"In Blackest Shade, In Darkest Light" Exhibit at Giertz Gallery

"In Blackest Shade, In Darkest Light" Exhibit at Giertz Gallery

Seven artists from across US to feature works Nov. 14-Feb. 28

Exhibition: Monday, Nov. 14, 2022–Saturday, Feb. 28, 2023
Reception: Thursday, Nov. 17, 5:30–7:30 p.m., with curator's talk by Patrick Hammie, 6:15 p.m.
Additional exhibition-related events:

  • Artist Lecture: William Downs, Nov. 10, 6 p.m., Krannert Art Museum/KAM 62
  • Artist Lecture: Patrick Hammie, Nov. 30, 1:15 p.m., William M. Staerkel Planetarium, Parkland College

(Gallery closed Nov. 24–27 for Thanksgiving; Dec. 12–Jan. 8 for Holiday Break; and Jan. 16 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day)

An upcoming exhibition at Giertz Gallery will feature seven nationally recognized artists from across the country whose works challenge physical, political, and social knowns to imagine desired futures.
"In Blackest Shade, In Darkest Light," curated by UIUC Associate Professor and Chair of Studio Arts Patrick Earl Hammie, opens Monday, Nov. 14, and runs through Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023.
An exhibit reception will be held Thursday, Nov. 17, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., with a gallery talk at 6:15 p.m. by Hammie and music by participating artist and DJ Stacey Robinson.
Hammie, also one of the seven featured artists, is a painter, draftsman, sculptor, and illustrator from Champaign who specializes in portraiture, cultural identity, storytelling, and the body in visual cultureAlso included in the exhibition are artists and faculty across the U.S.: Kumasi J. Barnett of Baltimore, Md.; William Downs of Atlanta, Ga.; Kenyatta Forbes of Chicago; Robert Pruitt of New York; Stacey Robinson of Champaign; and Charles Edward Williams of Georgetown, S.C.
The exhibition will include works on paper, installation, video, and mixed media. Hammie explains the exhibit he has curated:
"The exhibition centers around drawing as a technology from which artists speculate, recover, and collect communal histories, manifesting stories of desired futures from the margins of imagination into the realities of the everyday. Drawing serves as an instant gateway for dreaming, recording, and sharing ideas. It moved from a mainly private practice to a form that asks questions as equally bold as other media. The show's title takes inspiration from DC's Green Lantern Corps' oath, 'In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil's might, beware my power, Green Lantern's light,' from which members of the fictional space guardians access magical strength and gather the will to challenge adversaries using their imagination."
Hammie elaborates: "The artists in this exhibition revel in horror, Afro-futurism, magical realism, Ethno-gothic, fantasy, Black Quantum Futurism, utopias and dystopias, and superheroes. They draw from cultural aesthetics and philosophies of science and history to explore and improvise within set boundaries and beyond. Their work speculates toward un-fixing the physical, political, and social knowns and imagine otherwise how we will be and become."
The exhibition will feature a temporary installation drawing by William Downs on two walls in the Giertz Gallery and two additional artist lectures.

  • Downs will provide a lecture on Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. at Krannert Art Museum/KAM 62, sponsored by the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois, at Krannert Art Museum and co-sponsored by the School of Art & Design Visitors Committee; Frances P. Rohlen Visiting Artists Fund, College of Fine & Applied Arts; Unit One/ Allen Hall; and Giertz Gallery at Parkland College. 
  • Hammie will provide an artist lecture on Nov. 30 at 1:15 p.m. in the William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College. Additional events related to the exhibition will be announced later. 

As with all Giertz Gallery programs, the exhibit, reception, and lectures are free and open to the public.
Concurrent with "In Blackest Shade, In Darkest Light" exhibition, Krannert Art Museum is hosting an exhibition featuring Black faculty in the UI School of Art and Design; this exhibition includes artists Hammie and Robinson. The collaborative exhibition explores Black identity, collectivity, positionality, healing, innovation, and education as explored via a multi-leveled/multi-dimensional immersive, critical, and openly reflective space. For more information, please visit the Krannert Art Museum website at
Giertz Gallery hours are Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Saturday, from noon to 2 p.m. To find the gallery, we suggest using the M6 parking lot on the north corner of the campus. Enter through door X7, turn left, and follow the ramps uphill to the highest point of the first floor, where the gallery is located. The gallery windows overlook the outdoor pond area. Face coverings are recommended.
All events in the accessible gallery are free and open to the public. Parkland College is a section 504/ADA-compliant institution. For accommodation, call 217/353-2338 or email Giertz Gallery acknowledges support from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

[Image: Stacey Robinson, DOOM, digital drawing, 2022 (detail)]

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