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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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Herschel’s lengthy artist statement succinctly outlines his artistic inspirations, historical references, and personal vision.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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Outdoor sculpture exhibit: Caroline Booth

Caroline Booth has installed 4ever Together, a sculptural grouping of four abstract figures, on the Auburn University at Montgomery campus in front of the Administration Building and Library Tower. Booth, a winter graduating senior and fine arts major, made the cement sculptures in Professor Sue Jensen’s summer 2017 sculpture course. Drawing from a wide-range of source materials, the modernist sculptures – which appear different as one walks around them – evoke both the abstract formalism of Brancusi and the energy and movement of Bernini. They will be on view until December 15th, 2017.

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As Caroline explains: “4ever Together is about a family with an inseparable bond and is inspired by Caroline’s family: her mom, dad, and sister. These four pieces are organic and geometric shapes placed together to create one grouping. The ‘mother’ is made up of more organic and circular shapes. The ‘father’ is composed of more geometric and triangular shapes. The two smaller pieces that are next to them are their two daughters, who are a blend of geometric and organic shapes.”

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Artist Statement

My artwork is about process: the process of taking an idea from drawing to final sculpture or painting, of purchasing rigid materials and manipulating them into curving forms, and of imagining an idea and creating an actual object. I created these pieces using recycled foam to form the shapes and combined them with wood glue and screws. The main medium I used was concrete/cement. I loved using this medium because it melds everything together and creates a stone-like look. I was inspired to keep a natural look and color to materials.

 

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Biography

Caroline Catherine Booth was born and raised in Palm Harbor, Florida. She always knew she was a little “different” and was diagnosed with dyslexia at a young age. She enjoyed art and is creative and thinks outside the box. Once she was introduced to soccer, however, it became her main focus. That love led her to become a great soccer player, as a college athlete and captain. While she was told all her life that she could never make it – high school graduation was never going to happen and attending college was not an option – proving people wrong is something she enjoys doing. After a number of college injuries, Caroline was forced to quit playing the game she loves. She returned to art, which gives her the thrill and excitement she once got from soccer. Caroline says, “Art saved my life!”

Faith and Fantasy: the German Expressionist Woodblock Prints of HANS GROHS (1892-1981)

The Fine Arts Department is pleased to present “Faith and Fantasy: the German Expressionist Woodblock Prints of HANS GROHS (1892-1981),” on view in Goodwyn Gallery from Monday, August 21 through Friday, September 29, 2017. The exhibition was curated by Dr. Naomi Slipp and features twenty-six original woodblock prints by artist Hans Grohs, drawn from the Department’s art collection.

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Born in Pahlen, Germany, on the North Sea, artist and printmaker Hans Grohs was influenced by his Lutheran faith, Nordic heritage, Germanic traditions, life experiences, including service during WWI and WWII, the coastal landscape of his home, and the modernist aesthetics of the German Expressionist art movement.

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The inspiration for the 12 work series “Storm Surge” or Der Sturmflut (1962; restrike by Frauken Grohs Collinson, 2000) was the “North Sea Flood,” a natural disaster that occurred on February 16, 1962 when a massive storm surge (19 feet above sea level) breached coastal and river dikes across Northern Germany. In the city of Hamburg, 315 people died and 60,000 homes were destroyed.

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Death makes frequent appearances in the art of Hans Grohs, as in his highly stylized series “The Small Dance of Death” or Kleiner Totentanz (1918; later restrike). These eleven woodblock prints were inspired by the late medieval iconography of the “Dance of Death,” a popular allegorical subject representing the universality of death. Widely depicted in Germanic poetry, music, and art, including in the works of Northern artists Hans Holbein (1497-1543) and Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), the moralizing subject encouraged viewers to spiritually prepare, as death comes for everyone.

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Spring senior show: Paige Crews

In the Spring 2017 semester, Goodwyn Gallery hosts two Department of Fine Arts senior exhibitions. The second, “Who Am I?,” showcases large, figurative metal sculptures by Paige Crews. The exhibition is up from May 1st through May 6th.

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As Crews explains in her artist statement:

“My artwork was designed to play with the viewer’s perception.  I purposely left these figures ambiguous, but with enough movement and character to demand the question, who are they?  Each piece has its own unique body language, which, by design, allows viewers to single out each piece and give it a unique soul with an individual tale to be told. I want each viewer to create their own story.  Who are they, how did they get into this condition, how do they relate to each other, and, lastly, what lies in their future?

I employed guidelines used in animated character design to give each figure its own distinctive silhouette; to make sure that each piece had a face, body, and pose that was unique unto itself. I drew inspiration for the poses and bodies from the pieces of interesting scrap metal I found, and over the course of its creation the design would evolve into a fully realized character. While the individualism of each piece is important, I took care to avoid giving any of them a set identity that would take away from the viewer’s subjective interpretation.”

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Spring senior show: Laura Parker

In the Spring 2017 semester, Goodwyn Gallery hosts two Department of Fine Arts senior exhibitions. The first, “Individual Imperfections,” showcases painted portraits by Laura Parker (formerly Perry). The exhibition is up from April 24th through April 28th.

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As Parker explains in her artist statement: “The first thing I notice about a person is their face. I find the slight variations in skin tone, hair texture, and facial features, along with their ‘imperfections’ to be a beautiful tapestry of individualism. When I was young, that interest was purely about physical appearances, but as I grew that interest shifted towards the genetics of a family tree and the ‘imperfections’ that told a story about the one who bore them. In this exhibition, it is my goal to showcase work that represents the person as a whole. In order to better achieve this, I have produced work from photographs of my friends and family exclusively.

For these portraits, I utilized the dramatic and atmospheric styles of the high Italian Renaissance and Baroque periods. The Baroque period influenced my works in ball-point pen, in which I played with the way contrasting light and shadow can change and dramatize the appearance of an individual’s face. The works in India Ink and Oil are influenced by the soft, representational, and fleshy style of the high Italian Renaissance. However, while both high Italian Renaissance and Baroque art idealized their subjects, I have chosen to depict my subjects as they are and celebrate their ‘imperfections.'”

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Exploding the Canon: An Exhibition of Works by Women Artists

During the Spring 2017 semester, students in VISU 3070 / 6070: Women and the Arts organized a special exhibition “Exploding the Canon: An Exhibition of Works by Women Artists.” The exhibition will be on view in Goodwyn Gallery from Monday, April 3 through Monday, April 10.

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Organized by Dr. Laura Whatley, it features 10 works of art by women artists from Auburn University Montgomery’s Fine Art Department collection as well as original reactionary works by 10 students from a range of disciplines at AUM: Courtney Baker, Chloe Brown, Rachel Davis, Chelsey Falcione, Adrienne Hames, Laura Parker (Perry), Brittany Roberson, Keri Tankersley, Julie Valdez, and Ashley Warren.

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The students produced educational materials to enrich the audience’s visit, including a catalogue with information about the featured women artists and individual artist statements offering insights into their own creative works. The goal of this exhibition: to explode the canon of art history!

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The Artist Response Team Exhibition

The Artist Response Team, the Department of Fine Art’s student art club, is pleased to announce its member exhibition, which will run from Monday, March 27 through Thursday, March 30, 2017. The show includes 13 works of art by 10 students and was organized by club advisor Prof. Will Fenn.

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Featured artists are as follows: Michelle Batson, Kayla Dempsey, Amelia Griffin, Alvontay Harris, Jared Harrison, Takeisha Jefferson, Megan Lofgren, Amanda Lowman, Laura Parker (Perry), and LyAnne Peacock. The Artist Response Team (A.R.T.) was launched in Fall 2016 and is open to all AUM majors. A.R.T. holds events such as movie nights, scavenger hunts, and art-related field trips to Atlanta, New Orleans, and this coming Fall 2017 – Nashville.