Summer exhibitions bring prairie to Faulconer Gallery
Fiber art and depictions of prairie flora and fauna will be the theme this summer at Grinnell College's Faulconer Gallery for two concurrent exhibitions, "Below the Surface: A 21st-century Look at the Prairie" and "Small Expressions 2009," which will run June 12-Sept. 6.
"Below the Surface" explores the wildlife of the prairie, and all of the species featured in the exhibition can be found in and around Iowa. Pieces range from the descriptive to the expressive, from Peggy Macnamara's painstakingly detailed paintings of beetles to Marguerite Perret's collages that combine 19th-century herbarium specimens with images that represent the people and cultures that are layered over the prairie grasses.
The exhibition also addresses several debates in natural history, such as whether film or canvas best reveals the essential characteristics of a species. "For at least some naturalists, who still rely on images as an aid in discovery and identification, the veracity of a photograph fails to capture everything that can be encompassed in an artist's rendering," says Lesley Wright, director of the Gallery and the exhibition's curator. "For others, nothing is as immediate as a photograph of a living specimen."
"Small Expressions" is an annual, international, juried exhibition by the Handweavers Guild of America, Inc., consisting of fiber art pieces, all of which must be less than 15 inches in any dimension. Each artist fits an astonishing amount of detail into the small area and the selection showcases a wide variety of techniques, from beading and basket weaving to embroidery and crochet.
Activities surrounding the two exhibitions include:
- Fri., June 12, 5-6:30 p.m.
- Opening reception, with local foods by Ann Brau and a performance by Too Many Strings Band
- June 22-July 27, 10:30 a.m.-noon
- Hands-on art activities will take place Monday and Wednesday mornings at parks throughout Grinnell and in the Faulconer Gallery. For more information contact the Gallery at 641-269-4660.
- June 24, July 15, Aug. 12, Sept. 2, 12-1 p.m.
- Yoga in the Gallery with Jennifer Mavin. No experience or registration necessary, mats provided.
- Wed., June 24, 7 p.m.
- Gallery talks by fiber artists Daryl Lancaster, Patricia Spark, and Kathe Todd-Hooker, whose work is featured in "Small Expressions 2009."
- Tues., July 7, noon
- Gallery talk with photographer Jin Lee, who will discuss her photographs of Illinois prairies through the seasons in a talk entitled "Floating World."
- Fri., July 24, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
- Photographer Carl Kurtz will lead a workshop on "Discovering the Prairie with your Camera," co-sponsored by the Center for Prairie Studies and open to students 9th grade and up. Participants should bring their own digital camera and laptop. Registration is required for this free event, contact Tilly Woodward, curator of academic and public outreach, at 641-269-4663 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Wed., July 29-Fri., July 31
- Iowa's renowned Eulenspiegel Puppets will host workshops and performances during their residency. The Faulconer Gallery has a full schedule of events and workshops and more information.
- Sat., Aug. 1, 1-4:30 p.m.
- Join Larissa Mottl, biological field station manager for the Center for Prairie Studies, and Tilly Woodward at Faulconer Gallery and CERA for hands-on activities that will develop observation and interpretation skills in the natural world. Van service to CERA will be available. Co-sponsored by the Center for Prairie Studies. Registration is required for this free event, contact Tilly Woodward.
- Sat., Sept. 5, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
- Chicago artist Peggy Macnamara will teach a workshop on classical drawing techniques and the basics of layering watercolor, using the close observation of prairie specimens. Registration is required for this free event, contact Tilly Woodward.
All events take place in Faulconer Gallery unless otherwise indicated. "Below the Surface" and "Small Expressions 2009" are open June 12-Sept. 6. Summer hours are Sunday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., with the gallery closed on Sat., July 4. Regular hours resume on Aug. 27 and are Sunday-Wednesday, noon-5 p.m., and Thursday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. For more information about the exhibition and related programs, call 641-269-4660.