Museum preps fall exhibits

By Jake Saunder

The variety of exhibits at the University Museum, ranging from contemporary art to photographs and beyond, are worth a look as well. Dona Bachman, museum director, said one of the features includes the work of university graduate Kevin Veara.

“We recently had an exhibit here of paintings by tattoo artists, and (Veara’s) work is so incredible that we decided we would do just a solo show,” she said. “Kevin’s a naturalist, works up near Springfield, so he approaches [his work] as both a naturalist and…I think you can also see some of the dramatic nature of the tattoo work coming into play.”

Much of Veara’s work is a commentary on the world’s threatened ecological elements such as birds, she said.


“You can see … that menacing quality in some of these, that I think is his way of saying … that these animals are under attack by the modern world,” she said.

Veara said he is proud to still be contributing to work in his major 22 years after graduating.

“In some ways, it was one of my goals,” he said. “I knew the amount of people that didn’t make it … [as] very few of them end up doing it after a certain point in time … because it’s really hard to do anything in your major, like art, so I feel like I’ve succeeded.”

Another exhibit features the work of photographer Herbert Russell, a local historian who has collected photographs he has taken as well as work from other southern Illinois photographers. Russell will soon begin selling a book of southern Illinois photography for anyone who wishes to buy one, Bachman said.

A Contemporary Art exhibit then is located near the front and is based upon the museum’s print collection of the 20th and 21st century. The print collection is very bold, featuring both the pictures and quotes from the artists, allowing viewers to get a sense of what the artists and their artwork are truly about.

Moving onward, another exhibit is of Inuit Art borrowed from area man William Rose, who spent time with the artists who created the Inuit works and knows many of them personally.

“(Rose) has consulted with museums across the United States and Canada, so it’s a very fabulous collection and a lot of it looks at Shaman’s and spirituality and just the inner life of these people,” Bachman said.


Next is the study gallery, to which Bachman is encouraging professors to submit pieces in order to fill the presently empty space. Pieces such as textiles Japanese woodblocks will be put up soon, she said.

“We’re trying to encourage other professors to get involved,” she said. “Right now we’re kind of getting more from the art historians, they do a lot with it … this religious exhibit is going to be featured in an English as a Second-Language class for some of our foreign students.”

A Center for Archaeological Investigations exhibit is also available for a glance, she said.

“ (The exhibit comes from) a site up in Northern Illinois, where Blackhawk (tribes) … wintered and all of these artifacts were dug up at the site, so we’re cataloging them for the state,” she said.

In an area that will soon be used to house professors’ works, the museum also features an exhibit of ceramic works from Harris Deller, a well-known ceramic artist who taught art and design for many years at the university.

“(Deller) is a ceramicist, and nationally well known, been in many shows in the collections of many major museums and [has] basically a retrospective exhibit,” she said. “You see a lot of his designs from when he first started out as a young assistant professor and the work that he’s doing now.”

Bachman has her own exhibit of collected pieces from what she called master artists, including Pablo Picasso.

“There will be a couple (names) that will be very familiar … like Diego Rivera and John Dewey,” she said. “We’ve got Picasso, (and) they’re not paintings but they’re definitely fine works by some of the most well-known artists like Monet.”

As the exhibit change at the beginning of every semester,

Bachman said she enjoys the variety of artwork the museum is able to display.

“I just think our exhibits are incredibly exciting and I wish more students would come and visit them because it’s free and lots of fun,” she said.

Eleni Hampton, a sophomore from Carterville studying marketing said she also enjoys the work the museum displays.

“It’s really neat to see work by students as well as works by famous artists,” Hampton said.