The Kishwaukee College Art Gallery is hosting two exhibitions through March 5. One is a small group show titled “Animal Sign/Animal Minds II” that features the work of five artists. The second show is “Two But Not Two” and features the work of Kryssi Staikidis, who also is one of the five artists in the group show.
There will be two Artists’ Receptions for this unique dual show: a daytime reception from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today and an evening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 28. The Kishwaukee College Art Gallery viewing hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Friday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. The Kishwaukee College Art Gallery and both receptions are free and open to the public.
The group show, “Animal Sign/Animal Minds II,” consists of a series of paintings of identical size in which each artist has created works that focus on “animals” and their own visualization and interpretation of the subject. Each of the artists are from various parts of the United States or New Zealand and bring a unique perspective to their work that is informed by their familial and cultural experiences.
The overall animal concept for the show was initiated by artist Melanie Yazzie, who has two works included in the exhibition. Yazzie is an associate professor of art at the University or Colorado in Boulder and is Navajo/Dine of the Salt Water Clan and Bitter Water Clan of the Dine – Navajo People of North Eastern Arizona. Her works are included in permanent collections across the U.S. and in Australia and have been exhibited around the world. She has conducted classes at the Pont-Aven School of Art in France.
Sue Pearson is a Norfolk Islander (near New Zealand) and a descendent of the mutineers of the HMS Bounty and the Tahitian women who joined them on Pitcairn Island. She also has exhibited internationally in the U.S., Europe, Australia and across the Pacific Islands. Her work often includes flying fish, which are abundant in the waters near Norfolk and Pitcairn and which she has adopted as a visual metaphor for her being. The fish weave between the different layers of ocean waters and the air just as her consciousness moves between the physical and spiritual spaces of her awareness.
Kate Walker is a New Zealander who is a research scholar and adjunct professor at Boise State University in Idaho. She also has exhibited her work internationally. For “Animal Designs,” she has created works that use familiar parade characters that are placed in ordinary situations to offer a humorous, satirical critique on contemporary consumer culture, economic issues and potential social disruptions.
Barbara Penn is a professor of 2D art at the School of Art at the University of Arizona. Her works have been exhibited across the western and southwestern U.S. as well as across Europe. She was an artist-in-residence at Orsa Graphic Print Studio in Sweden in 2011. Her work uses literary, poetic and everyday sources in paintings, drawings and combined media installations – which she merges with personal and socio/political themes.
The final artist in the group exhibition is Kryssi Staikidis who holds an Ed.D. in art and art education from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City, a MFA in Painting from Hunter College in NYC, and a BS in anthropology and art history from Columbia University in NYC. She has published more than 20 journal articles on her area of research in indigenous pedagogy, art studio practice as a site for research, and visual culture/critical pedagogy in the classroom.
In her solo exhibition, “Two But Not Two,” Staikidis draws from her experience studying under two contemporary Guatemalan Maya painters, Pedro Rafael González Chavajay and Paula Nicho Cúmez, from whom she began to focus her work on personal and cultural narratives. The current series examines her own cultural hybridity and the memories and oral histories told to her by relatives who remember crossing continents from Russia escaping pogroms, and first trips to the United States from Greece. The paintings in this series feature her dog, who acts as a guide through their small Midwestern odyssey.
For more information on the dual exhibitions, contact Steven Hoover, director of the Kishwaukee College Art Gallery at 815-825-2086, ext. 5611, or at email@example.com.