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Four Rising Chicago Artists Worth Investing In

Want to know who to buy now in the art world? Check out Samantha Bittman, Assaf Evron, and more.

Andrew Holmquist’s Figure Study Yellow at Carrie Secrist Gallery   Photos: (Carrie Secrist Gallery) Anthony Tahlier; (all others) courtesy of artists

If you’re in the market for something new to hang on your wall, your timing couldn’t be better. September marks the third annual Expo Chicago, which, for the uninitiated, is the city’s largest art fair, with 140 exhibitors of modern and contemporary art from around the globe. It’s also gallery high season, when collectors, both rich and not so rich, scour the West Loop for their next buy. Chicago polled some of the city’s most celebrated curators, collectors, and critics for their picks of talented local rising stars whose works still sell for less than $5,000. If a piece you purchase winds up soaring in value, that’s just a bonus.
 

‘Untitled’ by Samantha Bittman

Samantha Bittman

Price range: $1,600 to $4,000
Above: Untitled, $3,200
Samantha Bittman

The Logan Square resident’s woven works may have low thread counts, but they are very high-concept. Bittman, 32, laces yarn into dizzying geometric patterns before applying layers of paint, which gives her pieces an op art vibe. “There’s an invisible world in Bittman’s paintings,” says Alan Ravitz, a New York collector who snapped up three pieces last year. “She’s doing something that’s serious and original.”

See her work: Andrew Rafacz Gallery booth at Expo Chicago (Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave.) opens September 18. Razzle Dazzle at Andrew Rafacz Gallery (835 W. Washington Blvd.) opens September 19. samanthabittman.com

 

‘Untitled (Visual Pyramid After Alberti)’ Assaf Evron

Assaf Evron

Price range: $3,000 to $5,000
Above: Untitled (Visual Pyramid After Alberti), $4,000
Assaf Evron

After spending five years as a photojournalist for Haaretz (“Israel’s left-wing newspaper”), Evron, 37, moved to Chicago in 2011 to pursue an MFA at the School of the Art Institute. His sculptures and photographs play with perception, often distorting everyday objects into abstract images. “His work consists of things we can’t easily see or decipher,” says Karsten Lund, the curator of Evron’s current exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Photography. “It’s smart and subtle and appealingly enigmatic. It lingers with you.”

See his work: Phantoms in the Dirt at the Museum of Contemporary Photography (600 S. Michigan Ave.) runs through October 5. The Chicago Effect: Redefining the Middle at the Hyde Park Art Center (5020 S. Cornell Ave.) is open through November 23. assafevron.com

 

‘Blue Knot’ by Andrew Holmquist

Andrew Holmquist

Price range: $900 to $20,000
Above: Blue Knot, $900
Andrew Holmquist

It’s no surprise that Holmquist, 29, began his career as a children’s book illustrator. A graduate of the School of the Art Institute, he has a playful graphic approach that recalls a child’s sense of curiosity. “The way a chin looks or the way an armpit is configured has a kind of overt bizarreness,” says Holmquist.The Ukrainian Village artist, whose work has drawn comparisons to that of David Hockney, describes his style as “slick and comic book crisp.”

See his work: Carrie Secrist Gallery booth at Expo Chicago opens September 18. Burn It Down at Heaven Gallery (1550 N. Milwaukee Ave.) opens September 5. andrewholmquist.com

 

‘Solution Drawing 1 (detail)’ by Lilli Carré

Lilli Carré

Price range: $1,200 to $4,000
Above: Solution Drawing 1 (detail), $2,000
Lilli Carré

An acclaimed comic artist—her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Chicago—Carré, 31, recently crossed over to the high-art world. Her eccentric ceramic sculptures, colored pencil drawings (like the diptych above), and video animations tell stories with the sensitivity of Chris Ware and the surrealism of Tim Burton. Based in Noble Square, Carré started to get attention among museum curators and art collectors in 2012. “Her works are touching; they’re understated and elegant,” says Michelle Puetz, a curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, where Carré’s work was showcased earlier this year. “The pieces are like unfinished stories, and we’re there to bring our own ending to it.”

See her work: Untitled at Western Exhibitions (845 W. Washington Blvd.) opens September 5. lillicarre.com

 

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