works as an artist, real-estate broker, and teaches part time at Marwen, a nonprofit serving young people from the under resourced communities of Chicago.

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