'Perceptions' Exhibit Opens at WIU Art Gallery
August 30, 2013
MACOMB, IL – The art exhibition, "Perceptions: Exploring Sense of Self and Place Through Art," is now open at the Western Illinois University Art Gallery and will run through Oct. 19.
The exhibition, which examines how individuals become part of a place and how they acclimate themselves, is the idea of University Art Gallery Director Ann Marie Hayes-Hawkinson and Associate Professor and Interim Director of the WIU Liberal Arts and Sciences Program Amy Patrick Mossman.
"This exhibition looks at place-related topics, including geography of place, memory of place and connection to place," said Hayes-Hawkinson. "We hope the artwork and commentary written by faculty and staff stimulate conversation about how people connect to university life, as well as the Macomb community."
Hayes-Hawkinson said she and Mossman wanted to develop a Gallery project that would appeal to a broader audience, specifically to new incoming WIU students.
"Some of our students, faculty, and staff are from the Macomb area, but many are new to Macomb and even the Midwest," Mossman said. "We hope the exhibit gives individuals across campus a starting point for examining place, identity, and perception from many angles. Regardless of cultural or academic home, we all shape and are shaped by the spaces and places we inhabit."
The exhibition contains mostly Midwestern images and scenes, which celebrate aspects of life and include work by local artists Fred Jones, Bruce Walters and Jim O'Toole. The images are hung in the Art Gallery and are joined by statements written by WIU faculty and staff about their interpretations of each work.
WIU Assistant Professor and Director of the University Writing Program Magdelyn Hammond Helwig wrote a poem about her interpretation of "The Window in the Windy Home."
Neat rows of corn grid into the sky—
a shock of birds, or is it wind, or just
the geometry of the mind?
A distant lighthouse (can you see it?)
turns corn to sea, seagulls drifting
in the wind, the frame cannot contain.
Squares of ceiling balanced on the half round,
the station recedes: from this window,
go where you need to go.
A public reception for the exhibit is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 5 from 5-7 p.m. at the Gallery.
A variety of special events are planned as part of the exhibition, including:
• Thursday, Sept. 12 at 12:30 p.m.: Hayes-Hawkinson will speak about the exhibit at the Gallery.
• Monday, Sept. 16 at 12:30 p.m.: Knox College Associate Professor of English Chad Simpson will speak at the Gallery about "The Impact of Place." He will also hold a reading at 4 p.m. in the Gallery.
• Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 12:30 p.m.: WIU art Professor Bill Howard will speak at the Gallery about the printmaking process.
• Thursday, Sept. 26, 7-9 p.m.: Open house for WIU students, which includes hands-on activities and an introduction of the exhibit.
• Saturday, Sept. 28, 1-3 p.m.: Open house for families, which will include gallery talks and drop-in activities for students and their families.
• Wednesday, Oct. 2 at 12:30 p.m.: WIU Professor Bruce Walters will speak about a video he is preparing to be part of the exhibit.
Hayes-Hawkinson said the hope is to make the fall exhibition an annual event at the Gallery, with changing themes to accompany the required First Year Experience classes WIU freshmen enroll in when they first arrive on campus.
The Art Gallery is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and on Saturdays from 1-4 p.m. For more information on the exhibit, visit wiu.edu/cofac/artgallery/exhibition_campus.php.