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.
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.”
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.