What Now for Alumni Artists

By Kathy Schaerer

Ever stop and wonder, "what now?" Martin Herbert, set designer for various productions at the U of C, has put together a show of U of C alumni for the Mezzanine Gallery. The show is entitled Now What, or What Now and this can be read both ways, says Herbert.

"The alumni show stretches over five decades of grads, from 1966-2000," he explains.

Alumni artist Eve Kosh is also involved in the show.

"There are 24 artists, each with about two paintings, concentrating on painting," explains Kosh. Some of the artists are more locally known, while others have been received from as far away as India and the Middle East.

With so many artists there is a diversity and freshness not found in other shows. Paintings range from dreamy gardens to dark figures; from realism to romantic to post-modern. Many paintings juxtapose the next.

"There’s quite a variety of subject matter, mostly figurative, with modernism illuminated… figurative painting has made a strong revival," says Kosh. "I think maybe what all these artists have in common is they just love to paint. What’s amazing is all these people arranged their lives so they could be close to their art."

Herbert wanted to put together a show to find out what happened to some of the artists who formerly studied at the U of C.

"My criteria was they had to be artists that were still working [in the arts]," he says, making allowance for one writer, Robin Laurence who graduated with a BFA and later found her calling as a writer, but is still included in the show.

Herbert’s selection process made the show into something fun for the artists.

"Public exhibitions tend to be juried," explains Kosh. "It’s such a waste of time, what’s the point of that? The difference in this show is you are invited, ‘we want your work.’ It’s such a pleasure rather than a cattle call."

What makes this show pleasurable is seeing all these artists who held onto their dreams and incredible talent doing something they love.

The show runs from Sept. 5-29 at the Mezzanine Gallery in the University Theatre.

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