Cafe at Prairie Lights

  • Stone Boat - Word and Image

    Works by Phillip Chen

    On view September 9 - October 13 

    Each print in the Stone Boat II lithographic series originated from a single word, a generative working title chosen to forward visual inquiry through a succession of varied image making processes: experimental drawing, model making, photography, predictive drawing, and printmaking. 

    Pavilion architecture activates the dialectics of inside/outside, embodying the bounded sentience of our half open, half closed state. From word to image and from origin to destination, the transitions of Stone Boat II propose that place is not a static concept. 

    As originally conceived, this lithographic series remains open and ongoing.  The inception of Stone Boat I occurred decades ago in Chicago, IL and led to the beginning of a subsequent series in Des Moines, IA.  

    This exhibition is the first public showing of Stone Boat II.

    Phillip Chen received his B.F.A. degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago and M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His prints have been exhibited in numerous locations nationally and internationally and are held in public collections that include Brooklyn Museum, New York Public Library, Carnegie Institute Museum of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, and San Francisco Museum of Fine Arts. He has traveled extensively as a visiting artist and served as an evaluator for the National Endowment for the Arts, College Art Association, and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. His image making has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, Illinois Arts Council, Iowa Arts Council, Louis B. Comfort Tiffany Foundation, Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and the John Solomon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

    For inquiries and sales, please contact

    Hilary Nelson, Gallery Curator at TIMESCLUBGALLERY@PRAIRIELIGHTS.COM

    Please join us for a closing reception with the artist on Sunday, October 13 in the cafe from 4pm - 6pm.


  • Grief Bonnets

    work by Allison Honeycutt

    On view August 5 - September 8

    Allison Honeycutt is a fine artist based in Los Angeles, California.She graduated from NSCAD University with a BFA  as well as a Post-Baccalaureate in studio art from Maharishi University in her home town of Fairfield, Iowa.

    Allison works in a variety of media most notably works on paper, fiber sculpture and installation. Her work is defined by taking pleasure in the imperfect; raw edges, tactility, a measure of levity and of the absurd.

    Working with fabric is a wonderful way to play with form and emptiness simultaneously and when creating wearable art you have the opportunity to fill your piece and let it move, or let it live as only an object like a discarded shell, beautiful and empty but telling the story of a life lived inside of it. 

    Origin Story of the Grief Bonnets:

        The first Grief Bonnet was one that I purchased on my way to the memorial service for my husband. I found it at the Lincoln Homestead State Park gift shop, and to me it was the perfect symbol of trying to experience grief while simultaneously trying to move through one's public life.

         I grew up and lived in a fairly small town in Southeastern Iowa. The best AND worst thing about this is that, when you walk through town, do your errands, shopping, go to work, etc.  you are constantly running into people who know you and who you know ( sometimes these are not the same people). Folks in small towns have less boundaries than folks in big cities, they’ve seen you grow up, or simply have seen you around and know your name and it gives a feeling of closeness and familiarity whether that feeling is mutual or even true. I couldn’t leave my house without someone coming up to console me, give me a sad  glance, or worst of all trap me in a one sided conversation about all the people they have known who have died the way my husband did and how terrible it was. Because of this I learned 2 main things: 

    1. Everyone grieves differently (some people really appreciate public consoling and engagement about their departed loved one, I do not). 

    2. People in our society have no idea how to deal with the grief of someone else, let alone their personal grief.

    So I started wearing my bonnet on the days when I had to go into town and I was barely holding it together and had no more energy left to engage in any sort of acknowledgement that someone I loved dearly had died. And it worked. The bonnet shielded me from making any accidental eye contact, my close friends knew if they saw me in my Grief Bonnet I needed my space, and everyone else probably just thought it was a bit weird and left me alone.

         I started making my own Grief Bonnets as part of my art practice quite recently in order to mull over this ever changing experience of grieving*, as well as to give form to this symbol of safety, protection, personal boundaries, an individual needs. I think a lot about how we grieve and how little we are taught about grieving until the death of a loved one is thrust upon us, and how lonely that can be. I now live in a large city and I no longer need my Grief Bonnet because city folks tend to keep to themselves more,  it is rare to run into someone you know unexpectedly, and I get overwhelmed by my grief much less than I used to. Although, since I have started to make the Grief Bonnets I have on occasion put them on in the privacy of my home and sat with the feeling of grief and felt safe and protected in my home-made prairie hat.

    * another thing I learned is, “moving on” does not have a timeline and honestly isn’t even a real thing… you just learn to live with your grief in different, hopefully less painful, ways.

    For inquiries and sales, please contact

    Hilary Nelson, Gallery Curator at TIMESCLUBGALLERY@PRAIRIELIGHTS.COM

    Please join us for a reception with the artist on Saturday September 7th in the cafe from 5pm - 7pm.


  • Side Mouth

    works by Susan Metrican

    On view July 8 - August 4

    As a Thai American raised mostly in the midwest, I’m drawn to images and objects that resonate across disparate cultures and time periods. I’m interested in imagery that is “culturally familiar” through its connection to folktales and shared traditions, particularly imagery that evokes a reverence for rural life. Though my work is created outside these traditions, it attempts to engage with them through the depiction of nameable things and scenarios that have the appearance of being “well-worn” or “inherited.” 

    My process involves incorporating painted and sewn canvas to create imagery through three-dimensional forms. I am interested in canvas’ ability to act as a container for the painted image and as a flat material with sculptural potential. Theater references are apparent in the work through a visual correlation to backdrops and costumes, but also as the paint, canvas, and the stretcher are required to perform simultaneously as flat and three-dimensional. 

    Susan Metrican currently lives and works between Fairfield, IA and Boston, MA. Metrican received an MFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, her BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute, and attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2014. Metrican’s work has been included in exhibitions nationally including: Able Baker Contemporary (ME), GRIN Contemporary (RI), Proof Gallery (MA), Boston Center for the Arts (MA), Field Projects (NY), Knockdown Center (NY), and Gallery Protocol (FL). Metrican is one of four founding members of kijidome, an experimental project space and collaborative in Boston.

    For inquiries and sales, please contact

    Hilary Nelson, Gallery Curator at TIMESCLUBGALLERY@PRAIRIELIGHTS.COM

    Please join us for a closing reception with the artist on Sunday, July 21 in the cafe from 3pm - 5pm.


  • The Silent Treatment

    works by Jane Gilmor

    On view June 10 - July 7

                            I am so sorry

                            to Leave

    so many weeds

                I had a stroke right the wrong time

                            I wanted to leave it


                                             Jack   (found note circa 1985)

    In my studio mining forty years of unfinished work and collected materials, I’ve set out to re-purpose the sluggish build-up.     

    I have many piles. One is a stack of old found notes and drawings transferred to soft metal. Some are drawings by the disenfranchised people I work with in my socially engaged practice, some are domestic, didactic signs and directions found in the abandoned buildings or given to me.

    A decade ago a biology professor friend retired and after cleaning out his office, left eight boxes of approximately 2000 educational transparencies on the floor outside my office. Two months later he died of a heart attack while fishing his favorite trout stream in Yellowstone.

    I keep those transparencies close by on a table where I fiddle with my stacks and piles. Gradually I came to intuitively layering the transparencies over the metal notes creating a sort of investigation of those slippages and entanglements of language and visual experience through which we try to locate meaning. These layered worlds seem to explore the dualities and fluidity of identity, dislocation and border crossings: presence/ absence, public/private, poverty/privilege, female/male.

    The search here is for some unspoken connection in these random collisions.

    For me they embody the peculiar, ridiculous, and meaningful (less) qualities of most things human.

    Jane Gilmor has exhibited nationally and internationally for four decades. Her career monograph Jane Gilmor: I’ll Be Back For The Cat by art historian Joy Sperling was published by A.I.R. Gallery in New York Her in 2013. Last year she was the George A. Miller Endowed Scholar at The Center for Advanced Studies, The University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. One of five artists selected nationally, Gilmor received a 2011 Tanne Foundation Award for her career achievements in visual arts. She is currently involved in a two-year socially engaged project, Shifting Ground - Outro Chão, working with East African Immigrants living in both Iowa and Portugal.  

    Her work has been reviewed in The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, and The New Art Examiner among others and is included in several books including Lucy Lippard’s OVERLAY: Contemporary Art and the Art of Prehistory; and Broude and Gerrard’s The Power of Feminist Art: The American Movement of the 1970’s History and Impact, Abrams, 1993; and Pioneer Feminists: Women Who Changed America, 1963-1976, B. Love, University of Illinois Press, 2006. More recently Gilmor has been a contributor to Cabinet magazine, to the Portuguese journal Ascensor and published numerous articles on social practice in recent books on the topic, including Cross Media Arts: Transdisciplinarity and Social Arts. Casal de Cambra, Lisbon, Portugal, 2019.

    Gilmor has received NEA Visual Artist's Fellowships and Project Grants, a McKnight Interdisciplinary Fellowship, and residency fellowships in Ireland, Italy, London, and at The MacDowell Colony among others. In 2003-04 she was a Fulbright Scholar in Portugal. She has also curated exhibitions for individual artists including Priscilla Sage, Brunnier Museum, Iowa State University and thematic exhibits such as Where are You From? Contemporary Portuguese Art, Faulconer Gallery, Grinnell College and Strategies of Belonging: A Social Art Practice, Antonio Gorgel Pinto and Paula Reaes Pinto, CSPS Hall, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 2019.

    Gilmor’s recent solo exhibitions include The Architecture of Migration: I’ll be back for the cat, at Long Island University in Brooklyn, Bed Shoe Home: Poverty and Homelessness in Middle America, University of Ill. Champaign, 2017, and Blind at A.I.R. Gallery in New York.

    Jane Gilmor attended The School of The Art Institute of Chicago after receiving a B.S. in Textiles from Iowa State University in Ames. Later she received an MFA and MA from The University of Iowa in Iowa City. She is an Emerita Professor of Art at Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where she taught from 1974-2012. She is affiliated with A.I.R Gallery in New York since 1985 and maintains a studio in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

    For inquiries and sales, please contact

    Hilary Nelson, Gallery Curator at TIMESCLUBGALLERY@PRAIRIELIGHTS.COM

    Please join us for a reception with the artist on Sunday, July 7th in the cafe from 4pm - 6pm.