SONGERO

 

Artist Bio:

Songero, a native born Chicago artist, born in 1949.  Songero attended Northern Illinois University studying as a teacher and painter, received a BFA and MFA of Fine Arts in painting.  He was offered a full scholarship at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, but chose to accept a full scholarship at NIU. While attending the BFA program, Joseph traveled to New York to seek representation where there were many naysayers, staff and acquaintances at Northern Illinois University feeling it fruitless to seek a career in New York because of the vast competition he would encounter.  Songero, spent weeks without success to here no after no, not interested or no time to see.  His career changed and began by meeting the influential dealer and gallery owner of OK Harris Gallery, Mr. Ivan Karp, a cigar-chomping, fast-talking New York gallery owner who helped find, popularize and market the Pop Artists of the 1960’s, including Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Rauschenberg. Later Songero would show in international traveling shows with both Warhol and Lichtenstein, meeting such artists as Warhol, Willem de Kooning, Elaine de Kooning, and Betty Parsons in group shows he participated in at the Arts in Embassy Program and Frank Marino Gallery.  Karp took a liking to the then young tenacious kid from Chicago who was living in a truck full of paintings, parked in New Jersey across the Holland tunnel and showering at a local YMCA.  Karp, not able to take on Songero as a new artist, because of the large number of artists he already represented, introduced him to the powerful uptown New York dealer, Allan Stone, who combined a broad expertise in Abstract Expressionism with a zeal for junk sculpture and realist painting and was, perhaps, as well known for amassing art as for selling it.

   Stone was considered an expert on the work of the Abstract Expressionists, Willem de Kooning, Clyfford Still, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Arshile Gorkey, Barnett Newman, Franz Kline as well as their contemporaries, such as John Graham and Joseph Cornell where eventually Songero would take roots.  Allan Stone Gallery was especially known for imposing exhibitions of their work, often accompanied by catalogs for which he wrote essays filled with personal reminiscences and unusual insight.  It was then that Songero began his career with the Stone Gallery from 1975 through 1985.  Songero held a part time studio outside of New York where he collaborated with many young artists alike. He spent time contemplating art many times in the Village at Washington Square and its surroundings and when the opportunity presented viewing existing gallery shows. Songero remembers the great experience New York offered as the Mecca of the art world and high culture. The city offered great cultural diversity of food, a favorite Peter Lugers, the Italian village and China Town and many local pubs such as the 3rd Cedar Tavern where his hero’s , the Abstract Expressionists blessed the second location at 24 University. The Bridge Café, Chumley’s, P.J. Clark’s, the Ear, Old Town Bar and Vazac’s Horseshoe Bar all meeting places for artists to share ideas and dreams. He walked the Brooklyn Bridge many times for inspiration viewing the breath taking New York City skyline.  Later, he would follow in the footsteps of the New York masters of Abstract Expressionism to create his own expression, language and signature style which he has worked at for almost thirty years.  Allan was instrumental in placing Songero in one man exhibitions, group shows as well as traveling international exhibitions, such as the Arts in Embassy Program and American Art at Rydhave, placed in motion by John L. Loeb, Jr. Ambassador of the United States of America, Copenhagen, Denmark.  He exhibited with many well known national and international artists through this experience.  Songero exhibited with Allan Stone Gallery, uptown New York, Frank Marino Gallery, downtown Soho New York, Robert Kidd in Birmingham, Michigan, Gilliam Gallery, Grayson Gallery, Boyd Gallery and Name Gallery in Chicago as well as other invitational shows.

   Songero made a life changing move leaving the art world disenchanted with the hype and faddish world that art had become. Songero being stereo typed in a style he descended into seclusion for almost thirty years only to return with reluctance when prompted many times to return to the art world by friends, a dealer and art promoter, persuading him to begin exhibiting his work once again.  He has held a studio and continued to paint in his signature style for over thirty years in Chicago.  He has taken elements of the New York school to move his individual vision and expression of action painting through a poured technique and signature style.

 

Artist Statement:      

   The work is a personal need to express shape, color and form through visual impact for the viewer, stimulating their imagination and interpretation.  Songero attempts to eradicate any sense of narrative, reducing to only the materiality of paint itself.  Painted in first person, as all abstract art becomes as he believes, allows the viewer to come to their own interpretation and vision without a recognizable second person image such as realistic painting.  Songero has tried to bring a unique personal approach to color field, stain and expressionistic painting. Being deeply rooted in the New York school such as the greats, Still, Louis, Frankenthaler, Rothko and Newman.  Songero being loosely aligned with Conceptual Art and Minimalism, has battled art history to move to new levels in painting.  He views painting as a chess game of life and experience between the artist and the art, a continual battle of self and truth in personal expression.

 

Education:

BFA, Northern Illinois University, 1975

MFA, Northern Illinois University, 1977

Scholarships: Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, Full MFA Scholarship, 1975

Northern Illinois University, De Kalb, Illinois, Graduate Assistantship Scholarship, 1975

 

Exhibitions:

1974, New Horizon Grand Salon, Chicago, Illinois

1974, Northern Illinois University, Group Show, De Kalb, Illinois

1974, Northern Illinois University, One Man Show, De Kalb, Illinois

1975, 51st Rockford & Vicinity, Group Show, Rockford, Illinois

1975, New Horizon Grand Salon, Chicago, Illinois

1975, 18th Beloit & Vicinity, Beloit, Wisconsin

1975, Springfield Museum, Springfield Illinois

1975, Illinois State Fair, Springfield, Illinois

1975, Allan Stone Gallery, Group Show, New York, New York

1975, Allan Stone Gallery, One Man Show, New York, New York

1976, New Horizon Grand Salon, Chicago, Illinois

1976, Illinois State Fair, Springfield, Illinois

1977, Allan Stone, Group Show, New York, New York

1977, Art Institute Show, Chicago, Illinois

1977, Allan Stone Gallery, Group Show, New York, New York

 

 

 

 

1977, Northern Illinois University Art Center Gallery, Illinois

1978, Beverly Arts Center, Beverly, Illinois

1978, New Horizon Grand Salon, Chicago, Illinois

1978, 30th Illinois Invitational, Illinois State Museum, Springfield, Illinois

1978, Illinois State Fair, Springfield, Illinois

1978, Bethelle Organization, Group Show,

1978, Robert Kidd Gallery, Group Show, Birmingham, Michigan

1979, Robert Kidd Gallery, one Man Show, Birmingham, Michigan

1980, Robert Kidd Gallery, Group Show, Birmingham, Michigan

1980, Frank Marino Gallery, Group Drawing Show, New York, New York

1980, Frank Marino Gallery, Group Show, New York, New York

1981, Frank Marino Gallery, Group Show, New York, New York

1981, Roy Boyd Gallery, Group Show, Chicago, Illinois

1981, Gilliam Gallery, Group, Show, Chicago, Illinois

1981, Allan Stone Gallery, Group Show, New York, New York

1982, Frank Marino Gallery, Group Show, New York, New York

1982, Grayson Gallery, Group Show, Chicago, Illinois

1983, Name Gallery, Group Show, Chicago, Illinois

 

 

 

 

 

1983/1985, Art in Embassies Program and American Art at Rydhave in Europe

Participants:

Songero

Willem De Kooning

Richard Estes

Sam Francis

Alexander Lieberman

Ad Reinhardt

Alfred Gottlieb

Theodoros Stamos

Domenick Turturro

Alma Thomas

Charles Roth

Roland Brenner

Scott Martin

Richard Mayhew

Walter Meig

George Chaplin

Richard Dempsey

Charles Baskerville

Thomas Blagden

Stanley Boxer

Jim Dine

Robert Goodnough

Hans Hofmann

Valerie Jaudon

Ray Johnson

Robert Kushner

Roy Lichtenstein

Kim MacConnel

Joan Mitchell

Lowell Nesbitt

Judy Pfaff

Peter Plagens

Cynthia Polsky

Mel Ramos

Rodney Ripps

James Rosenquist

Andy Warhol

William Wegman

Lynton Wells

Philip Wofford

Joseph Zucker

Elaine de Kooning

 

2015, SSC One Person Show, Dorothea Thiel Gallery, South Holland, Illinois

2016, One Person Show, Gallery of Contemporary Art, Indiana University Northwest, Savannah Center