Want ads inspire Tarble abstract exhibit

Bob Galuski, Editor-in-chief

An oversimplified sentence in a Thrifty Nickel magazine advertisement sparks the creative muse within Shane Rodems, fueling his abstract art.

And from the words used in the advertisement, Rodems creates art — art that is now in the Brainard Gallery of the Tarble Arts Center until Dec. 14.

Rodems’s exhibit, titled “All for Sale 2000 O.B.O.,” is part of the Tarble’s 2014 artist in the schools residency artist and is visiting four area schools. Between Nov. 11 and Dec. 11, Rodems will be visiting schools four area schools in the duration of his program.

Kit Morice, the Tarble’s curator of education, said the works are inspired by the want ads in Thrifty Nickel, and from the “nonsensical sentences,” Rodems brings out an abstract piece using mixed media as his materials.  Morice said there is a sense of playfulness to the art.

“You can tell he has fun with the materials,” she said.

Although described as an “abstractionist,” Morice said Rodems art gives off a visual word play, since it is from words, slogans and lingo, which may be a bit out of place given its nature.

The materials used will never be spoken out loud to the viewer, Morice said. She explained Rodems would rather have the materials be a mystery for others to figure out. However, he uses common items to help pay tribute to the “slightly used” feeling the want ads bring out, she said.

Morice added during the residency artist program, Rodems, in addition to visiting the area schools, also works with children at the schools and takes them through the mixed media creative process.

At the end of the program, there will be a reception for parents of the children and the campus and Charleston community to come out and see Rodems’s works.

A 2009 Eastern graduate, Rodems worked in the Tarble during his undergraduate years. As someone who worked with Rodems while he was in school, Morice said it was great to see the changes Rodems made as he grew as an artist.

“He was always interested in the human figure here, but I think during his graduate program, he was opened to the abstract,” she said.

Rodems has exhibited his work throughout the Midwest, which includes the Peter Miller Gallery, Chicago and the Union Street Gallery in Chicago Heights. His artwork has also appeared in the publication New American Paintings No. 99.

The Champaign resident received his bachelors from Eastern, while doing graduate work from Indiana University.

Bob Galuski can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].