A look at into University Museum’s spring exhibition


Sophia Rogers | [email protected]

Pieces of artwork that were donated by a retired faculty member in the ’90s and early 2000s sit on display in the north hall of the University Museum Jan. 25, 2022 at SIU in Carbondale, Ill.

The Southern Illinois University (SIU) Museum is hosting several diverse galleries with artifacts, photographs, and sculptures running from older to recent, giving insight into the artistic process.

“The University Museum currently only has our North Hall open. The South Hall opens February 1st, which is next Tuesday,” Weston Stoeger, curator of the University Museum said. “On display in the North Hall are three exhibitions, two of which are generated from the University Museum zone collection and one of them is from retiring faculty members from SIU Art and Design and Cinema Photography programs.”

In the North Hall, Mitchell Gallery has works from Professor Jerry Monteith from the School of Art and Design and Professor Daniel Overturf from the School of Arts and Media. Both professors retired over the past year.


“Dan and Jerry have come together to put together a truly unique exhibition,” Stoeger said.

Overturf’s art hasn’t been shown to the public before this exhibition, but Monteith’s art has been displayed in previous museums, Stoeger said.

According to the SIU website, the Continuum Gallery displays contemporary and historical light fixtures created for a church.

They noticed the light fixtures he and fellow curator Susannah Munson explored the museum’s archives, Stoeger said.

“We had some really cool, interesting and different lighting features from all around the world,” Stoeger said. “We thought it would make a really interesting exhibition paired with the retiring faculty.”

Stoeger and Munson chose the name of the Curator’s Choice gallery Passages.

“It’s just collections of [more] rarely seen works that feature doorways, hallways, and some sort of passage through something,” Stoeger said.


The Southern Illinois Gallery showcases local artifacts of plants and animals found and some native to the region, Stoeger said.

“Everything is like the geologic history of the region,” Stoeger said. “There’s invertebrate fossils, there are plant fossils, there are castings of animal skulls that were native to this region.”

Some of the artists show the community history of Southern Illinois with objects from the Works Progress Administration (WPA), Stoeger said.

“They were a government program that was responsible for doing things like building giant city-state parks and doing a lot of the road construction around here,” Stoeger said. “They also made models for the University Museum as teaching pieces.”

The Big Muddy Film Festival will be hosted alongside the Saluki Gallery. The film festival will show selected films for the first time to the public, according to the SIU website.

“They display independent films, and it’s a juried competition,” Stoeger said. “So people submit to it, their films are selected and they’re played at one of a number of venues throughout the town.”

This year most of the film showings will be held at the Varsity Theater over the span of a few days, Stoeger said.

The Mid-Century Modern Gallery was a connected exhibition with the School of Art and Design and the University Museum, Stoeger said.

Stoeger said it was also connected to a conference where retirees and alumni come back to Carbondale to take lectures and go to various events around the city.

“It gives students that are graduating from art and design the chance to meet professionals in that industry,” Stoeger said. “And that exhibition will be designing sketches that the [Art and Design] department recently got to pair with mid-century modern furniture pieces from the museum’s collection.”

In the West Gallery Women’s Voices 2 is opening to the public on Feb.1 showcasing art from 24 local female artists, Stoeger said.

“We worked with a guest curator Teresa Fix to help establish that group and get that exhibition going,” Stoeger said. “Each exhibition features a whole new list of people. No one is a repeat, and it’s an annual exhibition every spring that the museum puts on.”

The Hall of Art hosts Convalescent Care opening in February putting a spotlight on Black people in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields, Stoeger said.

“So we’re going to be highlighting a group called the Flying Black Medics, which came down to Cairo, Ill. in late 1969 and left in early 1970,” Stoeger said. “[They] provided medical care during the riots and unrest that was happening down there.”

Panels will display various medical artifacts and medical inventions made by Black people, Stoeger said.

According to the SIU website, Study Gallery will host the It’s an Honor exhibit about SIU alumnus Dr. Cho-Yee to highlight some of his donations to the University Museum.

“It’s a pared-down exhibition from what we did last semester with more information about the donor himself,” Stoeger said. “It’ll provide the viewer with a backstory into why he’s interested in calligraphy, [and] why he wanted to come from China to study at Southern Illinois University.”

The Global Mengagrie exhibit located in the International Gallery hosts selected international collections from the University Museum, Stoeger said.

“Animals are a ubiquitous art form. All cultures have some sort of animal iconography,” Stoeger said. “We have in there stuff from tribes from Mexico, from Vietnam, from Nepal… New Guinea, China, Africa, and I think Egypt as well.”

Receptions and artist talks for the exhibits are to be announced as the Museum works with organizers to set these events up in February and March, Stoeger said.

Monteith and Overturf gave insight into how their art complements each other for the Mitchell Gallery.

Monteith’s sculpture Tuckasegee Rocker was a component for Carpenters and Other Good Men made in 1995 for the Museum of Contemporary Art in St. Louis, according to the description of the sculpture.

Monteith’s inspiration for the sculpture was his late father Olin C. Monteith who owned a barbershop and his uncles Andrew Queen and R.L. Haskett who were both builders.

David’s Dream is Monteith’s other sculpture made in 1992 for the Eagle Gallery at Murray State University, according to the description of the sculpture.

The piece is inspired by the Wall Family, Monteith’s childhood neighbors. It symbolizes David’s journey throughout the world as a developmentally disabled child.

“I thought the two pieces would work well within this space,” Monteith said. “As it turned out, I think it’s a really excellent show. [I like] the combination of our two works and the way that they sort of interact with the space.”

Monteith describes his artwork as stories about home and the people in his life, he said.

“[I’d] pick a topic you know, quite often something about my father or some of my relatives or people that I knew,” Monteith said. “I would come up with these sculptures that, reflected my interest and respect for and interaction with these people that I knew.”

Monteith doesn’t see the exhibit as a symbol of his retirement from the University, he said.

“I’m sure both of us would be fine with showing where it began,” Monteith said. “It’s just the idea of us kind of, you know, formally cutting the ties and going back into our private lives.”

Monteith appreciates the imagery of his art and the moments of his life they represent, he said.

“I just think it’s a really interesting one visually,” Monteith said. “I mentioned my interest in people from my past and this work that has kind of a background narrative and I think Dan is also very drawn to that place.”

Daniel Overturf’s art collections consist of photographs mostly from 2021 and some older ones that haven’t been seen on exhibit before.

“There’s quite a few subcategories or collections within the show,” Overturf said. “There are two sets that were primarily shot flash last year in 2021, and a lot of which was shot last fall.”

Overturf said the collections can be clearly separated by their different looks.

“There’s a black and white vertical set [of] structures, kind of what I consider something like my own version of postcards from Southern Illinois,” Overturf said. “I have been able to be aware of different little towns and places in Southern Illinois and just kind of made mental notes of them for years.”

Many of the photos in the exhibit will be featured in a book in the process of being published by the SIU Press, Overturf said.

Overturf said he sees retirement differently for people in art professions.

“I think artists and creative people, writers and musicians and people like that, they might be some of the people who find retirement to be one of the easiest transitions that they’ll ever experience,” Overturf said.

For artists they still continue making art after retirement, just not on a teaching schedule, Overturf said.

Overturf said working with Monteith on the exhibition was a great way to bring their art styles and what they’ve learned as professionals and professors here at SIU together.

“I photograph a lot of places and things,” Overturf said. “So I’m admiring the form, admiring [the] shape, and admiring a lot of various aspects that Jerry is looking forward to discussing in his work.”

Staff reporter Jamilah Lewis can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @jamilahlewis. To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.