October 21 – December 17, 2017

IT TAKES TIME: Selected Works from 2009 through 2017 presents 55 works by Mexican-born, Chicago-based artist Dianna Frid. The exhibition title refers to the process of creating work, to the recursive cycles of life and death, and to the vast scale of geological time. Frid cites the cadences of reading, writing, sewing, breathing, and thinking as integral to her process. Her sculptures, collages, textiles, artist’s books, and installations are inspired by a range of sources—including poems by Lucretius, Vladimir Mayakovsky, and Dylan Thomas, texts and textile designs by Anni Albers, and carved hair and garments from classical Greek and Roman sculpture. Frid says she has “come to recognize how texts are sensuous experiences that embrace syntax but also exceed it through substance, color, and form.” Although her work “intersects with and borrows from written language,” she continues, “it also wrestles with language and its limits across the less verbal aspects of art and life.”

The exhibition centers around twenty-five graphite and embroidery works from Frid’s ongoing Words from Obituaries series, begun in 2010. The artist sorts through her archive of New York Times obituaries, finding moments of language that both resonate with the life of the deceased and operate outside of their source as evocative fragments of text. For example, “ONLY ONE FROM EARTH,” is a snippet taken from the obituary for Lucia Pamela, a musician who claimed she had recorded an album on the moon, while “TO FIND IT HAD BEEN WRITTEN BY A WOMAN” comes from the obituary of Iranian poet and activist Simin Behbahani. Frid classifies her selection into a color-coded system, removes spaces and punctuation, and stitches the words into graphite-covered paper that is mounted on canvas, encouraging a slow reading and an appreciation for the material inclinations of language. The artist will create a new iteration of Evidence of the Material World especially for this exhibition. Referring to a text about the nature of the universe by Roman poet and philosopher Lucretius, the work is comprised of thin sheets of graphite-covered paper installed in response to University Galleries’ architectural space. Frid will also debut two new sculptures, including The light emitted now will reach the observer in the future / The light emitted in the past could have reached the observer at any given time. Featuring an expanse of draped reflective foil-covered canvas, the work is a meditation on the correlation between time, distance, and our perception of starlight. The second sculpture, From before you had a name, features peacock ore, aragonite, obsidian, sand selenite rose, and fluorite—stones and minerals from the geographical region now known as Mexico.

University Galleries has partnered with Milner Library and the Children’s Discovery Museum to develop public programming in conjunction with this exhibition.

October 21 through December 17: Hilo de Vías: Selected Artist’s Books will be on view at Illinois State University’s Milner Library (6th floor, near Special Collections). This presentation of eight artist’s books by Dianna Frid was co-organized by Milner Library’s Exhibitions Committee and University Galleries.Saturday, October 21 at 1pm: Exhibition tour and workshop presented in conjunction with the Children’s Discovery Museum. Participants will meet at the CDM, come to University Galleries for a curator-led tour, and return to the CDM for an art-making activity. To sign up for this free program, contact Rachel at rcarpenter@normal.org, (309) 433-3468 ext. 3449, or visit the Museum’s website, www.childrensdiscoverymuseum.net.Tuesday, October 24 at 10am: Dianna Frid will lead a tour of her exhibition of artist’s books at Milner Library.Dianna Frid will lead gallery walks on Tuesday, October 24 at 12pm and Saturday, November 4 at 12pm. The November 4 event is scheduled in conjunction with Illinois State University’s Family Weekend.

All events are free and open to the public. Contact gallery@ilstu.edu or 309.438.5487 to schedule exhibition tours.

Dianna Frid’s work has been exhibited at Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; MoMA P.S.1, Long Island City, New York; Biblioteca Francisco de Burgoa, Oaxaca, Mexico; DePaul Art Museum, Chicago; The Poetry Foundation, Chicago; Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Minneapolis; National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago; the Center for Book Arts, New York; and Galleria Alberto Peola, Turin, Italy, among many others. She has received grants, fellowships, and awards from the MacArthur Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts, Alfredo Harp Helú Foundation, University of Illinois Chicago, Illinois Arts Council, and Artadia. Her work is included in the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, the Cleveland Clinic, Vassar College Special Collections Library, DePaul Art Museum, and Charles E. Young Research Library at University of California Los Angeles. Frid, who lives in Chicago, is an Associate Professor at University of Illinois Chicago.

Dianna Frid: IT TAKES TIME, Selected Works from 2009 through 2017 is organized by University Galleries’ Senior Curator Kendra Paitz and is sponsored by the Harold K. Sage Foundation and the Illinois State University Foundation Fund. This exhibition is co-sponsored by MECCPAC, a Dean of Students Office Diversity Initiative. Frid is pleased to acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts. Programs at University Galleries are sponsored in part by the Illinois Arts Council Agency. The opening reception is sponsored by Hyatt Place, Bloomington-Normal.

Past dates

Download schedule


  • Starting Tuesday, October 24th, 2017, repeated every day until Sunday, December 17, 2017 @ 9:30 am – 5:00 pm


University Galleries

11 Uptown Circle, STE 103
Normal, IL 61761


Jason Judd

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