Giertz Gallery presents “Around the Block II”

Photo by Anna Watson | “Eye of the Tiger” by Faith Gabel.

Photo by Anna Watson | “Eye of the Tiger” by Faith Gabel.

Anna Watson

Staff Writer

On the evening of the June 22, students, established artists, a handful of first-time art exhibitors, and the public gathered at the Giertz Gallery for the reception to kick off “Around the Block II: Artists From Our Neighborhood”.

At the reception, artists wore nametags and walked around the gallery chatting among friends, family, and gallery guests. Live music by El Guapo filled the atmosphere as guests munched on snacks from the tables in the lounge. The reception lasted for two hours, and towards the end guests and artists gathered in the lounge to hear remarks from Lisa Costello, the gallery director, Gisele Atterberry, the juror of the exhibit, and Kelly White, the gallery director of 40 North.

The summer exhibition, open June 19–August 9, features work from 69 local artists and is designed to showcase the creativity in Central Illinois. Artists are required to live within the limits of Champaign County or residing counties of Parkland College.

“The artists range from people who are in their 80s, who taught art and are extremely established, to a few people who came in to say that this is their first gallery exhibition,” Costello said. 

Faith Gabel is an up and coming artist whose art is painted with bold and vivid colors. Costello says this is her first exhibition at the Giertz Gallery. Gabel said her work was inspired by the film “Rocky.”

“My husband was watching Rocky in the living room, and while I was painting I felt so motivated by it,” Gabel said.

Gabel said this is why she named her piece “The Eye of the Tiger.”

Costello says that the Giertz Gallery is responsible for hosting seven exhibitions throughout the year, two of which are led by student-produced work. For this exhibition, specifically, Giertz Gallery is collaborating with 40 North: Champaign County Arts Council.

Costello says the Giertz Gallery is defined as a teaching gallery—and the work is chosen on the premise of education and technique—rather than a commercial gallery, which aims to sell artists’ work. However, according to Costello, most artwork at the exhibition is for sale depending on the discretion of the artist. Some artists did not want to part ways with their work, however.

This year, Atterberry was chosen as juror to handpick all the work displayed in the show. Atterberry recently retired from Joliet Junior College where she taught Art History. She was also a former teacher at University of Illinois-Champaign and Illinois State University, and she has co-authored a college textbook titled “Design Essentials: A Handbook.”

She discussed the well-diversified standings of the artists, and how each of their work displays their own experiences in Central Illinois.

“An exhibition such as this, which offers an opportunity for well-established artists to show alongside newcomers, is a testament to the vitality of our visual arts community,” Atterberry wrote in a press statement. “For many, it begins as a deeply personal investigation, and is a way of coming to understand themselves and the world that they inhabit more fully.” 

Artwork at the exhibition varies in size, shape, technique, and color. Rick Larimore, a Parkland alumni who graduated in 1968, created the sculpture of a blue fish called “Meaner Mouth.”

In Harry Breen’s art, oil on linen and wood is used to paint a beautiful array of corn and clouds which tumble over unto the frame.

“[The painting is a] concrete expressions of the spaces textures, colors, and patterns of the land and sky which give form to the poetry of the prairie landscape of central Illinois,” Breen said.

Beth Darling exhibits a piece in the show called “Kate’s Garden.” She says, since both her parents were artists, she created art throughout her childhood and into her adult life. She says her art is a mix between her father’s articulate and purposeful practice and her mother’s freewill and creativity.

Darling’s piece in the exhibition, which displays a garden of leafy greens, colored flowers, and overgrown trees, exemplifies her love for the outdoors.

Kara Padget, a guest at the reception, says she attends 75 percent of the shows at Giertz Gallery. She says she is friends with many of the artists and loves the music that’s played.

“I love that they always have live music at their shows,” Padget says.

For a full list of artists exhibited in the show visit Mouse over the “Exhibitions” header, and click on “Current.”

For information on the price list of art, contact Lisa Costello.

Photo by Anna Watson | “Kate’s Garden” by Beth Darling.

Photo by Anna Watson | “Kate’s Garden” by Beth Darling.

Photo by Anna Watson | “South of I-47” by Harry Breen.

Photo by Anna Watson | “South of I-47” by Harry Breen.