Retiring CLC Art Gallery staff are 'Hanging It Up' with new exhibit
A new exhibit called "Hanging It Up," featuring 29 paintings by Steven Jones of Lake Forest and Jane Ellefson of Lindenhurst, will be on display at the College of Lake County Robert T. Wright Community Gallery of Art June 27 to July 25.
Gallery hours for this exhibit are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Fridays.
Jones has been curator of the CLC gallery for 30 years and Ellefson has worked as the gallery's preparator since 2000. Both are retiring at the end of June. The show includes 12 works by Jones and 17 by Ellefson, and most of them are for sale through CLC's Artcetera Gallery Shop.
An opening reception with refreshments, which is free and open to the public, will be from 7-9 p.m. Friday, June 27, in the gallery. Live music will be provided by Mojo Daddies acoustic.
Steven Jones has been painting still-lifes for more than two decades. During the past 10 years, he has focused on books as his subject. He selects old, well-worn books that trace the many hands that have leafed through them and have shaped their outward character.
Jones earned his MFA degree at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. He continued studying painting in Paris for many years at the atelier of Patrick Betaudier, where he learned the Technique Mixte. This painting method uses a solid tempera underpainting with subsequent oil glazes, similar to the 15th Century Flemish approach.
Like the Flemish and Dutch masters, Jones' book still-lifes are painted in a highly realistic manner by precisely representing physical appearances.
Jones' works are represented in many private and public collections in the U.S. and France. He has been an adjunct art instructor at CLC since 1986. Visit www.stevenjonesart.com.
Jane Ellefson earned her bachelor of arts degree in art and Spanish at Ball State University and her master's in Spanish at the University of Illinois. After living abroad in Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona, she taught Spanish for many years. But in 2000 Ellefson returned to art, taking a position with the CLC Gallery and renewing her study of painting, learning the Technique Mixte methods from Steven Jones.
She has exhibited her work locally and throughout the Midwest and has been selected to show nationally in the Contemporary Realism Biennial in Fort Wayne, Indiana; National Small Oil Painting in Wichita, Kansas; Collective Singular in Denver, Colorado; and Still Life Now: Nine Contemporary Artists in Lima, Ohio.
Many of Ellefson's realistic paintings are small (10-by-10-inches), including the 17 works featured in this exhibit.
"A small work of art invites the viewer to come close and participate in careful observation," she said. "It creates a kind of intimacy between the viewer and the work, which is part of the appeal for me to work small.
"I have always had a curiosity for small objects, and many that I have collected through the years find their way into my still-lifes. They reference my heritage and reflect my love for Juan Sanchez Cotán and Luis Meléndez, masters of Spanish still-life."
Aside from preparing artwork to be exhibited in the gallery shows, Ellefson helped catalog, organize, photograph, maintain and document the college's permanent collection, which has grown from 24 pieces in 1973 with a donation of John Tinney McCutcheon pen and ink drawings, to more than 600 today.
Images from the collection are included on the gallery's website, gallery.clcillinois.edu, and Ellefson and Jones collaborated on a project to produce audio tours of the collection's highlights on the Grayslake campus. Visit www.JaneEllefson.blogspot.com.
In retirement, Jones plans to do more painting, marketing and exhibiting of his work and return to Paris. His favorite CLC memories involve artworks especially commissioned for the college, including the large Bruno Surdo mural, "Where there is art, there is life," in the James Lumber Center lobby; "The Readers" bronze sculpture located outside the Grayslake campus main entrance; and the Preston Jackson sculpture, "Passages," at the Lakeshore Campus.
Ellefson plans to keep painting and to visit Spain. Her fondest CLC memories include working with the CLC staff to promote the permanent collection and meeting with artists and collectors who have loaned or donated their artwork to the gallery for a show or for the permanent collection.
In the exhibit's catalog, Jones and Ellefson summarize their long careers at CLC.
"It has been our good fortune to work with some truly great artists over the years and to share their remarkable artworks with the college community. It has been a pleasure to get to know so many local artists and to see their artwork mature over the years.
"It has been gratifying to see our students go from creating in the classroom to professionally exhibiting their art in our annual CLC Student Art Competition. We have built a lot of relationships with both our artistic community and among CLC faculty and staff.
"It is indeed difficult to leave CLC knowing these associations will change. However, the time has come for 'Hanging It Up!' For our swan song, we are hanging up our own paintings as a gesture of saying farewell to the community we have loved to serve," Jones and Ellefson wrote together.
In addition to "Hanging It Up," the 2014-15 exhibit calendar for the gallery includes the following shows, which were curated by Jones. Opening receptions are Fridays from 7-9 p.m. on the opening date unless, noted below.
• Esperanza Gama: A Series of Memories, Aug. 11 to Sept. 28, (reception Aug. 22).
• 34th Annual Recent Works: A Juried Competition, Oct. 3 to Nov. 9.
• CLC Art Faculty Exhibition, Nov. 14 to Dec. 14.
• Members Exhibition, Jan. 16 to Feb. 22, 2015.
• Deanna Krueger: Shimmer, Feb. 27 to April 5, 2015.
• College of Lake County Student Art Competition, April 10 to May 16, 2015.
• 20/20 Vision: Travels Along America's Accidental Highway: May 22 to June 26, 2015.
The Robert T. Wright Community Gallery of Art on the Grayslake campus is a project of the College of Lake County Foundation and is at 19351 W. Washington St.
For information, contact curator Steve Jones at (847) 543-2240 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit gallery.clcillinois.edu. The college will be closed for the July 4 holiday.