Wednesday, September 25, 2013

UIS Visual Arts Gallery hosts "New Springfield" exhibit inspired by Vachel Lindsay

The University of Illinois Springfield Visual Arts Gallery is pleased to present the fall feature exhibition New Springfield, a site-specific installation from new media artist Rosemary Williams.

The exhibition runs Monday, Oct. 7 through Thursday, Nov. 14. Williams will present a public lecture on Thursday, Oct. 17, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. in Brookens Auditorium with a gallery reception to follow from 6:30-8:00 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.

The exhibit grows from The Golden Book of Springfield, a novel written in 1920 by famed and local poet Vachel Lindsay. In the novel, Lindsay imagined a utopic vision of world peace coming to Springfield, Illinois in the year 2018. This project, emerging from Lindsay’s book and a site visit to Springfield, will use the looming five-year deadline for world peace, as envisioned by Lindsay, as a way of framing the city of Springfield and investigating broader cultural issues.

“I am interested in the contrasts between Lindsay’s vision and the actual reality of Springfield in 2013, five years before this utopia is to be achieved,” said Williams.

The exhibit will include an oversized, dominating composite photograph of Vachel Lindsay’s historic Springfield home as well as stacks of printed images of every house in Springfield, taken as screen shots from Google maps. One of the images, showing a man aggressively confronting the Google maps camera, will be pinned to the wall across from Lindsay’s home, in opposition to his idealism.

“As a romantic, Lindsay envisioned the struggle to perfect human society, and we can imagine his lofty ideas as we gaze on his well-preserved house. But the day-to-day concerns of most people may or may not match up with his own vision,” adds Williams.

Williams’s work has been exhibited widely in venues in the United States and Europe. She was a Jerome Foundation Emerging Artist Fellow in Visual Arts for 2007-8. Her work has been profiled in the New York Times Magazine, The Times of London, and National Public Radio’s Talk of the Nation. Rosemary received her MFA in Combined Media from Hunter College, City University of New York, and is currently associate professor of integrated media in the Art Department at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

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, call 217/206-6506 or email

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