Those who have seen sculptor Nnenna Okore’s work at Krannert Art Museum will be able to hear from the artist how she transforms materials and gallery spaces into works of art.
Okore will be at Krannert Art Museum for an artist talk and gallery conversation at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 5. Okore currently has an exhibition, “Nkata,” of large-scale sculptural pieces at the museum.
Nnenna Okore watches as her work is installed at Krannert Art Museum in August.
Photo by L. Brian Stauffer
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The Chicago-based artist has worked with a variety of materials, including paper, plastic, clay and fiber. The work on display at Krannert Art Museum was created from burlap that Okore shredded, frayed and dyed, and it also incorporates sound, light and glass.
Joining Okore for the conversation will be U. of I. graphic design professor Eric Benson and U. of I. art instructor and doctoral candidate in landscape architecture Molly Briggs. They will talk with Okore about their impressions of her work, and their open-ended conversation is designed to draw out unexpected and interesting revelations about her creative process, said Allyson Purpura, senior curator and curator of African art at the museum, who will moderate the discussion.
Benson has an interest in sustainable design and has worked with a variety of materials in his papermaking lab. Briggs has an interest in how Okore approaches and activates the gallery space in creating her artwork, Purpura said.
“It’s an immersive, atmospheric work, rather than a series of works that constitute a show,” Purpura said.
“We also want to explore the issue of the materials themselves,” she said. “She’s worked with ceramics, paper, plastic bags, fiber. What about the choice of materials compels her?”
Purpura is interested in hearing more about her turn to incorporating sound and light with the material of her sculptures.
“If you want the backstory, it’s really fun to hear the artist,” Purpura said. For those who have already seen the exhibition, “it’s really valuable to come back and see it again with the artist there, and engage her with questions you’re interested in. What are her thoughts now that the work is done? What about the afterlife of the work?”