September 7, 2022

BLOOMINGTON, Illinois – Art exhibitions featuring a collection of privately owned Myanmar paintings and handcrafted stage performances from more than three decades of IWU theatrical productions will be presented September 12-October 13 at the Illinois Wesleyan University Galleries.

Located within the Joyce Eichhorn Ames School of Art, the Merwin and Wakeley Galleries are free and open to the public Monday through Friday 12pm to 4pm, Tuesday 7pm to 9pm and Saturday and Sunday 1pm to 4pm.

To illustrate the The annual theme of the university “Power of Place,“The exhibition at Wakeley Gallery will feature 36 paintings by artists

An example of a painting by a Myanmar artist on display at IWU’s Wakeley Gallery from 12 September to 13 October.

from Myanmar, a Southeast Asian country formerly known as Burma. The exhibition is entitled “Power of Place: Painting Myanmar in a Time of Transition”. Paintings are also exhibited in The Ames Library.

In 2011, Myanmar’s long-standing military junta gave way to quasi-democratic rule, only to suddenly return to dictatorship ten years later.

“The paintings in this collection, all created between 2012 and 2015, touch on the multiple dimensions of contemporary society, reflecting rural and urban life, religious beliefs and practices, diverse ethnic groups and identities, and openly political positions. Drawing inspiration from both traditional motifs and modern artistic styles, the artists demonstrate the power of place and how it evolves over time,” said Abigail R. Jahiel, Professor of Environmental and International Studies.

Catherine Raymond, Director of the Center for Burma Studies and Professor of Art History at Northern Illinois University, will give a public lecture and gallery tour of this exhibition on Tuesday, September 13 at 4:00 p.m. in the Beckman Auditorium at the Ames Library .

“DR. Raymond is an expert on Burmese art and Myanmar in general,” said Jahiel. “Your presentation will provide historical, political and cultural context to better understand a country that Americans generally know little about.”

The exhibition and lecture are jointly sponsored by the School of Art, the Ames Library and the Asian Studies Program, which is part of the IWU’s International and Global Studies Program.

The Merwin Gallery will host an exhibition entitled “Design/Development/Process: 32 Years of Stage Design and Related Crafts” featuring works by Curtis C. Trout, Professor of Theatrical Arts and Co-Chair of Theater Design and Technology at IWU Program. A reception for this exhibition will be held on September 24 from 4pm to 6pm at the Merwin Gallery during the IWU Homecoming events.

Trout said the artwork included in the show represents each design step to create a scene for the stage and communicates that evolution to directors and peer designers in lighting, costumes and sound.

Small rendering of a stage set
An example of a scale stage model by Curtis Trout on display at the Merwin Gallery from September 12th to October 13th.

“As a 32-year retrospective, this show represents tens of thousands of hours of work by myself, theater staff, and generations of IWU theater majors or industry professionals,” Trout said. “The art of theater is embodied through this live performance event, where all aspects of design and acting come together for a live audience in a unique event that unfolds over time.”

Examples of artwork include visual research from a director’s pitch, set sketches for the set designer, and scale models of sets complete with furniture and color treatments.

Some of the artwork from the exhibit will go directly to a production scene store, Trout said, which theater staff will use in the same way architects use blueprints to build a house.

Trout said he hopes visitors to the exhibit will gain a new understanding of the behind-the-scenes process of theatrical productions, including the dedication and artistry that goes into creating a theatrical design.

“I hope people enjoy what they see, are fascinated, and can appreciate the dedication and commitment to me over time that this represents,” he said.

By Julia Perez