A Showcase of Local Art

I wanted to share with you some local artwork that has really captured my attention recently. Whenever I can, I love to go art shows. I’d travel all over going to art shows around the country if I had someone to foot the travel expenses. (Attention art and travel magazines/shows! I’m your girl!) I’ve come across a few pieces over the last couple of months that hold a particular fascination for me that I felt I needed to share.

Katherine Pippin Pauley

  This piece, entitled Yin Yang, was on display at Springfield, IL’s Gallery II back in September of this year (2011). I’ve seen Katherine’s work before at 3T, some steam punk inspired arm bands to be precise, and I loved her attention to detail then. When I saw this piece, I couldn’t help but fawn over the way the bettas were intricately put together. I love when quilting takes on a realism in the imagery. I was also intrigued by the way the edges of the pieces weren’t tucked under. They were raw. Rule breaking. I like that.

Terra Anderson

Last month, I attended a small art show in Urbana, IL called GREEN.art.show. Held at H2O Salon, this was a small local show dedicated to art from recycled materials. My favorite piece here was a dress made from leaves. Yes, leaves. With a cocklebur trim.

I wonder, is that dress wearable? Perhaps not. I love the idea of it though.

Mary Tumulty and Ryan Sponsler

Also last month, The Pharmacy Gallery in Springfield, IL held it’s opening show. To quote their Facebook page, “The Pharmacy is an artist run co-op, gallery and community center…” I already know most of the artists from doing the 3T shows before. Wonderfully talented lot, all of them. Yet, I have to give my personal best of show to this piece which was a Mary Tumulty/ Ryan Sponsler collaboration.
I swear, this photo does not do it justice. I studied this piece over and over. I must have circled through the place a dozen times, but I always came back to this. I love the disturbed chaos, the red and black splattered across the canvas. Like the soul of a human being tormented by life… the hands and face dirty from years of hard work, the mind scarred and changed by tragedy and pain. And the stitches! These stitches were Tumulty’s doing. They make this. Haphazzard and tangled in places, these stitches physically warp and alter the terrain of the canvas. So, not only do you have the years of pain, the tears and sweat and blood that have been sent sprawling across, but here we can see all the effort to heal. This is everyone trying to survive, trying to pull themselves together, mending themselves in whatever way they can so they can continue to function in society. This is nothing short of a masterpiece.

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Trickster Crow at 3rd Thursday Art Show

Three days ago, I was at the Third Thursday Art Show in Springfield, IL. It’s quite possibly my favorite function on the planet. Every month (the 3rd Thursday of each month, thus the name), local artists from in and around Springfield gather together to show their art, mingle with the public, and generally have a good time. There are live bands at every show, which adds to the atmosphere and, I think, brings everything together. It’s inspiring how the local arts community is close knit and supportive of each other. I’ve even been known to sit at a table and sew on some easily portable project at these events…

Elizabeth Ross' wonderful 3T cozies...

Another great thing about these shows, is that the range of art is not just limited any one medium. While paintings are more common (and there are some very talented painters in Springfield, IL), I have also seen some knitting and crochet on display. Elizabeth Ross made some very cool crocheted hats, potholders and drink cozies. :::throws fist in the air playfully:::  Textile/Fiber Represent!

And so it was, while I was sitting at a table, listening to the live music and soaking up the awesomeness of this atmosphere, that I witnessed what was quite possibly the coolest display of live costume/ theatre art I’ve seen with my own eyes to date. There was no warning and no introduction. He just showed up, passed through, and disappeared without a sound. (I’ve heard a couple people mention a flyer or something about it, but I never saw it.) He was, Trickster Crow.

"The Trickster Crow meets Jeff Williams as Felicia Olin looks on under Ryan Sponslers's latest painting." Photo and Caption Quote credited to Ted Keylon

He (or possibly she, as I’m unaware of the identity of the person behind the beak) slowly and silently made his way through the crowd, handing out sunflower seeds. I later found out these were “seeds of knowledge” that he gave unto anyone that would have them. (I’m now happy to say I ate all 3 of the seeds he gave me.)

Not only was this a very cool, mysterious experience. But, I am in complete and total appreciation of the costume. I do not know who made it, but it’s amazing! I love all the symbolism and representation.. crows and ravens carry this kind of sense of dread, but they are intelligent and being creatures of the sky, they can see everything and so even have a slight foresight. Also, he’s wearing a trench coat. Trench coats also have this association with mystery and danger… you find classic detective characters wearing them, I recall David Boreanaz’s character, Angel -a vampire- wearing one, and then there is the trench coat mafia. Fear of the Unknown, Foreshadowing, Intrigue, Mystery, Danger… so many concepts and feelings are tied into this work…  and then the total surprise of it which left art show attendees talking about it afterward. Trickster Crow, you have my awe as well as my utmost respect and recognition.