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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!

Send this smile over to you …, work by Cason McDermott

Goodwyn Gallery celebrates the life of Cason McDermott with an exhibition of her artwork from Monday, November 18 through Friday, November 22, 2019. Cason was an alumna of the Fine Art Department and was deeply passionate about art and music. There will be a Gallery Reception on Tuesday, November 19th from 5:30-7:00 p.m. All are welcome to attend.

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In Practice: AUM Fine Arts Faculty Exhibition

Goodwyn Gallery is pleased to present the group exhibition, “In Practice,” highlighting art and scholarship by faculty from the Fine Arts Department at Auburn University at Montgomery. The exhibition is open from October 14 through November 15, 2019.

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The Gallery displays artwork by Andrew Hairstans, Associate Professor of Drawing and Painting; Sue Jensen, Associate Professor in Sculpture; Will Fenn, Chair of Department of Fine Arts & Associate Professor in Photography; Breuna Baine, Associate Professor in Graphic Design; Nikhil Ghodke, Assistant Professor in Graphic Design; Marguerite Gilbertson, Visiting Lecturer of Sculpture & Spatial Studies; Tony Veronese, Lecturer in Foundations and Core. Also on view are an original composition by Mark Benson, Honors Associate Professor of Music, and scholarship by Laura Whatley, Associate Professor of Art History and Naomi Slipp, Assistant Professor of Art History.

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Will Fenn, Ring My Bell, 2019, LAMBDA Print, and Untitled, Collodion on Aluminum; Andrew Hairstans, Clinic (A Model for Asylum), 2019, Charcoal on paper, and Development Arena (Recreation Area), 2014, Graphite, acrylic gesso, latex paint, illustration board, balsa wood and Xerox transfer on gesso board.

The artworks on view reveal a variety of studio and professional practices in the visual arts. This includes both figurative and abstract ceramic arts, metal sculpture, painting, photography, mixed media, and scholarship. They cover a range of topics and exemplify the output and range of work produced by the Department of Fine Arts faculty.

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Sue Jensen, Castles and Rainbow Finches, undated, Black clay fired to cone 4 with under glazes; Raku Vase, undated; Miriam (with Klee), undated, Stoneware clay with under glazes fired to cone 1, wood with gold leaf, and glass. 

For example, Andrew Hairstan’s explains how works on view from the series “A Modern for Asylum” deal with ” … three sociological concerns. The first is the impact of brutalist European modernist architecture that was developed within the early 1960s and continued into the 1970s. The second of these concerns is the migratory path of asylum seekers or refugees who form part of the current population of residents within these housing estates (project developments or “projects”). Many of these refugees are currently from Kosovo (the former Yugoslavia), Africa, Asia, Russia, Eastern Europe and Afghanistan. The third deals with surveillance. This body of work has been created by layering the following imagery: researching original archived architectural plans of Red Road, Glasgow, Scotland, UK. … This splicing of imagery and media (form) also alludes to the content (idea) of the project. The borrowed, layered and fused form of the works reflects the splicing together of a socio-political landscape within A Model for Asylum.”

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Nikhil Ghodke, Tasveer Film festival theme video, 2017.

Nikhil Ghodke – in writing about his video works – notes a productive tension between creative practice and commercial design. He explains how, “The videos … show two facets of me, industry experience and artistic expression. ‘Shifts’ comes from having lived in three continents and a lifelong interest in cultural nuances, and richness of our diversity as a human race. Most of the shots were filmed by me in NYC, Barcelona, Athens, Paris, Cairo and Mumbai. The music is an original score in collaboration with Ales Shishlo, a independent music composer. The Charles Hunter video was commissioned by UK based social health care company, the video explains the benefits of working with the company and uses principles of design and motion graphics to bring the message to life.”

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From left, works by A. Hairstans; B. Baine; M. Gilbertson; and T. Veronese.
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Breuna Baine, Janus 2, undated, mixed media.

Likewise, Breuna Baine describes in her artist statement how, “As a graphic designer by trade, I usually work to solve visual communication issues for clients. At one point, my mixed-media pieces were an attempt at finding new ways to approach graphic design ideas for book jackets and editorial illustrations. Now they are ‘calculated experiments’ that explore personal connection, lineage, and relationships with family members. Symbolism is a technique that I frequently use in graphic design, and it is essential in my experiments. I have built a small cache of symbols like plant roots, hands, circles, CB dials, men’s shirts, and stitches that I change depending on whom or what I want to represent.

Finally, Mark Benson submitted the sheet music for his original composition of the AUM Fight Song, while Naomi Slipp and Laura Whatley contributed recent art historical scholarship to the exhibition. Dr. Whatley’s publications include her two edited volumes: A Companion to Seals in the Middle Ages, Reading Medieval Sources 2 (Leiden: Brill, 2019), and The Crusades and Visual Culture (Burlington: Ashgate; Abingdon: Routledge, 2015), and the essays “Romance, Crusade and the Orient in King Henry III of England’s Royal Chambers,” Viator: UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies 44:30 (Fall, 2013), 175–198; “Shifting Paradigms of Place and Ritual on Crusader Seals Before and After the Fall of Acre in 1291,” in Paradigm Shifts, edited by Albrecht Classen (Turnhout: Brepols, 2019), 43–64; “Experiencing the Holy Land and Crusade in Matthew Paris’ Maps of Palestine,” in Visual Constructs of Jerusalem, edited by Bianca Kühnel … [et al.] (Turnhout: Brepols, 2014), 295–305; “Crusading for (Heavenly) Jerusalem: A Noble Woman, Devotion, and the Trinity Apocalypse,” in Devotional Interaction in Medieval England and its Afterlives (Leiden: Brill, 2018), 49-79; and “Visual Self-Fashioning and the Seals of the Knights Hospitallers in England,” in Remembering the Crusades: Myth, Image, and Identity, edited by Suzanne M. Yeager and Nick Paul (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012), 252–269. 

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Scholarship by Dr. Naomi Slipp, Dr. Mark Benson, and Dr. Laura Whatley.

 

Carving from Stone Reception

Goodwyn Gallery was pleased to host a reception for “Carving from Stone: The Sculpture of Brooks Barrow” on September 26th, 2019. There was a healthy turn-out of local artists,  professionals, and current AUM students, who enjoyed meeting the artist and viewing the sculptures.  The exhibition is open through October 11th – catch it before it closes!

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Carving from Stone: The Sculpture of Brooks Barrow

The first Goodwyn Gallery exhibition of the 2019-20 academic year, Carving from Stone: The Sculpture of Brooks Barrow, is open from August 26 through October 11, 2019 and features the work of guest artist Brooks Barrow. There will be a public reception on September 26th, 5:00-6:00 pm. All are welcome.

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A native of Alabama, sculptor Brooks Barrow (b. 1971) takes inspiration from the natural landscape for his unique sculptural work. His pieces are carved from Alabama marble – the whitest in the world – quarried in Sylacauga, and Basalt – the blackest stone on earth – from Central India. Starting with large blocks, Barrow manipulates the materials, using wedges, saws, grinders, hand tools, and water for polishing, in order to create texture and draw forms from the stone.

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Oscillating between smooth, organic, natural contours and rough marks and hard edges, Barrow’s sculptures reference both deep geological time: the pressure and erosion that shapes the material over eons, and the modern processes of extraction and handling that the stone undergoes at the quarry and in the artist’s studio. Among other things, his works visually evoke ancient Stele, standing stones, totemic pillars, and towering modern architecture.

As Barrow explains in his artist statement: “My current work takes inspiration from markers in both the physical and social landscape. I am interested in plats of survey, survey markers, civic monuments, and the tensions created as they seek to define and delineate the natural landscape. Through my sculpture, I reinterpret these objects through subtle and enigmatic lines, forms and textures in natural stone.”

Barrow has won awards of distinction at the Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival and  Magic City Art Connection and was a featured artist at the 2014 American Craft Council Show. His works are in the collection of Hyundai Motor Manufacturing  in Montgomery, AL (a gift from the City of Montgomery), Calvin Klein Home Collection, and the General Electric and Google headquarters, among others. Please visit Barrow’s website, to learn more about his work: https://www.brooksbarrow.com

Spring Senior Show: Ron Blaesing

The Fine Arts Department is pleased to present “Is it in my head?,” a thesis exhibition by graduating sculpture major Ron Blaesing. “Is it in my head?” is on view April 30 through May 4th, 2019 in Goodwyn Gallery.

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As Ron explains in his artist statement, “the central focus has been on the construction of heads and faces to represent figures whose minds have run away from themselves. They are meant to evoke a mind experiencing a subconscious metamorphosis, whether due to a deteriorating mental state, delusions of grandeur, a seemingly never-ending dream state, or the influence of mind-altering substances.”

Ron’s multimedia sculptures were inspired by the literary works and images of William S. Burroughs (1914-1997). However, “they then began to morph into something out of one of his novels – Naked Lunch (1959) or The Soft Machine (1961) – changing, evolving, replicating, and transitioning in a somewhat manic state and in a variety of materials, so that none were ever a full version of their initial incarnation. Although Burroughs’s works were the inspirational catalyst, the ideas of other noted writers and artists – such as Carl Jung, Miguel Cervantes, Frank Zappa, and even Tom Waits – contributed to the evolution of each piece. Finally, some of the visual inspiration was drawn from Terry Gilliam’s storyboard illustrations for film projects.”

Playing with Images of Work & Worth

Playing with Images of Work & Worth was group curated by the students in Dr. Slipp’s VISU 3600/6600: Museum Studies class. The artworks are drawn from the Fine Arts Department collection and are organized around ideas of work and play. Students collaborated on the overall theme, title, and writing of the introductory text, researched specific works and wrote texts for our gallery guide, agreed upon the arrangement and layout of the gallery, and hung the works together. Finally, the students also designed interactive activities, which seek to encourage visitors to reconsider their ideas about work and play and relate the exhibition theme to their own lives. A social media hashtag #museumwerq and a public Spotify playlist – “Work & Worth” (posted by The Oncler) – allow the exhibition to reach a wider audience. Finally, on March 27, April 10, and April 17, between 10:50-11:30 a.m. students will lead personalized 10-minute guided tours. Playing with Images of Work & Worth is open to the public March 25 – April 18, 2019.

As the students explain in their introductory text, this exhibition asks the question: what is work and what is play? We urge you to toss away the readily available answer that “work is something one gets paid to do,” and instead contemplate the idea that work and play are interchangeable. Building a bridge, digging a ditch, or playing a song on a flute can be examples of play or work depending on how we value a particular activity. Some think of work as separate from play, but is it? We ask you to consider whether career-related activities are also forms of “play,” which encourage imagination and personal amusement. We also query whether recreational activities could not be considered a method of producing or accomplishing a goal, thus being “work.” This exhibit consequently encourages critique, confirmation, and connection between audience perspectives about work, play, and worth – both monetary and personal.

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The 24 prints on view encourage the audience to contemplate the ways different cultures value certain activities. As you walk through the gallery, more typical forms of work – such as Man with Logs by Joseph Hirsch or Hammering the Woodplanks by Hans Grohs – give us a glimpse of hardship, while The Clown by Bernard Buffet, Guitarista by Luis Cajiga, and The Flute Player by Marc Chagall show work as play and entertainment. Finally, Jack Coughlin’s prints of Walt Whitman and Sean O’Casey, who was the first to write about the Dublin working classes, illustrate literary work.

Ultimately, you should exit the exhibition asking: what do work, play, and worth mean to you?

Visions of the South: Self-taught, visionary, and outsider art

Goodwyn Gallery is pleased to present Visions of the South: Self-taught, visionary, and outsider art, an exhibition organized by Dr. Naomi Slipp in collaboration with Marcia Weber of Marcia Weber Art Objects. The exhibition is open from January 9 through February 27, 2019 and draws together important artworks from Weber’s gallery and private collections in order to illustrate the versatility and aesthetic spirit of Southern self-taught, visionary, and outsider art.

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The exhibition is intended as a complement to the 2019 Southern Studies Conference, hosted at Auburn University at Montgomery (AUM) February 1-2, 2019. As a part of the exhibition and conference programming, Marcia Weber will present a Keynote lecture on Friday, February 1, 2019 from 5:00-6:00 pm in Goodwyn Hall 109. This event is free and open to the public and will be followed by a reception.

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Marcia Weber has owned and operated “Marcia Weber Art Objects” since 1991, first in Montgomery and now in Wetumpka, AL. The gallery specializes in contemporary folk art by self-taught, visionary, and outsider artists. These categories denote artists who make work outside of the artistic establishment. Such artists are often untrained, have had little exposure to mainstream academic styles, tend to utilize non-traditional techniques and materials, and work outside the conventional institutional structures for artistic production and reception.

A majority of the artists represented by Weber are local to the Southeastern United States, including many who hail from Alabama. For over thirty years, Weber has worked tirelessly to promote the work of these over-looked artists. Her efforts have put food on their tables and paint on their brushes, while her gallery archive operates as a significant record of their art that would otherwise be lost to history.

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Increasingly, scholars have begun to recognize that the labels placed upon self-taught, visionary, and outsider art have served to reinforce a contrived divide between “high” and “low” art. Historically, this divide has been used to maintain academic standards and styles and enforce artistic exclusion. Indeed, such labels have created divisions within the art world that are more related to race, class, disability and mental illness, geography, and gender, than to artistic talent or skill. A disproportionate number of American self-taught, visionary, and outsider artists are poor, women, or people of color, and many hail from the South.

The language sometimes used by art professionals to describe works by these artist – including “primitive,” “childlike,” or “naïve,” has operated to delegitimize the artistic value of their creative labors because it implies that they are somehow lesser than academically trained artists. Whatever labels scholars might place on such artists, the works on view speak for themselves.

Indeed, in spite of circumstance or poverty the 17 artists included in Visions of the South make work with whatever materials they can access to express their own aesthetic truths. Their art is often inspired by Southern vernacular forms and traditions and African American cultural heritage, including yard art, gravesite decoration, quilting and collage, and “making do.” Consequently, the boundless diversity and startling creativity of Southern self taught, visionary, and outsider art is evident in this exhibition.

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Further Reading & Resources:

Sarah Boxer, “The Rise of Self-Taught Artists,” The Atlantic, September 2013.

Lynne Cooke, Outliers and American Vanguard Art (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018).

Cheryl Finley et al., My Soul Has Grown Deep: Black Art from the American South (The Metropolitan Museum, 2018).

Horace Williams, History Refused to Die: The Enduring Legacy of African American Art in Alabama (Tinwood, 2015).

The Souls Grown Deep Foundation, Atlanta, GA

The American Folk Art Museum, New York, NY

Folk & Self-Taught Art, High Museum, Atlanta, GA

Folk and Self-Taught Art, Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.

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This exhibition and corresponding lecture were generously supported by a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts

Winter Senior Show: Carol Dinsmoore

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The Fine Arts Department is pleased to present “Memento Mori,” a thesis exhibition by graduating painting major Carol Dinsmoore. “Memento Mori” is on view December 10 through December 15th, 2018 in Goodwyn Gallery.

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As Carol explains in her artist statement, these free-flowing painterly works are “created by pouring concentrated liquid watercolors. Through this process, I allow the colors to flow and form freely with minimal manipulation.” These paintings are inspired by her job “in diagnostic imaging … as it sparked my desire to use organic principles in the free-flowing watercolors. The processes that I use help me accept and release the feelings that I experience at work when my patients receive sad news. … Life is something we often take for granted. Memento mori, a Latin phrase meaning ‘remember you must die,’ is a reflection on mortality. Likewise, this exhibit hopes to remind visitors that life is fleeting and, in doing so, seeks to inspire them to really live.”

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Winter Senior Show: Hali Bush

The Fine Arts Department is pleased to present “Identity,” a thesis exhibition by graduating painting major Hali Bush. “Identity” is on view November 26 through November 30th, 2018 in Goodwyn Gallery. Bush is also hosting a public artist reception on Monday, November 26th at 5pm outside the Gallery.

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Hali’s exhibition examines traditional notions of femininity, societal and cultural expectations for women, ideas about beauty and traditional gender expression, and double standards regarding female sexuality. As she explains in her artist statement, women “should be allowed to freely express our identities without worry of discrimination. Women are strong, independent entities, and Identity is my representation of how I view them and how I wish for them to rule their own lives without being constrained by a patriarchal society.”

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In We’ve Always Coexisted (above) Hali describes how, “the triptych [that] represents three women, one who is transgender, one who is bisexual, and the last who is asexual. The flowers in each drawing contain the flag colors for each LGBTQ+ group represented.”

 

Regarding Not Your Mother Earth (above right) Hali writes that: “women, are not born to be identical to one another. In Not Your Mother Earth a woman is shown with a rabbit and a lily. Both the rabbit and woman have halos which mimic the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus. … virginity is a concept that pushes young women to be “pure” while men are allowed to do whatever they want; it’s not a social construct that I think is necessary to have in our society, which is why I decided to mimic the Madonna. Likewise, women are not born to be wives. We are born to be individuals who should have inalienable rights over our bodies, sexual preferences, and well-being just like the white men who tend to be in power. We deserve the right to choose, much like our sexuality and gender identity.”

 

Finally, Hali describes her artistic inspiration, explaining how she “researched medieval book of hours, including The Hours of Jeanne d’Evreux, Queen of France (ca. 1324–28), not only because they interest me, but because of how the symbolism within many of the books that were written specifically for women reference their duty of being pious and their traditional roles of being wives and mothers. … Another inspiration was the Italian Baroque artist, Artemisia Gentileschi, and how her life story affected the way she painted strong female figures. I have also examined more contemporary artists such as Barbara Kruger and her designs that criticize the patriarchal culture in which we live, and Cindy Sherman, whose Untitled Film Stills consist of many portraits of female stereotypes.”  Through this outside research, Hali considered how other female artists have likewise tried to represent the cultural and societal challenges that face women. This informs her senior exhibition, which  “… showcase[s] specific subjects such as gender, sexuality, reproductive rights, gender roles, and the outdated societal standards of feminine beauty … [in order to] show that we, as women, are not born to be identical to one another.”

Winter Senior Show: Jessica Roy

The Fine Arts Department is pleased to present the first of three senior exhibitions in the Winter of 2018. Jessica Roy’s thesis show is on view from November 9 through November 16th, 2018 in Goodwyn Gallery.

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Jessica’s ceramic works, which focus on the teapot, are whimsical and diverse in their representation of what we might think of as a traditional form. Her techniques in construction range from wheel thrown and coil built to slab built and pinch pots. Each of the works represented challenge notions of “the teapot,” expanding this vernacular type to include the familiar and the more unusual.

Why the teapot? As Jessica explains in her artist statement: “Although most of the teapots are in fact functional, I am not bound by traditional notions of a teapot.  I never know exactly what I am going to make at the start of my process except that it will become a teapot in the end. I especially love making unusual and quirky shapes and designs that challenge the traditional forms of a teapot. I seek to transform a utilitarian object—a vessel for brewing and pouring tea—into a fun and expressive object.”

While she goes on to explain the histories of tea and their social rituals – epitomized by the Japanese Way of Tea or British High Tea – Jessica explains that her “love of tea could, I suppose, be understood as ritual, but my teapots are not made to ritualize the process of preparing and drinking tea. I craft pots that speak to the joy, warmth, and comfort that drinking tea brings to my life.”  We invite you to visit the exhibition and then enjoy a cup of tea in Taylor Center!