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updated: 6/7/2013 11:12 AM

Rolling Meadows Artist Unveils Recycled Site-Specific Works in One-Person Exhibit at Local Evanston Cultural Center and Café

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  • Vacant Lot - Racine and Madison, Mixed Media, 12 x 16 inches, 2012

    Vacant Lot - Racine and Madison, Mixed Media, 12 x 16 inches, 2012
    Betsy van Die

Betsy van Die

Site Specific is a one-person exhibit of small mixed media collages by Rolling Meadows resident Betsy van Die, created over the last three years. Site Specific is an extension of van Die's urban photography, combining photographic images, found objects recovered from the site, acrylic paint, charcoal, pastels, and colored pencil. This work is on display at Boocoo Cultural Center and Café in Evanston from June 7 through July 19. There will be an artist's reception, Friday, June 28, 6 to 8 pm.

Before fulfilling her childhood dream of attending the Rhode Island School of Design, van Die took classes at the Art Institute of Chicago's Young Artists' Studios program in addition to studying with Chicago imagist Phyllis Bramson at the Evanston Art Center. After graduating from RISD, van Die lived in Rotterdam, the Netherlands where she had a solo photography exhibit featuring gritty urban cityscapes, as well as figurative monotypes featured in a group show. In the last three decades, she has exhibited her work widely in juried exhibits throughout the United States and abroad, with her paintings and sculptures in public and private collections.

Among the sites van Die documents are condemned buildings slated for the wrecking ball, decaying facades, abandoned factories, and graffiti-strewn walls. In global terms, this work is about excavating/recycling an ephemeral landscape and preserving it -- 90 percent of the sites she has documented disappeared within weeks or months.

"I enjoy recycling and transforming common found objects through a nuanced layering of mediums, colors and textures. While I have created pieces from other locales, Chicago has yielded a rich and endless array of urban decay and site relics. In some cases, the retrieval of objects carries some risk because of the location, condition of the site, or the fact that the area has been cordoned off and I photograph and pick up objects covertly. I have been followed or watched, and even asked to vacate the premises -- this is all part of the experience that I take back with me to the studio when creating these works," said van Die.

Boocoo Cultural Center and Café, 1823 Church St, Evanston, IL 60201, (847) 864-8164

Hours: Monday-Wednesday 11 am to 8 pm, Thursday 11 am to 12:30 am (open late for Tango), Friday 11 am to 8 pm, Saturday 10 am to 4 pm, Closed Sunday

Artist's Reception: Friday, June 28, 6 to 8 pm

The mission of Boocoo Cultural Center and Café is to provide a safe and nurturing environment in which individuals can explore and express their creative passions through music, theater, literature, visual arts, video and film, audio and sound production, and movement. Boocoo provides a venue for individuals and community organizations to engage in and facilitate art programming that celebrates the richness of Evanston's cultural diversity, fostering shared experiences that transcend race, class and gender. Boocoo provides an atmosphere that stimulates the imagination, excites the senses, and celebrates the important role of arts in the community.

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