Merwin and Wakeley Summer Exhibit Promises Linens and Things
|This 1972 stipple engraving by William Hincks shows the machinery of a bleach mill
and is part of The Linen Industry exhibit on display in the Merwin and Wakeley Galleries this summer.
June 7, 2005
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - This summer, Illinois Wesleyan's Merwin and Wakeley Galleries
will present two exhibitions, which will be on display June 12-August 21.
The galleries, located in the Joyce G. Eichhorn Ames School of Art building (6 Ames
Plaza West, Bloomington), are open Friday-Monday 12-3 p.m. for the summer and will
be closed July 3-4.
An opening reception featuring live music performed by Old Time Jam and lace-making
demonstrations by the Prairie Lacers will take place on Sunday, June 12, at 2 p.m.
at the galleries. All events are free and open to the public.
Woven Through Time, An Exhibition of Historical Linen Textiles and Contemporary Artworks will feature textiles from the collections of the McLean County Museum of History
and other McLean County private collections, including the David Davis Mansion, alongside
the work of four contemporary artists: local artist Naomi Whiting Towner, Mark Arctander,
Marna Goldstein Brauner and Karen Savage.
Whiting Towner, a Bloomington resident and professor of art at Illinois State University
from 1965-2000, has been an exhibiting fiber artist for over 40 years. This summer
she will lend the galleries a selection of weavings from her Mirage Series, produced in the 1990s. Inspired by the landscapes of Illinois and the Southwest,
these multi-layer wall hangings incorporate varied weave structures and reflective
materials to emphasize the illusion of landscape, light, and vaporous movement.
Arctander, represented by the Roy Boyd Gallery of Chicago, explains his art as the
liberation of an everyday object from its former context in order to “open the door
for the viewer to confront and reposition the object.” His four new works, mounted
and framed antique linen napkins embroidered with unexpected quotes, embody both his
recurring theme of contrast in material and idea, and his consistent use of wit, whimsy,
sarcasm and cynicism.
Goldstein Brauner, professor of art at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, modifies
antique textiles such as doilies, aprons, and tablecloths by adding her own photographic
imagery and self-described “obsessive beading.” According to the artist, these time-consuming
techniques emphasize the preciousness of the original object, which she then stiffens
with starch, finalizing its transition from functional, domestic object to work of
Savage, represented by the Aron Packer Gallery of Chicago, Sara Ranchouse Publishing
of Chicago and Printed Matter of New York, will exhibit six photograms from her Handkerchief
Series. Savage says that through photography, the monogrammed handkerchiefs are moved
from their “decorative and functional purpose into the arena of the photographic portrait,”
where the embroidered names serve as a reminder of the person who once owned and used
The other exhibit, The Linen Industry, organized and circulated by Blair-Murrah Exhibitions of Sibley, Mo., will compare
the linen making process of the 18th century with today's textile manufacture. Shown
will be a rare set of stipple engravings by William Hincks, first published in London
in 1782, that illustrate each step of Irish linen production in the 1700s. In order
to emphasize the contrast with today's technology, 10 large black and white photographs
depicting the modern process of linen weaving on computer-guided, automatic looms
will also be on display.
For additional information, contact Jennifer Lapham, director of the Merwin and Wakeley
Galleries, at (309) 556- 3391.
Contact Rebecca Welzenbach, (309) 556-3181