Cafe at Prairie Lights

  • Thursday's Child

    An Exhibition by Stephanie Brunia
    On view from August 29 - October 9, 2016

    Please join us for an exhibition reception on
    Saturday, September 17th from 5 - 7 PM at the cafe!

    Exhibition Statement:

    My father and I were both born on Thursdays.  He finds particular significance in these sorts of details.  I view them as indistinct legacies—far less significant than the genetic one we share, but a subtly parallel path nonetheless.  Perhaps the only significance of this trivia is that we both have tried to imbue it with meaning—to make it somehow consequential—this arbitrary fact that came at the beginning of both our stories.  Conceivably this is how love works.  We place enough mutual faith in our desire for connection that we elevate these circumstantial strands in an effort to cinch the knots that bind us.  Our stories become so intertwined that at times it is hard to distinguish the self and the other.

    My story has only ever included my father.  He has been an undeniable fact from the start—his existence seemingly as concrete and fundamental to my world as the laws of physics.  I was fortunate that in my youth my father willingly took on the role of providing for my care, firmly cementing his position within the bedrock of my understanding of self.  However, the undeniable nature of time means that the accumulation of years has begun to show.  Small changes creep in—their presence a reminder that our beginnings and endings will, in all likelihood, mirror one another: his life beginning without me; my life ending without him.

    My father’s end is by no means imminent, however, our relationship is clearly facing transition.  In an attempt to see (and ultimately to understand) these weighty and largely indiscernible moments, I have turned to photography.  At the core of these portraits is my desire to stave off his inevitable decline.  Yet this desire, in itself, is incorporeal.  In order to visualize these intangibles through photography—a medium that can only deal with physical bodies in concrete spaces—I find myself performing futile gestures for the camera.  The futility of these attempts means I often repeat the same gestures—ones of shrouding, erasing, gazing and tracing—as if hoping for a different outcome.   In this work, his flesh is my flesh; and in his aging, I face my own.

    About the Artist:

    Originally from Ames Iowa, Brunia currently lives in Oxford, Iowa. She received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of New Mexico in 2012 and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa in 2007.  Brunia has exhibited at various venues throughout the U.S. including the Griffin Museum of Photography, Rosalux Gallery, the Center for Fine Art Photography, and Rayko Photo Center and Musee d’Elysee in Lausanne, Switzerland.  In 2011, Brunia was selected as one of three artists to be featured in the Des Moines Art Center’s annual Iowa Artists exhibition.  She has been chosen as one of eight artists to be included in the Sioux City Art Center’s inaugural Sioux City Art Center Selects exhibition.  Most recently, Brunia has been selected as a 2017 Iowa Arts Council Fellow.

    To see more of her work, visit: www.stephaniebrunia.com

    For sale inquries or to make purchases, please contact:
    Lauren Frances Evans, Gallery Curator, at timesclubgallery@prairielights.com.

  • Pretty Space

    An Exhibition by Bea Drysdale
    On view from August 1 - August 28, 2016

    Please join us for an exhibition reception on
    Friday, August 5th from 6 - 8 PM at the cafe!

    Artist’s Statement:

    Pretty: cunning, roguish, clever, (of a soldier) gallant. Stout.* 

    “In their double-edged dimensions… words wield/yield messages about the tragedy of women and all Wild be-ing confined within imprisoning patriarchal parameters… Breaking the bonds/bars of phallocracy requires breaking through to radiant powers of words, so that by releasing words, we can release our Selves.”**

    Using “pretty” in the title for this work is a provocation and a reclamation of the word as positive. This feminist impulse mirrors the origins of my work, which was a reaction to the industrial materials and dominance of famous male minimalist sculptors of the sixties and seventies. Working intuitively, I rethink and reconfigure clothing and sheet metal design patterns. I gently coax the tissue paper patterns into shape, aided minimally by stitching and gluing. Tissue paper is pretty, and it’s also strong, and emotive, and has presence; if it can do this, then maybe pretty is different than what I thought it was. 

    *Just some of the original and archaic meanings of “pretty,” according to the New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, and Mirriam-Webster online. 

    **Mary Daly, Pure Lust, Elemental Feminist Philosophy Beacon Press, Boston, MA, p.4

    About the Artist:

    Bea Drysdale received her MFA from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 2004 and was a 2005 recipient of a Pollock-Krasner grant. Her primary materials are paper and fabric. The architecture of the spaces where her work is installed and the action of gravity are often key factors in the outcome, pushing the pieces further each time.

    Drysdale is focusing again on her sculptural practice after retraining as a biomedical equipment technician. She is grateful for the support of the Iowa City artists community centered on alternative arts venue Public Space One, where her practice has expanded into artists books and performing with the Thuggoons Will Be Banned marching band. She lives in Iowa City and works for the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

    For sale inquries or to make purchases, please contact:
    Lauren Frances Evans, Gallery Curator, at timesclubgallery@prairielights.com.

  • CYCLE

    An Exhibition by Julia Franklin
    On view from June 27 - July 31, 2016

    Please join us for an exhibition reception on
    Friday, July 15th from 6 - 8 PM at the cafe!

    Artist’s Statement:

    I am a collector of old, worn, broken things. My studio and office are full of boxes and bags of objects that have been cast aside. When I am out for a walk or a bicycle ride, I am always on the search for something that catches my eye and gives me pause as I scavenge parking lots, thrift shops, abandoned homes and hiking trails. There is a thrill in the discovery, and it is how I explore the world and question what we leave behind.

    I collect and display these precious things to remember and re-live the past, to feel connected to others, to organize, explore and analyze, to give value to overlooked things, to preserve and honor, and to appreciate all the tiny, beautiful things this world provides.

    And in some ways, my need/obsession/compulsion to collect touches on my deepest desire - my personal longing to be chosen, appreciated and valued. I do for these objects what I want someone to do for me.

    About the Artist:

    Julia Franklin is a Professor of Art at Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa, where she received the “Excellence in Teaching Award” in 2011.  Julia’s artwork has been featured in over 60 exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad.   

    Julia’s residency at the Vermont Studio Center, walks with her daughter, and bicycle rides on Iowa trails inspire her installations and exhibitions.   Every piece has a story to tell – one that may evoke appreciation for nature, memories, and acknowledgement of the things we touch and leave behind.

    For more information about the artist, please visit:
    www.juliafranklinart.com

    For sale inquries or to make purchases, please contact:
    Lauren Frances Evans, Gallery Curator, at timesclubgallery@prairielights.com.

  • PLANETARY ANALOG

    An Exhibition by Amanda Lechner
    On view from May 30 - June 26, 2016

    Please join us for an exhibition reception on
    Friday, June 17th from 6 - 8 PM at the cafe!

    Artist’s Statement:

    My interest and research into planetary science often finds adaptation in my paintings and drawings. Over the last several months I have made scores of small drawings with ink and paint that began as supplements to my paintings but have become a distinct body of work. These drawings are improvisational and exploratory, often the subject presents itself through the process of drawing. Gestures, story-lines or patterns emerge expanding sometimes from an initial mark or shape, other times from text. Themes relating to space travel, philosophy,  land, planetary research and meta-physics came to the forefront in this drawing series.

    I first learned about the idea of terrestrial analog field testing and research while speaking with a geologist at the University of Iowa. Her research into volcanos and earth strata evolved to have practical applications for climate study and Mars research. Through the study of sites on Earth, especially in remote and extreme environments, scientists are learning about the possible make-up of planets, moons, and stars outside our own celestial neighborhood. Inversely an Earth analog is another planet or moon with conditions comparable to aspects of our planet over time in terms of size, geology, atmosphere and relative temperature. The interest in Earth analogs has been a mainstay in science, philosophy and science fiction narratives. The search for familiarity among the stars could have implications for re-habitation and colonization or communication with life forms more-or-less like ourselves. Every day we are learning more about our planetary neighbors; Mars may have been closely similar to Earth at a different point in deep time. The most likely Earth analog outside our solar system is “Kepler-438b” a planet 12 light-years away that orbits a red dwarf star and may harbor temperature and geologic conditions similar to Earth.

    I have selected and arranged 45 drawings that have narrative and visual linkages to the idea of the Planetary Analog.

    About the Artist:

    Amanda Lechner is a visual artist based in New Mexico and Iowa.

    Amanda Lechner's studio practice primarily revolves around drawing and painting. Her current egg tempera paintings, images that are at once captivating and anomalous embody a quest for narrative alternatives. Lechner’s work has been exhibited throughout the United States.

    Lechner studied painting at the Kansas City Art Institute where she was awarded a BFA with Honors in 2003 and at the Rhode Island School of Design where she received her MFA in 2005. Upon completing her education, she moved to Brooklyn, NY and has divided her time between Santa fe and Iowa City since 2014. She has been a lecturer at SUNY Purchase College - School of Art + Design and a Visiting Assistant Professor of Painting and Drawing at the the University of Iowa.

    As a current NASA - JPL Solar System Ambassador Volunteer Lechner is creating programming that bridges Art and Science to raise awareness about our Solar System.

    For more information about the artist, please visit:
    www.amandalechner.net

    For sale inquries or to make purchases, please contact:
    Lauren Frances Evans, Gallery Curator, at timesclubgallery@prairielights.com.