Art on Display

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May 2024 Exhibit: Ask Me About Buckthorn | Artist Holly Greenberg

Artist statement: I am a professor of art at Syracuse University and on sabbatical for a year in Evanston where I am researching the use of invasive plant species as an art medium for sustainable studio practices. I have been working with teams of volunteers to remove invasive plants (primarily European Buckthorn) from Evanston parks and replace it with native plants to restore habitat for birds, insects and other native animals.

In my studio practice I hand dig out the buckthorn, wash it, and then use it to create full room art installations. The buckthorn is temporarily affixed to the wall or hung from the ceiling. This unusual medium begs the question: what is it? This provides the opportunity for conversations about what are invasive species, why is it important to have native habitats, and who are these people removing it? My hope is to spotlight not just the problems of buckthorn but also celebrate the tireless efforts of the people in our community who have dedicated years of work restoring native habitat in Evanston.

About Buckthorn: According to Morton Arboretum’s tree census, European Buckthorn makes up 36% of Chicagoland’s tree canopy. It squeezes out native plants, damages wildlife habitat and is poisonous to birds. Many people have it growing in their own yards and don’t realize it is problematic. Learn more about buckthorn.

About the Volunteers: Local volunteer groups at Ladd Arboretum, Harbart Payne Park, the Edible Evanston Food Forest and the Forest Preserves of Cook County are working to remove buckthorn from our community. Visit the Evanston Art Center to see the large mural created by Holly to celebrate these volunteers who are restoring our habitat in Evanston. Mural on view May 7- June 23. Learn more.

The Evanston Public Library celebrates, appreciates and supports our community’s diversity in all of its forms, and we are committed to providing a venue for local artists to showcase their artwork. If you are interested in having your art displayed, please fill out our Programming Proposal Form and under “Please Describe Your Program” state that you are interested in an Art Exhibit. Find Evanston Public Library’s Board Policies of Exhibits and Displays here.

Art On Permanent Display

Walter Burt Adams (American 1903-1990)
May First, 1952
Oil on canvas

Gift of Library Volunteers

Location: 4th floor

Adams was a modernist painter who specialized in the American street scene genre, his works depict Chicago and Evanston from 1931 thru 1977.  Adams attended the School of the Art Institute and resided in Evanston, IL.

Giovanni Maria Benzoni (Italian, 1809-1873)
Innocence Guarded by Faithfulness, 1868

Unknown Provenance

Location: 2nd floor, Evanstoniana Room

Mystery surrounds this interesting piece. It was found under the front steps of the 1908 library building when that building was being demolished in 1960 and no one knew how or when it was placed there. This marble sculpture from 1868 depicts a young girl, with her beloved dog, who falls asleep while creating a wreath. Among the flowers at her feet, a snake approaches but before it can bite her, the faithful dog stops it and tries to wake up the girl.

Michele Oka Doner (American b.1945)
Book Leaves
Cast bronze in terrazzo

Commissioned with funds from the City of Evanston Public Art Program

Location: 1st floor, lobby

This art flooring installation consists of 65 flat cast bronze sculptures embedded in a black terrazzo matrix. Most of the images are botanical — leaves, twigs, seeds, and pollen from trees in the Evanston area. The geometric shapes are abstracts based on the stone piers on the exterior of the building. The individual bronzes may be enjoyed while one walks upon the floor, or the entire piece may be observed from the balcony or staircase.

Ruth Duckworth (German 1919-2009)
Untitled, 1973

Gift of Paul H. Leffmann, in memoriam of Theo H. Leffmann

Location: Robert Crown Center

Duckworth was a German modernist sculptor who worked in ceramics, stone, bronze, amongst other materials. She lived and worked in Chicago from 1964 thru 2009 and her works can be found in many museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago.

Ralph Helmick (American b.1952) and Stuart Schechter (American b.1958)

Ghost Writer, 1994

Cast metal and stainless metal

Commissioned with funds from the City of Evanston Public Art Program

Location: Grand Staircase

This suspended sculpture consists of 2500 separately cast aluminum elements suspended on 900 wires. There are three segments to the composition. A head composed of over 1500 cast aluminum letters. The head is both androgynous and a composite of world racial and ethnic types. The second segment is a spiral passing through the center of the piece. It is a metaphor for imagination and creativity. The third segment is the ambient symbols floating throughout the piece. Within the piece there is historical world sculpture imagery, as well as intentional words. There are several Evanston images, including leaves of trees that grow in this area, the Grosse Pointe Lighthouse, and a map of the community. Some of the images were suggested by Evanston residents and by people involved in the library building project. All of the suspended elements were first fabricated in wood or clay and then cast in aluminum by a commercial foundry. The head began as a traditional plaster sculpture, which was then laser-scanned into a three dimensional computer modeling program. Drawing programs were used to assist in the creation of the spiral and the placement of the ambient elements. While the sculpture could have been created without computer technology, that technology greatly facilitated composition and measurement. Misters Helmick and Schechter are from Massachusetts.

Richard Hunt (American b.1935)
Bookends, 1997
Stainless steel

Purchased with funds from the Edward Johnson Endowment Fund

Location: Western facade

These two stainless steel sculptures by nationally acclaimed Chicago artist Richard Hunt sit atop two pillars on the west facade of the building. The abstract work represents the evolution of the storage of information in western culture. One side represents the shape of a scroll and an open book, while the other side represents modern technology with the image of a computer screen and antenna. 

Richard LaLonde (American b.1950)
World View, 1993
Fused glass on ceramic

Gift of Nancy and Philip Kotler

Location: 2nd floor landing

LaLonde is a contemporary artist whose practice focuses heavily on colorful, narrative fused glass murals. This piece, as stated by the artist, presents images which are individually interpreted by the viewer, but can be loosely viewed as representative of the past, present, and future.

Evanston Children
Untitled, 2018
Acrylic paint on acrylic

Gift of the Evanston Chamber of Commerce

Location: 2nd floor landing

Created under the direction of the One River School of Art & Design at the Evanston Chamber Artisan SummerFest, children painted scenes of everyday life in Evanston.

Beverly Stucker Precious (American b.1952)
For Endless Trees, 1994
Stained Glass
Dimensions Needed

Commissioned by the City of Evanston

Location: 1st floor

For Endless Trees is an example of contemporary work in the American Arts and Crafts tradition. Fusing metal and dichroic glass, Precious designed a window that allows both light and air to be filtered through to create dynamic color shifts and continuous visual interest.

Ruth V. Weiner (American b.1923-2009)
Out of Antiquity, 1992

Gift of the Artist

Location: 2nd floor, west

Ruth V. Weiner was an Evanston resident who is best known for her practice in ceramic sculpture and assemblage.

On Out of Antiquity, Weiner writes,‘The porcelain books are a fantasy, a vision of distorted reality. The books, handbuilt of porcelain, undergo a metamorphosis when subjected to the ravages of fire, and emerge from the flames with singular configurations and distortions. They are books waiting to be read, but the viewer must impart his or her own thoughts and images onto the waiting pages. They each create a tableau with motion suspended, a scene of time momentarily stopped. The fantasy is that one is drawn into the reality and vitality of the book, but the pages can be turned only in the mind’s eye.’

Nicholas Krushenick (American 1929-1999)
Untitled, 1969
Silk Screen Print

Gift of Frederick Dose

Location: 2nd floor, east

Krushenick was a modern abstract painter whose practice spans many art movements, including pop art and expressionism. Untitled is a silkscreen print that was originally created for the American Ballet Theater in 1965.

Rosemary Zwick (American 1925-1995)
Catamarans at Sunrise, 1985
Oil on Canvas

Gift of Sidney B. Zwick

Location: 3rd floor, east

Rosemary Zwick was a Chicago native who was known for her printmaking and relief sculptures.

Rosemary Zwick (American 1925-1995)
Jazz I, 1955
Woodblock print

Gift of Sidney B. Zwick

Location: 3rd floor, east

Rosemary Zwick was a Chicago native who was known for her printmaking and relief sculptures.

Rosemary Zwick (American 1952-1995)
Jazz II, 1955
Woodblock print

Gift of Sidney B. Zwick

Location: 3rd floor, east

Rosemary Zwick was a Chicago native who was known for her printmaking and relief sculptures.

Rosemary Zwick (American 1925-1995)
Jazz Musician, 1947
Gouache on Masonite

Gift of Sidney B. Zwick

Location: 3rd floor, east

Rosemary Zwick was a Chicago native who was known for her printmaking and relief sculptures.

Robert Burton Middaugh (American 1935-2011)
Severed Connections
Acrylic on canvas

Gift of Danielle & Victor Barcilon

Location: 4th floor 

Middaugh was a Chicago based contemporary surrealist painter who often depicted cityscapes and landscapes.

Herb Jackson (American b. 1945)
Jazz Time (for Romare Bearden), 1993
Acrylic on canvas

On loan from the collection of John F. Vail

Location: 4th floor, Administrative Offices

Herb Jackson is an abstract painter who is known for his large canvas works, as well as his print works using vitreography. 

Amy O. Woodbury (American)
Poplars, 2006
Acrylic, Mixed Media on canvas

Anonymous Gift

Location: 3rd floor, east

“It is an idyll, a landscape, a nod to antiquity” wrote Woodbury about her piece, which depicts three figures standing among rolling hills and poplar trees. Woodbury is a contemporary painter, whose work straddles surrealist and abstractist movements.

William-Adolphe Bouguereau (French 1825-1905)
A la Fontaine (At the Fountain), 1897
Oil on canvas

Digital reproduction by Christie’s Fine Art Auctioneer, 1999

Location: 3rd floor, west

The original painting was donated to the library by Charles F. Grey, a prominent Evanston resident in 1925. The work sat prominently in the library until 1999, when it was auctioned through Christie’s, it now resides in a private collection.

Beth Adler (American b.1955)
Peregrine Chick
Pencil, india ink, gesso on canvas

Gift of the Artist

3rd floor, west

Peregrine Chick, which depicts peregrine falcon eyas, represents the many generations of falcons hatched and raised at the library. Beth Adler is a Chicago based artist who works mainly in monoprinting.

Sidewalk Poetry

The Poetic Foot by Alicia Berneche
Snowflakes by Susan Gundlach
Clark Street Beach by Charlotte Hart
Research by Ethan Plaut
Poem by Toby Sachs

Completed with funds from the Washington National Tax Increment Financing District

Organized by the City of Evanston’s Public Arts Committee and the Evanston Public Library Board of Directors, this city wide poetry contest held in 2010, received 328 entries from residents. Ultimately, a jury of Evanston residents, which ranged from an Evanston Township High School student to professors of Theater and Poetry at Northwestern University, choose five poems to represent the literary talent within the community and be featured on the walkway into the library.

Children’s Room

Eric Rohmann
Discover New Worlds
Oil on canvas

Purchased with funds from the Edward Johnson Endowment Fund

Location: Children’s, Art Garden

Eric Rohmann, an Illinois native, has exhibited across the Midwest and has work in collections throughout the United States and Europe. He has written and illustrated four children’s books, two of which hold Caldecott awards and honors.

Accompanying Discover New Worlds, are preliminary pencil and watercolor sketches of the final piece.

Peggy MacNamara (American)
Watercolor on Paper

Purchased with funds from the Edward Johnson Endowment Fund

Location: Children’s, Family Reading Room

Peggy MacNamara is a Chicago based artist who specializes in hyperrealism, often depicting insects and animals. MacNamara is an in-house artist at the Field Museum. In the work, Metamorphosis, MacNamara illustrates various stages in the life cycle of butterflies and moths.

Brian Pinkney (American b. 1961 )
“A Strong Breeze Shook the Tree…”
Oil on board

Purchased with funds from the Edward Johnson Endowment Fund

Location: Children’s, Art Garden

Originally published in the storybook Max Found Two Sticks, this oil reproduction depicts the main character, Max, watching the two sticks swirl in the breeze. Pinkney is an internationally known illustrator, who has won many awards, such as the Coretta Scott King Book Award.

Kristina Swarner (American b. 1965)

She Told You All The Stories In the World from the book Before You Were Born, 2005
Linocut with watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil on paper

Purchased with funds from the Edward Johnson Endowment Fund

Location: Children’s, Art Garden

Kristina Swarner is a Chicago based artist and illustrator.

Alejandro Romero (Mexican b.1948)  & Peter Exley (British b.1964)
Kinderspring, 2007
Mixed media mosaic

Location: Children’s Room

Created by Chicago based artist Alejandro Romero, this interactive, three dimensional mosaic features colorful ceramic tiles, various glass, bronze, and ceramic items, along with blinking lights. Romero is a well known artist, who is most known for his paintings and murals that blend European expressionism with pre-Colombian themes and motifs.

Edward Martinez (Argentine)
Too Many Tamales from the the book Too Many Tamales, 1992
Oil on canvas

Location: Children’s, Art Garden

Edward Martinez is a portrait artist and illustrator who has worked on many classic covers such as Little Women and Gone with the Wind. Too Many Tamales, which accompanies Gary Soto’s book of the same title, is a holiday favorite and has been celebrated across the United States.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (French 1848-1919)
Head of Coco, 1908
Bronze on marble base
10 ¾ ”x7 ⅝” x 7 ½ “

Reproduction by Alva Studios, Inc.1958

Location: Children’s 

The small ceramic reproduction depicts Renoir’s youngest son, Claude ‘Coco’ Renoir (1901-1969) and was meant to be viewed in the family’s private collection. The Library holds this reproduction from Alva Studios, Inc., a well known museum quality reproduction studio.

Brendan Wenzel (American b.1981)
Peregrines Over Evanston, 2018
Mixed media collage
11”x14 ¼”

Gift of the Artist

Location: Children’s, Art Garden

Brendan Wenzel is a Caldecott award winning Brooklyn based illustrator whose work appears internationally in storybooks and magazines. This piece was created for the library to celebrate the peregrine falcons who nest here annually.

George Suyeoka (American 1926-2015)
Momotaro from the book Urashima Taro, 1973
Marker and watercolor on paper

Gift of the Suyeoka Family in memory of George Suyeoka

Location: Children’s, Art Garden

George Suyeoka was a well known artist and illustrator based in Evanston. He illustrated for commercial companies, as well as many storybooks, often creating images to accompany Japanese folktales. Suyeoka was a prolific artist with a practice that spanned from illustration and printmaking to sculpture and bronzework.

Elisha Cooper (American b. 1971)
Big Cat, Little Cat from the book Big Cat, Little Cat, 2017
Serigraph print

Location: Children’s, Art Garden

Elisha Cooper is an author and illustrator of many childrens’ books. Cooper works primarily in printmaking and painting. 

Location: 4th floor

Adams was a modernist painter who specialized in the American street scene genre, his works depict Chicago and Evanston from 1931 thru 1977.  Adams attended the School of the Art Institute and resided in Evanston, IL.

Views of the Library

Photographs of the Evanston Public Library
Joseph Powell, Design Architect; Nagle, Hartray and Associates, Managing Architects; Hedrich-Blessing, Architectural Photography.

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