The saying goes: Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.
Well, those who can do both are currently exhibiting their work in the 2020 Faculty Biennial at University Galleries in Uptown Normal.
The exhibition showcases a diverse range of works from the Illinois State University Wonsook Kim School of Art and the program in Creative Technologies. Almost 40 faculty members have their work on display, said Kendra Paitz, the University Galleries director and chief curator. It features the widest variety of approaches and mediums ever shown in a Faculty Biennial.
“We have a lot of tech-based pieces, we have a lot of interactive works,” Paitz explained.
Most of the works were not created specifically to go together, giving the Galleries staff a challenge to organize the art in a cohesive and supportive fashion. In the small window gallery facing the street, Paitz said they were able to group a number of different works from a variety of artists together to create a bit of a theme.
“We’ve brought together Melissa Oresky, Laura Primozic George, Randy Reid and Jam Rohr. They’re all dealing with these organic subject matters, thinking about plant life, there are plants repeated throughout.”
And there’s a coffin. It’s by Jam Rohr, and is made of iron, with a window cut into the lid. Peer in and you’ll see a silver bouquet of flowers.
“This is a large piece,” said Paitz. “This is five feet long. We have to think about not only how the works flow together, but one of our two large galleries we have to keep free of three-dimensional work because we host lectures and receptions, and we'll be hosting a pop-up exhibition for the Image of Research Competition.”
“We have a few really large pieces, so we typically start building the show based on spatial needs of works. Whether it’s low lighting, needing a projection space, or needing a large footprint on the floor.”
Paitz said that it’s exciting to find connections among the works that were not created to be put together. “These hard edges, these soft edges, these actual natural materials versus these constructed materials made to reference nature.”
As part of the exhibition, many of the artists are set to give talks, performances and doing demos, explained Paitz. There’s also a gallery that’s been designated as completely interactive.
“We have several field trip groups coming in during the course of the exhibition. We were thinking it would be great if there’s an entire room where, if they go in, they can touch everything and interact with it.”
The interactive gallery where you’ll find the work of Taekyeom Lee. Using a 3-D printer, Lee has created colorful modular pieces. There’s 100 different pieces, and Lee uses them to spell out letters. Gallery visitors can have a go, as well, since Lee designed his work to be hands-on.
“People can spell or write what they want,” Lee explained. “And then take photos. I call it manually pixelling. I want to see how people rearrange things.”
All the pieces are 3-D printed in corn-based plastic, and each piece takes three hours to create.
Nearby the interactive gallery is a work by Sercan Sengun, who works in the creative technologies department. A pair of iPads sit side-by-side. On the black screens, cryptic passages appear, then quickly fade away, never to be seen again.
“This work generates phrases,” Paitz said. “He’s using an algorithm. Each of these phrases is unique and will never be generated again. You get your own phrase that can function as a prompt for your own story, your own setting, for your own game.”
The 2020 Faculty Biennial continues until March 22 at University Galleries in Uptown Normal.
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