The University Museum, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, maintains several collections, one of which is the wonderful Louis H. Sullivan Architectural Ornament Collection. I had an opportunity to work first hand with the collection and to visit and photograph several of Sullivan’s extant buildings. By combining plant motifs and geometric shapes Sullivan created a unique and beautiful style of architectural ornament. And, while the ornament is intricate and beautiful, the buildings in their entirety can be simply awe-inspiring.
One afternoon during the early autumn of 2001 I went for a walk with my wife around our neighborhood. Scattered along the side of the road we discovered a large number of seeds that had fallen from a nearby tree. I gathered a handful and began to study them as we walked, being reminded of Sullivan’s admonition to “remember the seed-germ”. As we walked we gathered small plants of various kinds and before long had a nice little collection to take home and study. I found that if I scanned the plants into my computer I could then enlarge the image on the monitor and see much more of their intricate design. Through experimentation I found that I could combine the various plant forms that I had scanned with images of other types of materials and also found that I could create geometric shapes directly from the plant materials. As the designs became more complex the idea for this series of prints evolved and it seemed that Homage to Louis H. Sullivan would be an appropriate title for them. The first works were small prints on paper and later to larger compositions printed directly onto canvas.
I am delighted to be included in this exhibition with Susan Bostwick, Dennis Ringering and David Yates, all of whom are exceptional people who also happen to be exceptional artists.
1987: Master of Fine Arts Degree, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
1973: Bachelor of Arts, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
1979 – 2007: Curator, The University Museum, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
1974 – 1979: Photography Instructor, Belleville Area College, now Southwestern Illinois College
Past Panel Member, Illinois Arts Council Visual Arts Advisory Council
Past Panel Member Illinois Capital Development Board % for Art Program,
Edwardsville campus and Alton Dental School, SIUE
Exhibition design and management of “Louis H. Sullivan: Unison With Nature”, a traveling exhibition created with the aid of grants from the Illinois Arts Council.
Exhibition design of “Ed Kane: An Architect Draws”, a traveling exhibition created with the aid of grants from the Illinois Arts Council.
Participant Museum Management Institute, 1987, University of Colorado at Bolder
Current Organizational Affiliations:
Madison Council Arts Council and ArtEAST