The Harold Washington branch of the Chicago Public Library (Harold Washington Library Center is at 400 S. State Street.) has bookshelf paintings. Management did not hire painters to paint their bookshelves; instead, there are art paintings of books and bookshelves by Dmitry Samarov. This art exhibit began Jan. 11, 2013 and will end on March 1, 2013.
On the eighth floor’s north wall, there are nine, oil paintings by Dmitry Samarov. These oil paintings are in a large display case that has a glass cover. The smallest is approximately 8 in. x 10 in. and the largest is approximately 16 in. x 20 in. These are the titles and year of production: Amnesia (2011), Shay’s Books (2012), Matisse (1998), Morandi (2011), Entrapoint (2012), Alice . . . (2011), Beautiful Children (2008), Taxi from Hell (2011) and On the Edge (2011).
All of these paintings excellently depict books, books on shelves, and the shelves themselves. At least one of the paintings also depicts an ink bottle among the books. Samarov’s art style is not exactly realism; although he painted these books from actual books on his shelves. His style is somewhat Abstractionism because viewers will recognize his paintings’ subjects as books.
Further south on this same floor, is a vertically large, display case that displays Samarov’s artist statement. In addition, in this case is a watercolor painting, Old Books (1998). This case is present to introduce viewers to all artists whose work is on display in this section.
Further to right of the large, display case is a small, display case. In this case are Taxi Books (2012, watercolor), Terkel (2012, Sumi ink), Algren (2012, watercolor), Russian Obs (2012, gouache, etc.) and Early Chicago (2012, Sumi ink). Readers, please note that any art that has taxi in its title does not depict taxis, but books with taxi in their title may be in view.
Samarov’s paintings are creative, and show that he is thinking “outside the box.” His paintings have books as their subjects, and his work is on display in a library. You will now probably understand the irony and/or humor, but certainly the creativity behind The Bookshelf Paintings.