Art exhibition confronts borders, the viral spread of ideas

Cedar Rapids artist wants visitors to the Figge Museum to find their own meaning in his work

Jane Gilmor’s “Breakfast on Pluto” exhibit at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport includes pieces she found while cleaning and remaking her studio. (Photo submitted)

DAVENPORT – As Jane Gilmor and the staff at the Figge Art Museum finished installing her exhibit, a visitor passed by and said she didn’t know what was in the gallery, but it was great .

“This is the answer I always hope for,” Gilmor said.

It’s important that people find their own meaning in his work, Gilmor said, rather than explaining what each sculpture means. People can now explore the fluidity of boundaries and the consequences of viral ideas and find their own connection to them at the Figge Art Museum.

Gilmor’s new exhibit, “Breakfast on Pluto,” will be open until February 6 at Figge’s Katz Gallery. An artist talk with Gilmor will accompany the exhibit at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, with in-person and virtual options. Interested persons must register for the event on the museum website.

Information on the Figge Art Museum

Where: 225 W. Second St., Davenport

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday

Cost: $ 10 for adults, $ 6 for seniors and students, $ 4 for children aged 4 to 12

Find out more: visit

Gilmor’s career dates back approximately 50 years, tackling social issues from different eras and changing narratives.

“From her early work during the women’s art movement of the 1970s to recent sculptures referencing current issues, Jane Gilmor continues to challenge us,” said Michelle Hargrave, executive director and CEO of Figge, in a press release. “Her work gives us the chance to reflect on our own life experiences through the pieces on display. “

Gilmor – who lives in Cedar Rapids – has visited the Figge before. She has a piece in Figge’s permanent collection, resulting from a project she carried out during the Bix Festival in 1991. However, this is her first exhibition at the museum.

The pieces in the exhibit are made up of things Gilmor found while cleaning up his workshop after his retirement. The first sculpture she made looked like illustrations of the coronavirus – spherical with blunt pointed protrusions. It was an accident, she said, but it fit into one of the ideas she wanted to convey.

“This is literal viral spread, but it calls into question the viral spread of ideas and issues, and what is good or bad about it,” she said.

The fluidity of borders, limits and binaries, and their questioning, is also discussed. Problems with the designated space, such as isolation from the COVID-19 pandemic and immigrants trying to cross borders, have been prevalent recently. However, she wants people to create their own narrative by looking at the plays.

It’s a very physical experience and difficult to express, Gilmor said.

She said she was delighted to see her work on display in the Figge, as its white walls and open rooms lend themselves well to her viewing.

“It’s such an amazing space,” she said.

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Reggie S. Williams

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