School of Art+Design
School of Art+Design School of Art+Design College of Fine and Applied Arts University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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  • Visitor Series: Rico Gatson, Jason Middlebrook, Maja Ruznic

    Painting Is Dead?!

    February 6, 2015 – March 28, 2015

    Painting Is Dead?! Panel Conversation with Rico Gatson, Jason Middlebrook and Maja Ruznic: Thursday, February 5, 2015 at the Krannert Art Museum Room 62 beginning at 5:30 p.m.

    Exhibition Opening and Reception: Friday, February 6, 2015 from 5 to 8 p.m.

    Figure One, an off-campus venue for the Illinois School of Art + Design is pleased to present Painting Is Dead?!, an exhibition that explores contemporary notions of painting. The premise and title of the exhibition is both a critique and question. For centuries, painting has been the standard by which novices and experts alike defined their understandings of what art embodies. The field of painting—like any other medium— has experienced low and high points. Critics discuss the fate of painting and at times claim that painting has reached its peak—that the end is near. Painting Is Dead?! is an examination of currently-working artists who are innovatively changing contemporary painting practice. This exhibition not only presents innovations in painting, but also displays works that expand the conceptual ideals associated with its practice. Overall, Painting Is Dead?! is a commentary on the longevity and the place of painting in our society. Artists featured in this exhibition are: Rico Gatson, Patrick Earl Hammie, Chris Kienke, Jason Middlebrook, Jenny Morgan, Harvey Opgenorth, Ebony G. Patterson and Maja Ruznic. Corresponding programs will occur throughout the duration of the exhibition. For additional details, please see the attached list of programs.
    Figure One will also unveil the 2nd installation of One Room called, What Did I Have For Dinner. This project by Veronica Pham, an Illinois School of Art + Design BFA candidate, examines the obscure nature of food and how we describe and experience its consumption. The installation will be on view through September 2015.
    Rico Gatson is a Brooklyn-based artist who was born in Augusta, Georgia in 1966. He received his BFA from Bethel College in Saint Paul, Minnesota in 1989 and his MFA from the Yale School of Art in 1991. Gatson’s works examine a variety of subjects such as identity, the history of race, entertainment and spirituality.
    Jason Middlebrook, a Hudson, NY based artist, was born in 1966 in Jackson, Michigan. Middlebrook received his BFA from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1990 and an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in California in 1994. He draws inspiration from both nature and technology. Middlebrook translates his observations about this complex relationship into various works, including installation, large-scale drawings, paintings and sculptures.
    Maja Ruznic was born in Bosnia & Hercegovina in 1983. Ruznic came to the United States as a refugee in 1992 and currently lives and works in Los Angeles. She studied Psychology and Art at UC Berkeley and received her MFA from the California College of the Arts in 2009. Ruznic’s paintings, drawings, and performances explore memory and how it shapes our understanding of reality.
    Sponsorship for Exhibitions and Programming at Figure One is generously provided by:
    The Illinois School of Art + Design and George Grubb and Robert Ballsrud.
    Figure One is a laboratory that supports projects, exhibitions and events stemming from all areas of study at the undergraduate and graduate levels at The Illinois School of Art + Design. As an off-campus venue, Figure One is a public test bed for new ideas to take shape in the space between the safety of the classroom and the rigor of the professional world. Figure One is open to the public Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Fridays and Saturdays from 1 to 9 p.m. For more information please visit us at or .
  • Figure One Fill Your Plate Food Drive

    Figure One invites visitors to become a part of the Fill Your Plate exhibition by donating non-perishable food items to our Living Pantry installation. Upon the closing of the Fill Your Plate exhibition, this collection of food will be donated to the Eastern Illinois Food Bank and distributed to those in need throughout our local community. In the spirit of giving, let us recognize our own individual food consumption and the importance of helping our neighbors. Donations will be accepted through the run of the exhibition at Figure One until Wednesday, January  21, 2015.

    Please feel free to drop off canned goods in room 143 Art + Design during normal business hours.

  • Fall 2014 Saturday Art School Exhibition and Celebration
    Please join us at the Link Gallery on December 6 from 10-12 pm for the Saturday Art School Exhibition and Celebration. Your children’s artwork will be on display, family activities will be planned at the Krannert Art Museum through the Kids@Krannert program, and light refreshments will be provided. The Link Gallery is located between the entrance to the School of Art and Design and the Krannert Art Museum (408 East Peabody Drive). Please take home your children’s artwork after the event. *Also note that the Saturday Art School will be on hiatus this spring semester, 2015. Stay tuned for updates on our listserv. If you have not signed up for our listserv, please do so by visiting:
  • Fall 2014 MFA Public Critiques and Lecture with guest critic Lauren Fensterstock
    MFA Public Critiques--Friday, November 21, 2014
    9:00 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.
    Public Lecture Friday, November 21, 2014, 5:00pm, room 107 A+D.


    Lauren Fensterstock is an artist, writer, and curator based in Portland, Maine. Lauren╩╝s work is held in private and public collections in the US, Europe, and Asia. Her work was the subject of a major solo exhibition at The John Michael Kohler Art Center in 2013. Other recent exhibitions include Arthouse-The Austin Museum of Art (TX), The Bowdoin College Museum of Art (ME), the San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design (CA), the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (OR), The DUMBO Art Center (NY), The Dorsky Gallery (NY) and the Oliver Sears Gallery (Ireland).

    Lauren recently served as a visiting faculty member at the Rhode Island School of Design. She previously served as Academic Program Director of the Interdisciplinary MFA in Studio Arts at Maine College of Art and as Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art. Her curatorial projects and published writings have been featured internationally. Lauren holds degrees from the Parsons School of Design (BFA 1997) and SUNY New Paltz (MFA 2000).

    Her site-specific installation work and wall pieces depict nature by incorporating meticulously cut and curled paper, charcoal, and plexiglass to create floral and garden scenes. Fensterstock╩╝s work and practice references French and English garden design of the 1500s to 1700s, the 18th century practice of “quilling”—sculpting paper by wrapping around a quill—along with a nod to, and reflection upon, 20th century American earth art and the work of Robert Smithson.

  • FALL 2014 MFA Public Critiques and Lecture with guest critic Sabina Ott
    Public Lecture: Thursday, November 13, 2014
    5:30 p.m.
    107 A+D
    Public Group Critiques: Friday, November 14, 2014
    9:00 a.m.
    Building #5, South Studios


    Sabina Ott has participated in over 100 solo and group exhibitions. Her paintings and prints are in museum collections nation-wide while her installation work has been included in international exhibitions such as the first Auckland Triennial in Auckland New Zealand, the Australian Contemporary Arts Center in Melbourne, Australia as well as the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis, Missouri and the Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art, Cleveland Ohio. Her show “Here and There Pink Melon Joy”, currently at the Chicago Cultural Center, has been enthusiastically received and was recently reviewed in ArtForum magazine. She is the founder and director of Terrain Exhibitions, a 16-by-20-foot patch of yard that doubles as an invitational space addressing art and community within the everyday context of her neighborhood block in Oak Park.

    She has received a National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artists Grant and a Howard Foundation Grant from Brown University, Her work is in the collection of the Corcoran Museum of American Art, Washington DC; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York; The Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri; the University Art Museum, University of California, Berkeley, California, and the Orange County Museum of Art, Newport, California among others. She is Professor of Art at Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, IL.