Rebecca Chmielewski
Cornelia Arts Building Open Studios
1800 W. Cornelia
Chicago, IL 60657

Friday, November 22, 6-10pm
Saturday, November 23, 1-5 pm

Original artwork from the studios of over 40 artists
Free and open to the public

corneliaartsbuilding.com
Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DATE: 25 March 2010
CONTACT: Michael Watts, Director, Tarble Arts Center/EIU, 217-581-2787, mwatts@eiu.edu

EIU 2010 Graduate Art Exhibition Opens at Tarble Arts Center

CHARLESTON, ILL—The 2010 Graduate Art Exhibition opens April 3 at the Tarble Arts Center, Eastern Illinois University. The group thesis exhibition presents work in a wide variety of styles by the current degree candidates in the Studio Art MA program at Eastern.

Included are moving wall puppets, mini-rolling robots, and black lit paintings, along with the more expected media of drawing, painting, weaving, and sculpture. The exhibition continues through April 25 in the main galleries and eGallery.

The exhibition will be celebrated with an informal reception 2pm-4pm on Sunday, April 11. Admission is free and the public is invited to meet the artists and talk with them about their artwork.

Participating in the exhibition are: Taylor Bennett – large-scale digital prints and mixed media; Justin M. Bitner – wood sculpture; Kathy Bryant – woven fibers; Michael Caifano – mixed media drawings; Rebecca Chmielewski – painting and drawing; Lauren Curta – cardboard sculpture; Erin Hinz – drawing; Candace Manning – painting; Haley Prestifilippo – painting; Narooz Michael Atef Soliman – painting; Anne Vieux – painting and video; and Tim Zercie – mixed media painting and sculpture.

Zercie’s irregularly shaped paintings are a jumble of color and images, often with three-dimensional elements attached. He describes his art as “an over stimulation of color, patterns and forms … intended to startle the senses in a way similar to the … congestion of a circus funhouse or indoor playground,” suggesting “undertones of myth, metaphor, and mystical imagery.”

Some of Vieux’s paintings on paper use fluorescent colors illuminated with black lights. Her art is about the “translation and transference of information and energy.” The black lights help to create “a perceptual fantasy space for the paintings” and the “fluorescent colors are used to evoke a notion of light, heat or energy emitted from the transference of information.”


Soliman works in a representational style, combining images from various sources to create imagined narratives in his oil paintings.

States Prestifilippo, “In my work I am interested in exploring the way in which history creates layers of meaning and the loss and continual change of this meaning.” By layering the imagery, “strange hybrid creatures emerge as nonsensical composites of familiar animals, betraying any sense of stability or concrete understanding.”

Manning‘s representational oil paintings are created using Old Master techniques and based on her own digital photography of suburban “McMansions.” Her art reconsiders the idea of house versus home – “whether or not the structure stands as an accurate representation of the life inside” – and asks the question: “Is there anything to be interpreted from the house itself?”

Hinz says her drawings are “a vision of paradise” inspired by allegory and kitsch. Her images are drawn from her own experiences and memories and by her study of “overblown Rococo and Baroque decorative motifs.”


Curta describes herself as a neat-freak. Her sculpture is an “expression of compulsion and control” created “by simplifying thoughts and behaviors down to formal elements – line, shape, color, and texture.” Her forms are inspired by the Russian Constructivists art movement from the early 20th century.

Chmielewski states, “In my work I create a visual experience that mimics the complexity of the relationships that exist in nature.” “My work reflects the complex relationship of parts and wholes in a biological or social system and as so it functions as a holon -- an entity that from one perspective appears as a self-contained whole, and from another a dependent part.”

“My work celebrates change and an exploration of individual style,” says Caifano. “ I believe decisions and experiences we face throughout life define our makeup and in turn form an inner style. I try to treat my artwork in the same fashion by intuitively developing a style for each panel” [of the mixed media drawings].

Says Bryant about her weavings, “ I wanted to explore how color, pattern and texture could be manipulated to represent everyday things that are part of our lives.” “Our lives have been intertwined with fibers almost from the beginning of creation and will continue to be far into our futures.“

Bitner creates his sculpture constructions from new and reclaimed wood, with the forms inspired by forts and other things he created as a child. This mix of new and old wood serves as a metaphor for what he sees as our unsuccessful attempts of the present to reclaim the experiences from our childhood.

Bennett has a passion for science fiction. Her current work – digital photographs of super-hero costumes she has created -- “deals with the attitudes and egos of Sci-fi protagonists” and how “this attitude has leaked into real life where people find themselves self-important and invincible.”

This program is co-sponsored with the EIU Art Department. For information, or to arrange a group tour, contact the Tarble Arts Center at 217-581-ARTS (-2787) or tarble@eiu.edu.

The Tarble Arts Center is located on 9th Street at Cleveland Avenue on the EIU campus. Open hours are: 10am-5pm Tues.-Fri., 10am-4pm Sat., 1-4pm Sun.; closed Mondays and Easter, April 4. A division of the College of Arts & Humanities, the Tarble is funded in part by the Tarble Arts Center Fund/EIU Foundation and Tarble membership contributions.
EIU 2010 Graduate Thesis Exhibition
April 3-25
Exhibition Reception April 11, 2-4 pm
Tarble Arts Center
Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Avenue
Charleston, IL 61920