Paintings on Exhibit at Illinois Wesleyan University Galleries

April 28, 2015

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— Illinois Wesleyan University’s Merwin and Wakeley Galleries will feature paintings by two artists May 6 through May 29. Artists Thomas Berenz and Carolina Rodriguez will present gallery talks May 7 at 4:15 p.m. in the Joyce G. Eichhorn Ames School of Art building. A reception will follow the artists’ talks.

5th Birthday Cake by Thomas Berenz
5th Birthday Cake by Thomas Berenz

Berenz’s exhibit is entitled “Reflections on the North.” He earned a Master of Arts in Painting at Northern Illinois University and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he received the Honored Instructor Award. He is the recipient of numerous other awards including “Best Painting” at the National Weather Center Biennale. He exhibits regularly throughout the United States. An active lecturer and juror throughout the Midwest, Berenz teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and lives in Milwaukee.

About his art, he said, “My paintings are about my relationship to the world around me; cerebral and physical, intellectual and visceral. I use the disaster motif as a metaphor to discuss personal, sociopolitical, environmental and ideological issues. Through the motif of disaster, I explore the existential self and examine personal narratives, with some being more literal and others more enigmatic. Notions of loss, place, memory, space and time are central as I re-examine personal experiences from my past and present.”

Sky to Chicago by Carolina Rodriguez
Sky to Chicago by Carolina Rodriguez

Rodriquez’s exhibit is entitled “Simultaneous Contrast.” From an early age, Rodriguez was fascinated by art and culture from around the world. She earned a bachelor's degree in printmaking from the University of Costa Rica and traveled around Mexico and elsewhere in Central and South America exploring different cities and aesthetics. She has worked in various media such as screen printing, collage, metal etching, acrylic paint, and digital images with subject matter including the people and architecture of San Jose, Costa Rica; pop art; the landscapes of Chicago; pre-Columbian art; and the bucolic atmosphere of rural Illinois.

Married to Cesar Valverde, associate professor of Hispanic Studies at Illinois Wesleyan, Rodriguez divides her time between the United States and Costa Rica. “Simultaneous Contrast” looks at contemporary and pre-Columbian Costa Rica, as well as the contrasts between the prairies of Illinois and the metropolis of Chicago. She has had 10 solo exhibitions in addition to participation in 17 group exhibitions.

The Merwin and Wakeley Galleries are located in the Ames School of Art Building. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 12 to 4 p.m., Tuesday 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 1 to 4 p.m. The galleries will be closed on Memorial Day, May 25.

By Mallika Kavadi ’15