Amber Vilas

  • Installation View Awesome! Curated by Amber Vilas Giftshop Project Space, Chicago, IL June � July, 2007
  • Installation View Antler Necklace Curated by Amber Vilas Valerie Hegarty (left) and Jessica Labatte (right) Half/Dozen, Portland, OR November, 2009
  • Installation View Antler Necklace Curated by Amber Vilas Erika Somogyi (left) and Antoine Catala (right) Half/Dozen, Portland, OR November, 2009
  • Installation View Antler Necklace Curated by Amber Vilas Nichole van Beek (left) and Antoine Catala (center), Christine Gray (right) Half/Dozen, Portland, OR November, 2009
  • Installation View Antler Necklace Curated by Amber Vilas Nichole van Beek (left) and Antoine Catala (center), Christine Gray (right) Half/Dozen, Portland, OR November, 2009
  • Installation View Neon Rainbow Curated by Amber Vilas From left to right: Tracy Thomason, Roger White, Jeffrey Scott Mathews, Erin Lee Jones French Neon, New York, NY June, 2011
  • Installation View Neon Rainbow Curated by Amber Vilas From left to right: Roger White, Jeffrey Scott Mathews, Erin Lee Jones, Jeffrey Scott Mathews French Neon, New York, NY June, 2011
  • Installation View Neon Rainbow Curated by Amber Vilas Tamara Zahaykevich (left), Daniel Bainbridge (center), Adrian Tone (right) French Neon, New York, NY June, 2011
  • Installation View Neon Rainbow Curated by Amber Vilas Erin Lee Jones (left), Sarah Mattes (center), Donald Cameron (right) French Neon, New York, NY June, 2011
Amber Vilas is a New York-based curator and writer. She has organized shows at venues in New York, NY, Chicago, IL, and Portland, OR. She previously ran two alternative spaces in Chicago, which have since closed. Her curatorial projects have received mention in various publications including Artforum.com (Critics’ Picks), Portland Monthly Magazine, Time Out Chicago, and NewCity Chicago.Originally from New Mexico, Vilas moved to the Midwest in 2002 to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and became interested in alternative gallery structures. She opened Three Seasons Gallery with co-director Colin Lyons in 2006. A gallery space within a shared artists’ studio, TSG was set-up to operate for only six months (spanning three seasons). The gallery aimed to be another voice in Chicago’s already rich history of alternative and artist run spaces—and to not only exhibit emerging artists but also draw attention to the trends and interests connecting the local arts community.The show program for Three Seasons Gallery consisted of group, solo, and guest curated exhibitions. “5,000,000 Tons of Pure Energy (per second)” curated by Jeremy Hobbs brought together artists whose work contained natural imagery, specifically representations of the sun, tied to cultural concerns. Artists in the exhibition included Noelle Allen, Julia Hechtman, Becca Mann, Liz Nielsen, and The Center for Land Use Interpretation among others.

In 2007, Vilas opened Giftshop Project Space, a tiny commercial gallery run out of a 6 ft x 5ft x 6ft former closet located within gescheidle gallery. The awkwardly small venue was only large enough for one or two people to stand comfortably inside. This created an intimate viewing experience. It also served as a challenge to the artists who presented projects there—by forcing them to approach their shows either as a cohesive installation or find a way to present artworks as they would be displayed in a traditional gallery, just shrunk to a smaller scale.

In his 2007 exhibition, “Hans is Doing Well,” Isak Applin showed three paintings, two landscapes and one interior image. Applin’s images of wilderness held together and fell apart with a prominent brush mark and vibrant use of color. Having perspective shifts and a collage style aesthetic, the paintings gave a nod to a romanticized landscape with a touch of whimsy and the hazy recollection of personal experiences in the not so distant past.

“Antler Necklace,” a 2009 exhibition curated by Vilas at Half/Dozen Gallery in Portland, OR, brought together six artists hailing from New York, Chicago, and Richmond, VA. The exhibition’s title was meant to light-heartedly prod at popular consumable hybrids of modern materials combined with natural references. “Antler Necklace” explored a synthetic representation of the natural world, a loss of connection to nature in an increasingly industrialized society, and the search for a sublime experience through artworks representing nature.

In 2011 Vilas curated, “Neon Rainbow” at French Neon, New York, NY. The exhibition was a playful take on the idea of organizing a group show around a specific color or media. Although several of the works in the exhibition contained a multicolor palette, monochromatic pieces were also included. As a rainbow is an ephemeral phenomenon, the show featured artworks made from scraps, remnants, and other objects of limited time use.

Share this Artist

Follow Amber Vilas