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Tamara Browning: Lincoln Land gallery becomes Soosloff's 'stage'

Wednesday, December 01, 2010  
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Posted Dec 01, 2010 @ 11:00 PM

The large ceramic figure of a forlorn-looking man standing near a downtown coffee shop with his arm wrapped around a light pole is an example of sculptor PHILIP SOOSLOFF’s figurative, narrative, mixed-media sculpture embodying the idea that "all the world’s a stage.”

Among Soosloff’s wall sculptures exhibited at the James S. Murray Gallery at Lincoln Land Community College, the dark, gritty sculpture in question suggests a scene of a man on the outside looking in. The man is looking toward a picture window of "Al’s Place Coffee Shop,” in which two figures are sitting at a table.

Many of Soosloff’s works hit a chord with viewers as they write in a comments notebook nearby:

• "I’m blown away. Super jealous of this talent. Keep at it!”

• "So realistic — really interesting. Can relate to the art.”

• "Great stuff! Fun to look at. Especially liked some of the detail ... ”

Soosloff, chairman of the art department and an associate professor at Rockford College, has been a working artist for more than 20 years. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is in private and museum collections.

Soosloff’s works are created of epoxy, wood, metal, foam and clay, and the surfaces are finished with acrylic and oil paints. He creates environments, landscapes or cityscapes and adds figures as vehicles for his messages.

"These vignettes describe poignant moments in time where circumstances converge to describe a feeling or way of looking at the world,” a press release states.

"They are sometimes humorous, reflective or melancholy, but always reveal an insight into his feelings and interpretations of the world.”

A displayed wall sculpture that could depict the madness in a downtown street full of bustling taxis is one in which a man stands on a median while taxis travel to-and-fro.

With overcoat and tie blown askew, the man, with his mouth open, has his hands planted on both sides of his face in apparent desperation.

In another sculpture, a man awaits the arrival of a train in a tunnel. He passes the time by "singing” into his umbrella handle with his briefcase by his side. On a tunnel wall are signs that state: "Bankrupt? Refinance. Low percent. Easy/Fast.” and "Visit Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada.” The singing man resembles Elvis. The whole sculpture has a megaphone effect in which the tunnel platform and railroad tracks jut out.

Soosloff’s website is

The James S. Murray Gallery is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. The sculptures will be displayed through Dec. 16.

Tamara Browning is a columnist and feature writer for The State Journal-Register. She can be reached at 788-1534 or

This story appeared at on December 1, 2010.

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