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River North's Byron Roche Gallery Closing

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It's never welcome news when a gallery closes its doors, so Byron Roche's recent announcement that he's closing his space to become a private dealer at the end of February was a little sad, particularly since Byron's been a long-time, friendly Chicago Gallery News next door neighbor.  After 25 years in the art world, Byron plans to still be an active dealer, artist representative and art advisor; he just won't have a public space.

The gallery has exhibited contemporary art in all media, with a focus on painting and an emphasis on materials and process. Ever the educator, Roche regularly captivated visitors with spontaneous demos.  He'd turn lights up and down on Paul Hunter's gold and aluminum-leafed paintings to show how drastically the light would change the works.  Roche would regularly explain how, taking the idea of process to an extreme, artist Margaret Evangeline had walked all over a painting surface in spike heels to create holes and violent impressions. To create other textures in her art, she fired a gun at aluminum panels to leave multiple bullet holes.    
Roche is a man of many interests, and he once had another life as part of the heyday of Chicago's folk music scene, playing alongside Corky Siegel, Steve Goodman, and John Prine. Roche has held many concerts in the gallery, and anyone who's attended his openings noticed the beautiful acoustic guitars lying around, as well as the stacks of folk CDs.

Another project near to Byron's heart that is sure to occupy him in the next phase of his art life is an upcoming public exhibition of his collection of soldier-made art (sometimes called 'trench' art.) He'll be sharing works he's personally collected for over 15 years at the Pritzker Military Library soon.
The gallery closes for good at the end of February, but the final send off event will take place on Saturday January 30, from 11am - 6pm.  Old and new friends are invited to attend the free reception.  Byron's email, website and phone will remain the same, and he will continue to represent some of his key artists, updating their new work on his website as it is produced.
Byron Roche Gallery 
750 N Franklin (60654)



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