Cafe at Prairie Lights

  • Past Times

    a group show of works by former Times Club curators: Mary F. Coats, Douglas Degges, Lauren Frances Evans, R. Kauff, Mary Laube, Pete Schulte, Sarika Sugla

    On view May 6-  June 9 2019

    This exhibition is made up of recent work by all of the former curators of The Times Club. Please join us for a reception with two of the artists, Mary F. Coats and Douglas Degges, and catalog release on Friday May 31st from 5-7 in the cafe.

    Born in London, England, but raised in Evanston, Illinois, Mary F. Coats is currently based in Iowa City, Iowa. She received an M.F.A from the University of Iowa in 2013 where she was awarded the Mildred Pelzer Lynch Fellowship in Painting. Recent exhibitions include Fiction (With Only Daylight Between Us) v.2, an international curatorial project by Jeffrey Cortland Jones, Funkytown at Urbano Cellars Art Space in Berkeley, CA, Retrieval of the Beautiful at The Painting Center in New York, NY, and Grinnell Studio Faculty Exhibition at the Faulconer Gallery in Grinnell, IA. She was awarded an Artist Grant from the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT, and has taught at the University of Iowa, Grinnell College, and Kirkwood Community College.

    Douglas Degges is an artist and educator currently based in Chicago where he teaches as a Visiting Assistant Professor in Painting and Drawing at North Central College. His work has been exhibited in various group and solo exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad. Most recently his work was exhibited at Night Light Gallery in Chicago, IL, Vanderbilt University and Zeitgeist Gallery in Nashville, TN, The Yellow Door Gallery in Des Moines, IA, The Factory in Seattle, WA, Loveland Artspace in Loveland, CO, Organ Kritischer Kunst in Berlin, Germany, and Galleria Huuto in Helsinki, Finland. He was also an artist-in-residence at the Josef & Anni Albers Foundation during summer 2018. Douglas received his BA in Studio Art from Rhodes College in Memphis, TN and his MA and MFA from the University of Iowa.

    Lauren Frances Evans currently lives and works in Birmingham, Alabama, where she is an Assistant Professor of Art at Samford University. Evans received an MFA from the University of Maryland and has participated in residencies at Franconia Sculpture Park, Elsewhere Living Museum, and the Vermont Studio Center. Prior to moving to Birmingham this past fall, Evans spent four years in Iowa City, IA. During that time, she was the Visual Arts Coordinator for Project Art at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, she was a Ginsberg Artist in Residence for the Iowa City Community School District, she was a recipient of an Iowa Arts Council Project Grant, she served on the board at Public Space One, she taught at the University of Iowa and Grinnell College, and was the Curator of the Times Club Gallery from May 2016 - October 2017. Additionally, in 2016 she became mother to Agnes Prairie. Evans’s work, which ranges from meticulously layered collage to large mixed-media structures, addresses the body as a site of irresistible paradox. In her research, she investigates the meaning of the creative act, matters of origin, symbolic centers, and the significance of the maternal experience.

    R. Kauff is a visual artist trained in: drawing, printmaking, sculpture, and book arts; R makes: images & objects & words. R is interested in 19th century visual culture, American history, radical utopian communities, letter-writing, regionalism, queer history, ecological ethics, climate change, Wikipedia, and poetics. R is from the Midwest, but lives & works in Los Angeles.

    Mary Laube was born in Seoul, South Korea. She received her M.F.A. from the University of Iowa in 2012. Recent exhibitions and residencies include the Spring Break Art Show, Tiger Strikes Asteroid (NYC),  Coop Gallery (Nashville), the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and Stiwdeo Maelor in Wales. Laube is a co-collaborator of the Warp Whistle Project, an on-going cross-disciplinary project with composer Paul Schuette. She is an Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee Knoxville.

    Pete Schulte received an MFA in painting and drawing from The University of Iowa in 2008. He has presented recent solo exhibitions at Jeff Bailey Gallery, Hudson New York; Whitespace Gallery, Atlanta; Luise Ross Gallery, New York City; and The Woskob Family Gallery at Penn State University. His work has been included in recent group exhibitions at McKenzie Fine Art, New York City; Hemphill Fine Art, Washington D.C; Art on Paper with Rutger Brandt Gallery, Amsterdam, NE; The Spring/Break Art Show, New York City; The Schick Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York; Zeitgeist Gallery, Nashville; The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, Atlanta; Transmitter Gallery, Brooklyn; Looke&Listen, Saint-Chamas, France; and at Jeff Bailey Gallery. Art in America, World Sculpture News, Burnaway, and The New Art Examiner have reviewed his work, among other publications. Schulte received the 2017 Southern Art Prize Fellowship for the state of Alabama. Pete Schulte lives in Birmingham, Alabama and is Associate Professor of Art at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.  In 2013 he co-founded, with Amy Pleasant, The Fuel and Lumber Company curatorial initiative. In 2019 he will be artist-in-residence at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas.

    Sarika Sugla is an artist and printmaker currently living in central New Jersey. She received her MFA in Printmaking in 2014 and her MA as an Iowa Arts Fellowship recipient in 2013 from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, IA. She also received a BFA in Printmaking, minor in Art History, and a Book Arts Concentration from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD in 2011. Sarika has been an artist in residence at La Ceiba Gráfica in La Orduña, Mexico in 2016, and has exhibited widely throughout the US.

    Sarika currently works as a studio assistant at Dieu Donne and as a studio assistant to Duke Riley. She has previously worked as an Assistant Printer at the Brodsky Center at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ in 2016. She has also worked as an Assistant Curator at the University of Iowa Museum of Art for the Legacies for Iowa Collections-Sharing Project from 2014-2016 and as a curatorial research assistant for prints, drawings, and photographs at the UIMA from 2012-2014.  Previous to her graduate studies, she interned at places such as Johns Hopkins University's Heritage Science for Conservation.

    For inquiries and sales, please contact

    Hilary Nelson, Gallery Curator at TIMESCLUBGALLERY@PRAIRIELIGHTS.COM


  • Books-Eyes-Red

    works by Sean Downey

    On view April 1 - May 5 2019

    This work began as a reflection on our relationship to screens, and the screen’s relationship to, and origins in, painting. Images have always been, in part, an attempt to crush space and time and to lure viewers into an Orphic journey, or down a click hole. My current work takes a variety of images, some deeply personal and others fairly arbitrary, and attempts to fuse them by processing them through a very handmade approach to painting. Image transparency has become a way to collage vertically and to compress the composition, in the way a movie poster might try to crowd the highlights of a complicated story into a single, static image. Confusing the source imagery has also become a way to keep my approach and response hovering in an abstract space even as the images remain for the most part recognizable. The resulting syntheses ideally create new meanings that are fundamentally non-verbal(visual), yet invite interpretation(language). The recent glazed ceramic works in many ways mimic my painting process (some of the flatter works can look more like gouache paintings than glazed ceramic); clay, however, allows for some of the image gestures to become physicalized as low-relief textures, forms, and undulations. The attempt to paint (in underglaze) a flat image over a curved or textured surface produces some of the same opportunities that arise when painting vertically collaged, transparent images. The in-between state I am after in both the ceramics and paintings also seems to mirror my own lived experience, as a consciousness attempting to sift through and make sense of a nonstop onslaught of thoughts, memories, and experiences.

    Sean Downey received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and his MFA from Boston University. He has had recent solo exhibitions at Steven Zevitas Gallery (Boston, MA), LaMontagne Gallery (Boston, MA), and University of Massachusetts Lowell. Downey is a 2013 recipient of the Blanche E. Colman Award, a 2014 recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship, and a 2015 MacDowell Colony Fellow. He is a founding member of the Boston-based collaborative kijidome, winner of the 2015 James and Audrey Foster Prize from the ICA Boston. He currently lives and works in Fairfield, IA, where he is an Associate Professor of Art at Maharishi University.

    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 May 5th in the cafe from 5-6:30pm.



  • Shifted Perspective works by Michael Villarreal

    On view March 3 - March 31 2019

    In my current work, I am focused on objects I remember from my childhood. Taking from old photos, found images, and my imagination, I create sculptures and paintings of objects that make up a home to reference memory, time, place and self.

    The objects I make are re-contextualized to allow them to transcend their original purpose. Through this, I foster a new narrative for each piece while maintaining the basic visual familiarity. A transformation of material creates a visceral response to the objects being depicted. I want to solicit this response to items I find or know, manipulate or construct, and create connections through the relationship of these objects.

    Michael Villarreal received his Bachelors of Fine Arts from Texas State University in 2013 and a Masters of Fine Arts at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln in 2017. He has exhibited in solo exhibitions at Art Palace Contemporary Art Gallery in Houston, TX and Doane University in Crete, NE. His numerous group exhibitions include Barbara Davis Gallery in Houston, TX, Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha, NE, LA Artcore in Los Angeles, CA, and DATELINE in Denver, CO. His work has been featured in publications such as Huffington Post, New American Paintings, and recently, Art Maze Magazine Issue 9. Future exhibitions include a solo show at Iron Tail Gallery in Lincoln, NE. He was a resident at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center in 2017, as the recipient of the 2017 Lincoln Mayor's Arts Awards - Kimmel Award, and a recent recipient of the 2019 Nebraska Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship. Villarreal currently lives and works in Lincoln, NE.

    For inquiries and sales, please contact

    Hilary Nelson, Gallery Curator at TIMESCLUBGALLERY@PRAIRIELIGHTS.COM

    Please join us for a reception on Saturday, March 30th in the cafe from 6-8pm.


  • A Line Is A Wish Your Hand Makes

    works by Gaby Collins-Fernandez

    On view February 4 - March 3 2019

    Gaby Collins-Fernandez is an artist living and working in New York City. She holds degrees from Dartmouth College (B.A.) and the Yale School of Art (M.F.A., Painting/Printmaking). Her work has been shown in the US and internationally, recently in "Third Space" a survey of contemporary art at the Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama, at Recess, Baltimore; and in New York at el Museo del Barrio, Pratt Institute, Nathalie Karg Gallery Honey Ramka, and Danese Corey. Her work has been discussed in publications such as The Brooklyn Rail and artcritical, and was recently featured on the video interview series, Gorky's Granddaughter. She is a recipient of a residency at the Marble House Project in Dorset, VT, a Fellowship at Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, NY, and a 2013 Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Art Award. Collins-Fernandez is also a writer whose texts have appeared in publications such as the popular Painting on Paintings blog, The Miami Rail, and The Brooklyn Rail. Her translations of a group of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz's sonnets with Kimberly Kruge was published in 2015 in Riot of Perfume Magazine. She is a founder and publisher of the annual magazine Precog, and a co-director of the artist-run art and music initiative BombPop!Up.

    For inquiries and sales, please contact

    Hilary Nelson, Gallery Curator at TIMESCLUBGALLERY@PRAIRIELIGHTS.COM

    Please join us for a reception on Friday, February 8th in the cafe from 5pm - 7pm.