Ahmed in Nazzano

Ahmed in Nazzano

Congratulations to Ahmed Ibrahim, head of The Art Center’s mosaics department, on his selection as a finalist in the Pictor Imaginarius contest! The contest draws entries from all over the world to Nazzano, Italy, where finalists gather to install their work and “brighten up the streets of the picturesque, medieval town.”

Alongside his fellow mosaicists, Ahmed visited Nazzano last week, sharing his work entitled “Hope.” For Ahmed, this piece “represents the wind turbine as one of the alternative energy sources that have a positive effect on our planet earth. Hope is a metaphor for how positive inventions can be the savior of the human race.”

Ahmed has been working in mosaics since 2000, he has always believed that the most important part of an artist’s practice is venturing outside their comfort zone. He has many public outdoor and indoor mosaics installed around the Greater Chicagoland area. Ahmed’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally.





Member Highlight: bari wieselman schulman

bari wieselman schulman
bari wieselman schulman

“A Creative and Analytical Mashup.”

A few years ago, artist, writer, and behavioral scientist bari wieselman schulman experienced what she calls a pivotal moment: “I was grappling with feeling very fragmented. I had diverse interests, I had lots of ideas, and I had this multi-faceted background of passions and experiences. I thought of this as a sort of vulnerability—like what do I do with this, how do I bring it all together?”

That wieselman schulman felt pulled in so many directions does not come as a surprise to those who know her professional history. Proud to describe herself as “a creative and analytical mashup,” wieselman schulman earned her Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Chicago and spent years working as a design strategist. Her research and dissertation focused on linguistic gestures, a line of inquiry that is also threaded through her visual art. It was embracing her academic background and creativity in tandem that led wieselman schulman to the aforementioned “pivotal moment,” the founding of her studio, rethinkreframe. “In many ways,” wieselman schulman says, “all these different elements—my background, my experiences living abroad, a great deal of travel, being surrounded by a creative family—are interconnected, they’re very much part of my journey as a creator and they inform my work as an artist.” By bringing together her diverse interests, the feeling of fragmentation no longer felt like a vulnerability, but wieselman schulman’s greatest “superpower.” Like the piecing together of an intricate mosaic, wieselman schulman’s work unifies her life experiences and passions in unexpected, yet visually stunning, ways.

bring to light, by bari wieselman schulman

For the next two months, The Art Center Gift Shop features wieselman schulman as our Member Highlight. Ranging from larger fine artworks from her all is color series to “living canvas art objects” such as one-of-a-kind painted totes and earrings, wieselman schulman’s work brings bright pops of color to our space. Color is central to wieselman schulman’s practice: “Color is an instrument for me. Personally, I think about color as a lingua franca that allows viewers to engage in an ongoing dialogue not only about my work but with my work itself. I think of color as a language, a form of communication and a means for the viewer to step into a narrative and hopefully become a participant in that dialogue, not simply an observer on the outside looking in. Color is an instrument of communication, it is a language, it is a way to dialogue with the work and hopefully come away changed.”

But color is just one tool in wieselman schulman’s kit; texture and contrast are also key, evident in the bold marks wieselman schulman casts across her works. She calls her all is color series “a deep dive into mark-making,” one in which “the intentional and the intuitive, the analytical and the creative come together in terms of different colors, surfaces, and spaces. For this series, I emphasize the way color and form come together in a high-intensity way—I’m increasingly pushing boundaries, particularly in terms of texture along with color.” Even the tools wieselman schulman uses to texturize and manipulate her paint are unique; reclaimed pieces of scrap wood from her husband’s workshop are used alongside palette knives and scrapers to move paint and apply pressure. The result of wieselman schulman’s intuitive creative process are paintings and art objects that speak to something beyond traditional concepts of language. With a dialogue rendered in strokes of technicolored and texturized media, wieselman schulman invites viewers to enter into conversation not only with her work but with the feelings it evokes inside of them.

Interested in learning more about bari wieselman schulman’s art? Check out her website and Instagram.

Are you a current member of The Art Center interested in being featured in our Member Highlight program? Click here to apply.

Interested in becoming a member? Click here.