Zelene Schlosberg

Studies in Hue and Whimsy, Embed, acrylic and thread on canvas, 91.5 x 91.5 x 3.8 cm, 2016 

Zelene says, her work dangles precipitously between painting and sculpture, bringing the viewer the silent but palpable experience of being between forms, with attention to line and architecture always present.

Another constant preoccupation is classical music, specifically contemporary art music of the last 30 years. The stylistic plurality of both the art and music worlds has caused Zelene to both extend and edit her own practice. The concept of rhythm is a notion that haunts her, and hopefully comes across, however tangentially, in her visual art.

Some unusual techniques she employs include cutting, wrapping, stitching, and crocheting. Holes in panels, pieces of rice paper, simple nails, dangling stones and the canvas itself are time-honored techniques and materials that function not ornamentally but rather centrally in addressing issues of objecthood, of transience, as well as the powerful aesthetics of fragility. In most recent pieces, this fragility is manifested in woven pouches, sometimes dangling precariously off the canvas, and nails jutting from every which way.

A sense of emptiness is an essential theme to certain streams of Eastern philosophy. For me, the emptiness is metaphorical with a hint of vulnerability. That void speaks to the experience of a self under siege from powers both external and internal, with the result that ultimate mobility and freedom is difficult. Physical mobility in my work is not a preoccupation, and the act of wrapping and threading renders them immobile. This creates a sense of tension between the desire to move versus the works' essential stasis. The latest pieces, all of which are mixed media and in tertiary colours, affirm a preoccupation with these subjects, suggesting an elemental aesthetic, both modern and timeless. Also at work is the idea of canvas as corporeal presence, and here the small scale contributes to a sense of physical intimacy and immediacy.

Interim Landscapes 38, Entrelacs, 2018-2019

About the Artist


Zelene Schlosberg (b. 1977) is a visual artist concerned with the aesthetics of fragility and the meditative power of imagery. Her art mingles Western and Eastern elements, including allusions to Chinese calligraphy and a special fondness for contemporary classical music. She has exhibited both nationally and internationally and will be one of the featured artists at the CICA Museum (South Korea), in an exhibition to be held in May 2019. Other upcoming engagements include a solo exhibition at North Central College (Naperville, IL), as well as at East Central College (Union, MO), and in a group exhibition at the National Association of Women Artists, NYC.

Zelene began devoting herself to the practice of art in 2009, and already in 2012, she enjoyed a successful solo exhibition at the University of Illinois, Chicago. More recently, she has taken on a deep study of both ancient and contemporary Zen Buddhist and artistic texts and treatises, which have greatly informed her current work.

While her practice utilizes a wealth of materials and techniques, the presence of thread is pervasive, with purposeful allusion to line, gesture, ambivalence, even rhythm. Thread is also taken as a calligraphic tool, an almost linguistic repurposing of textile, and capable of lyrical evocation.

Zelene Schlosberg was born in Hunan Province, China. She holds degrees from Hunan Normal University (Psychology, Education Theory), Beijing Normal University (Education Theory and Educational Psychology) and Loyola University Chicago (with focus on Business Ethics). She was intensely interested in the visual arts since childhood. The move to Chicago in 2009 awakened in her the need to create in a systematic fashion, as she reformulated the aesthetic impulses of her home country while assimilating herself into a western contemporary environment. She has since taken a self-study of the international art scene, with frequent trips to New York and Los Angeles among other cities. In Chicago, she embraces the visual art community and beyond. Specifically, her work has gained a foothold in the new music scene. She was the solo featured visual artist in CHICAGO: An Artist Celebration (2015), curated by the Chicago Arts Orchestra, and the Grammy-nominated Spektral Quartet chose a painting of hers for a musical improvisation in 2018. Her painting "Directions #0" was featured on the cover of composer John Liberatore's 2018 debut album, "Line Drawings" (Albany Records).  

River Noir, ECF9, thread, nails, stones on canvas, 51 x 51 x 4 cm

Solo Exhibitions

2019 / Title tba, Schoenherr Gallery, North Central College, Naperville, Illinoi (upcoming November 2019) / Title tba, East Central College Art Gallery, Union, Missouri (upcoming September 2019) / 2016 / Paintings by Zelene, AnySquared Art, Chicago, IL / 2015 / Featured Visual Artist in CHICAGO: An Artist Celebration by Chicago Arts Orchestra, Athenaeum Theatre, Chicago, IL / 2012 / On a Sunny Afternoon, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Selected Group Exhibitions

2019Small Works, Gallery of National Association of Women Artists, New York, NY / Artist Statement #4, CICA Museum, South Korea (upcoming May 2019) / 2018 / The Collection, UNICEF next generation, Chicago, IL / 2017 / Transcendent Journeys (Four-Person Show): Buckham Gallery, Flint, MI / Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Art Exhibition, Conrad Sulzer Regional Library, Chicago, IL / 2016 / Art in Motion, Northwestern University (Juror: James Rondeau, The Art Institute of Chicago, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art), Chicago, IL / 2015 / Art in Motion, Northwestern University (Juror: James Rondeau, The Art Institute of Chicago, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art), Chicago, IL / Art by America, A national Review of Two - Dimensional Contemporary Art, The Art House, Chicago, IL / Winter Blues: Tye Johnson Artistry at Zhoub Art Center, Chicago, IL / 2014 / Art in City Hall, City Hall, Highland Park, IL / The Abstract Show III, Brickton Gallery & Art Center, Park Ridge, IL / 2013 / Letters of Love, Research House for Asian Art, Chicago, IL / New Works, Flat Iron Project, Chicago, IL / 2012 / Alternative eyes, Beach Art, Miami, FL / Re/Invention, ARC Gallery and Educational Foundation, Chicago, IL / 2011 / Inspiration, Connection& Creation, Art Depth Gallery, Chicago, IL / Metropolis, Community & the Self, Le Gallery Thorndale, Chicago


2019 CICA Museum Press, "Artist Statement #4", May 2019 (upcoming) / Art Market Magazine, Top Contemporary Artists of Today, Gold List #4, April 2019 (upcoming) / Artospective, An Interview with Zelene Schlosberg / Empty Easel, Zelene Schlosberg: Sculptural artwork in wood, thread, canvas and nails / Envision Arts, Black & White / Les Femmes Folles, Zelene Schlosberg, Artist, Feb 9, 2019 / 2018 / Line Drawings, CD album cover of composer John Liberatore, featuring "Directions #0". Albany Records, TROY1736. / 2016 / Artbo Magazine, Curved Lines and Ambiguous Forms by Zelene / 2015 / NUE Magazine, Explaining "Slam", 2015 Fall / Studio Visit Magazine, Volume 31, Juror: Mary M. Tinti, Curator at The Fitchburg Art Museum in Fitchburg, MA.