Mother-and-daughter artists exhibit at Elmurst Art Museum gallery

  • "In the Stars," created by Terri Shimkus and Danielle Hepko

    "In the Stars," created by Terri Shimkus and Danielle Hepko Courtesy of Terri Shimkus

Submitted by Suzi Baker
Updated 4/23/2018 8:41 PM

The Elmhurst Artists' Guild will host "MoDa: Mother and Daughter Exhibit Together," featuring the solo and collaborative original artwork of guild member Terri Shimkus, and her daughter, Danielle Hepko, in the EAG Gallery at the Elmhurst Art Museum, 150 S. Cottage Hill Ave., Elmhurst, from April 22 through June 2. The public is invited to the free opening reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 4.

For Elmhurst Art Guild board member and communications chair, Terri Shimkus, this is a dream come true. "I have always wanted to collaborate with my children on an event such as this because they are both such creative people." The inspiration for this show came in the first painting in which Terri and her 27-year old daughter, Danielle Hepko, collaborated.


"Rainbow Dripping," a mixed media painting created with watercolor, ice cubes and colored pencil, was completed by the mother-daughter team when Danielle was just 11 years old. Shimkus hopes for a similar collaborative show in the future with son, Dave Hepko.

"Danielle and I play with art in our spare time. I want to share that our goal here was to experiment with different styles, techniques, and mediums. Our main focus was to have fun and express ourselves creatively," explained Shimkus.

Another collaborative work featured in the show is "In the Stars," a large colorful abstract painting in which Hepko and Shimkus passed the work back and forth between them, Hepko adding touches in oil, and Shimkus working in acrylics and mixed media.

Although Shimkus started drawing cartoons and caricatures as a child, her current personal style leans more toward the abstract. Working in acrylic, chalk, and mixed media, she often starts a piece with no preconceived idea and lets the work speak to her as she pushes paint around or organizes painted papers and found objects. "'Accidental art' is what I like to call it because it takes the pressure off of trying to create a masterpiece," Shimkus explained.

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Hepko, who has a BA in painting and drawing as well as a BA in fashion design, approaches her art in a conceptual way, trying to evoke a feeling or memory. Always attracted to a force or movement within a piece, she tends to create linear or circular brush strokes. "There always seems to be a battle between reality and the abstract when trying to tell the story each piece wants to share," Hepko stated. This personal style is evident in Hepko's painting, "Obscured," which depicts the hint of a long-haired, brunette woman in a black dress, whose features are obscured by fog or shadow.

Cassie Swierenga, Elmhurst Art Guild president, commented that the MoDa show "provides a rare opportunity to view the artistic influences of mother on daughter, and daughter on mother, in an artistic family."

"And how fitting that this show should be on exhibit during Mother's Day," she continued.

The exhibition can be viewed during regular museum hours, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Many of the paintings are for sale, with sales benefitting the artists, the Guild, and the Elmhurst Art Museum. Admission is $9 or $8 for seniors except the first Friday of each month which is the museum's free admission day.

The Elmhurst Art Museum and guild members, students and children under 18 are admitted free. More information is available at and

The EAG gallery is nonprofit, operated by the Elmhurst Artists' Guild. It features contemporary artworks in a variety of styles and media. In addition to four member shows each year, the guild hosts exhibitions of individual member's artwork and invitational shows for significant local artists. Exhibits are partially supported by grants from the Illinois Arts Council.

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