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Wanderings of the Mind’s Eye: Photographs by Illinois Artists from the MCA Collection


Jeanne Dunning, Edge with Food, 1996. Silver dye-bleach print mounted to Plexiglas with artist's frame; framed: 25 1/8 x 21 1/8 in. (63.8 x 53.6 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift from The Howard and Donna Stone Collection, 2002.27

Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago


This exhibition presents work by 11 Illinois-based artists from 1930 to the present that evokes reveries, dreams, or other workings of the subconscious. While some of the artists’ intentions are analytical or conceptual, all of the works transport the viewer away from the everyday world. The exhibition presents a brief history of the development of two separate strands within this theme. Photographers such as Kenneth Josephson and Ruth Thorne-Thomsen search the world for images of dreamlike states, poetic situations, legends, or myths; but photographers such as Mary Ahrendt and Jeanne Dunning control or manipulate photographic images to create startling or disturbing images—much like those out of dreams or nightmares. To achieve their images, all of these artists use means such as specialized film stock, a variety of lenses, controlled lighting, and various darkroom techniques. While digital techniques become more prevalent in contemporary art practice, this exhibition examines what can be accomplished through traditional photographic techniques.

Wanderings of the Mind’s Eye is organized by Curator Lynne Warren.


This exhibition is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.