Art gallery exhibit reflects Illinois' diversity

Art gallery exhibit reflects Illinois' diversity

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois, at almost 200 years old, is a state as diverse as its artwork.

Showcasing that diversity will be Illinois at 200, a juried exhibition of nearly 50 pieces at Parkland College's Giertz Gallery, said gallery director Lisa Costello. The show opens today and runs through Aug. 8.

On display, attendees will find paintings and objets d'art — some traditional, some not, including some art representing the state itself.

For instance, Robb Springfield, no relation to the state capital, used maps of Illinois in creating his pieces.

"I've always liked maps. I used to draw them as a kid and have collected them ever since," he said. "With road maps, it was always the way of finding a town. The topographic maps that I use in my current work define a sense of location and elevation. They are all maps of different quadrants of Illinois.

"I like that fact that I'm using maps that I know the locations. Many of them, I've driven through or visited. When I was a kid, my father was in the military, so we were always moving from one place to another. Maps were the source to find my way home."

And one notable sculpture being exhibited is "The Dinner Table," by artist Charity White, a University of Illinois graduate, who says the work is about "the complexities of a mother and son's adult relationship and partnership in suburban Chicago."

Parkland student Cole Daniel helped to set up "The Dinner Table" by painting wooden panels of extra size in order to display a life-sized ceramic sculpture of the top half of a man of girth, which is paired with another sculpture of a smaller woman.

The exhibition is comfortably ahead of Illinois' bicentennial — Illinois became the 21st state on Dec. 3, 1818.

The show's artist reception will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, with opening remarks by Costello and Kelly White of 40 North, with a musical performance by Acoustic Mayhem.

The closing reception will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 8, with a gallery talk at 6:30 p.m. with exhibition juror Doug Stapleton of the Illinois State Museum.