Emily J.G. Vermillion: Wings & Whimsy

Longtime Iowa City artist Emily Vermillion displays recent drawings and dolls in a show entitled “Wings & Whimsy,” on display August 28 – October 11, 2009. The artist will be honored during the October 2 downtown Iowa City Gallery Walk, which also celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the Gallery. The Gallery Walk takes place from 5-8pm at 19 venues in downtown Iowa City.

Vermillion has worked in a wide array of media, including 20-foot public murals, realistic portraiture, drawings, paintings and dolls. These range, as she puts it, from “self-reflective and personal narratives to fanciful, imaginative frivolities. Throughout all of this there has been a connection: a passionate attention to intricacies and detail.”

As a very young child, Vermillion was always making things. These included Hollyhock dolls, painted ashtrays from garden clay, elaborate dress-up costumes, and “a myriad of people drawings (mainly ladies with purses) which sneaked into the white spaces of hardbound books I still could not read.”

Vermillion comments on her style: “I love the complex manipulations of color, patterns, and design no matter what the subject. And I am constantly challenged by the endless possibilities of selections, arrangements, and juxtapositions. This very recent collection of mixed media drawings and dolls reveals just that. And why butterflies, one may ask? Perhaps it could be because when I was a very little girl and could not sleep because of a very, very bad dream, my mother would always console, ‘Just think of beautiful butterflies.’ ”

Vermillion has had broad experience as both a professional artist and art educator. She taught art in the public schools and at her own private school in Iowa City as well as throughout the state as a visiting artist with the Iowa Arts Council. Beginning in 1991 until 2001, she served as Curator of Education at the University of Iowa Museum of Art. Most recently Vermillion was Director of the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library School of the Arts in La Jolla, California.

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