IDS News by Haley Adams

This month, the School of Fine Arts Gallery is saving students a trip to the Windy City with its new show “One Moment,” an exhibit featuring the Thomas Robertello Gallery in Chicago.

It all started with one painting Robertello, a Jacobs School of Music associate professor, saw years ago.

“When I started working professionally as a musician when I was 21, I went to an art gallery and saw a painting I wanted to buy but couldn’t afford,” Robertello said.
Instead of emptying his bank account for one piece, Robertello bought art supplies and started creating his own paintings.

“I felt like the process of painting gave me an appreciation of what other artists could do but I couldn’t,” Robertello said.

The act began his fascination with art, and he collected many pieces over the years. Robertello opened his own gallery, which had its first exhibition in 2006, according to the gallery’s Web site.

As an art collector, Robertello got to know SoFA Gallery Director Betsy Stirratt. Stirratt said the two wanted to work together for a while, even though the SoFA Gallery usually does not curate shows with other galleries.

“The time slot became available, and it came together pretty quickly,” Stirratt said. “I like working with a gallery in Chicago. It’s something people here need to see.”
Robertello said bringing art from a big city to a college town has its benefits.

“It’s important for everyone concerned,” Robertello said. “It’s very important for the artists to show work in university galleries because it creates a dialogue between students of SoFA and the artists. Bloomington is an isolated location and a lot of students don’t get to see major museum shows.”

Robertello said he, Stirratt and SoFA Gallery Associate Director Rob Off started with a long list of artists from around the Chicago area, then narrowed it down to six artists who could fit into the show’s theme.

“One Moment” is based on “the nature of momentary experiences that are fleeting, quickly dismissed and transitory,” according to the SoFA Gallery Web site.
“In a way it’s like six solo exhibitions under the umbrella of one solo space,” Robertello said.

Stirratt said the theme brought all the artists together.

Stephanie Serpick, one of the featured artists, said she has worked with Robertello in the past, so he suggested her name to the SoFA directors, who then went on a studio visit.

“I’m assuming they saw something in my work that responded to them in terms of the theme of the show,” Serpick said. “My work was maybe different from some of the others.”

Stirratt said the variety of work is why students and the community should visit the exhibit.

“I think they should come see it because the work is very diverse,” Stirratt said. “The work is coming from a lot of different perspectives.

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