Pattie Chalmers: Every Thing and More
January 29 – March 20, 2021
Objects preserve memories for us: a shell from a beach vacation, a trinket from a loved one, or an old camera that dad used. Chalmers’ enthusiasm for exploring the nature of “objectness” and the power they possess were the catalysts for her solo exhibition, Every Thing and More, presented in our Staenberg Gallery.
Her featured piece, Every Day I Think of You, is a collection of 365 terra cotta objects that each present a personal recollection of a specific person or people. Chalmers takes liberty altering the scale of each item to speak to the idea that each are a memory. The handmade objects that make up this piece are specific to her remembrances, but can often become stimulants for a viewer’s memories. Chalmers says, “The connection to others through a thing’s capacity to contain a memory, and our human ability to condense such a variety of experiences into seemingly mundane mementos, are what continue to grab my imagination.”
In Chalmers’ piece, The Things That Remain, she takes a more selected approach to curating the objects. This piece is dedicated to the memory of a dear friend. The objects are placed around a silhouette, acting as an aura of the person. The items are a halo of memories, a reminder of their personality, and tokens of their life. It is witty, loving, and a work that we can identify with when we remember a loss of life.
The prints on the wall are not of objects, but of the absence of objects. They are portraits of loved ones. They are the individuals who either possessed the item themselves or are the direct link to the object in memory. The large vessels also echo that same sentiment. Chalmers’ love of the material and pottery are announced in these delicately detailed vessels.
Chalmers animates the gallery space with her stories and love of clay. As one gets engulfed in her world of objects, they will simultaneously dance through their own consciousness and memories. We invite you to explore, remember, and get lost in her sanctuary of objects.
Stefanie Kirkland, Deputy Director
About the artist:
Pattie Chalmers received her BFA in printmaking from the University of Manitoba in Canada, and her MFA in ceramics from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. She has exhibited in group exhibitions on five continents, in six countries and thirty-three states. Over the past ten years, she has had work in over ninety exhibitions. Chalmers has taught at Southern Illinois University since 2006.
Professor Chalmers has been awarded two McKnight Residencies at Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, MN, and in 2020 she received an Illinois Arts Council Professional Development Grant and an Illinois Arts Council Artist Fellowship Finalist award.
Artist talk: March 20 at 11am