Figurism: Narrative and Fantastic Figurative Art from the Illinois State Museum Collection brings together historical and contemporary artwork of more than fifty artists that emphasizes the power and the range of the narrative and expressive figure in Midwest art. According to exhibition curator Doug Stapleton, Assistant Curator of the ISM Chicago Gallery, “This exhibition does not try to define a regional figurative tradition but shows how ‘figurism’ (an invented term) has endured and evolved into pluralistic, eclectic, and highly individualized expressions.” The artworks in the exhibition demonstrate the many artistic styles which adhere to representation yet still capture feeling, experience, memory, and time. Many lean towards the fantastic, with a heightened sense of the super-real and super-natural. The work by more than fifty artists represented in Figurism reflect the range of styles, and variety of media, and the richness of figurative art created in the Midwest over the last century.
Four public events are scheduled for Sundays during the exhibition, including two which offer the opportunity to meet artists in the exhibition. Artist Sam Himmelfarb will speak at the museum on Sunday, December 2, 2012, and artist Judith Raphael will present on Sunday, March 3, 2013. On Sunday, January 13, Jennifer Jaskowiak, ISMLG Curator of Art, will present a lecture on “Figuring Women.” And on February 10, 2013, Jim L. Zimmer, ISM Director for Art and History, will speak on “The Figure in New Deal Art.” All events will begin at 2:00 pm, are free to the public; reservations are not required, but seating is limited.