‘Phantasmagoria’ Art Exhibit Begins at Prairie State College Sept. 30 [9/23/13]

Prairie State College (PSC) is hosting “Phantasmagoria: The Imaginations of Kathy Weaver, Sharon Bladholm and John A. Kurtz,” from Sept. 30 through Oct. 31, in the Christopher Art Gallery. An artists’ reception is scheduled from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 10, in the gallery.

The works presented here will fascinate and delight the viewers with their imaginative images based on the fantastic and bizarre, and use a sense of assemblage in their combinations of image,” said Beth Shadur, gallery director and exhibit curator.

All three artists’ images are rooted in real "things" but each take their images to extremes, moving beyond the parameters of normal reality to create works that astonish us in their detail, their bizarre use of shape and form, and their wildly imaginative character,” she added.

Utilizing the fiber media, Kathy Weaver airbrushes paintings on bridal satin, then embroiders and quilts the work. Her unusual designs often include robots and/or cellular, organic forms. Trained as a painter, Weaver’s early work was of a political nature. She gravitated to the medium of fabric as a way to engage a larger audience to view the message of her works. An example of her early fiber work is a series of three quilts, “Guns Are Us” portraying handgun violence in Chicago, which is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City.

Sharon Bladholm has pursued her singular artistic vision through a variety of disciplines, including ceramic, cast glass, and bronze in the sculptural realm, plus printmaking and other works on paper. Her hand built ceramic forms are both fantastical composites of many plants and inspired more directly by the incredible forms of actual carnivorous plants. Her work has been profoundly influenced by her participation as an artist on scientific expeditions to remote and biologically diverse ecosystems of the Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon.

John A. Kurtz began his education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1960 on a scholarship received from the Park Ridge Art League. In 1962 he joined the U.S. Navy and worked as a Naval-Air photographer for a four year enlistment. Since the late 1960's his photography, drawings, paintings and 3-D sculptures have been exhibited at various museums, galleries and studios throughout Chicago and Illinois. Kurtz also exhibits his work at his annual Studio Shows.

 More information on the exhibit and full biographies of the featured artists are available at http://prairiestate.edu/christopher-art-gallery/index.

The Christopher Art Gallery is located on the PSC main campus, at 202 S. Halsted St. in Chicago Heights, Ill., and is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday. Visits also can be made by appointment. For more information about the exhibit or to make an appointment for a visit, call (708) 709-3636.