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H. F. Johnson Gallery of Art

2010-11 Season

Eleanor Spiess-Ferris, “Inflated Egos,” oil on linen, 2008, 63”x 78”Eleanor Spiess-Ferris, “Inflated Egos,” oil on linen, 2008, 63”x 78”

Sept. 9-Oct. 16, 2010

A Remembrance of Awakened Birds: Nancy Mladenoff and Eleanor Spiess-Ferris

Opening Reception: 4:30-7:30 p.m. Sept. 16, 2010

View the catalog for “A Remembrance of Awakened Birds”

Nancy Mladenoff is an associate professor of art at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In her work, landscapes become the embodiment of the power of nature. Perched amidst the tempest of these elegant yet violent tangles of color and form are delicately rendered birds unencumbered by their surroundings.

Eleanor Spiess-Ferris teaches at the Evanston (Ill.) Art Center. The natural world also influenced Spiess-Ferris’ work, imbuing them with a sense of surrealism and symbolism contented to her childhood experiences in New Mexico. The significance of the bird has always been important in her work, calling forth exuberance and absurdity in her earlier works, to loss and mourning in her more recent works.

Oct. 21-Nov. 20, 2010

Ideas I Have

Opening Reception: 4:30-7:30 p.m. Oct. 21, 2010

i.e. is a network of independent artists living and working internationally. Interdisciplinary approaches are used to articulate personal and social histories to negotiate cultural mores. Performance, photography, sculpture and video serve to manifest each individual’s vision. Their materials can range from gourds, wireless microphones on kites, and a rug depicting the aerial view of the United States and Mexico. New and expanding forms of work emerge, and through individual aesthetic and conceptual strategies, the reality of a place is whimsically transformed and re-interpreted.

Featuring work by Benjamin Bellas, Justin Cooper, Clinton King, Noelle Mason, Ross Moreno, and Magdalen Wong.

Dec. 1-17, 2010, and Jan. 5-22, 2011

The Marvelous Toys and Fabulous Things Show

Opening Reception: 4:30-7:30 p.m. Dec. 3, 2010

Why are toys often our first companion in our youth, and how do they continue to fascinate adults to the point of obsessive consumption/collection? Chicago artist Kathy Weaver’s large, exotic quilts of robots are a translator of events, an alter ego, a doppelganger. Humor, satire and whimsy add human aspects to the robot, underscoring the suspicion that more is afoot than suggested at first glance.

Bill Reid’s painted steel extravaganza creatures inhabit their own little utopia and follow an uncommon logic. Whether they have mechanical movement, can be played as instruments, or can even be driven on the street, Reid’s work requires us to erase our perception of what is, and ask ourselves, what could it be?

Or an artist may present us with that lovable creature, the monstrous doll. Valerie Weberpal has developed a line of handmade stuffed monster dolls in her Harvest Moon Studio. One doll has become a character in an ongoing blog titled “The Adventures of Caruthers P. Davenport.”


Feb. 2-March 12, 2011

Creating in the Wild Zone

Opening reception: 4:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011

Creativity is the great unifier for many women. This exhibition features the works of female faculty and staff at Carthage College, celebrating the 2011 National Women’s History Project theme, “Our History is Our Strength.”

This curated exhibit highlights the artistic talents of women whose efforts help make Carthage a center of learning. It shows how the act of creating is central to a life of inquiry and curiosity. Works in all media are included.

Special guest curator Connie Wolfe is a Chicago artist and adjunct assistant professor of art at Carthage College.

A special speaker series will be held in conjunction with this exhibit. 


March 29-May 19, 2011

Ethereal Fauna: The Artist’s Muse

Opening reception: 4:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 7, 2011

See article by the Chicago Art Museum on “Ethereal Fauna”

The exhibition tests perceived limitations of the self through fantastic images, as artists have expanded on the inner and outer boundaries of geography, ethnicity, tradition, media or other perceived limitations. “Ethereal Fauna” contemplates each artist’s interpretation of the inner animal as it reflects on our perceived reality and illuminates us by creating a dialogue between our consciousness and the animal nature of our inner world. Special events will be planned around this exhibition and announced at a later date