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Wednesday, June 7, 2006 03:41 am

CAP CITY

Prairie House’s Gale Myers exhibits in Japan – and we have finalists

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The Springfield Air Rendezvous’ Mary Minder coordinated the transformation of Washington Street north of the Center into a runway of fun. SAR held its 13th annual fundraiser, “PreVous Party,” on May 26. The next Air Rendezvous will be held
PHOTOGRAPH BY EUGENE KNOX
ASIAN PERSUASION Illinois has gently rolling fields and vast unkempt places. Japan has towering mountains and meticulously manicured gardens. But when Springfield photographer Gale Myers looks through her lens, they don’t seem all that different. This week Myers, manager of the Prairie House Gallery, embarks on her third trip to Japan, a three-week outing for the opening of her photography exhibit at the Ashikaga Institute of Technology. The exhibit consists of 20 photographs, 10 taken in Illinois and 10 in Japan. The exhibit connects the two through ideas, colors, and shapes. “At first glance, there are no similarities,” Myers says. “Everything is switched around. But after you get to know people, the families are just like our families. Once you boil it down, people are similar to each other.” Myers says she was never particularly interested in Japan until her daughter, Quinne, wanted to take a summer Japanese language course at the University of Illinois at Springfield being taught by Toshi Maeda, an Ashikaga native. Myers decided that if she was going to drive her 14-year-old daughter to the university, she might as well stay and take the course herself. “I just kept going,” Myers says. “[Quinne’s] off doing something else, and I’m still taking classes.” Myers met a professor in Ashikaga on one of her trips and inquired about exhibiting her photography. He later e-mailed and offered her a spot in the showroom of the university, in downtown Ashikaga. “I was thrilled to death,” Myers says. It took about a month for Myers to select the photos. Among the 10 pairs for the exhibit, two photographs display the difference between manhole covers in Japan and Illinois; many of the Japanese covers carry intricate floral designs. Another match consists of a statue of the great Illinois thinker Abraham Lincoln with a reproduction of Auguste Rodin’s “The Thinker” that sits in front of the auditorium of a Japanese textile company. A photo of children flying kites at Springfield’s Centennial Park sledding hill is paired with one of Myers’ favorite photo, a young girl playing with a ball outside a sports complex in Japan. — Marissa Monson
AND THE FINALISTS ARE . . . Staff writer Dusty Rhodes is a finalist in the columnist category of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies’ annual editorial contest. Rhodes was recognized for dinging a drunk cop, musing about a former librarian accused of theft, and giving a written ovation to SPD Sgt. Matt Fricke. Also named a finalist is freelancer Matthew Brown of Brooklyn for his photographs of Springfield’s South Town neighborhood, published in the Sept. 8 edition. Brown previously worked in Springfield as an intern at the State Journal-Register. AAN is a national trade organization that represents newspapers such as the Village Voice, the Chicago Reader, and LA Weekly.
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