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Katie Sill/The Argus

 

By Katie Sill, staff writer

Two new exhibits have graced the Merwin and Wakeley Galleries in the Joyce Eichhorn Ames School of Art Building. These two very different exhibits illustrate to visitors the many different forms art can take.

Established in 2007, the Post Family is currently composed of seven members: Rod Hunting, Chad Kouri, David Sieren, Davey Sommers, Sam Rosen, Alex Fuller and Scott Thomas. These seven men joined forces in Chicago to promote the “growth of our family members and community by supplying them with the resources and inspiration to accomplish their individual goals.”

The exhibit in the Merwin Gallery features the work of the Post Family. By their own definition, the Post Family is a “resource, gallery, letterpress and screenprinting studio, experimental music venue and a creative incubator awarded and critically applauded by the art and design world.”

The exhibit is an interactive series of wooden platforms. When entering the exhibit, visitors are presented with this statement: “Level is about awareness of interaction with others. The more engaged we are as a community, the stronger we are as individuals.”

Around the corner lies a collection of platforms of varying heights. Five rows of eight platforms and nothing else. It seems minimalistic at first sight. That is, until one remembers that the exhibit is interactive.

During the opening reception on Thursday, Jan. 10, Post Family members invited volunteers to demonstrate the purpose of the design. Throughout the demonstration, participants were asked to move from platform to platform. In doing so, their perspective of the environment and the people around them changed. First-year art student Justice Macklin was one of the volunteers.

“It was very fun and interesting,” Macklin said.

An equally thought-provoking exhibit is being displayed in the Wakeley Gallery. Inspired by the book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” the exhibit is entitled: “Illuminate, Magnify.”

Artist Nisa Blackmon “took different quotes from the book and showed them visually through her own interpretation,” Macklin said.

In addition to creating beautiful works of art, Blackmon also teaches biology labs at Illinois Wesleyan. As both an artist and biologist, Blackmon earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and a Master of Science degree in natural and applied sciences from Oklahoma State University as well as a Master of Fine Arts degree in metals from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The pieces in her exhibit show a clear passion for both the sciences and the arts. Most of the sculptures featured include materials found in a biology lab, such as glass microscope slides.  Blackmon said, “The microscopes in this exhibit celebrate the moment of illumination, when the unknown expands to reveal worlds within worlds, so that our field of view is filled with wonder.”

These elements are combined with Blackmon’s talented metalworking to illustrate images from Rebecca Skloot’s book.

One of the pieces, entitled “autopsy,” is composed of copper, pearls, cotton and glass microscope slides. The quote that inspired this ekphrastic creation is: “it looked as if someone had filled her with pearls.”

Hanging on the wall, the piece is less than a foot long and about 3 inches wide. The copper is cut to form a human silhouette. The silhouette is filled with pearls as the quote describes. Adding depth, more pearls flow outward from the silhouette in tangled strands. Of course, this description cannot do justice to the beauty of the piece.

There is no cost to visit the Merwin and Wakeley galleries and students from every discipline are invited to visit. The two current exhibits will be in the galleries until Thursday, Jan. 31and will be available for viewing Monday through Friday, 12 to 4 p.m., Tuesday evening from 7 to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.