The Illinois State Museum in Springfield is hosting on Nov. 20 a “brown bag” lecture on the works of Eleanor Spiess-Ferris, a Chicago-area artist known for her use of the female figure in her paintings.
Titled “Daphne’s Sister: The Art of Eleanor Spiess-Ferris,” the lecture by ISM Curator of Art Doug Stapleton will be free and open to the public at the museum’s Research and Collections Center.
Stapleton plans to discuss the influences, ideas and references in Spiess-Ferris’ paintings, some of which are on display on the museum’s second floor gallery in an exhibition of the same name. The exhibit covers over 40 years of Spiess-Ferris’ career and runs through Feb. 16, 2020.
The lecture will also dive into a broader history of narrative painting and will review the various artist movements that have influenced Spiess-Ferris’ signature style.
According to the museum, Spiess-Ferris’ work is unique in Chicago art history in its attention to “narrative bodies, telling stories of personal, spiritual and environmental crises.” The roots of her work can be traced to Mannerist and Baroque arts, along with Symbolist and Surrealist approaches to the fantastic and unreal situations her female divas are often placed in.
Photos courtesy of the artist via ISM