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HCC gallery to display Sensing Synonyms by Whitney Johnson and Alissa Palmer

November 2, 2017

Sensing Synonyms WorksThe Joe McCauley Gallery at Heartland Community College presents Sensing Synonyms, a two-artist show featuring works by Whitney Johnson and Alissa Palmer. The exhibit is on display now through Friday, January 26. An artist reception takes place Thursday, January 25 from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. at the gallery.

Sensing Synonyms features two artists whose work is grounded in shared sensibilities. On view are individual works by Johnson and Palmer and a large constellation-like grouping of both artists' work, composed and installed by the artists on site in the gallery.

As the exhibition title indicates, these artists share a visual vocabulary. Though each artist is distinct, their works echo one another.  

Johnson investigates pieces of material networks, cycles and connections in a desire to feel the natural and physical worlds and their shifts. Palmer focuses on the sense of touch to elicit, mingle and direct her everyday experience in paint. Together, they explore organic forms, compositional rhythms and layering techniques, while contrasting elements of transparency and opacity, delicacy and bluntness, bold color and neutral values.

About the Artists

Whitney Johnson

Johnson grew up outside of Lowpoint, IL, and currently lives and works in Bloomington-Normal. She is a recent graduate from Illinois State University with a BFA in Painting and BS in Art Education. She has studied at the New South Wales Art Education Curriculum in Australia.

Her works have been exhibited in Bloomington-Normal, Peoria, Champaign, Pekin, and Evanston, IL and are in the collections of Milner Library and the Normal Editions Workshop at Illinois State University.

Johnson received first place for university level painting at the 89th Annual Amateur Art Exhibition at the McClean County Arts Center in 2016. At ISU, she received a Friends of the Arts grant, the Larry and Patricia (Hunkler) Stagen Endowed Teaching Scholarship and two Irving S. Tick Awards.

Johnson has taught at Bent Elementary School, Bloomington High School, Pekin Academy of Fine Arts, and the Boys and Girls Club. Her teaching experience includes serving as Teaching Assistant at the Ox-Bow School of Art in Michigan and as Art Studio Coordinator at the Children’s Discovery Museum in Normal.

Alissa Palmer

Palmer is a Bloomington High School graduate and a current Illinois State University student. She will receive a BFA in Painting this spring. She is the recipient of the Mary Walker Scholarship and Terry Adkins Memorial Scholarship for Diversity from ISU's School of Fine Arts.

Palmer’s most recent exhibit is Time In, Time Out, which displayed at the Transpace Gallery in ISU’s Center for the Visual Arts. In 2016, she exhibited at The Second Show, Inaugural Exhibition and STACK PACK PUNCH in 2016. Her works were juried into the 2016 Student Annual at ISU’s University Galleries and the 89th and 90th Annual Amateur Art Exhibitions at the Mclean County Art Center where she was awarded second place for university level graphics in 2017.

About the Joe McCauley Gallery 

Exhibits, events, and parking at Heartland’s Joe McCauley Gallery are free. The gallery is located in room 2507 of the Instructional Commons Building on Heartland's Normal campus, 1500 W. Raab Road. Hours are weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 

For more information about this exhibit, contact Danell Dvorak, gallery coordinator, at, or call Heartland’s Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Department at (309) 268-8620.

Written by: Timothy Bill