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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Evanston + Vicinity Biennial highlights artists from the Midwest

Emily Lichty / The Daily Northwestern
Liang He said his piece “The Ant and the Grasshopper” at the Evanston + Vicinity Art Biennial was inspired by Aesop’s Fables and the nature of play.

Textile artist Delaina Doshi sits on the ground of the Evanston Art Center, carefully hanging a sculpture made of over 150 broken plates and cups that she collected on the gallery wall. After hours of work, her sculpture, “reconciled,” a blue, pink and cream porcelain waterfall, is displayed on the wall.

Artwork from across the Midwest, including Doshi’s, is on display at the Evanston Art Center for the 26th annual Evanston + Vicinity Biennial, a juried exhibition held from Aug. 26 to Oct. 1. 

“I really appreciate knowing that all of these artists are within the Evanston area,” said Erica Warren, one of the show’s jurors. “It’s just so special and remarkable to get to see so much of their work.”

The event showcases 55 artists from the Midwest. The pieces on display include a variety of mediums, color palettes, materials and formats. Each was judged by a panel of three curators, though only six were prize winners. Doshi’s piece was named Best in Show.

She said her piece was inspired by the porcelain plates her grandmother used to collect, purity culture in the Evangelical church and the traditions families from different cultures have with porcelain plates. The dishes used in her piece were collected from local thrift stores, from her own collection or sent to her from family and friends. 

“There’s so many bits of history in porcelain plates and different cultures represented,” Doshi said. “It’s a much bigger and global conversation.” 

While the opening reception for the exhibition was on Aug. 27, the exhibition is free and available to view in the first floor gallery of the Evanston Art Center. 

Liang He was one of two runners-up for the Best in Show prize. He said his sculpture, a lifesize human with a 3D printed grasshopper head, titled “The Ant and The Grasshopper,” was inspired by a utopia imagined by philosopher Bernard Suits where all humans need to do is play.

“I’m still at a very early stage of my career as an artist,” he said. “I’m very young, so I’m very happy that I can get into a show, and I’m very happy to show with the other artists in the Biennial.” 

Emma Rose Gudewicz, the director of development and exhibition manager at the Evanston Art Center, was not only responsible for staging the show but also had a piece of her own in the exhibition.

She said to best stage the show she had to consider the aesthetics of each piece as well as sizes, color schemes and mediums. She also said this was the largest gallery she has staged to date, and it was a challenge to arrange the pieces to fit the space. 

Her piece, “You’ve Been Here Before,” which she entered into the show before starting her job at the center, is an oil painting of a vacuum.

“It’s such an amazing mix of artists and styles,” Gudewicz said. “I was really having a hard time looking at all of the pictures online. I (thought) these would never work together. And then, the second I saw them all in person, I (knew) this is a great show.” 

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @emilymlichty

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