Vespine, meaning "wasplike," is an interesting name for an independent, artist-run gallery. After all, wasps tend to paralyze and then lay eggs in their prey; once the eggs hatch, the larvae eat the prey alive.
On the contrary, Vespine takes no commission on sales, but instead offers a two-tiered rental plan for artists looking to display their work who pass a juried consideration. Managed by Leah Mayers, Shawn Sheehy, Doug Thome and Jamie Lou Thome, the basic plan provides gallery space for four weeks for $300, while the $500 premium option includes wine and refreshments for the opening.
Located on Halsted on the edges of the first wave of Pilsen neighborhood gentrification (lofts and mid-rises in various stages of construction loom up the street), the gallery offers 40 linear feet of wall hanging space and 220 total square feet of interior space. The 14-foot ceilings and wide storefront windows provide an expansive feel and ample visibility to passing gallery crawlers.
Work shown at Vespine has included all forms including paintings, video installations, photography and mixed media.
Centerstage Reviewer: Michael Nagrant