The University of Illinois Springfield Visual Arts Gallery is pleased to present “Let the fancy,” a group exhibition co-curated by Jeff Robinson, gallery director, and Allison Lacher, exhibitions manager. The exhibition will open on Thursday, September 27, and will run through Thursday, October 18. A reception for the exhibit will take place on Thursday, September 27, from 5:30 to 8 p.m.
The exhibition is based on John Keats’ poem “Let the fancy” that praises the mind and its ability to conjure scenes of pleasure and abundance.
“It’s urgent, the poet tells us, that we make use of this ability since we are actually subject to terrible loss,” said Robinson. “Does this imaginative power have anything to do with that other kind of fancy—fancy clothes, fancy jewelry, fancy style? Is our urge to decorate and show off another way of resisting natural decay?”
The works in “Let the fancy” play upon both meanings, taking Keats’ imaginary splendor into unlikely places. Faced with the banality, disorder, and absurdity of ordinary life, the artists in this exhibition assert the richness of fancy materials and designs: whether on a band-aid, a veil, or gnawed velvet, fanciness exists here in a testy and comical relationship with the everyday.
“Let the fancy” features a variety of mixed-media works, among them bejeweled Budweiser cans, a custom fragrance to be worn by gallery staff, fabric formalwear abstractions, fragmented crystals and a silky pink sari embellished with silky hair, among others.
Exhibiting artists whose work will be part of “Let the fancy” include Matt Morris (Chicago, Illinois), Rose Nestler (Brooklyn, New York), Sherwin Ovid (Chicago, Illinois), Preetika Rajgahiah (Houston, Texas) and Elise Warfield (State College, Pennsylvania).
The Visual Arts Gallery is centrally located on the UIS campus in the Health and Science Building, Room 201, and is open Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.