2016 Special Exhibits

2016 Special Exhibits

Liana Patthis

Art and Wine: Gioielli in Fermento

Gioielli in Fermento is an international exhibition project and award for contemporary studio jewelry. Starting from the landscapes of Italy in the winemaking region of Emilian hills, it opens its borders, inviting established and emerging artists from every country to express their relation with the wine world. Inspiration, dedication, experience, research, innovation, observation, choice, challenge: these are all elements of the creative approach that we can use to focus both on the activities of a jewellery artist or those of a winemaker. Both a piece of jewellery or a sip of wine are evocative of the individual interpretation of the raw material chosen by their maker. In both cases, the aim is turning the natural into something precious and unique.

Since 2011, six editions including more than 300 artists and their works have been presented under the selection of an international board of advisors in the field, with the kind collaboration of AGC Italian Contemporary Jewelry Association, Charon Kransen Arts, Klimt02 network, Joya Barcelona and Torre Fornello Winery.

A collection of work from the 2016 edition with a selected number of iconic pieces from previous editions will be presented in this Special Exhibit.

Presented by Gioielli in Fermento, Ziano Piacentino, Italy; curated by Eliana Negroni, curator, Gioielli in Fermento.

Jennifer Halvorson

Ball State University School of Art: Embracing the Past, Making the Future

Located in Muncie, Indiana, Ball State University’s School of Art encourages its undergraduate and graduate students to advance their individual voices by assisting them in identifying the materials and processes that best empower them. Faculty, students and alumni produce a broad spectrum of work ranging from functional design to sculptural and conceptual statements. This special exhibit demonstrates that while they come from diverse backgrounds, BSU’s art community is unified by producing objects that comment upon society and challenge traditional assumptions about media and disciplines. 

Presented by the School of Art, College of Fine Arts, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana; curated by Davira S. Taragin, independent curator.

Judy Mulford

Judy Mulford: Empty Chairs

Judy Mulford’s room-sized mixed media installation, Empty Chairs, features a central sculpture, "What now?” she said. “What now?…What now?…What now?...” surrounded by 80 individually designed chairs in frames.  “My art honors and celebrates the family,” says the artist. "It is autobiographical and a scrapbook of my life. I worked for three years on my Empty Chairs series to celebrate my 80th birthday. The chairs also honor the loss of loved ones. They are memory chairs. “What now?” is the first light piece that emerged from the darkness after the death of Mulford’s husband, Danny. A lonely woman sits in a chair holding an empty chair, "What now?” she said. “What now?…What now?…What now?…”

Mulford's intimate and emotional sculptures chronicling domestic life have been exhibited at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, the Mint Museum of Craft + Design, Charlotte, the Smithsonian American Art Musuem, Renwick Gallery and The Textile Museum, Washington, D.C. and the 12th International Biennial of Tapestry in Hungary.

The dollhouse chairs, dolls and embellishments came from family members, flea markets, antique stores and friends. The buttons came from Mulford’s mother, grandmother, mother-in-law and friends. “Each piece was a treasure hunt and so much fun to create. I love them,” she says.

Presented by browngrotta arts

Landscape of Glass in America: Benchmark for the Future

In November 2015, the Glass Art Society and Chihuly Garden and Glass partnered to conduct an in-depth study of the state of glass art in America with the intent of researching the most active regions for glass art, and providing a benchmark to measure future growth and trends in the industry. 

GMA Research firm was brought on to administer the study nationwide. The project included two phases -- a research phase that included in-depth interviews with industry leaders (collectors, gallery owners, educators, artists, etc.) and two surveys (one for the general public and one for Glass Art Society membership.

More than 2,200 people from across the nation responded, providing a statically accurate sample of the US population. The special exhibit at SOFA CHICAGO will be the first full presentation of the research findings including the top five trends from the study affecting the glass community at large, and works of art to elucidate those trends from galleries exhibiting at SOFA. 

Presented by by the Glass Art Society in collaboration with Chihuly Garden and Glass; curated by Pamela Koss, Executive Director, Glass Art Society, and Michelle Bufano, Executive Director, Chihuly Garden and Glass.


Presented in honor of World AIDS Day on December 1, LIFE : FIGHT : LOVE animates the truths of HIV/AIDS and challenges the perception that the disease is “over.” No disease is over when it is remains a serious health issue for 36.9 people million across the globe.

Designer and DIFFA Chicago Executive Board member Richard Cassis of sparc, inc., along with designer and dedicated volunteer Jake Theisen, have created a “living room” for HIV/AIDS survivor Jim Petrakis. Jim will live in this intimate and challenging space throughout the Fair. From here this long-time DIFFA supporter and gala events producer will share his LIFE, his FIGHT with the disease, and his LOVE for family, friends, doctors, researchers and drug companies who played a role in restoring his health.

Visitors to LIFE : FIGHT : LOVE will come away moved and inspired to join Jim and DIFFA Chicago to fight HIV/AIDS and support the search for a cure.

Presented by DIFFA/Chicago.

Harlan Ballogg

SOFA CHICAGO Special Exhibit Four Years Later: New Work by Six ChiArts Alumni

Since 2009, ChiArts™ (The Chicago High School for the Arts), Illinois’ first public arts high school, has been at the forefront of a national movement to build diversity in the arts in America. Created by the arts community of Chicago, ChiArts has become an international model of arts education and pre-professional training, and its alumni and students have amassed an impressive and prolific body of work.

The special exhibit at SOFA CHICAGO includes a curated selection of original artworks representing a unique and developing voice of the next generation of young artists who trained at ChiArts.

Presented by ChiArts, Chicago, Illinois; curated by Whitney Bradshaw, Department Head of the Visual Arts Conservatory, ChiArts.

Max Brosi

Why Wood? Contemporary Practice in a Timeless Material

The practice of woodworking spans millennia of artistic endeavors and parallels the trajectory of human achievement. Wood continues to provide inspiration to emerging generations of makers across a spectrum of creative practices. And yet, as concern for the sustainability and conservation of our treasured natural resources intensifies, artists continue to explore the properties of this rarefying substance. Through contemporary works that push the boundaries of the material and mine its properties for inspiration, we encounter the eternal qualities of wood that perpetuate dialogues between makers and material.

Featuring a wide range of contemporary art and design by artists currently working with wood, this special exhibit was conceived and will be executed by Collectors of Wood Art, a non-profit organization committed to the development and appreciation of studio wood art (including turned objects, sculpture, and furniture) among collectors, artists, educators, art critics, galleries, museums, and the general public.  CWA focuses on: helping people fully appreciate/participate in the field; increasing awareness/acceptance of wood as a special medium for artistic expression; supporting scholarship in the field; and encouraging and recognizing creativity of artists using the medium. 

Presented by Collectors of Wood Art, Summerville, South Carolina; curated by Jennifer-Navva Milliken, Curator of Craft, Bellevue Arts Museum.




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