Moberg Gallery is excited to be participating for the first time in the arts fair SOFA (sculpture, objects, functional art, and design) Chicago 2019. For 17 years, from its home city of Des Moines, Moberg Gallery has been working to put together a diverse roster of regional, national, and international artists, as well as building a substantial corporate and private collector base. And for over five years, Moberg Gallery has also been making connections in the Midwest and beyond through Moberg at deAurora Showroom in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. Being able to reach a large viewership has been the gallery’s goal since its inception. And being located in the Heartland serves as a central hub from which to connect arterially to as many people and places as possible worldwide. Below you will find information about the artists on exhibit at SOFA this year; they are representative of the gallery’s global approach.

Annick Ibsen’s ceramic sculptures are a coming together of material and image. Ibsen’s “Clarinet Player” takes browns, reds, yellows and black, and grounds the movement created by her neo-cubist forms. Ibsen is influenced, and literally moved by music, and here she composites, or composes a portrait, and a playing, of shapes. The bright pops of cobalt as keys and bodily connection work as if emanating notes from an otherwise, and literally, silent clarinet. The angle of the figure allows the instrument to seemingly bifurcate from the frontal view, creating a doubling, which can be found in many of Ibsen’s work. View artist profile.

Larassa Kabel is renowned for her photorealistic drawings and etchings. “Smoke and Mist” (colored pencil on paper) is part of her larger series, of “falling” horses, officially titled Any Minute Now. In this work, the subject’s composure is reminiscent of an inelegant horse show jump, perhaps. But with Kabel’s intricate lines, in the simulacral mane and tail and ligaments, the stunning image of a floating horse (both in positioning and in the way Kabel uses negative space) seems to jump off the paper, as the viewer awaits the landing … any minute now. View artist profile. 

The works of Ruben Sánchez, “Vanitasserie” and “Vanitasserie II,” are brilliant mashups—abstract still lifes. These modern vanitases are collections of wonderful objects—the “staple” skull, fruit and chalice are there, but now Sánchez spins the Dutch genre through the 19th and 20th, and into this century, adding a camera, a skateboard (even an Amazon prime box). The color palette is bright—yellows, oranges, blues. And the mortality that the vanitas usually symbolizes is now imbued with vitality (life) and dynamism (movement), as well as posterity through the inclusion of the photographic lens (immortality). View artist profile.

SWOON works with raw and sometimes fragile substrates–handmade papers, fabric, and mylar, to name a few. “Alixa and Naima,” a silkscreen and acrylic gouache on cotton pulp paper made by the artist, exhibits the vulnerability of the materials, which also inform the subject matter, and beautifully contradict the power of images presented in the work. This figurative work depicts a gentle embrace, and in the subjects’ apparent equanimity, emanates amazing strength. The simple and colorful patterned background gives a mysterious aura to the mostly black and white figures it holds. View artist profile.

Zheng Lianjie is an intuitive engineer of ink and watercolor worlds, though not in a representational sense. Instead of artist as a form of glass maker, constructing windows and mirrors, Zheng conducts the shape of seeing into paper as a means to see beyond or inside the materiality of the work, ourselves, and the subject/object—even those that subject to oppressive powers or object to them, in search of more peaceful and balanced living. Zheng’s work conjures the rural and the urban. In the Jiangmen Series, he explores the latter. Here, the city is expressed in its most essential form, the sensation of movement within and without. View artist profile.

Scott Charles Ross’ love of process is primary in the building of the Baltic plywood panels around which he wraps his linen canvases. He prefers working on a hard surface, and he is building to last. Using oil on linen, his sheen and smooth panels give us small moments of the English countryside, of shorelines, and in the works here, boats at “Tide In” and “Tide Out.” With their delineated edges, the frame within the frame here narrows the field, and helps sustain the symmetry that prevails in keeping these vessels afloat and/or moored. Devoid of figures, Ross’ visual idylls begin with the crucial black line—for him, charcoal is the medium of choice, and the mark is a straightforward delicacy of drawing. View artist profile.

Artworks on Exhibit

Annick Ibsen