Thursday, January 14, 2016

UIS Visual Arts Gallery presents "TROPICALAMERICAN" by artist Edra Soto

The University of Illinois Springfield Visual Arts Gallery is pleased to present TROPICALAMERICAN, an exhibition from Chicago-based artist and Puerto Rican native Edra Soto. TROPICALAMERICAN will open on Tuesday, January 19, and run through Thursday, February 25. A reception for the exhibit will take place on Thursday, February 4, from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m.

“In my work I seek to provide an engaging space that erases boundaries between the audience, the artist, and the work of art,” said Soto. “In pursuing this goal I have made use of a variety of exhibition formats. Immersive installations and site-specific work have facilitated my efforts at public engagement, producing works comprised of both traditional and unusual art objects.”

Soto will incorporate the large gallery windows, a key architectural feature of the gallery, in referencing the decorative iron screens popular throughout Puerto Rico. These screens became ubiquitous in the island’s post-war architecture, due to the security they provide and their ability to allow for ventilation. Today, these iron screens are not only viewed as protection, but also as a piece of the island’s visual landscape. A subtle transformation occurs when removing the screens from their intended use and their specific location. The patterns take on new valences in relation to contemporary art, while prompting viewers to reconsider post-colonial visual culture.

Soto’s work seeks to provide an engaging, participatory space that erases boundaries between the audience, the artist, and the work of art. She attended The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she obtained her Masters of Fine Arts in 2000. She has exhibited nationally and internationally. With her husband Dan Sullivan, Soto designed, fabricated, and currently directs THE FRANKLIN, an artist-run project space located in their home’s backyard in Chicago.

The UIS Visual Arts Gallery is centrally located on the UIS campus in the Health and Science Building, room 201 (HSB 201). Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information on exhibition programming, please visit the UIS Visual Arts Gallery website at, or contact the gallery at 217/206-6506 or

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