Ugly Step Sister Art Gallery


This was the website for Tanya Tucci's the Ugly Step Sister Art Gallery, located in Chicago. The domains registration expired and the new owner of the domain has chosen to create a loving a reminder and tribute to this former gallery that was committed to showcasing emerging visual artist. Content from the site's 2012-2013 archived pages. Information about shows at the Ugly Sister Art Gallery from 2013 - 2014 can be found at:


The gallery in no longer open as far as I can tell. I moved to the Manhattan in 2014 and have not been back to Chicago since. Now another job offer is taking me to Maryland. close by to where my mother is living in a Bel Air assisted living facility called Hart Heritage Estates. I am as thrilled as she is. I really like Hart Heritage Estates with its home-like atmosphere located on 6.5 acres of park-like grounds. This assisted living facility is adjacent to the Ma and Pa trail, and residents, family and friends can enjoy nature in every season. In have sat outside with my mother in the early evening during my summer visits and seen a variety of Woodland animals. My mother like many of the residents enjoy watching the wildlife interact from the dining room and their bedroom windows! My mother is an avid bird watcher. However HaArt Heritage is so far away from NYC. Now I will be a 15 minute drive. But before I leave I am having the company, My Home Carpet Cleaning NYC, whom I consider does the best best local carpet cleaning in Manhattan deal with all my carpets. My Home Carpet Cleaning NYC specializes in antique / Persian carpets, although they are excellent at cleaning any type of carpet whether its a wall to wall or an area rug. Over the past couple of years I have had all the heirloom antique carpets I acquired after the passing of my grandparents and my mother moving into her assisted living facility in Maryland. I jokingly asked Haim, one of the owners of My Home Carpet Cleaning NYC, if they might consider opening a branch in Forest Hills, MD. No such luck since all his facilities are located in NYC and this market keeps him very busy.

Nevertheless, I'm looking forward to discovering the Bel Air area of Maryland.

I don't know when I will get back to Chicago - perhaps for business. I am disappointed that the Ugly Step Sister Art Gallery is no longer presenting emerging new artist. I saw a great deal of wonderful art at their S. Union Avenue location. Oh well. I hope to discover some great galleries win Maryland.


Tel: 312.927.7546    
address: 1750 S. Union Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616
hours: Saturday & Sunday, 12 - 6pm,  or by appointment
Gallery is available for rent 7 days a week

Ugly Step Sister Art Gallery was founded in 2008 by owner, Tanya Tucci, in a rented storefront on Fulton Market in the West Loop art district. Tanya's vision was to offer an approachable art gallery with affordable contemporary art from Chicago artists whose work she admired. In 2012, Ugly Step Sister Art Gallery moved to a permanent location on 1750 S. Union Avenue in the core of the vibrant Pilsen East Arts District. After extensive renovation of the new space, the gallery is also very excited to have partnered with Juhl WInd to create the city's first 100% wind-powered "green gallery." Staying true to Tanya's original vision, Ugly Step Sister Art Gallery continues to be dedicated to showcasing emerging and established artists in a wide variety of disciplines, and features new exhibitions on the 2nd Friday of each month, open from 6-11pm.

The gallery's 1500 square feet is also available for event rental, such as, wedding receptions, photo shoots, fashion shows, birthday parties, etc. Please feel free to inquire for pricing and scheduling.

Contact the gallery at: 312.927.7546




Paintings by Lauren Zens

July 12 - August 4, 2013
Opening Reception, Friday,  July 12, 2013   6-11pm

Lauren Zens uses acrylic paint on slabs of masonite to create prismatic abstract and geometric paintings. Her work has been exhibited at Dose Market, The Den Theatre and Sacred Art. She graduated from Columbia College in 2012 with a BA in Music Business. This is her first solo show.


A Group Show
Curated by Andrew Ek

June 14 - July 7, 2013
Opening Reception, Friday, June 14th   6 -11pm

Painting, illustration, multimedia and assemblage is the focus of, ”Modern Storytellers.” 12 artists working in different mediums and at various stages of their careers come together in this group show of affordable small works. 

Prehistoric Man’s use of speech to converse and transmit ideas, though useful, abounds with imperfections, and eventually evolved into disseminating thoughts and concepts through the use of symbols. These symbols then took the form of full-blown paintings and rock carvings. Visual art is one of the oldest and most effective forms of storytelling as it has the power to speak beyond language.  Cave paintings dating back to the Upper Paleolithic period (roughly 50,000 -10,000BC) contain some of the oldest recorded information revealing fascinating stories and mythologies which continue to this day to shape the collective unconscious. In our modern culture, the emergent technology our society seems to be dependent on is merely a cheap distraction; our species as a whole still inherently craves stories through visual art. Employing traditional, idiosyncratic and visionary disciplines, these are the Modern Storytellers:

Marnie Galloway, Andrew Ek, Tyrell Cannon, Sofia Moreno, Doug Kovacs, Amanda Joy Calobrisi, Tim Shumate, Darick Maasen, Rachel Hewitt, Wayne Bertola, Stina Kaczmaryn, Ashley Elander


Friends of My World 
Paintings by Amanda Joy Calobrisi

May 10 - June 9, 2013
Opening Reception, Friday, May 10th, 6 - 11pm
Closing Reception, Sunday, June 9th,  12 - 6pm

Friends of my world is a selection of recent paintings from the artists’ collection. The subjects in the pictures shift from the artist’s literal self to her imagined self, to the more recent work that ventures into the realm of deciphering and depicting others. Each canvas holds within its bounds the artist’s world. In this unfolding world the hidden becomes visible and the animate and inanimate intermingle. It is this oscillation between the real and the imagined that has the power to transform and suspend time. In this space of looking; getting lost in a fold of fabric or a tuft of unruly hair- something is revealed letting us in on this sculpted moment between the artist and the sitter or between the artist her camera.

Amanda Joy Calobrisi was born and raised in White Plains New York. She spent nearly a decade in Boston where she received her undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts in 2003 and a Post-Baccalaureate from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in 2005. After completing her Master of Fine Arts degree at the School of the Art Institute in 2008 she continues to live and work in Chicago.

Review by

PILSEN — Many of painter Amanda Joy Calobrisi’s friends are naked and brightly colored.

At least, they are in her portraits.

Said Calobrisi of her oil paintings: “A lot of people think they’re really pretty, but I want people to spend more time with them. They have something underneath the prettiness.”

Paintings of Pilsen artists, cats — real and fake — and many self-portraits make up “Friends of My World,” Calobrisi’s new show at Ugly Step Sister Gallery.

Calobrisi, who received an MFA from the School of the Art Institute in 2008, said the show explores the lines between fantasy, reality and being a crazy cat lady.

“I have three cats which I think is borderline cat lady so, I mean, cats have always been on my mind cause they’re all around me,” she said of several self-portraits of herself and a cat mask. 

In one, “Las Hermanas” (The Sisters), two girls with flower headpieces framed by a brightly-patterned flower wall stare off to the side as if deliberately avoiding eye contact with the viewer. In another painting, a naked woman lays her head on a large naked man with a powdered wig.

The man in the wig is Pilsen performance artist José Hernandez and the woman is his friend, musician Heather Lynn.

For their portrait, Calobrisi kept saying she wanted “blonde hair, flesh and leopard,” Hernandez said.

“It became this decadent baroque painting of the two of us,” Hernandez said. “It was kind of unreal. I had never seen a portrait of myself like that.”

After meeting Calobrisi through the Pilsen network almost four years ago, Hernandez said she became like a big sister to him.

Her work, he said, captures the rawness in people.

“There was also like a vulnerability that came through that really shows who we are. That’s something she’s very good at…being able to show you people,” he said.

“It’s a real true artist community,” Calobrisi said of Pilsen. “I feel like I can just stay in the neighborhood and keep pulling from the neighborhood until I get bored. Because there’s so many interesting people and interesting faces.”

The exhibition, was scheduled to open Friday at the Ugly Step Sister Gallery, 1750 S. Union St. with a 6 p.m. reception with food and Duvel beer to complement the cats and naked neon Pilsenites.

The exhibition runs through June 9th.



At Home and Away
Photography by Hayden Myrick and Eliot Taguiam

April 12 - May 8th, 2013
Opening Reception, Friday, April 12th,    6 - 11pm

Working collaboratively, Hayden Myrick and Eliot Taguiam present, "At Home and Away," a show that aims to define how each artist feels about perceiving truth in the world around them and explores notions of sentimentality, facade, ideas of absolute truths, and ultimate falsehoods. Curated by Edward Rossa, a graduate of the Art History and Theory Departments of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. At Home and Away is a collection of photographs that meet in the middle of  two very different, and to some degree, opposing philosophies. Myrick's work examines the fabrication of meaning within the material world, while Taguiam's body of work exemplifies his absolute faith in the concept of certain realities with special attention to the complex notion of "home." Each artist will show approximately 7 - 10 photographs within the gallery, printed close-to, or at 17 x22in. mounted and framed.


VACANCIES: Monuments of Social Despair
Work by Eric Stefanski

February 8th- March 8th, 2013

Ugly Stepsister Art Gallery is pleased to announce its first exhibit of 2013 featuring “Vacancies” a  new work by Eric Stefanski.  In his first exhibit at the newest gallery in the Pilsen Arts District, Eric presents a series of work that addresses vacant properties in Chicago and their social implications. 

Working first hand with low income and Chicago Housing Authority tenants, Eric has seen the psychological effect that occurs when your neighbor’s home becomes vacant. This has led to a series of work that includes materials from vacant and abandoned homes. By recycling the windows, photographing the properties and using plywood as a signifier for desolation, he creates a dialogue between the audience and the stigma of poverty.

Going through desolate neighborhoods in Chicago it is apparent that the success of a small minority does not translate to a broad prosperity for all. What are left are board-ups, over grown fields and remnants of lost purpose. These “Vacancies” become monuments of social despair.

Unlike racial discrimination that affects specific groups of people, poverty is color-blind. Out of respect to these communities, Eric and Ugly Step Sister are asking all attendees to bring a donation of non-perishable food to be collected on the night of the opening and throughout the remainder of the exhibition.

The gallery and the artist are donating a portion of the proceeds from this exhibit to The Chicago Greater Food Depository.

Eric Stefanski is a Chicago-­‐based artist who lives and works in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago.  His work has been featured at leading galleries throughout Chicago. For more information, visit Eric’s website at




BODIES: Paintings & Drawings by Andrew Ek
November 8th, 2012 - January 26th, 2013


Soot in the Glow: Works by Robin Dluzen
October 5th - November 5, 2012