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University Galleries opens three summer exhibitions

Painting depicting a man with outstretched arm.

An Instant, 1989. Water-based painting, 38.4 x 54.7cm. Made by 14-year-old artist in Japan. International Collection of Child Art, Milner Library, Illinois State University.

University Galleries of Illinois State University is pleased to announce the opening of three summer exhibitions. A public reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, May 31. All events at the University Galleries are free and open to the public.

Lens-Based: Recent Acquisitions to the Permanent Collection, on view May 20 through August 8, presents a selection of photographs and videos acquired by University Galleries through donation or purchase since 2012. Created between 1929 and 2016, the works include gelatin silver prints, archival pigment prints, chromogenic prints, and digital videos. Artists in the exhibition are Dmitri Baltermants (1912–1990), Ilse Bing (1899–1998), Ken Heyman (b. 1930), Chrissy LaMaster (b. 1973), Jason Lazarus (b. 1975), Danny Lyon (b. 1942), Cecil McDonald Jr. (b. 1965), Scott Rankin (b. 1954), August Sander (1876–1964), Carrie Schneider (b. 1979), Lou Stoumen (1917–1991), and Rana Young (b. 1983).

A reading area in the window gallery will feature books about the artists and the history of photography and video.

Read more about the works featured in the exhibition Lens-Based: Recent Acquisitions to the Permanent Collection.

15, 16, 17, 18: BHS Selects from the International Collection of Child Art, on view May 23 through July 28, is the culminating project for University Galleries’ inaugural Teen Arts group. Curated by the Bloomington High School (BHS) students participating in the program, the exhibition presents a selection of 50 artworks from Milner Library’s International Collection of Child Art. The works were made by students ages 15, 16, 17, and 18—the same ages as the members of the Teen Arts group—from Thailand, Wales, Germany, Chile, Japan, and the United States. The BHS students developed the concept and structure of the exhibition, selected the artworks, determined the layout, decided on title signage, installed the exhibition, and wrote accompanying materials.

The Teen Arts group was organized by University Galleries’ Director and Chief Curator Kendra Paitz, in partnership with Kathleen Lonbom, Milner Library’s Art, Theater, and Dance librarian, and Monica Estabrook, Bloomington High School’s art teacher. The Teen Arts group was supported by a grant from the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation—Mirza Arts and Culture Fund.

Read more about the Teen Arts group and The International Collection of Child Art at Illinois State University.

Katie Bell: Standing Arrangement, on view May 31 through August 4, is an expansive site-specific installation by Brooklyn-based artist Katie Bell. The work explores our natural and fabricated visual landscape and deconstructs the tradition and language of painting. Bell collects objects and ready-made materials from the place in which she is producing the work, in this case, Bloomington-Normal and the surrounding vicinity. Her careful selection of discarded (and occasionally purchased) materials—wood, paint, foam board, rope, cabinets, drywall, and even forgotten hot tubs—become marks in Bell’s dynamic compositions. KT Hawbaker of the Chicago Tribune wrote that “Bell’s sculptural paintings are the product of creative recycling…inventing new uses for the detritus she scavenges and then deftly mixing in subdued deliberate colors.” Some objects jut out from the wall, shattering the picture plane, while other three-dimensional elements are scattered on the floor, interrupting the regular flow of the space. Bell acknowledges that “these objects/materials become the language and the vocabulary for the standing arrangement,” the quote from which the exhibition’s title was derived. While the act of painting is used predominantly to visually connect the objects, Bell’s background in painting plays a significant role in the aesthetics and conversation surrounding her work.

Bell will take over University Galleries’ Instagram account during the week she will be installing her exhibition. She will document her process of collecting materials in Bloomington-Normal, paying particular attention to inspirations for colors and materials along the way. Follow along on Instagram at @universitygalleriesisu and watch for her hashtag #KatieBellTakeover.

University Galleries in collaboration with Illinois State University’s Milner Library will present Informal Unbalanced Arrangements, a concurrent exhibition comprised of three paintings by Katie Bell and a selection of related art publications. The exhibition will be on view on the sixth floor.

Katie Bell: Standing Arrangement is organized by University Galleries’ Curator Jessica Bingham. The exhibition and programming are sponsored in part by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

Read more about Katie Bell and her work.

Events and programming

  • May 27 through August 4
    Katie Bell’s Instagram takeover. Follow University Galleries’ Instagram account at @universitygalleriesisu.
  • May 31 through August 4
    Katie Bell: Informal Unbalanced Arrangements
    includes a selection of publications from Milner’s Collection about found-object artwork and sculptural paintings
  • Friday, May 31, from 5 to 7 p.m. 
    Public reception
  • Thursdays, June 6, June 20, and July 18, from 9 to 9:30 a.m.
    Stroller tour
    Bring your youngest art lovers to visit the exhibitions before we open to the public.
  • Saturday, July 20, from 10 to 11 a.m.
    Family artmaking workshop
    Meet University Galleries’ new curator of education and make a project inspired by the works on view. No registration is required.

Free curator-led tours and workshops are available for all ages by appointment throughout the exhibitions. Contact gallery@IllinoisState.edu to schedule.

University Galleries is located at 11 Uptown Circle, Suite 103, at the corner of Beaufort and Broadway streets. Parking is available in the Uptown Station parking deck located directly above the University Galleries—the first hour is free, as well as any time after 5:01 p.m.

Please contact gallery@IllinoisState.edu or call (309) 438-5487 if you need to arrange an accommodation to participate in any events related to these exhibitions or to schedule exhibition tours.

You can find University Galleries on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter, and sign up to receive email updates through the newsletter.

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