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Pro-Text: When Words Enter Visual Art

  Pro-Text: When Words Enter Visual Art   

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For more information contact:

Jennifer Snopko,
Robert Sill,

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 20, 2015, Springfield, IL

Pro-Text: When Words Enter Visual Art

New Exhibition Opening at the Illinois State Museum Springfield Gallery. Pro-Text: When Words Enter Visual Art explores the various ways artists choose to combine language in their visual art. Works by emerging and mid-career artists from throughout the state are featured alongside works selected from the Illinois State Museum Fine Art Collection. This exhibition showcases art that incorporates words, letters, or text for narrative or graphic impact. It features art by self-taught artists and works by academically trained contemporary artists working in both traditional and new media.

Also this evening enjoy Second Friday activities! Learn more here:

Mar. 8-Sept. 13, 2015
Museum Hours:
8:30AM-5PM, M-Sat
Noon-5PM, Sun

When Words Enter Visual Art
Progressive Reception & Text Talks

Illinois State Museum
502 S. Spring Street
Springfield, IL 62706
Second Floor

Pro-Text Partners Reception Night. Friday, March 13. Four Springfield art venues will feature exhibitions that examine the use of text in art. The Pro-Text partners have set aside special viewing times so the public can move from site to site to view all four exhibitions in a single evening. Light refreshments will be served at each location, and StrEATside Bistro food truck will be available at the Illinois State Museum.

Pretty Thoughts: Work by Mauricio Ramirez, University of Illinois Springfield Student Gallery, 4-6PM

Text by Design, Lincoln Land Community College, 4-6PM

Pro-Text: When Words Enter Visual Art, Illinois State Museum, 5:30-8PM

Pro-Text Addendum, Springfield Art Association, 5:30-8PM

“I have always been fascinated when visual art and language enter each other’s turf,” explains Curator Robert Sill, Assistant Director of Art with the Illinois State Museum. “A hybrid is born. When words, poetry, or type fragments combine with any form of visual art—be it painting, drawing, installation or new media works—it elicits additional layers of meaning. It can trigger new thoughts, create narratives, produce sounds, or evoke feelings. It can become its own iconic structure; think of Robert Indiana’s famous four squared works titled LOVE for example.”

Although thematically linked, the work in Pro-Text offers a broad range of expressions. One of the featured installations is a newly created work by Mike Miller, University of Illinois Springfield Art Professor, who uses drone technology to explore neighborhood demographics. Mash-ups occur in the work of Kathy Halper who produces embroidered versions of “selfies,” text message abbreviations, and emoticons from social media. Michael Dinges fashions a full scale replica of a whaling life boat out of domestic vinyl house siding, emblazoned with scrimshaw pronouncements about safety and security. A painting by Dan Devening of a large cut-out letter “C” becomes a pun on the entire enterprise of painting.

This exhibition highlights a range of “border crossings” between words and images where binary coding, natural science nomenclature, poetry and literature are paired with visual idioms such as found object art, minimalist or realist painting, video or DIY craft.

Pro-Text artists include: Joanne Aono, George Blaha, Stanley Bly, Mark Booth, Shayne Brantley, Jaun Angel Chavez, Dan Devening, Michael Dinges, Don Colley, Betsy Dollar, Howard Finster, Indira Freitas Johnson, Ellen Greene, Philip Hanson, Kathy Halper, Jesse Howard, Kate Ingold, Allison Lacher, Gina Litherland, Jim Lutes, Ruthann Mazrim, Mike Miller, Michael Nakoneczny, Mauricio Ramirez, Terry Rathje, Brian Sullivan, Kevin Veara, Thom Whalen, and Andrew Young

Text Talks. March 19, April 16, and May 21. Assistant Director for Art and Pro-Text curator Robert Sill will moderate a series of discussions featuring artists selected from the Pro-Text exhibition. These three events will take place in the galleries on the third Thursday of each month from 7-8PM.

The Illinois State Museum inspires discovery and caring about Illinois’ cultural and natural resources and heritage. The Museum integrates its original research and diverse collections to advance knowledge and create thought-provoking exhibitions and educational programs and resources. These offerings engage people of all ages in their own discovery and lifelong learning about the natural and cultural heritage of Illinois and its place within the world. The Museum promotes stewardship of this heritage to improve quality of life and ensure a sustainable future.

Friday, February 20, 2015

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Illinois State Museum
Founded 1877
The Illinois State Museum promotes discovery, learning, and an appreciation of Illinois' natural, cultural, and artistic heritage.
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Interim Museum Director: Michael Wiant
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