New Dunn Museum exhibit features work by comic book artist Bill Sienkiewicz

New Dunn Museum exhibit features work by comic book artist Bill Sienkiewicz

The work of a legendary comic book artist is going on display at the Bess Bower Dunn Museum of Lake County in Libertyville.

"Bill Sienkiewicz: Pop Culture Revolution" will be on exhibit April 16 through Sept. 5.

Sienkiewicz (pronounced "sin-KEV-itch") is best known for revolutionizing the style of comic and graphic novel illustration over the past four decades. The Eisner-winning and Emmy-nominated artist grew up in a New Jersey farming community, where there was not a lot of exposure to artists and their work; at least none that were creating comic books.

He later attended the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts. It was in art school that he was introduced to the wider world of art, falling in love with abstract expressionism.

His landmark works, including Marvel Comics' "Elektra: Assassin" and his acclaimed graphic novel "Stray Toasters," have earned him an international reputation and cultlike following across media industries.

"The Dunn Museum is honored to work with Bill Sienkiewicz on this amazing museum exhibition," said Angelo Kyle, president of the Lake County Forest Preserves.

"The artist brings an unprecedented balance of realistic rendering and expressive enthusiasm to comics."

The Dunn Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, a distinction held by only 3% of American museums.

This exhibition showcases sketches and original paintings spanning the artist's career, from the 1980s to present day. Visitors can view more than 60 works of art and video interviews to discover how Sienkiewicz's renderings incorporate abstract and expressionist influences.

Many art experts attempt to differentiate between "fine art" and "illustration." In Sienkiewicz's mind, you can do both.

"Being an illustrator means being adept and committed to making a thing or a concept look like what it's supposed to look like. My aim was to be able to execute what the client wanted, but through fine art techniques," he said in a published report.

Sienkiewicz brought influences from outside the art world to his work, such as his father teaching him electrical wiring, which led him to create art with electrical components. He also incorporated jazz music and fashion illustration into his style.

"I think my innate sense is that I'm more interested in how something feels. I pursue the emotional truth of something, as opposed to simply the visual truth," Sienkiewicz said in the report.

A large variety of programs and events will take place during the five-month exhibit, Director of Education Nan Buckardt said.

"It is really exciting to host an exhibition that has such broad appeal. Preschool students and their grandparents will both be mesmerized by the artwork with the same passion."

Plan your visit and check the museum's hours at The Dunn Museum is located in the Lake County Forest Preserves general offices at 1899 W. Winchester Road, between Route 45 and Butterfield Road, Libertyville. The entrance is on the south side of the building.

Gallery hours are: 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, and noon to 4:30 p.m. Sundays. On the first and third Thursday of every month, it will be open from 5 to 8 p.m. with free admission. It also will be open on Memorial Day.

Admission for Lake County residents is $6 for ages 18 to 61or $3 for ages 62 or older and ages 4 to 17. Students ages 18 to 25, with an ID, are $3. The fee for nonresidents is $6 to $10. Half off admission on Tuesdays and up to four free youth per adult.

"Stray Toasters," by legendary comic book artist Bill Sienkiewicz, is one of more than 60 works of art on display at the Dunn Museum. Courtesy of the Lake County Forest Preserves
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