Special Exhibits

Main Gallery


Natural Scenics by Jack Carlson

Exhibit Opens, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 10 a.m.
Exhibit Opening, Friday, Jan. 24, 6 p.m.
Exhibit Closes, Sunday, March 1, 4 p.m.

Photographer Jack Carlson teaches at the Chicago Botanic Garden where he has been on the instructional staff since 2009. A classically trained musician, Jack didn’t actually enter the visual arts until adulthood. He bought his first camera in 1977 in preparation for a European trip.  There had to be a way, he believed, to capture not just the sights of the trip but also the feelings and experience of the sights.  In Jack’s work, mood is superimposed on image.  His photographs are metaphors. As a nature photographer, it is important, he believes, to carefully capture a photographic image rather than take numerous pictures that are later manipulated technologically.

Jack’s exhibit “Natural Scenics” are from his travels around this country, throughout the world and his own yard. Jack believes that nature speaks for itself. A nature photographer’s obligation is to listen, respect, and respond to that voice.

Jack’s grandmother, Ellen Pearson, was born in Västergötland, Sweden. Hearing that opportunities were vast and farm land was both cheap and plentiful, his great-grandfather made the decision to come to the United States.  The family immigrated to the United States before the turn-of-the-century, settling in Creston, Iowa. The ship on which they traveled allowed only one small piece of luggage per person, and his great-grandfather’s trunk still holds pride-of-place in the living room of his house.

It was in Iowa that Ellen Pearson met John Carlson, a wood-worker from Småland, Sweden and the man who would become her husband. From the late 19th century until sometime in the late 40’s, Rockford, Ill. was known as a furniture and piano manufacturing town so John and Ellen left the other family members and moved there. Rockford is where Jack’s parents met and the town where he grew up. During his time in Rockford, the east side of town was heavily Scandinavian. There were actually three girls in his high school class named Barbara Jean Johnson. Swedish was one of the language choices at Rockford East High School when he was a student.

Double-Weave in Sweden
New Materials and Applications

Exhibit opens & Gallery Walk, Saturday, March 7, 11 a.m.
Exhibit closes, Sunday, June 7, 4 p.m.

Double-weave is a special weaving technique that creates textiles with two layers. Early double-weave in Sweden was primarily used as a status symbol. It was commonly used as an art form, often depicting Christian motifs, or made into blankets, bride rugs, or baptismal robes for the wealthy. By the 1900s, the craft was very popular. Books were printed with patterns and instructions, courses were arranged, and textile art was displayed in public spaces. This popularity lasted for almost a century before it suddenly stopped. Books went out-of-print and classes were almost impossible to come by. The art form was considered difficult and boring, and as double-weaving became less popular, fewer people knew how to do it.

This exhibit is put together by nine weavers from Sweden. Their aim is to preserve this cultural heritage and teach people about its history and techniques. The weavers hope that by finding new uses, materials, and applications for double-weave, they will increase awareness around this weaving form and renew interest in the craft.

Raoul Wallenberg Gallery

Astrid Lindgren
To Play is to Live

Exhibit opens, Friday, Feb. 21, 10 a.m.
Exhibit closes, Sunday, May 24, 4 p.m.

Come and learn all about Sweden’s beloved children’s author, Astrid Lindgren, the creator of characters such as Pippi Longstocking and Emil. Generations of Swedes, at home and abroad, have grown up reading her books, listening to them on tape and watching the movies. It is as much a natural part of childhood in Sweden as riding a bike. In this exhibit you will learn about Astrid herself, her life and what inspired her to write her stories.

Sponsors of our Special Exhibits: