Friday, December 16, 2016

Springfield’s art scene is riding high

The UIS Visual Arts Gallery, on the campus of University of Illinois Springfield, where Allison Lacher works her day job as gallery manager has hosted an eclectic array of work this year, including an exhibition by St. Louis artist Lyndon Barrois, Jr., which took as its subject the late iconic musician Prince. “That was really timely in the context of Prince’s passing and it was a different show for us,” Lacher said. Other memorable exhibits this year included Washington, D.C.’s Paul Short who mounted an ambitious combination exhibition, lecture and workshop centering around cultural and economic stigmas associated with loitering. A recent two-person show by central Illinois figurative painters Amanda Greive and Stanley Bly turned out to be a big hit with attendees. “They presented a cohesive exhibition where their work was very much in dialogue with one another while maintaining their individual identities,” Lacher said.

The spring semester is slated to kick off at the gallery with an exhibition from Tyler Lotts, a professor of ceramics at ISU, followed by a March 2 presentation from Diaz-Lewis, a husband and wife collaboration between Alejandro Diaz and Cara Lewis. “Alejandro is a Cuban refugee,” Lacher explains, “and he and Cara have created an ongoing work entitled ‘34,000 Pillows’ in response to a congressional mandate stating that immigration and customs enforcement agents are required to maintain a quota of 34,000 detained immigrants per day in 250 centers around the country.” The couple is trying to make a pillow for every detainee of this mandate and will be bringing a “Pillow Workshop” to the UIS gallery along with other work.

“That’s the beauty of programming here at UIS,” Lacher said. “One month you might have a more traditional exhibition of figurative painting and then follow it up with a very socially conscious and culturally diverse project.”

The story was reported by the Illinois Times on December 15, 2016.

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