Curating , Creating

Meet UGallery's Rising Stars

Precocious photographer Anthony Sokolov

Precocious photographer Anthony Sokolov

At UGallery, we pride ourselves on representing artists at a variety of life and career stages to present a diverse collection. In this spotlight, we shine the light on a few of our youngest artists. Each of these artists has precocious talents and fresh perspectives. Here are the rising stars to keep an eye on:  

RISING STAR: REBECCA KAUFMAN

Rebecca Kaufman posing in her studio

Rebecca Kaufman posing in her studio

Rebecca is inspired by capturing the glitches that occur in increasingly obsolete technologies. “I draw inspiration from the flicker of the television screen using an analog video synthesizer,” she explains. “This paired with a VCR and a CRT-TV helps me to generate crazy-looking glitched images. I take a ton of pictures, spend forever mixing colors, then turn the glitches images (or my dissection of the images) into paintings.” Conceptually, Rebecca is driven by the dichotomy of active and passive audiences. Observing a painting can often be a passive activity, but Rebecca strives to trigger more active visual consumption on the part of the viewer. “I disrupt the passive gaze using repetition and color to construct a powerful, visceral response to painting that both repels and hypnotizes without consent, demanding a continued engagement between the body and the eyes, much like the technologies we rely on today.”

RISING STAR: MIRANDA GAMEL

Miranda Gamel painting

Miranda Gamel painting

The daughter of two artists, Miranda Gamel grew up with artistic aspirations. “When I was young, I couldn’t imagine that I would be anything else… it only seemed natural,” she says. She further developed her skills with her teachers (and fellow UGallery artists) John and Elli Milan. Miranda’s paintings exist on the edge of the surreal and the fantastical while remaining grounded in human emotion. Each painting, through its dynamic imagery, conveys the spirit embodied by the composition’s subject. Miranda’s ultimate goal is to portray each individual “being their true, raw, authentic self.”

RISING STAR: ANNELISE LAFLAMME

Annalise LaFlamme photographed in front of her artwork.

Annalise LaFlamme photographed in front of her artwork.

Annelise LaFlamme is fascinated by the macabre fairy tales and myths that have sustained through human culture. From these fairy tales, she draws metaphors for the human condition, especially our chemistry, biology, and theories about identity. She works in a variety of mediums including oil paint, pen, ink, and printmaking. Annelise has a BFA in painting from Rhode Island School of Design and did an extended artist residency at the Burren College of Art in Ireland.

RISING STAR: STOW MILLER

Stow Miller working in his dormitory-turned-studio

Stow Miller working in his dormitory-turned-studio

One of UGallery’s youngest emerging artists, Stow Miller has a fresh pop aesthetic that straddles a fine line between playful and provocative. The work tackles the convoluted arena of modern sexuality and the emotional complexities of young adulthood. Stow attempts to explore the ways in which young people perceive relationships and themselves using a cheeky visual narrative. His nudes allude to the sexual undercurrents of popular culture and commercial society, all the while remaining colorfully light-hearted.

RISING STAR: ANTHONY SOKOLOV

Anthony Sokolov on top of his building looking onto the Manhattan skyline

Anthony Sokolov on top of his building looking onto the Manhattan skyline

Anthony’s goal as a photographer is to share views of New York that few ever get to see. That’s because most of the places he goes to take his photos are not actually open to the public. “The process of exploring and photographing a location begins with a period of initial research where I scout a location and construct a plan on how I will get inside or on top without getting caught,” says Anthony. “I aim to be as stealthy as possible in my explorations.” As a result, the images captured on these missions give the viewer the thrilling yet vaguely uncomfortable notion of teetering on the edge of safety, breaking all the rules. Anthony muses, “I strive to capture a sense of adventure and youthful energy that leaves viewers inspired and awed.”

RISING STAR: ZIHAN LIANG

Painter and Art Institute of Chicago student, Zihan Liang

Painter and Art Institute of Chicago student, Zihan Liang

Zihan Liang is currently pursuing her degree at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. As a student, she has experienced a shift in her approach to painting, migrating from a representational style to a more abstract, conceptual frame of mind. Inspired by what she examines and experiences within her metropolitan surroundings, Zihan’s work is a combination of architectural subject matter and an abstract expressionist style. The energetic brushwork, color, and sense of discovery provide a strong sense of emotion in the work. The paintings have a raw enthusiasm combined with a sense of conflict that only a young artist’s work can channel. They capture the critical, defining point of transformation in an artist’s oeuvre, in the midst of experimentation and search for one’s aesthetic individuality. Zihan starts a painting by depicting a place that is significant to her, and then relies on her her memory and intuition to capture an atmospheric quality. As she puts it, “these spaces, forms and objects do not stand purely on their own, but are coated by my judgments.”