• MoonTree Studios Plymouth, Indiana

    MoonTree Studios Plymouth, Indiana

    Organized by the brilliant Natalie Boyett, my weaving instructor, she chose three of my woven "Food for Thought" works to show in 2018.
    20" x 16 " mounted, value $1500, Title: " Big Mushroom" from the series "Food for Thought".

  • Clowder of Cats at Gallery 116 St. Charles, Il June 15- Aug 5, 2018

    Clowder of Cats at Gallery 116 St. Charles, Il June 15- Aug 5, 2018

    Mica the Cat enters the work of 22 Chicago Artists,: Phyllis Bramson, Bill Conger, Frank Connet, Neil Goodman, Ted Halkin, Carole Harmel, Alexandra Harmel, Lelde Kalmite, Kialia Kuchma, Maul Lamantia, Arthur Lerner, James Mesple, Tony Phillips, Corey Postiglione, Judith Raphael, Seymour Rosofsky, Susan Sensemann, Kathie Shaw, Eleanor Spiess-Ferris, Doug Stapleton, Mel Theobald, Lucille Ward Robinson.

    Mica in Sorrento '17.jpg/Users/caroleharmel/Desktop/Screen Shot 2018-03-31 at 1.51.36 PM.png

    Mica in an Alexandra Harmel "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" Sorrento, Italy

  • Another Iliad at Printworks Gallery February 29-March 26 2016

    Another Iliad at Printworks Gallery February 29-March 26 2016

    A meditation on the theme of war, Harmel collaborates with 25 Chicago artists (many of whom participated in the Chicago Odyssey exhibition at Printworks, also inspired by a Homeric epic). After a journey to the original site of Troy, Harmel photographed what remained: excavations, sand, trees, sky, water, oil slicks: memories. The artists then responded to selected verses from Homer in their own style, working over the photographs, bringing up to date themes that extended back thousands of years. Questions emerged: why are we still fighting, why is beauty still so important in war, why is heroism still important, why are the the schoolyard games with all the envy, pride, anger, still so hauntingly pertinent? What is the role of our leaders, our gods? What is the place of sports and entertainment in telling these violent stories? Why has so little changed?

    Note : Image: Zeus Disapproves, collaboration with William Conger, gouache over archival pigment photograph by Carole Harmel, 16"x12".

  • "The Return of the Exquisite Corpse" at Printworks Gallery

    Printworks Gallery Chicago invited over one hundred artists to participate in this remarkable undertaking. Artists were randomly assigned a head, body, or legs, to be matched up with two artists unknown to them. The result will be a total surprise for the the participating artists. I was assigned a head, and will look forward to seeing my body and legs.

    In the spirit of the original Surrealists (who played this as a parlor game) with words at first and then later with drawings, the name comes from one of these early results:"The exquisite corpse will drink the young wine"

    An original "Exquisite Corpse" was put together by Printworks in 2000, to celebrate the birthday of one of the owners, Sidney Bloch. This exhibition then travelled for several years.

    The exhibition will run from December 4th-February 13, 2016


  • "Shared Creations" at the Bridgeport Art Center through October 2nd, 2015

    “Shared Creations” at the Bridgeport Art Center August 21st – October 2nd, 2015

    I have lately become extremely interested in collaboration in my work. This probably began with the Facing Modigliani Project, (2009) where I photographed friends and colleagues in the manner of Modigliani, and then my husband, Arthur Lerner, painted into them, creating portraits that were both apropos of the originals, and also of the present sitter. Other collaborative projects are: Chicago Odyssey and Another Iliad at Printworks Gallery, Chicago, 2013 and 2016. Also, Exquisite Corpse, 2015-16 –at Printworks again. One of the most famous collaborations in the history of art, originally in Paris, in 1925.

    As a photographer, I am always trying to stretch the limits of the traditional photograph, and collaborating allows yet another venue for this activity. The large piece Fin/fin, a woven photograph, was from a recent show at Printworks (as were the other small woven photographs, Gaunt, Gants and Pain/Pain) “Rewoven”, a collaboration with Lialia Kuchma, where my photographs were “rewoven” in various ways by Lialia Kuchma, a master weaver.

    I have also been fascinated in the relationship between words and images, so in “rewoven”, the titles refer to French/English puns, or “jeu de mots” which is word play in French. In attempting to learn French, I was always amused by the difference in meaning by words spelled alike but meaning completely different things in the two languages. So we have Fin/Fin (the end, vs. the fin of a fish), Pain/Pain (bread vs. physical pain), Gaunt/gants (gloves vs. thin and emaciated).

    The weaving metaphor is thus extended to language, where instead of keeping each language in its place, the differences are celebrated. I love the French translation of pun “jeu de mots” as a game of words. In English, I think, puns are kind of generally despised, or looked down on! Although, there does seem to be a difference of opinion on this point:

    Samuel Johnson, “Puns are the lowest form of humor.”

    Alfred Hitchcock, “Puns are the highest form of literature.”

    Finally, in my duo collaboration, I have taken one photograph of clouds, kind of resembling wings, taken in Raleigh/Durham N.C. 2008. Turned over to Arthur Lerner, he created Icarus, After Icarus and Hephaestus*, all on the background I had originally titled “Wings.” Turning over the same image to Lialia Kuchma, we created Fin/fin The End, with an appropriated fin reminding me of “Jaws”!” Except a fish in the sky, not the sea!

    One photograph, six completely different works.



    * Hephaestus is much less known than Icarus. He was the master craftsman, thrown off Mt. Olympus because he was deformed (lame) and became the maker of, among other things, the armour and shield of Achilles in the Iliad. Here, he is shown tossed out of heaven, where he eventually ends up in Hades, the Underworld.

  • REWOVEN Photographs Thread Words A Collaboration

    Will be shown at Printworks Gallery December 6, 2013-January 4, 2014
    312 W. Superior Chicago, Il. 60654

    Thanks to "New Cit" and Jason Foumberg for choosing our show as one of the Best Shows at Art Galleries in January, 2014.

    Rewoven: Photographs Thread Words.

    a collaboration Carole Harmel + Lialia Kuchma

    I have known Lialia Kuchma since the early days of Artemisia Gallery when we were both members of the Photography Gallery established there in 1976, soon after the Gallery moved to Hubbard Street. I admired Lialia for both her artful photography and her extraordinary weaving.

    Then, when I created the Chicago Odyssey project exhibited in 2012 at Printworks Gallery, I worked again with Lialia, and chose her to “play” and “portray” Penelope, the weaver activist wife of Odysseus, in the collaborative remaking of the ancient legend, using Chicago artists to re-tell and re-see this ageless story.

    Since the beginning of my obsession with photography, I have always felt a need to alter, change, and/or challenge the idea of “reality” in photographic practice..

    Through the “Chicago Odyssey” experience, the metaphor of weaving firmly lodged in my mind. At the same time, I had been studying French, and my teacher par excellence, Mary Robinson, one day told me that the word for “chair” in French means “flesh”. Puns have always delighted me, and this strange punning across languages struck a special, enigmatic chord.

    The French have a special word for puns: Jeu de mots or “word play”. I find this a totally delightful idea: that of words playing with each other. And so this element also then came to inspire the project of “Rewoven”.

    In addition to the woven element , i.e. taking a straight photo, cutting it up into strips, and then re-weaving it with thread, I wished to also weave together words and images. So while the written word does not appear as an obvious actor in these dramas, the meaning does. We have chosen to present them off to the side, like the stage hands in a Japanese Noh drama, dressed in black, hardly noticed by the audience, but essential to the drama.

    Some of the jeu de mots are pretty straightforward juxtapositions of English/French puns. Others, such as Mer/Mere, (sea/mother) and Elle, Aile (she/wing), rely on the viewer’s knowledge of the transmigration of French words into English – for example Elle, is a very well known fashion magazine for women. In LITerature the French word for bed is embedded within the word “ literature”, even as the book lies on the bed in the image.

    I believe that this fascination with juxtaposition is connected with my love of surrealism. A classic surrealist device was to juxtapose objects which usually did not go together, and in the manner of dreams, create new meanings in the mind of the viewer. In this way the image “Elle/Aile” or “She/Bird”might be compared to some of the classic Surrealist visions which juxtaposed women with birds or other animals.

    Finally, I noticed that another narrative had unconsciously started to evolve. From “Mer, Mere” , to the final “Fin, Fin”, there was an emerging story of the stations of life, one could almost say, of the passages that we humans pass through from birth to death. Mother, father, infant, learning to read, discovery of books, learning to write, experiences of life such as envy, sexuality, desire, dress and fashion, (this was the year of the giant blockbuster exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago: “Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity”) pain, and finally, drawing towards the end of life: growing less corpulent, more transparent, (“Gaunt, Gant”) , growing closer to the earth ( ‘Pomme de Tear” and “Root, Route)”, and finally, “Fin/ Fin”. A fish swimming into the opening sky. The end.

    The emergence of this narrative was a great surprise to me, as the story seemed to materialize on its own and then assert itself with a certain stubborn authority.

    Carole Harmel
    Chicago, 2013