Parkland College > Fine & Applied Arts > Giertz Gallery > Past Exhibits >Other Traditions

Image of Robert Lee Mejer's art piece "Womb"
Jim Foster, Critters



Other Traditions

  • May 24 - June 24, 1999

"Other Traditions" featured the work of four regional artists whose unique treasures are influenced by a variety of traditions, including folk art, African-American art, and Haitian beadwork. The participating artists include Stephanie Kuhns, Marilyn Dean Cleveland, Jim Foster, and Michael Mullen. Each artist uses his or her media to blend personal experiences and interests with visual expression.

Stephanie Kuhn's, a local artist from White Heath, creates incredibly detailed pieces of narrative embroidery. Her work has a playful feel with the use of bright colors, beads, and rows of metallic sequins outlined by the delicate edge of antique embroidered handkerchiefs. Each image draws from a meaningful experience, some of them dealing with harsh realities of life. Kuhns hopes that her experiences will resonate in others as a call to awareness of our shared humanity.

Champaign artist, Marilyn Dean Cleveland also hopes that her work has the ability to communicate effectively with people of all ages, cultural history, and heritage. Cleveland is a prolific artist, working in a variety of media. Her works featured in this exhibit are colorful sculptural pieces that draw attention to some basic aspects of daily life. But she also uses her painting to express fantastical narratives on such mundane objects as bottle caps and old bottles.

Jim Foster also has a talent for creating whimsy out of the ordinary. A resident of Urbana, Foster departed from his usual field of photography to create a population of sculptural "critters." These critters came to life from a variety of found objects, a bit of imagination, and Foster's passion for paleontology. Foster is comfortable with this intersection of personal interests and says his work "just started jumping out of my fingers." Indeed, his critters add an animated dimension to this exhibit.

Michael Mullen teaches journalism at Vincennes University in Indiana and, like Foster, has succeeded in finding artistic inspiration from several disciplines. Mullen is interested in finding the essence of his subjects and searches for understatement through simplicity. His paintings create a visual puzzle or pun through the repetition of heavily outlined objects against blocks of bright color.

This was an eclectic show, whereas, all of the artists involved have a passion for making art. Influenced by their life experiences and diverse backgrounds, they are able to express another side of themselves with their work. "Other Traditions" honors the variety of paths that lead to creativity.




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