Current Exhibition

Code of Complication

A dress is displayed against a white gallery wall background. The bodice of the dress is a black wire bird cage, with a small black bird sitting on a branch in the center. The skirt of the dress is an ombre blue and white, with a silhouette of two flying birds.


The University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) is pleased to present, “Code of Complication,” an exhibition by Springfield-based artist Betsy Dollar. This exhibition will open on Thursday, Oct. 21st, and will run through Thursday, Nov. 18th. A reception will be held from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 21st in the gallery.

Betsey Dollar, who serves as the executive director of the Springfield Art Association, is well-known for her handmade paper works that span from functional handmade books to large-scale immersive installations.

“A web is a snare,” Dollar said, in speaking to the newly-developed works for this exhibition. “The spider weaves its complex, alluring web to capture its prey. In our current reliance on the worldwide web, I was using webs as symbols of communication and interconnectivity. For as long as I can remember I have seen the world through a complex series of lines and tangles that connect as well as bind. In the best of circumstances these connections generate possibilities, new horizons, and freedom. In the worst of circumstances, they can be a snare that limits and damages.

Through these works of handmade paper, an exploration of interconnection and consequence continues, with its beauty and its traps, and with the application of a binary of symbols and patterns that attempt to apply order and balance to the complexity and chaos.”

Dollar grew up in a family of artists near Chicago. She initially attended the Minneapolis College of Art and Design before later moving to Boulder, Colorado. There, she attended the University of Colorado Boulder, and worked as both a commercial artist and fine artists. In 2006, she left Boulder to return to Minnesota where she worked as an artist, curated exhibitions and taught printmaking and publications at St. Catherine University. In 2009, Dollar was appointed as executive director of the Springfield Art Association (SAA) and has live in Springfield ever since. In the time that she has spend leading the SAA, she has celebrated the organization’s 100th anniversary and launched it into its second century with a successful capital campaign and renewed identity. She works primarily in handmade paper, book arts and installation. Her work is in both private and public collections in the United States.

This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.


Location: Health and Sciences Building 
(HSB) 201
Hours: Monday – Thursday 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM *masks are required on the UIS campus
Phone: (217) 206-6506