Blog

Current and Past Exhibitions

Goodwyn Gallery, AUM

We manage a robust rotating calendar of exhibitions, ranging from the work of local and national practicing artists, to student and faculty shows, and exhibitions organized by Museum Studies students and Art History faculty.

Take a peek at what’s coming next!

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Spring Senior Show: “Flourish,” Joanne Spotswood

The Fine Arts Department is pleased to present “Flourish,” a thesis exhibition by graduating painting major Joanne Spotswood. “Flourish” is on view from April 28 through May 4, 2018 in Goodwyn Gallery. The artist will be available in the space to discuss her art with visitors on May 2nd, 2:00-4:00 pm, and May 4th, from 4:00-5:00 pm.

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Joanne’s elaborate embroidery works, which take the form of liturgical vestments and veils, are complex and meticulously crafted. They critique traditional gender roles, while also operating as religious and biographical indices. As she explains, the “five liturgical vestments – garments worn by a priest during religious rituals such as the Mass – and three veils [that] could be worn by women during sacramental celebrations. Although these are traditional religious garments, they are not intended to be used or experienced solely in the traditional sense.” These ghostly, bodiless costumes hang from the gallery ceiling and are both haunting and inviting.

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In her artist statement, Spotswood elaborates on the relationship between devotion, gender, and the floral imagery of her embroidery. She writes, “Historically, the decoration on such liturgical clothing was made with hand-embroidery, a medium with strong female associations. The detailed representations of soft, floral imagery in this collection are intended to emphasize the feminine character and nature of traditional embroidery and juxtapose the traditionally masculine nature of the liturgical garments.”

Joanne continues, “I chose to use embroidery to decorate these garments because of the medium’s historical association with women’s work. Embroidery can also be understood as a devotional practice because it is a time intensive process and its repetitive motions help create a meditative state for the embroiderer. In the case of this collection, the act of devotion is a self-reflexive one. The medium, the process of creation, and the floral imagery all express powerful feminine associations, instilling the works with my personal femininity. Furthermore, the specific plants that I have chosen to depict are ones that I associate with my life in gardens of the Southeastern United States. These gardens were those of my mother and grandmothers, all extremely devout women. In these gardens I was surrounded simultaneously by flowers, which I was not allowed to pick, and religious statues and iconography. Every embroidered plant flourishes at the peak of its own season, calling back to a lifetime of memories rather than a specific one. In this way, this collection is a garden for and of myself, depicted on veils I am prescribed to wear, and priestly clothes that I am not allowed to wear.”

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Capturing the Mystical: Marc Chagall, Art, Love, and Salvation

The Fine Arts Department is pleased to present “Capturing the Mystical: Marc Chagall, Art, Love, and Salvation,” curated by AUM graduating senior and Art History major Elise Sottile. The exhibition is on view from April 12 through April 23 in Goodwyn Gallery. Drawn from the Fine Arts Department collection, “Capturing the Mystical” explores the work of Marc Chagall and places them into conversation with other artists – Max Hunziker, Chaim Gross, and Joseph Margulies – interested in religious (in the Judea-Christian tradition) or spiritual expression.

As Sottile explains in the exhibition text, the Russian-French artist Marc Chagall (1887-1985) was inspired by Hasidism, an Orthodox movement of Judaism meaning “mystical union.” A key component of Hasidism is the relationship between the divine and the manifestation of God in the physical world. His subjects represent both the terrestrial and celestial realms, exploring emotional intimacy, love, and the soul. His artworks combine cubist and surrealist styles and use unusual line work and bright colors. For Chagall, art could transform an idea, challenge a perspective, or change perceived truths, while devotional and platonic love were represented as a cosmic component to the individual experience.

 

Spring senior show: Cason McDermott & Amy LaPointe

The Fine Arts Department is pleased to present a joint exhibition of the work of 2018 graduating AUM students Cason McDermott and Amy LaPointe. The exhibition will be on view in Goodwyn Gallery through Wednesday, April 11th and features artwork by both students executed in various media.

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Graphic Design major Amy LaPointe describes what brought her to art in her artist statement, writing: ” … the culmination of anything is the highest or climactic point of that something, especially as attained after a long time. That is what I am presenting to you here … As you can see, I absolutely thrived in the fine arts classes. Storm at Sunset … is actually a representation of tumultuous emotions, a blend of bright joyful feelings and painful memories. Binding Bands has several layers as well. The bands are an Asante symbol know as “Ese Ne Tekrema,” literally meaning ‘the teeth and the tongue,’ and they represent how friends can create conflict but still work together in harmony. The gemstones are the birth stones of some of my closest friends, and the colors within the bands represent the emotions that I associate with those friends, both positive and negative.”

Visual Arts major Cason McDermott likewise outlines her journey through art, explaining how: ” … art gave me vitality and each piece has hints of that within it. Art has a power to restore a person and give them the power to create something out of nothing. That’s what my art is all about. It’s about the process of restoration. It’s about bringing something dead back to life and to full vitality. It’s about finally finding your home after being lost for so long. These pieces reflect that restoration in my life. These pieces for me are how I turned a suicide note into a paper airplane.”

Making their Own Way: Women Artists

From March 2 through April 30, 2018, the Fine Arts Department, in cooperation with  the Office of Student Affairs – Diversity & Inclusion, presents Making their Own Way: Women Artists in The Global Education Center, Taylor 219-220.

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Left to right: Doris Emrick Lee (1905-1983), The Dove; Norma Gloria Morgan (b. 1928), Moor Lodge; Myrna Baez (b. 1931), Casa del Anabel; Ruth Cyril (1920-1985), Moonlit Pond.

For centuries, women were excluded from public life, professions, and institutions. They faced difficulties entering the arts as well. Historically, a reliance on drawing from the nude human body in art school prevented women from attaining proper training. However, as social and cultural boundaries expanded across the twentieth century, women gained (and demanded) greater freedoms. In spite of their efforts, the contemporary art world remains a male dominated sphere, something women artists practicing today and activist groups like the “Guerrilla Girls” aim to redress.

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Left to right: Lila Copeland (b. 1912), Andrea Drawing; Clare Romano (1922-2017), Caracalla II.

The eight works on view, drawn from the Fine Arts Department collection, reveal the variety of styles and subjects women artists address. The exhibit asks you to consider: How can you be an ally in the fight for equal rights and gender equality – not just in the arts, but in all aspects of your daily life?

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Left to right: Käthe Kollwitz, Woman with Bowed Head; Käthe Kollwitz, Praying Girl.

 

“Extracted,” Annie B. Campbell solo exhibition

Goodwyn Gallery is pleased to present “Extracted,” a solo exhibition of the work of Annie B. Campbell, which will be on view January 29 through March 23, 2018. Campbell serves as an Assistant Professor of Fine Art at Auburn University and is the visiting artist for Auburn University at Montgomery’s annual Southern Studies Conference. As a component of the Southern Studies Conference program, Campbell will give an Artist Talk on Friday, February 9th at 4:45 pm in Goodwyn Hall 109, followed by a Gallery Reception at 5:45 pm.

 

Annie B. Campbell holds a B.F.A. in ceramics from the Department of Crafts and Material Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University and an M.F.A. in studio ceramics from Indiana University-Bloomington. Professor Campbell has held prestigious artist residencies at the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts & Sciences in Rabun Gap, GA, Studio 550 in Manchester, NH, and the Scottish Sculpture Workshop in Aberdeenshire.

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Campbell’s artworks, executed primarily in various ceramic media, range from installation and freestanding pieces to wall mounted sculpture. While the format of her innovative sculptural practice ranges, her subject matter remains consistently engaged in interrogating the ways that individuals engage with, exist in, and transform the natural environment. Her current projects address the environmental effects of extraction and transportation of fossil fuels and the forestry industry, both of which are key industries for central Alabama. Due to her focus on art and the natural environment, her work is particularly relevant to contemporary  regional issues and concerns, making her a perfect fit for AUM’s annual Southern Studies Conference.

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Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky / We fell them down and turn them into paper / That we may record our emptiness. (Kahlil Gibran)

As Campbell explains in her artist statement: “My current portfolio encompasses two bodies of work united by a common concept. One uses maps in the form of stylized tree trunks to signify disconnection from the natural world. The other draws parallels between the human figure and tree forms. Overall, my work investigates environmental destruction and our relationship to its effects, both physical and psychological. The work exemplifies the innate connection between humans and the earth, and illustrates that we are unwittingly conducting ourselves toward our own demise. In doing so I draw a connection between the health of the environment and the health of ourselves, for we are inexorably linked.”

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“Extracted” is funded, in part, by a generous grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts. 

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Annie B. Campbell’s website: http://anniebcampbell.com/

Southern Studies Conference: http://www.cas.aum.edu/community-resources/southern-studies-conference

History in Action: LIFE Magazine & The Civil Rights Movement

The Department of Fine Arts is pleased to announce the special exhibition “History in Action: LIFE Magazine & The Civil Rights Movement,” organized for the Office of Student Affairs Diversity & Inclusion in celebration of Black History Month. The exhibition is located in The Global Education Center, Taylor 219-220, Taylor Center, Auburn University at Montgomery, and will be up from January 12 – March 2, 2018.  HistoryinAction_Page_1Between 1936 and 1972, LIFE magazine was the most popular weekly periodical in America, circulating 13.5 million copies per week. As an illustrated magazine publishing interviews and photo-essays, LIFE was integral to shaping the ways that 20th-century Americans understood and imagined the world around them. LIFE magazine addressed political, social, and cultural events, including documenting the Civil Rights Movement through photographs and stories.

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This exhibition showcases important LIFE magazine covers from this era, such as the March on Washington, alongside photographs which focus on Alabama: images of the WWII-era Tuskegee Airmen, the 1963 “Stand in the schoolhouse door” to prevent the desegregation of schools in Tuscaloosa, AL, the 1963 march in memory of children killed in the Birmingham bombing, the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, and images of African American voters in Alabama.

Taken together, this exhibition tells a story about the ways in which photographs and popular publications shape our understanding of history, presents African American citizens in Alabama as active agents in the fight for Civil Rights, and encourages us to consider the state of race relations today in America.

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The exhibition was curated by Dr. Naomi Slipp, Assistant Professor of Art History, Auburn University at Montgomery, with materials drawn from the 2012 special exhibition, “Silhouettes of Courage: Marching to Equality,” organized by former AUM Art History Professor Dr. Keri Watson.

Winter senior show: Herschel Orum

Graduating senior Herschel Orum’s exhibition, “Afro Punk,” is hosted by the Department of Fine Arts and is on view in Goodwyn Gallery from December 6th, 2017 through January 12th, 2018. Hershel’s mixed media works are inspired by the collaged-materials aesthetic of Afro Punk Fest and engage with social, aesthetic, and historical issues, such as the African diaspora, Southern art history, the legacies of slavery in America, and African American cultural syncretism.

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Herschel’s lengthy artist statement succinctly outlines his artistic inspirations, historical references, and personal vision.  He writes:

“The inspiration behind this exhibition is derived from a cultural phenomenon – AfroPunk Fest. For those unfamiliar with this event, Afro Punk is known for bringing individuals with varied backgrounds together via music and fashion to inspire, inform and provoke liberal freedoms of expression. The allure behind Afro Punk spurs from the aggregation of great music and cultural education. The melodic entertainment is often the appeal that draws the crowd to the annual festival; however, audiences are also informed of the struggles in the African diaspora on a massive scale at the event. I have comprised this ensemble of sculptures and paintings as an abstract approach to facets of this cultural event.

 

In the summer of 2017, I took a class entitled “Art in the South” at Auburn University at Montgomery. This insightful class influenced me a great deal as I learned about Africans that were brought to the Americas. In addition to learning more about the journey of Africans, I acquired more knowledge into their innate creativity and homeland influences that traveled with them through art, fashion, music and folklore. I often found myself feeling emotional and proud throughout my time in this class. It was through this class that I found more confidence and creativity in my artistry because I realized that I was born into my creativity – creativity stemming from a beautiful place that pulses with rhythm and color.

 

It was my newfound inspiration in artistry that led me to discover the Afro-Punk Festival. I chose the Afro-Punk Festival to be my muse because of the all-inclusive and liberating freedoms the patrons are encouraged to express. I believe that freedom of expression is essential in my craft because as a creative it’s crucial to have the ability to express the world through my personal lens. Whether it be expressions of love, injustice or acceptance of self and others, art serves as a historical key using sensory stimulation. The expressive elements are the bases of ethnic displacements in America.

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My initial introduction to the inspiration behind this exhibition stemmed from watching my grandmother make large, beautiful quilts as a child. This time with my grandmother helped me understand the essence of taking what appears to be useless material and transforming it into beautiful masterpieces. I fused this very pertinent lesson with my sculptor’s perspective to fashion materials that have seemingly been discarded to help reflect the concept of Afro Punk here. The exhibit is a combination of several assorted styles of art used to express the beauty of the festival.

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I wanted to focus on the messages that are central to AfroPunk Fest – political awareness, social activism, expression through music and fashion and safety for all. As in the times of my African ancestors, music is often a medium used to communicate important messages to the masses. As such, many of my pieces are connected to song titles and music artists that use their platform to communicate messages of awareness to the masses. These artists exemplify the fact that while we are all different, we all have the ability to make a statement through the passions and skill sets we each possess.

I created these pieces to express the diversity that is America and to demonstrate how music is a universal language that connects us all. The way that people choose to adorn themselves at the AfroPunk Fest is an outward expression of how the music connects with each person individually. As such, the blend of patterns and materials in this exhibit reflects this ornate demonstration at the festival. I believe that highlighting both the music and fashion associated with this event is a crucial element to this exhibit.

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I hope my audience will gain inspiration from this exhibition. Inspiration to not only express their creativity and individuality but also to find ways to interact with the world around them in a proactive and positive way. While we do not all share the same world view, it is imperative to take the time to understand the perspectives of those around us and find creative ways to come together.”

Winter senior Show: Amelia Griffin

The Department of Fine Arts is pleased to present “Empathy,” an exhibition of paintings by graduating senior Amelia Griffin on view in Goodwyn Gallery from November 27 through December 1, 2017. Ten oil on canvas portraits picture the artist’s friends and family.

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Drawn from digital photographs posted on Facebook, the artist intends to raise questions “relating to what can be viewed for public and/or private consumption…The paintings are material evidence of a visual, rather than a spoken dialogue, with the subject.” Beyond a practice in visual understanding, subjects were also invited to visit the exhibition in person, in order to “confront their portraits.”

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In this way, Griffin hopes to forge deeper connections with her subjects. As she explains in her artist statement: “Emotions, euphoria, and loss are conveyed through the tactile skin of oil paint…My act of giving completes the cathartic time-based cycle of contemplation through the process of making art within the solitary meditative confines of the studio.” The spaces of private and public therefore blur in “Empathy,” both through the processes of making and of exhibiting.

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What would your Facebook feed look like in painted portraits? How often are we asked to quickly empathize with an individual through a photograph on social media? How does that change the ways that we emotionally relate to and engage with our friends and family? “Empathy” asks us to contemplate these very questions and consider the ways that we share the important moments of our lives in a very public digital world.

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Winter senior show: Kayla Lee

In Winter 2017, the Department of Fine Arts hosts three graduating senior exhibitions. The first exhibition, “Space & Spirit” is up through Friday, November 17th and features the work of Photography major Kayla Lee.

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Inspired by Eckhart Tolle’s discussion of “Space Consciousness” in The Power of Now, Lee’s immersive exhibition focuses on the intersections between the physical and spiritual dimensions of form often made evident when one observes the night sky. As Lee explains in her artist’s statement: “We look at the starts and fail to recognize or acknowledge the infinite depth and magnitude of the space, which is far greater and more awe inspiring than the finite forms within it.”

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Lee invites visitors to “enter this environment so you may discover your own inner space in this vast universe.” The exhibition includes photographic works in the first half of the gallery and a light and sound installation in the back of the space. Due to the dark lighting in the gallery, the Department of Fine Arts asks visitors to exercise additional caution when navigating the space.

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Visiting Artist Erin Palmer: ‘Still Life’

The Fine Arts Department is pleased to present the special exhibition, ‘Still Life,’ featuring the work of Erin L. Palmer, M.F.A., Associate Professor of drawing and painting, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Organized by Andrew Hairstans, Associate Professor of Fine Arts at AUM, the exhibition runs from Monday, October 2  through Friday, October 27th in Goodwyn Gallery.
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 Erin L. Palmer’s exhibition ‘Still Life’ draws together twelve still life paintings, each  of which investigates seemingly mundane subject matter in mostly sparse, spare compositions. Palmer pays careful attention to detail, light, and the visual effects created by reflective surfaces. On occasion, the artist also inserts herself into the composition as a fragmented, captured reflection peering out at the viewer.

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Still life painting emerged as a distinctive genre in 16th-century Dutch art. A still life is a work of art that depicts either natural inanimate subjects, such as fruits and vegetables, flowers, dead animals, and shells, or man-made objects, such as vessels, books, and instruments. Many still life paintings also reference the vanitas or memento mori tradition, wherein arrangements of sumptuous objects that relate to the passage of time operate as symbolic reminders of life’s impermanence and man’s mortality. Artists from Pieter Claesz (Dutch, 1597-1661) to Paul Cezanne (French, 1839-1906) have used still life as a space for observational study, pictorial experimentation, and personal expression.

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Erin Palmer received her MFA from Yale School of Art in 1993. Her work is primarily figurative, drawn from direct observation, and is included in a number of private collections. For more information about Palmer, visit her SIU faculty page.

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