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A & E

Joliet Junior College gallery director hosts retirement art exhibition

Joe Milosevich's retirement art exhibition connects a lifetime of interests

JOLIET – Collected object assemblage.

These words describe the artwork that will be displayed Sept. 12 to Oct. 15 at Joliet Junior College's Laura Sprague Gallery. "The End and the Beginning" is the retirement art exhibition of Joe B. Milosevich, gallery director and JJC studio art professor, who is beginning his 38th year at the college and will retire in May.

A reception will be held Sept. 11 for Milosevich in the gallery.

"Most people would call this 'found object sculpture,' but I like the term 'collected' as opposed to 'found,'" Milosevich said. "I do find things randomly, but it's a collection at the same time."

Milosevich said he has collected objects his entire life: rocks, leaves, insects, bird feathers coins, stamps, and various models, ranging from knights to monsters. He veers toward the vintage, especially toys, wood (flexible to use), furniture like his grandparents owned and anything with an interesting patina to them, which echoes the type of surfaces he liked creating with paint.

"I think my painting and drawing background made me aware of the beauty of surfaces," Milosevich said.

Milosevich's boyhood piano teacher was an ornithologist, which spurred Milosevich's penchant for sketching birds. In fact, during the 1980s and 1990, Milosevich said he did some bird surveys for the Will County Forest Preserve District.

His love for art and his respect for his father Sam Milosevich, who taught at Unity High School in Tolono, where Milosevich grew up, inspired Milosevich's career choice.

Milosevich studied art education at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, and then later earn his master's in painting and drawing from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.

After working as a sabbatical replacement at Kansas State University and then the University of Minnesota, Milosevich accepted a tenured position at JJC in 1979 and remained. Calling himself a teacher first and then an artist, Milosevich dotes on the spontaneity and interaction that is part of an art studio classroom.

He's scarcely noticed the passing years.

"The students keep me young," Milosevich said with a smile.

What Milosevich has noticed is the interconnection of his interests in his artwork, which now makes sense to him. The 63-year-old Crest Hill man has no firm plans for retirement except travel and creating artwork.

It's his artwork, the best pieces of his professional career, Milosevich said, that's he's pleased to share with the Joliet area community. Although the objects he used are familiar and accessible to most people, Milosevich feels the way he chooses to use them may confound some viewers.

And that's OK, he said. Even Milosevich doesn't always fully understand his work.
"I think that's what keeps it alive, the fact a little mystery remains," Milosevich said.

WHAT: Joe B. Milosevich artist reception
WHEN: 2 to 5 p.m. Sept. 11
WHERE: Joliet Junior College, Laura Sprague Gallery, 1215 Houbolt Road, Joliet
ETC: Exhibit runs Sept. 12 through Oct. 15. Gallery hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday. Some of the pieces were done in collaboration with other JJC artists, including Ashley N. Dedin (former JJC art student), Rodrigo Montoya (current JJC art student), Pedro J. Palacios (current JJC art student), and James R. White (former JJC art faculty)

CONTACT: For more information, call Milosevich at 815-280-2423

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