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From The DEMO - An Experience With 'Hard Candy'

Rachel Otwell

On Friday I headed over with a friend to the small white house on the campus of the Springfield Art Association. The Edwards Place is just across the parking lot - a huge pale pink house with green shutters, it's the oldest in Springfield and has much historical significance - Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd were married there. 

Credit Jenny Sawyer
Rebecca Murtaugh stands by her art

There was a formal event happening inside Edwards Place, people dressed in suits and gowns came and went - it was a stark contrast to the happening at the  home we walked into.

Outside a group of about 20 people hung around on the lawn and the porch, speaking with the artists. A steady stream of visitors came and went from inside the house - an alternative art space known as the DEMO Project, the name is a nod to the fact it is slated to be demolished in the future to make room for developments. The inside of the house - which is an open white space with hardwood floors - features the work of Chicago-area artist Allison Reimus and Brooklyn artist Rebecca Murtaugh. The exhibition is called 'Hard Candy'.

My friend and I spent some time walking in circles around the space - she called the overall vibe: "gaudy in a good way." That assessment came from the use of bright neon colors on the sculptural pieces by Murtaugh, which we later learned were house paint - the kind you wonder who would ever use, though they did make for interesting and loud pieces of art. Reimus' works were on canvas, though they used found pieces like pom-poms and even a piece of cement that came from the ceiling of her own home. The combination of the two artists' works made for a show to be savored, while processing themes of femininity, domestic life & rebirth. 

Listen to the interviews with the artists:

You can follow the DEMO Project here to keep track of times to see exhibits and take part in art openings, which happen there once a month.

Credit Jenny Sawyer
A collage of the art show

Rachel Otwell of the Illinois Times is a former NPR Illinois reporter.
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