"Jessika Ross/Sergeant" is part of the "Uniformity" series by Liz Murphy Thomas.
SPRINGFIELD – The Visual Arts Gallery at the University of Illinois at Springfield begins its 2008 spring season with "Uniformity" – a series of photographs by Liz Murphy Thomas – which will be on display January 17 through February 14. On Thursday, January 17, the gallery will host an artist's talk beginning at 5:30 p.m., followed by an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. The artist's talk, reception, and exhibit are free and open to the public.
An artist and educator, Thomas is currently an assistant professor in the Visual Arts Department at UIS, where her teaching focuses on digital art and graphic design. Her artwork deals with issues of how we create, categorize, and perceive identity.
Her "Uniformity" project is a series of diptychs – double photographs of various people from a wide range of professions. Two full body shots of each subject (one taken in uniform, the other wearing his or her "street" clothes) are mounted on opposing walls, so that viewers must constantly turn their backs on one likeness to view the other. Thomas notes that the photographs challenge the audience to decide which version becomes the "real" depiction of the subject.
Thomas has a BFA in photography from the University of Florida and an MFA in photography and digital imaging from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. Before coming to UIS she taught photography and digital media at the Maryland Institute College of Art, The University of West Florida, and Pensacola Junior College.
The Visual Arts Gallery is located in room 201 of the Health and Sciences Building on the UIS campus. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday. For further information, go to www.uis.edu/visualarts/ or contact the gallery by phone at 217/206-6506 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.