Figurism: Narrative and Fantastic Figurative Art from the Illinois State Museum Collection

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The Gray Room, 1980 Oil On Linen © Courtesy of the artist and Illinois State Museum Chicago Gallery
Figurism: Narrative and Fantastic Figurative Art from the Illinois State Museum Collection
Curated by: Doug Stapleton

100 W. Randolph
Suite 2-100
Chicago, IL 60601
January 30th, 2012 - May 25th, 2012
Opening: February 3rd, 2012 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Michigan Ave/Downtown
Mon-Fri, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm


‘Figurism’ brings together historical and  contemporary body-based art that emphasizes the power and range of the uses of the figure in Midwestern art. Doug Stapleton, Assistant Curator of the Illinois State Museum Chicago Gallery, brings together the work of over fifty artists, including Marcena Barton; Samuel Himmelfarb, Carl Hoeckner; Linda Kramer; Kerig Pope; Barbara Rossi, and Eleanor Spiess-Ferris.

From January 30 through May 25, 2012, the Illinois State Museum
Chicago Gallery presents Figurism: Narrative and Fantastic Figurative Art from the
Illinois State Museum Collection
. Organized by Assistant Curator Doug Stapleton of the
ISM Chicago Gallery, the exhibition brings together historical and contemporary artwork
that emphasizes the power and the range of the narrative and expressive figure in
Midwest art. It does not try to define a regional figurative tradition but shows how
‘figurism’ has endured and evolved into pluralistic, eclectic, and highly individualized
expressions. Gallery friends and members are invited to join us on Friday, February 3,
2012, for a reception from 5 PM to 7:00 PM in the second floor gallery of the James
R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph, suite 2-100. After 6 P.M., please enter by
the LaSalle Street door.

The artworks in the exhibition create a better understanding of the pluralistic styles that
share an adherence to representation while exploring the facility of the figure to capture
feeling, experience, memory, and time. They also lean towards the fantastic--creating a
heightened sense of the super-real and super-natural, whether through aggressive form,
high-keyed color, inventive graphics, or ambiguous situations. The artworks push beyond
simple answers, sparking viewers into thinking about their own lives.

The more than fifty artists represented in Figurism are works from the Illinois State
Museum that reflect the polymorphic richness of figurative art—academic, modern and
contemporary, realistic and abstract-- with all permutations between. Artists include:
Gertrude Abercrombie, Nicolas Africano, Robert Amft, Boris Anisfield, Macena Barton,
Fred Berger, Bernece Berkman, Phyllis Bramson, Fritzi Brod, Manierre Dawson, L.J.
Douglas, David Driesbach, Michele Feder Nadoff, Mike Ferris, Beatrice Fisher, Mark
Forth, Simon Gordon, Leo Grucza, Lori Gunn, Indiana Gyberson, Theodore Halkin, John
Himmelfarb, Samuel Himmelfarb, Carl Hoeckner, David Hunter, Alphonso Ianelli,
Karena Karras, Misch Kohn, Linda Kramer, June Leaf, Riva Lehrer, Nathan Lerner, Gina
Litherland, Robert Lostutter, Martha Madigan, Bert Menco, Robert Middaugh, Joan
Moss, Gladys Nilsson, Ed Paschke, Robert Paulson, Tom Petrillo, Melissa Ann Pinney,
Carolyn Plochmann, Kerig Pope, Christina Ramberg, Judy Raphael, Seymour Rosofsky,
Barbara Rossi, Leopold Seyffert, Diane Simpson, Eleanor Spiess-Ferris, John Talleur,
Tony Tasset, Julia Thecla, Diane Thodos, Jerry Torn, Frank Trankina, Francis Robert
White, John Wilde, and Karl Wirsum.

Figurism curator Doug Stapleton will lead four gallery discussions in our second floor
Gallery at noon on the Wednesdays of February 15, March 14, April 18, and May 9.
Please join us for these free events.