A new exhibition at Illinois State’s University Galleries is bringing together multiple generations of alumni artists—their work displayed side-by-side in one of the new space’s largest shows ever.
Alumni Spectacular 2015 features one work each by 202 School of Art graduates and former students. The oldest alum is from 1964; the youngest graduated last year. Alumni who don’t regularly show their work are featured right next to pieces from well-known artists such as Nicolas Africano ’71 and Lou Cella ’85.
“We like to honor our alums for all they’ve done for us and to recognize their achievements,” said University Galleries Director Barry Blinderman. “It’s a show of appreciation—a way to celebrate the multifarious talents that have come out of the School of Art over the past 60 years.”
It’s also a way to show off the new Uptown Normal gallery space to alumni who haven’t seen it yet. The new gallery—a stunning 8,370-square-foot space at Beaufort and Broadway streets—opened in 2014. The last Alumni Spectacular was held in 2010, back when University Galleries was still in its old home.
More than 360 people (including 81 exhibiting alumni) attended the opening reception September 19. A special closing reception will be 6-8 p.m. Monday, October 19, during the Homecoming Uptown Tree Lighting Ceremony. University Galleries is also open seven days a week.
Alumni Spectacular 2015 features drawings, prints, sculptures, ceramics, photographs, metals, glass, paintings, collages, and video work. Every room is filled, and work was restricted to no more than 20 inches in any dimension. Most pieces are hung only 11 inches apart—much closer than usual—and stacked three high in certain areas.
“It gives you an excellent opportunity to see how one work of art ‘converses’ with another,” Blinderman said.
Laura Primozic ’05 submitted Untitled, a wall sculpture made of porcelain and wax that’s part of a bigger series about culture’s impact on the environment that she just installed at the Soap Factory in Minneapolis.
“I am thrilled to be in a show like this,” said Primozic, an instructional technician for the School of Art. “It is a great way to see what old classmates have been up to and to meet new alumni. The School of Art is a great community, very welcoming, and I have seen alumni of all ages reminisce about their endless hours in the (Center for the Visual Arts).”
Hanging in the same room as Cella’s Cobb Steals Third bronze sculpture is a 2014 digital print of a sci-fi superheroine named Ruby Rocket, created by Sean Thornton ’00.
“I’ve done plenty of comic-inspired fan art, so to have a piece that is wholly creator-owned displayed for public consumption is a big thrill,” said Thornton, who works as a graphic designer for Illinois State’s marketing and communications team. “I think it is a wonderful opportunity that the School of Art and University Galleries is giving to alumni, to have a showcase for the work we have been doing since graduation.”
Ryan Denham can be reached at rmdenha@IllinoisState.edu.