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Morris Library

Art Shows: Wild Thing

Morris Libary regularly hosts art shows in its first floor Rotunda. Here's information on current and past events.

the wild thing show card references the psychedelic imagery of the 1960s.

The exhibition "Wild Thing" explored the inspiration of local artists Fran Jaffe, Cathy Daesch, Karen Fiorino, Lisa Lennox, Jonny Gray, Julie Murphy, Jan York, Beth Martell, Tabitha Tripp, and Kathy Wides as they freed their hearts and unchained their spirits.

The show ran from November 1 through December 15, 2023, in Morris Library's first floor rotunda. A reception was held on December 3.

Learn more about the artists involved below.

Fran Jaffe

Fran Jaffe's brightly colored "Fading from the Wild" depicts endagered sea creatures including a manatee, leatherback turtle, a jellyfish, and corals in a densely packed illustration."I find inspiration in the shared experiences and condition of all living beings; sometimes it is through joy, and sometimes it is through pain."

Cathy Daesch

Cathy Daesch's "The Messenger (The Autumn of Mid Years)" arranges painted monarch butterfiles, flowers, and leaves into a symmetrical mandala, similar to a view through a kaleidoscope."The mandala is described as an integrated structure organized around a unifying center. It dates back to the fourth century and comes from the Sanskrit meaning “circle.” A deeper meaning includes wholeness and balance. It has been used as an instrument for healing, meditation, ritual and blessings. Carl Jung believed a mandala was a central point within the psyche, to which everything is related, arranged … a source of energy.

"The mandala keeps me grounded and helps me be a holding space for other’s emotions and stories. Creating a mandala will put me in a meditative state and connect my mind and hand to the materials. This mandala series is a study of the wild garden habitat I have created in my surroundings and explores the seasons of life through symbols and archetypes. Spring represents childhood, summer represents adulthood and autumn represents mid years. Winter is missing. It represents the elder years and is yet to come."

Karen Fiorino

Karen Fiorino's "The Sneaky Bird Dog Quail" shows a California quail with its blue back and abdomen dividing simplified yellow flowers from intense green leaves."I am widely recognized for my expertise in majolica pottery, but my creative journey took an exciting turn when I immersed myself in a gouache workshop earlier this year. The process of layering vibrant colors on paper opened up a new world of artistic exploration for me. While my primary medium remains pottery, gouache has granted me the freedom to experiment with various designs that may or may not find their way onto my ceramic creations.

"Working with gouache has allowed me to embrace a faster and more spontaneous form of creativity, enabling the rapid emergence of images from my imagination onto the canvas of paper. It's a liberating experience to see my ideas take shape without the constraints of waiting for a blank clay canvas. As I continue to bridge these two artistic realms, I am excited to see how my pottery and gouache practices influence and enrich each other, ultimately shaping my artistic identity in new and unexpected ways. My inspiration? What I observe and how I feel about the observation."

Lisa Lennox

Lisa Lennox's "Inner Wild" utilizes a combination of spidery lines and bold, saturated colors to depict a human figure gazing at the viewer from behind tropical foliage and flowers."I am primarily an expressionist exploring the confluence of body, spirit, and mark. Many of my images depict form, light and energy that I encounter in the subtle realms of nature. Meditation is the root of my practice, and dance is its bloom. Painting happens somewhere in between, capturing a fleeting truth of felt experience. I create to honor and commune with my inner wild.

"My inspiration comes from the awe I feel in nature, music, art, poetry, and dreams—the mystical and numinous qualities of Source. How can I play in this space? Movement is a big part of my expression."

Jonny Gray

Jonny's Gray work "Shadow Wild" depicts a dark, keyhole-shaped cave from which three pairs of glowing eyes peer out."Seeing the wild can be a challenge. Sometimes you have to fill in the dark."

Julie Murphy

Julie Murphy's "In the Woods" depicts an almost fantastical woodland scene bounded by twisting trees and waving grass with thick lines of alternating warm and cool colors."My life’s journey includes so many divergent verbalizations of the nature of reality. My art—unschooled, untrained, unrestrained and nonverbal (mostly) is my healing therapy. Tis my seeking to release the past and find coherence in the midst of creation. Tis my attempt to express a sense of the importance of small things and the connections between ever thing to every other thing. Tis random and inclusive and hopeful, hopefully."

Jan York

Jan York's "Hummers Galore" shows a crowd of ruby-throated hummingbirds hovering about a bright red flower."I graduated from S.I.U., Carbondale, with a B.A. in Art Education. I experienced a life changing, final semester in Paris, France, at SIU Artists Workshop, under the direction of Master Patrick Betaudier. I moved to New Orleans, Louisiana where I started a family, taught High School Art, raised children and painted. As director of the Louisiana Art and Artists Guild, I had the opportunity to meet many talented artists and exhibit my work. We moved back to Illinois in 1989. While living in Makanda, I enjoyed the wild outdoors, taught school, opened Visions Art Gallery (a venue for local artists to sell their work)."

"I am currently retired and can devote more time to paint and curate Alto Vineyards art show. I have participated in art shows for many years including: Chapulier, Paris, France, 1974; Colliers, New Orleans, LA. 1979; Guild Gallery, Baton Rouge, LA. 1980-88; Southern Artists Week, Dallas, TX. 1987; and in Southern Illinois galleries, wineries, and cafes from 1989 to the present day.

"My paintings include large, brilliantly colored closeups of flowers, seed pods or fruit; landscapes with large dominating skies; and portraits of faces from around the world. The physical, emotional, spiritual relationship that I have with textures on the canvas, the smell of the paints, the feel of brush strokes loaded with paint, the vibration of the subject matter and the energy of the ideas are my inspiration."

Beth Martell

Beth Martell's painting shows a hawk in a nearly inverted dive over a marshy lakeshore against a background of billowing summer clouds."Dreaming is the most important thing we do."

Tabitha Tripp

Tabitha Tripp's "Skinwalker 2" conjures a fantastic monster with glowing eyes, sharp canines, and goat-like horns from highly saturated colors.“This is a captivating exploration into the realm of children's dreams, utilizing an alluring and approachable color scheme. While the subject matter may be unsettling, it serves as a means of portraying the Navajo Dine "boogie man" known as Skinwalkers. In Navajo folklore, Skinwalkers were once respected medicine people and healers who succumbed to the corruption of their own powers, endowed with the ability to shape shift and transform into deformed animals.

"Perhaps by some twist of fate, or by providing an outlet for negativity, this is the second painted being that has found their place on my studio canvas. Embracing the spontaneity and vibrant energy reflective of the show's title, ‘Where the Wild Things Are,’ I opted for the use of acrylic paint, enabling a playful approach and allowing for quick drying times. Within the pages of my sketchbook lie several other embodiments of these mysterious entities, destined to find a presence in our reality, whether as mere playful figments or as omens yet to be discovered."

Kathy Wides

Kathy Wides' "Ents Still Walk Here" shows the twisted trunk of a dead tree, its upper branches fallen away, against a backdrop of riotous autumn colors."Burkes Garden in Tazewell County Virginia is a magical place.  It was formed from a large crater millions of years ago and is rimmed by the Appalachians.  It was later settled by Amish and others who for generations have tended this rich farmland.

"My friend and I went there looking for landscape subject matter for paintings.  While driving, we saw this dead tree with its empty branches, like arms, extending skyward to the mountains.  It was as if it were summoning the hills to take notice and give it due acknowledgement."