“Works on Paper,” an exhibition by local artists John and Ulli Rooney, will be on display from May 18 through June 15 at The Art Box, 308 E. Lincoln Highway in DeKalb. A reception for the artists is scheduled from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 21.
Professor emeritus from Northern Illinois University School of Art and Design, John Rooney taught painting and drawing from 1968 to 1996. He began his studies in art in 1952 with Hyman Bloom at Harvard where he received a bachelor’s degree in English in 1953. Continuing his studies in Germany, he earned his final diploma in 1962 while working with muralist Franz Nagel at the Akademie der Bildenden Kunste in Munich, Germany.
At Syracuse University, Rooney studied with Merlin Pollock, Adja Yunkers and Laurence Schmeckebier while earning his master of fine arts degree in 1967. His professional ties to Europe include a gallery affiliation with the Walter Bischoff Galerie, Stuttgart, Germany, including several group exhibitions and two studio residencies in Stuttgart, and a solo show in Munich.
Originally from Riga, Latvia, Ulli Rooney earned her fine art degree in 1961 at the Akademie der Bildenden Kunste in Munich, Germany. She was awarded two Illinois Arts Council Artist Fellowships, a studio residency in Stuttgart, Germany, and an Academic Exchange Service Fellowship to Paris, France.
Both artists leave, what seems to be, simple impressions on several layers of a richly prepared ground of color. The difference between the two is that Ulli Rooney will work the paper with layers of oil enamel paint that will eventually convey a thought, something that she saw, or read in a newspaper. The inspiration has a direct correlation with how the surface of the paper is developed. An image will usually be scraped into soft layers of paint or applied directly wet on wet.
John Rooney, on the other hand, will depict images that are concrete and interprets what he sees in minimal abstract expressions. In this exhibition John Rooney will show a series of viewing models in acrylic paint from Drawing Group, a series of Travel Impressions with markers and paint, and still life compositions with marker.
Consistent in all the work is Rooney’s gestural use of line, often coupled with a bold sense of color.
For more information on the exhibition, call Daniel Grych at 815-758-0313. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The gallery is closed Sundays and Wednesdays.