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posted: 4/10/2013 12:32 PM

North Central exhibit showcases art inspired by artists' former jobs

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  • A new exhibit, "The Long Road," showcases artwork that reflects the student artists' experience working in the trades.

    A new exhibit, "The Long Road," showcases artwork that reflects the student artists' experience working in the trades.
    Courtesy of North Central College

By Ted Slowik
North Central College

Artwork of two North Central College students is featured in the monthlong exhibit "The Long Road."

"The Long Road" features wood sculptures, ceramics and mixed media artwork by seniors Jesse Barr of Oswego and Jeremy Thurlby of Montgomery. The exhibit runs through May 3 in the Meiley-Swallow Hall Gallery, 31 S. Ellsworth St., Naperville. An artist reception will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, April 19.

The pieces in "The Long Road" draw on both artists' experiences working in trades. Barr previously worked in construction, while Thurlby worked in blacksmithing and welding.

"As a student artist, I focus on 3-D work, which I feel comes from my trades background coupled with the satisfaction of constructing something with your hands," Thurlby says.

Barr, an art education major, graduated from Wheaton North High School in 1999 and worked for a number of years in commercial demolition and management for commercial job sites before pursuing his passion for art in 2008. His work experiences have contributed to his creative style.

"The goal of my art is to pass along the feelings, emotions and beauty of these environments I may come across, or people I may encounter," Barr says.

His work in the "The Long Road" draws inspiration from an 1800s farm he visited.

Thurlby, a studio art major, will exhibit his artwork at the 2013 National Conference for Undergraduate Research in LaCrosse, Wis. He previously had his work, "Industrialization," accepted into Monmouth College's annual juried student art show, where he received the Waltershausen Sculpture award in 2010.

A nontraditional student, Thurlby has worked a number of jobs before pursuing a college degree, including working as a living history blacksmith, a bouncer and a welder/millwright. He currently balances his classwork and working as an associate grocery buyer for Whole Foods in Naperville.

Christine Rabenold, assistant professor of art, is faculty adviser for the exhibit. For gallery hours or information, contact Rabenold at (630) 637-5543 or

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