Two Chicago Artists Celebrate Illinois Bicentennial

Sandra Holubow and Julia Oehmke, have partnered to present a joint exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center’s Renaissance Gallery in celebration of Illinois’ 2018 two hundredth anniversary.

Wolrks by Sandra Holubow and Julia Oehmke are on exhibit at the Chicago Cultural Center. (Reno Lovison photo)
Wolrks by Sandra Holubow and Julia Oehmke are on exhibit at the Chicago Cultural Center. (Reno Lovison photos)

Located just inside the Randolph Street entrance, the space promotes programs created by or of interest to Chicago area seniors.

Holubow primarily focuses on buildings and likes to explore the contrast of urban elements together with natural elements while Oehmke specializes in portraits and people and leans towards Native American subjects.

In this joint exhibit they display their paintings side by side in a very thoughtful progression that compliments each other’s work.

An exhibition of multiple works from two artists working in tandem is much like a musical duet. Each part is distinctly different but they are both telling the same story. The placement of the work is where you begin to see the harmony.

It is difficult to express a vision of Illinois without including Frank Lloyd Wright. In this exhibit Oehmke’s portrait of the famed architect is displayed alongside Hulubow’s montage of his buildings.

Sandra talks about Wright
Sandra talks about Wright

Likewise, a portrait of trumpet legend Louis Armstrong is next to a jazzy vibrant urban cityscape.

Both women have strong, colorful, graphic styles that express a willingness to experiment and innovate. You can see that each painting is a new adventure, yet you can also see their individual point-of-view.

Part of the fun of viewing an exhibition is the chance to glimpse into an artist’s thought process while experiencing multiple pieces.

One gallery observer mentioned she thought every person that Julia paints looks a little like the artist, herself. I am not sure if that is entirely true but it is often said that all writing is biographical. All artists, no matter the medium, interject a bit of themselves into their finished product.

This exhibit has been approximately a two year journey since the idea first sprang to life with the aid of gallery director Crystal Warren, Regional Director for the City of Chicago Department of Family and Support Services.

The Sandra Holubow / Julia Oehmke Illinois Bicentennial Art Exhibit runs through July 5, 2018 at the Chicago Cultural Center, 77 East Randolph.

Reno Lovison (

(Lovison, a videographer,  has produced a documentary series that began with a half hour video portrait of each of Sandra Holubow and Julia Oehmke in their respective studios as they prepared the works for the exhibition. The videos can be seen on Youtube and have been aired on Chicago CANTV channel 19/21 during the past few months. The three part series will culminate in a third episode documenting the May 24th official opening of the exhibit.)



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