The incoming work sits in gallery storage until it is time to install the show during installation week. The gallery puts a “Closed for Installation” sign on the door, and our tool carts appear along with our ladder. We “spot the show,” which is museum jargon for designing the exhibition and placing the artwork. We make measurements, let our hammers fly, place vinyl signage and labels, mount artist statements on the wall, and add lighting to the works. Hopefully, the dust settles before we open our doors on Monday morning!
Have you seen the latest exhibit in Parkland College’s Giertz Gallery? It features large-scale paintings by Wisconsin artist Tom Berenz. Berenz is a busy artist with a lot of exhibits on his resume. His artwork is full of contradictions, both in terms of formal elements and content. His artist statement says it best: “I am interested in blurring the lines between realism and abstraction, life and death, beauty and horror, devastation and sublime. Everything we live with as Americans is delicately balanced—the cars (magic carpets/death traps), houses (castles/prisons), and wilderness (paradise/oblivion).”
I look forward to giving tours and being able to hear interpretations coming from our students on the exhibits. I have already overheard some students analyzing Berenz’s work and disagreeing! One says, “The work captures the moment in time immediately after an explosion; you can see things settling in the aftermath!” and another says, “I see litter and the damage that we do to our environment. Also, it looks like a picnic. Is that a watermelon?” It will be interesting to read what they write in their papers!
I hope you are able to visit the gallery, enjoy the work, and draw your own conclusions.
Presently Absent: Works by Tom Berenz will be on exhibit at the Giertz Gallery at Parkland College now through March 31. The gallery is always free, and everyone is welcome. For more information about the gallery visit www.parkland.edu/gallery and sign up for our email updates.