Megan Marlatt: Substitutions for a Game Never Played
February 1- March 13, 2013
Opening reception: February 1, 2013
Megan Marlatt paints mounds of plastic toys, creating artificial landscapes piled high with subtle references to social/ political issues and pop culture. Her skilled, observational still lives are amassed from objects of childhood play, but their material associations evoke narratives and anxieties regarding consumerism, foreign manufacturing, and environmental waste. Technically masterful, Marlatt’s paintings and drawings are both comic and menacing, allowing the viewer to reminiscence lightheartedly about a particular toy or contemplate the magnitude of our immeasurable reliance on plastic.
Marlatt received her BFA from the Memphis College of Art, studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and received her MFA at Rutgers University. She has been a professor at the University of Virginia since 1988. She has received an Individual Artist Fellowship in Painting from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Virginia Commission on the Arts and The New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
This exhibition is presented with support from the University of Virginia Dean’s Research Support in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.
Installation photographs by David Hunter Hale
Lost Cerulean Toy Mountain, 2009
Acrylic and oil on linen
42 x 48
Scattered Toys 3, 2009
Gouache on paper
22 x 30
Narcissistic Artist and the Seven Inflatable Sins, 2012 Acrylic, oil, and paint on linen
2 canvases 75 x 48 each
Portrait of Ms. Oyl, 2010
Acrylic and oil on round panel
20 x 20
Portrait of Flirty Pinocchio, 2012
Acrylic and oil on round panel
20 x 20
Profile of a Ferocious Pink Monster, 2008 Acrylic on round paper
16 x 16
Harvey K. Littleton:
A Legacy in Glass
November 9 – January 13, 2013
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the landmark glass workshops that brought glass out of the factory and into the artist’s studio, the Visual Arts Center will host an exhibition of work spanning the career of Harvey Littleton, the renowned glass artist widely acknowledged as the father of the American studio glass movement. Littleton began experimenting with hot glass in 1959 and later established the first Studio Glass curriculum at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Prior to Littleton’s 1962 workshops, glass was solely a factory material used to make functional, utilitarian objects. Littleton’s experimental and innovative use of blown glass as a sculptural material transformed glass-making into a viable medium for artistic expression.
Harvey Littleton: is organized in conjunction with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ exhibition of work by Dale Chilhuly, Harvey Littleton’s former student.
This exhibition is presented with support from the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass and the Danwell Foundation.
Watch a film on the history of the Studio Glass movement here.
Read an article from Craft in America here.
Learn more about the 50th anniversary of The American Studio Glass Movement here.
Andrea Donnelly: Where We Meet
September 7 – October 21, 2012
A 2010 graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s nationally renowned MFA program in Craft+Material Studies (Fiber), Donnelly weaves by hand monumental-scale images of the human figure, inkblots, and manipulated forms she calls bodyblots. Donnelly’s laborious process involves dying her fibers and hand painting patterns and images on the warp (perpendicular threads) before weaving the cloth. Created through a complex yet highly spontaneous process of weaving, staining, unweaving, and reweaving, Donnelly’s figurative works explore cloth’s intimate and universal material relationship with the body. She employs cloth as a literal reference to the human figure, drawing on sensory memories and the intimate connections we all have to cloth in its many domestic forms. Donnelly’s mural sized weavings depict abstracted self-portraits, paradoxically presenting the figure on a medium traditionally used to conceal it.
The adult gallery guide includes detailed photographs of the materials and techniques Donnelly incorporates into her work. The original film, created by fellow VCU grad Harrison Möenich, features Donnelly in her Fan District studio creating two weavings for this exhibition. See educational materials associated with this exhibition.
This exhibition is presented with support from the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation
- Read an article from Style Weekly about the exhibition here.
- Read articles from The Richmond Times Dispatch noting the exhibition here and here.
- Read an article from Richmond Magazine about the exhibition here.
[work] 2012: Faculty + Staff + Board exhibition
June 22 – August 5, 2012
The annual, summer [work] exhibition offers the public an opportunity to view the diverse, professional work created by the dedicated faculty of the Visual Art Center. This show presents examples of all media taught in the building: wood, ceramics, metal, jewelry, fiber, glass, painting, photography, printmaking, creative writing, film, and drawing. [work] also includes entries by staff and board members who are practicing artists. All of the artists included in this exhibition contribute collaboratively to the educational programming and leadership of our dynamic community arts center.
Susan Adams, Donna Allen, Susanne Arnold, Beth Barclay, Ingrid Bernhardt, Robert Barrientes, Mike Bartolotta, Ann Bradshaw, David Camden, Carol Cole, Rebecca d’Angelo, Cindy Eide, Liana Elguero, Regula Franz, Jessica Freeman, Josh George, JC Gilmore-Bryan, Kathryn Gray, Emerald Grippa, Robert Greene, Annie Grimes, Karen Guard, Sarah Hand, Kristy Heilenday, Mary Henck, Brooke Inman, Lisa Fisher Johnson, Shelley Jones, Doug Jones, Aimee Joyaux, Dan Kaczka, Aijung Kim, Robin Kranitzky, Sarah Masters, Richard McCord, Amanda Meyer, Giovanni Meola, Kirk O’Brien, Amie Oliver, Kim Overstreet, Brad Pearson, Marjorie Perrin, Chris Pittman, Marie Potoczny, Susan Quinnild, Lynda Ray, Penelope Reichley, Katy Resch, Travis Robertson, Toliver Roebuck, Jordan Roeder, Ali Rogan, Leslie Shiel, Jude Schlotzhauer, Susan Singer, Katherine Southall, Tesni Stephen, Mary Swezey, David Tanner, Thomas van Auken, Jeff Vick, Susann Whittier, Barbara Williams, Christopher Wynn, and Lynalise Woodlief.
Pause: VCU Department of Craft + Material Studies 2012 MFA Candidacy Show
May 4 – 31, 2012
Richmond is home to Virginia Commonwealth University, the #1 ranked public art university in the US. Our partnership with the graduate program of the Craft + Material Studies Department at VCU creates a dialogue between the teachers and students of VisArts’ studio classes and the faculty and students of VCU’s nationally recognized School of the Arts. Each year, the first year MFA students are required to pass a Candidacy review in order to proceed for a second year of study. As host to their Candidacy exhibition, our gallery presents these students’ contemporary approaches to metal, wood, glass, fiber, and clay—all disciplines we offer at the Visual Arts Center.
This exhibition featured work by the following first-year graduate students from the Department of Craft/Material Studies at VCUarts: Sohail Abdullah, Sarah Briland, Nicole Farrand, Alexander Hayden, Bebhinn Jennings, Shauna Kirkland, Lauren Miller, Ruby Troupe, and Rena Wood. Each of these students is associated with one of the five craft disciplines of clay, fiber, glass, metal, and wood, which serves as the starting point in their individual pursuits as artists. Pause denotes a point of reflection in each student’s work at the midway point in the program.
Oscar Munoz: Imprints for a Fleeting Memorial
March 9 – April 25, 2012
Installation photography by David Hunter Hale
Colombian artist Oscar Muñoz blurs the boundaries of traditional media through unconventional processes and experimental techniques in photography, printmaking, drawing, installation, video, and sculpture. Presented in collaboration with 1708 Gallery, Imprints for a Fleeting Memorial offers an overview of Muñoz’s creative process and his investigation of the image and its relation to memory. The exhibition is organized by Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art in Toronto and curated by José Roca, Assistant Curator of Latin American Art at the Tate Modern, London, and Director of the Arts at the Banco de la Republica in Bogota, Colombia.
Muñoz (b. 1951 Popayan, Colombia) lives and works in Cali, Colombia. In the last five years, his work has experienced a monumental crossover into Europe and North America, with group shows across Europe and the United States, and acquisitions of his work by the Tate Modern, L.A. MoCA, the Miami Art Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and La Caixa in Barcelona, among others. Muñoz’s participation in the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007 was widely regarded a highlight of the event.
Spanning more than three decades, Munoz’s practice defies easy categorization. He moves freely between photography, printmaking, drawing, installation, video, and sculpture, effectively blurring the boundaries between media through unconventional and unprecedented processes. Muñoz experiments with several techniques in what he calls “image-making in an expanded field,” innovating processes on improbable substrates including silk-screen on water, airbrush drawing on dripping-wet Mylar, and screen-printing with grease on mirrors.
The artist’s decision to abandon traditional applications of artistic media while still employing their formats and techniques — even occasionally incorporating self-destructive mechanisms — has resulted in a body of work that is as much grounded in the intrinsic qualities of the materials employed as in the poetic associations they embody. — José Roca, curator
Read an article from Style Weekly about the exhibition here.
Jonathan Brilliant: Stick Stack Show
November 4 – December 21, 2011
Installation photography by David Hunter Hale.
Jonathan Brilliant, VisArts’ 2011 Artist in Residence, has spent two weeks on site preparing for his exhibition, Stick Stack Show. Brilliant gathers materials in what he refers to as “his natural environment,” the coffee shop, and uses everything associated with commercial coffee consumption, from stir sticks to sugar packets, to execute site-responsive installations. His monumental, sculptural, and architectural installations address the upsurge of our contemporary caffeine culture and the development of the coffee shop as a popular 21st century social habitat. Using a labor intensive, craft-based material process, Brilliant constructs installations containing 30,000 to 60,000 coffee stirrers woven in place using only tension and compression.
Stick Stack Show is a continuation of Brilliant’s Have Sticks Will Travel World Tour that began in 2009. The tour evolved as a marathon series of site-specific installations created in 13 galleries (in three countries and on two continents) over a period of 18 months. In September of 2010, the tour temporarily concluded at the McColl Center for Visual Art in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Brilliant completed a three-month residency.
VisArts’ exhibition will be Brilliant’s first installation in the state of Virginia.
Jonathan Brilliant was born in 1976 in Charleston, South Carolina. He holds a B.A. in studio art from the College of Charleston and an M.F.A. in Spatial Arts from San Jose State University. He has received numerous fellowships to artist residencies and communities including: Ox-Bow School of Art, Penland School of Crafts, Redux Contemporary Art Center, The University of Oklahoma, The University of Memphis, The East/West Project in Berlin Germany. In 2007 he was awarded a Joan Mitchell foundation full fellowship in Sculpture to attend the Vermont Studio Center. In August he was named the 2012 South Carolina Artist Fellow. In October he was awarded the prestigious Pollock-Krasner Individual Artist Grant.
Martin Johnson: FORward
September 2 – October 16, 2011
This mid-career survey of Johnson’s work offers the Richmond community the first opportunity to view his paintings, sculptures, and installations in more than 20 years. Johnson last exhibited in Richmond as part of the VMFA’s Un/Common Ground: Virginia Artists exhibition in 1990. Stylistically linked to folk art, art brut, and outsider art, Johnson creates theatrical and playful sculptures, paintings, assemblages, and installations. For more than 30 years he has transformed found objects and non traditional artists’ materials into a whimsical extravaganza of image and text. Johnson intends for his installations to engulf the viewer in the artist’s experimental assessment of language, consumerism, accumulation, and abundance.
FORward features a site-specific installation and more than 100 sculptures, paintings, collages and constructions created by Johnson from 1974 to the summer of 2011. This exhibition will both reevaluate his early work and introduce his recent sculptures and paintings and methods of studio practice.
Born in New Jersey in 1951, Johnson moved with his family to Richmond at age five. He earned a degree in Architecture from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and an MFA in Studio Art from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Upon graduating from UNC in 1977, he moved to New York City where he was granted a studio at PS1, the landmark institute of contemporary art that is now a permanent exhibition site for the Museum of Modern Art.
From his studio at PS1, Johnson attracted the attention and support of curator Marcia Tucker, director of the New Museum of Contemporary Art, and gallery owner Phyllis Kind. Johnson was represented by Phyllis Kind Gallery in Chicago and New York from 1979 to 1987, and his work was collected during this period by Richard Brown Baker, Charles Beneson, Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Bergman, Alan Koppel, Don and Mera Rubell, and famed conceptual art collectors Herb and Dorothy Vogel. Recently, as part of the Vogels “50 x 50” gift to museums and art institutions across America, Johnson’s work entered the collections of 35 museums, including the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the National Gallery of Art.
In 1987, Johnson abandoned his thriving art career in New York and moved his young family back to Virginia. Since then, he has continued to work prolifically in his studio while maintaining a full-time career as president of Virginia Marketing Associates, a sales agency based in Richmond.
Johnson has presented his work in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including PS1, School of the Visual Arts, New York, the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, the Chrysler Museum, the High Museum of Art, and the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art. His work is in the permanent collections of the Yale University Art Gallery, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Miami Museum of Art, and the Portland Museum of Art, among others.
Ray Kass, adjunct curator of Southeast American Art the Taubman Museum of Art, will deliver a gallery talk on Johnson’s work on Thursday, Sept. 15, at 6:30 PM. Free public screenings of the acclaimed documentary film on the Vogels, Herb and Dorothy, will take place on Thursday, Sept. 22, at 7:30 p.m. and Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m.
Exhibitions at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond are supported by Altria Group, Inc. Visual Arts Center of Richmond receives support from Virginia Commission for the Arts and National Endowment for the Arts. For more information, contact the Center at 804-353-0094 or visit the website at visarts.org.
Read an article from Richmond Magazine about the exhibition here.
faculty + staff + board exhibition
June 24 – August 7
The annual summer [work] exhibition offers the public an opportunity to view the diverse, professional work created by the dedicated faculty of the Visual Arts Center. This show presents examples of all media taught in the building: ceramics, drawing, fiber, graphic design, jewelry, metal, painting, photography, printmaking, creative writing, film, and wood. [work] also includes entries by staff and board members who are practicing artists. All of the artists included in this exhibition contribute collaboratively to the educational programming and leadership of our dynamic community arts center.
Participating artists this year include:
Pam Anderson, Rhona Arenstein, Susanne Arnold, Barbara Atkinson, Beth Barclay, Robert Barrientes, Maurice Beane, Ingrid Bernhardt, Lee Bloxom, Ann Bradshaw, John Bryan, JC Gilmore-Byran, Priscilla Burbank, Vivian Buzzard, David Camden, Annie Campbell, Paul DiPasquale, Don Dransfield, Cindy Eide, Liana Elguero, Suzanne Fortin, Jessica Freeman, Shannon Fuller, Peter Giebel, Kathryn Gray, Robert Greene, Sarah Hand, Marshall Hawthorne, Kristy Heilenday, Mary Henck, Sarah Irvin, Alex Iwashyna, Lisa Fisher Johnson, Shelley Jones, Aimee Joyaux, Aijung Kim, Paul Klassett, Carol Klein, Sarah Masters, Richard McCord, Mary Melton, Susan Meyers, Giovanni Meola; Amie Oliver, Brad Pearson, Marjorie Perrin, Maxwell Perry, Nick Pollock, Susan Quinnild, Lynda Ray, Brendan Regulinski, Howard Risatti, Travis Robertson; Allan Rosenbaum, Pamela Rose-Rennolds, Jude Schlotzhauer, Susan Singer, Ed Steinberg, Tesni Stephen, Danielle Stevens, David Tanner, Jim Valentine, Thomas van Auken, Jeff Vick, Lynalise Woodlief, and Dennis Winston.
Leslie Wayne: Recent Work
April 1 – June 4, 2011
Leslie Wayne: Recent Work represents the past five years of Wayne’s vibrant, sculptural oil paintings. The works range in size from 4 by 14 feet to 10 x 13 inches. Wayne will present an artist’s talk at 5 p.m. April 1, preceding the 6-8 p.m. opening reception.
Wayne states that her large works are inspired by landscape and geology and are a secular, contemporary, and abstract response to 19th-century Romantic Landscape painting. “Rather than paint pictures of landscapes, Wayne chooses to capture the corporeal essence of nature by offering an analogous experience to being in the natural world,” states Mark Sloan, curator of this exhibition and Director/Senior Curator at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in Charleston, S.C.
“Alluding to compression, subduction and the shifting of tectonic plates, she packs the narrative passages into the interstices of each successive layer of paint, testing the range of Richard Serra’s famous Verb List by pulling, scraping, folding, cutting and collaging her material like clay.” In addition to taking cues from landscape, Wayne draws inspiration from fashion and fabric to fractals and chaos theory, but rarely in anticipation of a specific work.
Wayne says, “I don’t set out to make a painting about a particular subject. I am a Process painter in that respect in that I allow the phenomenology of the material to lead the way. I may begin with a set of conditions, like a shaped panel, for example, but then I take my cues from the working process. I think of it as a conversation between material memory and morphogenesis – the repetition of a process that leads to an intended result and the will of the material to do what it will do.”
The smaller paintings in the exhibition are part of a series entitled One Big Love. Wayne began these works while simultaneously working on her larger paintings in an effort to challenge herself with new parameters within a familiar and comfortable format. The series, however, now includes more than 55 paintings, each embodying a unique world of highly manipulated, striated paint.
Leslie Wayne was born in 1953 in Germany, but grew up in Southern California where she originally studied traditional oil painting and had a strong connection to the Western landscape tradition. Her undergraduate studies began at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in painting, and she finished with a BFA in sculpture from Parsons School of Design. After her move to New York City in 1982, she abandoned observational painting and developed her signature style of intuitive painting, which is exemplified in this exhibition organized but he Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art. Leslie Wayne has presented her work in numerous solo and group exhibitions including the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Peace Tower/Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, N.Y. (both 2006); Bildmuseet, Umea, Sweden; Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Fla. (both 2003); The Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, Fla. (2001); Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica, Calif. (2000); and The Continuous Painting Wall, Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, Ala. (1999). She was the recipient of a 2006 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Painting and a past grant recipient from both the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation.
Leslie Wayne: Recent Work, organized by the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston School of the Arts in Charleston, S.C., debuted at the Halsey Institute from January 21-March 12, 2011, and will travel to multiple venues around the country. To accompany the exhibition and give insight into Wayne’s process, the Halsey Institute has commissioned a film by John Reynolds and produced a full-color catalogue with an essay by Ron Platt, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art. The catalogue will be for sale at the opening reception and during the exhibition.
Current Work by VCU Department of Craft/Material Studies Graduates
February 4 – March 11, 2011
Opening February 4 with a public reception from 6 until 9 PM, Tacit: Current Work by VCU Department of Craft/Material Studies Graduates features artists Megan Biddle, Jackie Brown, Andrea Donnelly, Younseal Eum, Cari Freno, Katie Hudnall, Jason Hackett, Aaron McIntosh, Sarah Mizer, Debbie Quick, Meg Roberts, Caitie Sellers, Sayaka Suzuki, Adam Whitney and Erin Williams. The exhibition, curated by VCU, remains on view through March 11, 2011.
Megan Biddle works in several different media, including drawing, sculpture, and video. She received her M.F.A. from VCU in 2005, and earned her undergraduate degree at the Rhode Island School of Design. At RISD, she participated in the school’s Exchange Program, which sent her to the Academy of the Arts in Prague, Czech Republic. Megan’s work has been exhibited in Richmond and across America. The Museum of American Glass and the U.S. Embassy in Riga, Latvia, own her pieces as part of their permanent collections.
Jackie Brown’s current installation-based work consists of hyper-organic forms that imply growth, movement and expansion. She uses viscous, porous surfaces to provide a sense that the work is alive, and aims for each installation to seem to float in space and move seamlessly from floor to ceiling. She received her M.F.A. from VCU in 2008. She has served as an artist-in-residence at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City and has been an instructor and lecturer at various institutions, including the Wuhan University of Technology in China.
Andrea Donnelly investigates the psychological space of her interior world by weaving by hand. Through passage of time and rhythm of repetition, the actions of weaving are captured and layered in the buildup of thread upon thread. Andrea studied Psychology at North Carolina State University for her undergraduate degree and subsequently obtained her M.F.A. in Fibers from VCU in 2010. Her craft has taken her across the world; she has studied in Mexico and Ghana as well as across the United States.
Younseal Eum’s work is both kinetic and sculptural. Her pieces have been featured at Connor Contemporary Art in Washington, D.C. and Reynolds Gallery in Richmond. She has served as an instructor during VCUarts’ Summer Intensive Weekend Art Adventures.
Cari Freno’s videos are a kind of self-surveillance fostering absurd behavior when she is alone, in front of a camera. By documenting personal experiences in a public park environment, she opens up an experiential relationship with the landscape and the life forms found within. Cari obtained her M.F.A. from VCU in 2009. Her work has been exhibited in galleries across America.
Katie Hudnall received her M.F.A in Woodworking and Furniture Design from VCU in 2005. Since then, her pieces have been exhibited all over the country, and her work has been featured in various exhibition catalogs, books, and magazines. In addition to many other honors, Katie received a fellowship from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in 2007, and she was named Best of Show at Gallery 5’s Sleight of Hand exhibition in 2008. Katie is currently an assistant professor at Murray State University.
Jason Hackett’s work attempts to alter meaning and content of objects in their context. By combining disparate forms alongside one another, hopes and fears can take form as psychological works, acting as both mysterious reminders and predictive elements in search of meaning. Representation, symbolism, reproduction, abstraction, and the use of found items influence his creative process. Jason received his M.F.A. from VCU in 2005, and he is currently a full-time faculty member and technician for the university. His work has been exhibited throughout the country since 1997.
Aaron McIntosh’s saturated works question our larger social constructions of normality and abnormality, pleasure and disturbance, high and low culture, as they pertain to ideas of love, romance, and sexuality. He extracts miscellaneous and ambiguous bits of sexual language and symbolism from print materials and pieces together drawings and textile objects that subvert the original messages and context.
Sarah Mizer, inspired by the ocean and focusing acutely on her feet (with an amplified lens), pays attention to their transitions when first stepping into the water. The artist says that, in that impossibly short time frame, she has never known a complete thought to run through her mind. Sarah obtained her M.F.A. from VCU in 2007; her area of specialty was Glass. She has completed commissioned pieces for the Brooklyn Art Library, Alfred University in Alfred, N.Y., and the Wethersby Guild in Richmond, in addition to several private collectors. Sarah is currently an Assisting Coordinator and Adjunct Instructor for VCU’s Art Foundations Program.
Debbie Quick holds the idiom “A picture is worth a thousand words” close to her heart. She is a visual storyteller; she constructs stories which speak of emotional interactions and reactions experienced during intense social exchanges. Just as social interactions are layered, having a number of interpretations, visual information leads to a multitude of possible understandings. Debbie received her M.F.A. from VCU in 2006, and she currently serves as an Assistant Professor and Administrative Director for the university’s Department of Craft and Material Studies.
Meg Roberts’ work includes both large-scale sculptures and delicate jewelry. Her sculpture series is a reflection of pleasant childhood experiences like hiding in small nooks, playing in cardboard boxes and constructing blanket forts. By providing personal shelter within a public space, she provides comfort and security for each individual user. Meg graduated summa cum laude with a B.F.A. in Craft and Material Studies from VCU in 2009. In 2008, she won the VCUarts Dean’s Scholarship. Her crafts have been displayed in various group and solo exhibitions since 2006.
Caitie Sellers’ art is a comment on how she interacts with the world. Every piece is autobiographical, referring to a location and how it affects her both externally and internally. Textile work expresses emotional comfort, while her jewelry refers to matters of external location or physical security. Her art is influenced by the three places she has lived: Richmond, Montana, and Guatemala. Caitie obtained her B.F.A. in Craft/Material Studies, concentrating on textiles and metals/jewelry, from VCU in 2007. For four months in 2008, she taught art and coordinated the opening of a fair trade jewelry store in Xela, Guatemala.
Sayaka Suzuki views each piece as a theatrical space, an experience that is created for personal discoveries. At times her work is commemorative, at other times it reflects urgency, and often times it provides a reflective moment—all of which transforms a space or an object into a moment of discovery. Through using materials that reflect the sensibility and sensitivity of human hands, such as hand worked glass, fabric, and recycled items, she hopes to give concrete proof of our existence. Sayaka obtained her M.F.A. from VCU in 2005 and has served as an adjunct faculty member for the school since then. She has instructed classes in hot glass, flameworking, and glass casting across the country.
Adam Whitney specializes in sculptural metalwork. In 2008, he was one of several VCU students selected to display their works at the American Craft Council Conference in Baltimore. Adam is currently the Metals Coordinator at the Penland School of Crafts in Penland, N.C.
Erin Williams graduated from VCU with an M.F.A in Metalsmithing in 2007. She previously studied at the London College of Fashion and Syracuse University. Erin has had solo exhibitions at the Arlington Arts Center, the Anderson Gallery in Richmond, and Coyne Gallery in Syracuse, N.Y., in addition to a variety of group exhibitions. In 2008, Erin won the Kari Beams Sculpture Award for Best in Show at the Marlboro County Juried Sculpture Exhibition in Largo, Maryland. She has also received a Juror’s Award from the Visual Art Society of Texas.
Support for the exhibition is provided in part by Altria Group.
Tradition & Modernity: The Ceramic Art of Michelle Erickson
November 12, 2010 – January 9, 2011
Tradition and Modernity: The Ceramic Art of Michelle Erickson exhibits the internationally recognized artist’s work, which tackles decidedly 21st century issues of war, child slavery and political hegemony through pointedly historical techniques, drawing upon centuries of history and tradition. From Erickson’s perspective, history is now and, far from being on a linear trajectory towards modernity, we live in a world very much embedded in the past.
A graduate of The College of William and Mary, Erickson has more than 20 years experience working with 17th- and 18th-century reproduction pottery. Her exquisite re-creations and contemporary pieces have won critical acclaim internationally and have been featured in many national and international publications. A partner in Yorktown’s Period Designs, Erickson reproduces ceramics from archeological and acquired collections for organizations such as Colonial Williamsburg, National Park Service and the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts.
Erickson has intensively studied the technology and history behind the ceramics used by the American colonists. She has rediscovered lost techniques used in the great ceramic factories of Staffordshire and those in virtually undocumented American potteries, known only through archaeological remains. Her efforts have rewarded her with a toolkit of technical skills representing 300 hundred years of traditions and a loyal following of ceramic collectors.
Image: Pectin Shell Teapot, 2006, Michele Erickson
Visit Michelle Erickson’s website.
Darkroom: Photography and New Media in South Africa Since 1950
August 21- October 24, 2010
On view at both the VMFA and Visual Arts Center, this ground-breaking exhibition presents the work of 18 South African photographers and video artists from four generations (1948-2000s) Featured artists include William Kentridge, Sue Williamson, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Robin Rhode, and Nontsikelelo Veleko. Catalogue available ($35). Organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
Imaging South Africa: Collection Projects by Siemon Allen – A complementary exhibition of work by Richmond-based South African artist Siemon Allen will be presented at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Anderson Gallery August 27 – October 31, 2010.
Public Receptions | Friday, August 27, 6-9 PM
Free transportation provided between sites
Image: Fifteen-year-old Lawrence Matjee, 1985, David Goldblatt
Loren Schwerd: Mourning Portrait
April 9 – June 6, 2010
Opening Friday, April 9, Loren Schwerd: Mourning Portrait is a series of memorials to the communities of New Orleans that were devastated by the flooding that followed Hurricane Katrina. Assistant Professor of Sculpture at Louisiana State University School of Art in Baton Rouge, Schwerd began by working from her photographs of vacant houses and businesses in the Ninth Ward neighborhood. She wove hair into portraits of these homes using human hair extensions she found outside the St. Claude Beauty Supply. “By documenting private homes, I venerate the city’s losses, both individual and collective,” says the artist.
The sculptures refer to historic methods of memorialization, including portraiture and the Victorian tradition of hairwork, in which strands of hair from a deceased loved one was woven or plaited into brooches, earrings and bracelets, as well as framed wreaths and horseshoes for hanging in the home. The artist explains that she favors “found materials that contribute their function, cultural value, and a trace of their mysterious personal history to my design.”
Mourning Portrait is a continuation of the multi-media artist’s practice of site-related installations and her investigation of mnemonic elements in found objects — in this case, hair. Director of Exhibition Programming Katherine Huntoon explains, “The associative possibilities present in the use of hair are not only personal and widely varied but also shared within a society. Through her constructions representing homes and neighborhoods, Schwerd connects our associations with hair to the social and familial symbols of home and place.
“Schwerd employs traditional methods of connection, such as tying, weaving and stitching, which act as metaphor to our associative connections to the portraits,” Huntoon continues. These methods also remind the viewer of the time, memory and obsession involved in such meticulous labor.
Loren Schwerd will present an artist’s talk and demonstration at 1 PM on Saturday, April 10. In other related programming, Sonya Clark, Chair of the Department of Craft/Material Studies at VCU, presents “A Hairy Subject,” discussing the use of hair as a medium in historical and contemporary artworks on Saturday, April 24, at 1 PM. Suzanne Savery, Director of Collections & Interpretation at the Valentine Richmond History Center, presents “Hair, Art & Remembrance in the 19th Century,” using images and objects from the Valentine’s extensive collection on Saturday, May 8 from 1 PM.
Loren Schwerd received her BFA in Studio Art from Tulane University in 1993, and her MFA in Sculpture from Syracuse University in 1999. She was an instructor and visiting Assistant Professor at the College of Charleston from 1999 to 2005 and currently lives in New Orleans. Mourning Portrait was previously exhibited at the Sumpter County Art Gallery, Sumpter, S.C.; Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, La.; and, most recently, at The Center for Craft, Creativity and Design, Inter-institutional Center of the University of North Carolina, UNC-A Kellogg Center, Hendersonville, N.C.
The exhibition continues in the True F. Luck Gallery through June 6, 2010. Support for the exhibition is provided in part by Altria Group, Inc. Loren Schwerd: Mourning Portrait is presented in conjunction with Minds Wide Open: Virginia Celebrates Women in the Arts, the first statewide celebration of its kind. Between March and June of 2010, thousands of special events will occur to honor contributions by women to arts and culture.
Read an article from Richmond Magazine about the exhibition here.
Fragments of Our Imagination: Narrative Jewelry by the Collaborative Partnership of Kranitzky & Overstreet
January 15 – March 21, 2010
Opening Friday, January 15, 2010, Fragments of Our Imagination: Narrative Jewelry by the Collaborative Partnership of Kranitzky & Overstreet surveys the creations of a pair of Richmond artists. The collaboration between Robin Kranitzky and Kim Overstreet began more than 20 years ago when a mutual interest in found objects sparked the beginning of their jewelry venture, Lost & Found. They started creating one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces from objects scavenged and saved, and sold pieces from this collection during the 1980s at Miller & Rhoads, Thalhimer’s, and the Visual Arts Center’s (then the Hand Workshop) annual Craft + Design Show, among local venues.
Robin Kranitzky earned her BFA in Crafts from Virginia Commonwealth University, majoring in ceramics. Kim Overstreet received her graphic design training at Virginia Western Community College in Roanoke. The pair met when both worked at retailer Miller and Rhoads, collaborating in the store’s advertising department. They left Miller and Rhoads in 1985 to pursue creation of their Lost & Found designs full time.
As their jewelry gained popularity and blossomed into a career that has earned them international notoriety, their collaboration has deepened. “Their jewelry pieces have evolved into dreamlike narratives,” explained Katherine Huntoon, the Center’s Director of Exhibition Programming. “The ephemera they use as art materials are exalted by their storytelling,” she added, noting, for example, that opalescent particles from crushed shells of a necklace belonging to Kranitzky’s grandmother are used in the belt-buckle frame of one piece. Insect wings, postcard fragments, glass beads and jewelry parts all make their way into the tiny vignettes, inspiring wonder.”
While the brooches are titled narrative depictions, the artists leave room for the viewer to interpret the pieces through his or her own imagination. “Like Alice down the rabbit hole, we are drawn into the tiny scenes and treated to an alternate reality,” Huntoon notes, as in the work of two of their artistic influences, American assemblage artist Joseph Cornell (1903-1972) and Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch (1453-1516). The pair also find their ideas evolve from simple things such as a dissected flower, historical illustrations or a dried lemon peel. Through their creativity, materials from diverse times and cultural avenues are transformed into supernatural dreams, divine nightmares and mythical visions.
Their exquisitely detailed, narrative brooches are sought after by major collectors and included in permanent museum collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In 2008 the Design Museum of Helsinki presented a solo exhibition of their work, accompanied by a catalog titled Symbiotic Realms – Robin Kranitzky and Kim Overstreet Selected Works 1985-2008. Internationally renowned contemporary jewelry collector and gallerist Helen Drutt of Philadelphia recently donated a large portion of her collection, including 11 pieces by Kranitzky & Overstreet, to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. They are included in a traveling exhibition, Ornament as Art: Avant-Garde Jewelry from the Helen Williams Drutt Collection. The exhibition appeared at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery and the Mint Museum of Craft + Design in 2007. Their work has been awarded Best in Show at the 1993 Philadelphia Craft Show and the Award for Excellence at the 1991 Smithsonian Craft Show, among other honors.
Robin Kranitzky and Kim Overstreet will together present a demonstration workshop, “Beneath the Surface – A Closer Look at Objects & Techniques,” on January 23, 2010, at 1-3 PM. They will discuss their work, the found objects and talk about the materials and techniques they use. The pair will demonstrate a selection of those techniques using found objects & other materials. On Tuesday February 23, 2010, the Center’s free semi-monthly Art & Coffee program at 9:30-10:30 AM features Robin Kranitzky and Kim Overstreet presenting a gallery talk and book signing.
The exhibition continues in the True F. Luck Gallery through March 21, 2010. Support for the exhibition is provided in part by Altria Group, Inc. Fragments of Our Imagination: Narrative Jewelry by the Collaborative Partnership of Kranitzky & Overstreet is presented in conjunction with Minds Wide Open: Virginia Celebrates Women in the Arts, the first statewide celebration of its kind. Between March and June of 2010, thousands of special events will occur to honor contributions by women to arts and culture.
20/20: A Look Back at the Craft + Design Show
November 13 – December 23, 2009
Opening with a public reception 6-8 PM on Nov. 13, 2009, 20/20: A Look Back at the Craft + Design Show is a curated exhibition of works selected from 20 of the most prominent Richmond collections of pieces purchased at the Craft + Design Show. The exhibition surveys the fine furniture, jewelry, pottery, glass, textiles, wood and other pieces while celebrating the 45th year of the Craft + Design Show, coming up November 21-22, 2009. Singer/songwriter Terri Allard from Northern Virginia will perform at the opening reception.
From its beginning as the Hand Work-Shop’s pottery sale on orange crates in a Church Hill backyard, the Craft + Design Show has evolved into a nationally prestigious venue featuring one-of-a-kind works by artists from across the country. Over the years patrons and collectors have had a wide selection of works to choose from in each of the traditional craft media (clay, glass, fiber, metals and wood). As time passed, artists working in mixed and alternative media have been included as well, broadening the choice and deepening the quality of the show. “Long-time patrons have faithfully attended the show and been delighted by the works offered,” notes Katherine Huntoon, Director of Exhibition Programming. “Many have assembled valuable and widely appreciated collections of pieces from the Craft + Design Show,” which Huntoon culled to assemble the exhibition.
20/20 features pieces from collectors such as Marcia and Harry Thalhimer, Tricia and Jack Pearsall, Ginny and Andy Lewis and Frances Lewis. Works by popular artists such as Stoney Lamar, Ron Puckett, Tom Chenoweth, Maurice Beane, Coloratura (Catherine Roseberry and Rob Womack), Laney Oxman, Deborah Rogers, Clifford Earl, Richard McCord, Gabriel Ofiesh, Steven Glass and Robert Trotman will be on view in the Center’s True F. Luck Gallery through Dec. 23, 2009. Support for exhibitions at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond is provided by Altria Group, Inc.
20/20: A Look Back at the Craft + Design Show is lovingly dedicated to the memory of Millie Jones, founder of Festival Flags, the company whose product became one of Richmond’s identifying characteristics and created a national trend. Millie and her husband Judge Tom Jones were longtime supporters of and early advocates for the former Hand Workshop and very actively involved in community events creating, leading and building the Old and Historic Broad Street Association.
The Visual Arts Center’s 45th Craft + Design Show brings 75 of the nation’s preeminent artists to the rotunda of the Science Museum of Virginia (2500 W. Broad St.) November 21-22. The popular show, sponsored by Dominion Resources, Inc., offers a rare opportunity to meet artists from 17 states, half of them showing their work in Richmond for the first time. Proceeds from show ticket sales support the Center’s mission to engage the community in the creative process.
Richard Carlyon: A Retrospective
September 11 – October 25, 2009
Richard Carlyon: A Retrospective examines the artistic career of Richard Carlyon (1930-2006), a pivotal figure in the Richmond arts community, beginning September 11, at four Richmond venues: 1708 Gallery, Anderson Gallery of the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of the Arts, Reynolds Gallery and Visual Arts Center of Richmond. Highly regarded as an influential teacher, Carlyon also maintained an active studio practice for more than 50 years, producing an extensive body of paintings, drawings, videos, collages, and constructions, many of which have not previously been exhibited to the public. Simultaneous opening receptions will be held 6-9 PM on Friday, September 11.
Each of the four exhibiting sites will present a portion of Carlyon’s work, arranged thematically, to offer an overview of his development and wide-ranging perspective. In addition to works loaned from private and public collections, Carlyon’s studio will be reassembled as part of the show. Anderson Gallery’s installation, curated by Ashley Kistler, is titled Choice. The theme of 1708 Gallery’s show, co-curated by Brad Birchett and Gregg Carbo, who were Carlyon’s students, is Interval. Reynolds Gallery’s Beverly Reynolds is focusing on Carlyon’s works that feature his wife, Eleanor Rufty, as well as early and late paintings and drawings. And the theme of the Visual Arts Center’s display, curated by Katherine Huntoon, is Chance. Coordinated by VCU’s Anderson Gallery, the exhibition is accompanied by a 96-page catalog featuring essays by Howard Risatti, VCU Professor Emeritus of Art History, and writer Wesley Gibson, and designed by VCU professor and artist John Malinoski. It is available from each of the participating venues for $30.
Born in 1930 in Dunkirk, N.Y., Carlyon studied painting and dance at Richmond Professional Institute (now Virginia Commonwealth University), earning a BFA in 1953. After being drafted into the U.S. Army and later moving to New York City, he returned to RPI for an MFA in 1963 and ultimately joined the faculty. He was named VCU Professor Emeritus in 1996. Carlyon was awarded three professional fellowships from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts as well as a fellowship from the Virginia Commission for the Arts. He received the Distinguished Teaching of Art Award from the College Art Association in 1993 and VCU’s Presidential Medallion, the university’s highest honor, in 2005. He died in 2006.
A series of free gallery talks will be held at 6 PM on Thursdays, Sept. 17-Oct. 8. The five exhibition curators participate in a panel discussion Sept.17 at Anderson Gallery. Howard Risatti speaks on September 24 at Reynolds Gallery. and a panel of artists who knew Carlyon talk at 1708 Gallery on Oct. 1. Jason Carlyon, the artist’s son, will speak Oct. 8 at Visual Arts Center of Richmond. Additionally, a dance performance will be presented by the VCU Department of Dance & Choreography on Sept. 26 at 8 PM at the Grace Street Theater, 934 W. Grace St.
Support for the exhibition is provided by Altria Group, Inc.; Office of the Dean, VCU School of the Arts; Markel Corporation; and numerous individuals. It remains on view through Oct. 17 at 1708 Gallery, through Oct. 25 at Reynolds and Visual Arts Center and through Nov. 1 at Anderson Gallery.
Click here for details on the range of related programming.
Click here to listen to an interview with Eleanor Rufty on the life and art of Richard Carlyon.
Click here for an article about the exhibition in Style Weekly.
Opening April 3, Turning Wood Into Art: The Jane and Arthur Mason Collection showcases more than 60 objects from the Mint Museum of Craft + Design’s Jane and Arthur Mason Collection, one of the world’s foremost collections of contemporary wood sculpture. The unusual quality of the collection offers much insight into the creative growth of an artist across a career while simultaneously offering an impressive lesson in connoisseurship. Washingtonians Jane and Arthur Mason have dedicated a significant portion of their life together to assembling this collection.
In the catalog preface for the exhibition, Jane Mason states, “Much as we covet the pieces in our wood collection, we want to expose others to their beauty and variety, and to the spirit that motivated us to collect each piece. These works have given us unlimited and deepening pleasure; now we send them out to speak with their simple, yet deep, sincerity to a greater audience.”
Turned-wood objects embody a provocative combination of the natural and the manmade. The dialog between an artist and the wood on the lathe is a balancing act between precise control and the forces of chance, a collaboration of hand, machine, mind and matter. The allure of a turned-wood piece resonates from the intersection of the material’s inherent beauty and the turner’s mastery of technique, concept and form.
Turning Wood into Art is presented through five thematic sections related to the medium of wood. In “Material Aesthetics,” the vessel is used as a three-dimensional canvas wherein the wood grain itself becomes the painting. “Process and Image” explores how the visual evidence of technique and process can create meaning in a piece. These compelling pieces are made more perplexing by the analysis they provoke among viewers. “Storytelling” emphasizes the metaphorical capacity of the medium. “Design” in woodturning is both inherent and applied, often featuring nature’s markings and the precision of the lathe as well as refined design styles such as Scandinavian Modern. In some pieces, the woodturner documents the life of the wood, purposefully revealing the structural make-up and irregularities of the living organism, as seen in “Tree Life.” These five areas illuminate the versatility of the provocative wooden forms, and the many ways and conditions through which works of art in craft media can possess value and meaning.
The exhibition encompasses the work of influential artists in the field such as James Prestini, Bob Stocksdale, Rude Osolnik, Edward Moulthrop, and Mel Lindquist, as well as the next generation of turners to emerge, like David Ellsworth and Mark Lindquist. Together, they have played a strong role in shaping the international field of woodturning. This exhibition was curated by Mark Richard Leach, Founding Director and former Chief Curator at the Mint Museum of Craft + Design, Charlotte, N.C.
In conjunction with the exhibition, a variety of related programming is planned, including a VisArts Wood Student + Faculty Exhibition on display April 3-29 in the Commons and the “CUT!” Film Series: Films about Wood on Saturdays at 2 PM, April 4 & 18, May 9, June 6 and 13.
The bimonthly Art & Coffee series at 9:30 AM will feature Nancy Hugo, author of Remarkable Trees of Virginia, on April 14; David Ramert from Metro Modern discussing “What is sexy in mid-century wood?” on April 28; and woodcut prints with Dennis Winston on May 12.
The InGrained – Women and Wood Art symposium May 29-31 will focus primarily on the creativity and achievements of women artists working with wood. Beginning with Friday night’s wine and cheese reception (6:30-7:30 PM), Arthur and Jane Mason will talk about their passion for collecting turned wood pieces. On Saturday from 9 AM to 6 PM artists Virginia Dotson, Michelle Holzapfel, Connie Mississippi, Merryll Saylan, Betty Scarpino and Hayley Smith will present artist talks and demonstrations. Admission fee for Saturday is $20. Sunday will be a free Community Day from 1 PM to 4 PM with talks and demonstrations by VisArts wood faculty Barbara Dill, Doug Finkel, Tom Crabb and Nick Pollok. The symposium and visiting and resident artists are supported by a grant from the Windgate Charitable Foundation.
From Sand: Works in Glass by Ken Daley, Richard Jolley and Joyce J. Scott
January 16 – March 22, 2009
When lightning travels from the sky to earth and strikes sand, the heat — over 54 thousand degrees Fahrenheit — fuses it into fulgurites, or petrified lightning. Many artists have found inspiration in the transformation of sand into glass. The very properties of glass — fluid, transparent, malleable — are converted into their opposites — solid, brittle and hard — through the application of intense heat. Recreating this dramatic and violent process, artists act as a conduit for their own ideas and images, producing rare and fragile objects of art through glass blowing and sculpting processes.
Over centuries artists have developed techniques to explore the many qualities of glass, including bead-making, blowing molten glass into molds or tubes and sculpting molten glass with tools such as shears, tweezers and paddles. In our next exhibition, From Sand, Ken Daley, Richard Jolley and Joyce Scott explore their artistic visions using different forms of glass.
Professor and scholar Ken Daley has built a body of work in a wide variety of media over several decades. Earning his BFA from the Philadelphia College of Art and his MFA from the Yale University School of Art & Architecture, Daley has taught at Old Dominion University since 1965. He has exhibited works in print media, drawings and neon glass installation pieces at many institutions over the years such as the Muscarelle Museum at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts Museum in Hangzhou, People’s Republic of China. Whether he uses specially formed glass tubes or salvaged glass forms from commercial neon signage, characteristic of Daley’s installations is a playfulness with words, their meaning and their forms. In a piece titled Pronominal Time, where two simple and elegant light tubes are installed in the form of an hourglass, Daley explores “the oldest linguistic word roots, which happen to refer to the self [I and me] and to the other [t'], and which conveniently make up the word ‘time.’”
Richard Jolley has been living and working in his studio in Knoxville, Tennessee, since he earned his degree from the Peabody College at Vanderbilt University. He continued his studies at North Carolina’s Penland School and has become widely known for his large-scale figurative works in original, brilliant colors. In towering pieces such as the 58-inch Translating Substance, his skill realizes the graceful human forms poised on a plateau and detailed foliage before a large, sheltering figure. The radiant colors glow with the vitality of nature and beauty. Jolley’s works are included in major collections such as the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, the Corning Museum of Glass in New York and the Mint Museum of Craft & Design in Charlotte.
Larger than life, the personality and vitality of Joyce Scott is contradicted by the scale of the tiny seed bead she uses to create her complex sculptures. Each bead seems to be permeated with her vivid life force. As they accumulate and are shaped into forms that become people, relationships and scenes they seem to radiate. Since 1970 Scott has been an educator and a prolific artist creating sculptures, jewelry, prints and collages in a mix of materials such as ceramics, cloth, metal and fibers. She has traveled extensively through the American Southwest, Central America, South America and Europe observing and incorporating media and techniques from around the world. Scott earned her BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and her MFA in Crafts from the Institute Allende in Mexico and has exhibited at the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington, and most recently in a major touring retrospective at the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Maryland Institute College of Art. Scott has been awarded major honors from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, Anonymous Was a Woman and the American Craft Council.
The exhibition opens to the public with a 7 p.m. reception on Friday, January 16, which all three artists will attend. A variety of related classes and programs are planned.
When Janey Comes Marching Home: Portraits of Women Combat Veterans
September 12 – December 14, 2008
A collaboration between author-filmmaker Laura Browder and photojournalist Sascha Pflaeging, this exhibition will present a new series of approximately 45 photographic portraits and oral histories of women combat veterans.
These large-scale images and accompanying text will heighten awareness, generate discussion, and broaden public understanding while also undermining stereotypes and preconceptions to reveal a more diverse, honest portrait of women soldiers and their wartime experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The powerful images and accompanying stories making up this exhibition,” notes exhibition curator Ashley Kistler, “should heighten awareness, generate discussion, and broaden public understanding of women soldiers and their wartime experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan. We hope When Janey Comes Marching Home will also undermine stereotypes and preconceptions about women in war.”
Although women are officially barred from combat positions, in the current war, where there are no front lines, notes Browder, the ban on combat is virtually meaningless. More than 180,000 women have served in Iraq and surrounding regions. Their jobs include working as convoy gunners, searching Iraqi homes, and conducting IED sweeps. When Janey Comes Marching Home: Portraits of Women Combat Veterans gives a presence and a voice to American women returning from a war zone.
Pflaeging’s color photographs are printed in a 30 x 40-inch format, with several images enlarged to 50 x 60 inches. A freelance photographer for such clients as Art & Auction, Getty Images, CBS, and Nylon Magazine, he travels worldwide on assignment and specializes in portraiture. “Whenever I shoot portraits,” he explains, “it is important to me to try to stage as little as possible. The portrait should unveil a glimpse of the subject’s spirit, how she feels, and what might be going through her head.” Noting what he sees as the project’s historical significance, Pflaeging adds, “My interest is in documenting these women visually while the situation is still present, their feelings and emotions still raw and very real.” The resulting portraits, taken within a variety of settings at close and mid-range, capture a wealth of emotional and psychological nuance that reflect their complex, difficult and, at times, paradoxical stories.
In their interviews, veterans have talked openly about issues ranging from how they deal with sexual harassment in the military to what it is like to spend 12 hours a day outside the wire in Baghdad. They share their experiences of motherhood, and tell how, as women in the military, they still had to prove themselves all the time.
One Marine, Jocelyn Proano, was deployed when her daughter was a year old. She told Browder, “When I got on that plane, the Mommy mentality left me, and the Marine mentality hit me.” A former Army Captain voiced her own opposition to the war—as well as her pride in serving her country and supporting her fellow soldiers in combat. And another officer told of eating lobster tails and steaks each week on her Forward Operating Base, and spending her nights lying under her cot, protected by Kevlar, text-messaging her friends back at college while her tent was bombarded by mortar fire.
“Many of these women have expressed how important they think it is for the American public to understand the experiences of women fighting in Iraq,” notes Browder, author of Her Best Shot: Women and Guns in America, in which she traces the way the female soldier has been seen in American popular culture from Revolutionary War times to the present day. “There are so many different stories, from the soldier whose biggest memory was running the nightclub on base to the woman who kicked in doors and manned the prison,” she adds. Veterans have recounted broken marriages, and the confusion and pain that come from trying to reintegrate into civilian life.
A professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Browder has had a longstanding interest in documenting American culture. Her previous projects include the oral history drama Sheep Hill Memories, Carver Dreams, a collaboration with residents of Richmond’s Carver neighborhood and with other VCU faculty; the documentary film, now nearing completion, Gone to Texas: The Lives of Forrest Carter, which was based on her book, Slippery Characters: Ethnic Impersonators and American Identities; and Rousing the Nation: Radical Culture in Depression America, which was named a Choice Outstanding Book of 1998.
When Janey Comes Marching Home: Portraits of Women Combat Veterans remains on view through December 14, 2008. The exhibition is also expected to travel to additional venues. It is made possible by generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, and the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences. VACR exhibitions are also supported by a generous grant from the Gwathmey Memorial Trust.
Virgil Marti: Ah! Sunflower
March 6 — May 11, 2008
Opening with a public reception March 6, Virgil Marti: Ah! Sunflower presents an installation by Philadelphia-based artist Virgil Marti. Marti bridges art and domestic decoration in his immersive environments of color, light and texture. Featuring a new wallpaper design, a fanciful chandelier, and richly upholstered seating among other components, Marti’s installation evokes an opulent interior while also addressing the centuries-old theme of vanitas, or life’s transience. The exhibition also features six innovative designs from Wallpaper LAB, which collaborates with contemporary artists to produce limited-edition wallpaper.
This two-part exhibition, taking place concurrently with the 2008 Southern Graphics Council Conference in Richmond March 26-29, explores artist-designed wallpapers as an extension of printmaking. “Since 1966, when Andy Warhol covered the Leo Castelli Gallery with his now famous pink-and-yellow Cow wallpaper, other artists have expanded the formal and conceptual possibilities of this functional medium in unexpected ways,” explains Ashley Kistler, VACR curator.
Marti has included wallpaper, often designed for a specific site, as a major component of the room-sized installations that he has created over the past decade. “I like the idea of producing material that can be expanded or contacted to fit a room,” he notes, “so that the architecture becomes the frame.” This sentiment is likely shared by the six artists whose vastly different wallpaper designs make up a second installation.
Marti’s installation includes a room suggestive of the daytime and one that concerns the nocturnal. “A circular couch links the two rooms, almost like a sundial, upholstered in fabrics that move from a lighter palette to colors associated with twilight and dusk,” the artist says, noting that the tones and patterns might be variously read as more typically feminine or masculine. “Oppositions are established that aren’t necessarily hard and fast but that kind of blur into one another, allowing incongruous things to go together,” he adds.
Other works in the installation incorporate casts of bones arranged in decorative patterns. “From a distance, you might see them as pretty floral patterns; they take on a darker tinge when you realize what they’re composed of,” he comments. Marti says that he is interested in taking images that have been removed from nature, similar to the decorative use of natural forms in Art Nouveau objects. He recycles them yet again, taking secondhand material through another iteration or re-hybridization.
Wallpaper LAB, a publisher of limited-edition artist-designed wallpaper, was founded by Ron Keyson two years ago in New York. Keyson collaborates with painters, sculptors and video artists to translate their ideas into designs that relate visually and conceptually to their other works. This installation features six of the 17 wallpapers that Wallpaper LAB has thus far produced, by A.J. Bocchino, Christopher Daniels, Douglas Gordon, Markus Linnenbrink, Fred Tomaselli and Phoebe Washburn.
Bocchino collects headlines from The New York Times and uses them as data for systems that generate complex networks and forms, organizing them chronologically and color-coding them by subject. Gordon’s wallpaper is derived from his three-channel video installation, Play Dead: Real Time (2003), for which he used cameras to record an elephant repeatedly rising to its feet from a prone position in an otherwise empty exhibition space. The video and the wallpaper provide alternate experiences of the passage of time, a central theme in Gordon’s work. Washburn uses industrial, commercial and consumer waste, tapping into “larger omnipresent and persistent systems driven by industry and consumerism,” she says.
Virgil Marti was born in 1962 in St. Louis. He earned his BFA (1984) from the School of the Arts, Washington University, and his MFA (1990) from Tyler School of Art, Temple University. He is the recipient of three fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (2005, 2003, 1997), a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (1997), a Pew Fellowship (1995) and an Art Matters Fellowship (1995). Marti resides in Philadelphia, where he has served for many years as a master printer and project coordinator at the Fabric Workshop and Museum.
Marti has exhibited extensively since the early 1990s. Among many other group exhibitions, his work was featured in La Biennale de Montréal (2007); Whitney Biennial 2004 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; On the Wall: Wallpaper and Tableaux at the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, and the Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art, Providence (2003); and Apocalyptic Wallpaper at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (1997). His recent collaborative projects and solo shows include Directions: Virgil Marti / Pae White at the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C. (2007); Crazy Quilt: Virgil Marti’s Selected Works at The Design Center, Philadelphia University (2006); The Flowers of Romance at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2003); and Grow Room at Participant, Inc., New York (2002).
Opening with a reception at 7-9 p.m. on March 6, the exhibition remains on view through May 11, 2008. The Center presents a free Gallery Talk with the artist on Saturday, March 29, 4-5 p.m., and will host a printmaking open house 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., featuring demonstrations of screen and relief printing techniques as well as some activities visitors can take part in. Faculty and student work will be on display inside and outside the printmaking studio. All events are free and open to the public.
VACR exhibitions are supported in part by a generous grant from the Gwathmey Memorial Trust, the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Affiliate support for the Visual Arts Center of Richmond is provided by investors in the Arts Fund. Production assistance for “Virgil Marti: Ah! Sunflower” was provided by the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia.
Elizabeth King: The Sizes of Things in the Mind’s Eye
December 7, 2007 – February 17, 2008
This nationally traveling mid-career survey of work by the Richmond-based sculptor will inaugurate the center’s new True F. Luck Gallery, which was created as part of the Center’s extensive 2007 renovation.
Organized in association with the Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts, the exhibition will offer audiences an unprecedented opportunity to explore the artistic evolution and singular innovations of one of the region’s most outstanding and influential artists. King’s work has not been seen in any depth in the Richmond area for nearly two decades, which makes this show an even more eagerly anticipated event. The project will be documented in a fully illustrated catalogue.
King often combines her meticulously wrought figurative sculptures with stop-frame film animation in installations that blur the boundary between actual and virtual space. Intimate in scale and distinguished by a level of craft that solicits close viewing, this work reflects her interests in early clockwork automata, the history of the mannequin and the puppet, and literature’s host of legends in which the inanimate or artificial figure comes to life.
The exhibition will present approximately 65 sculptures, film animations, installation pieces, drawings and photographs produced since the late 1970s, on loan from private and several public collections and from the artist herself. It will feature such seminal works as Pupil, lent by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., as well as her latest pieces, including Bartlett’s Hand, a carved wooden sculpture with movable joints that hypnotically comes to life in an accompanying animated film. Supplementing these works will be other objects from King’s studio – her glass-eye collection, wax studies of facial expressions, plaster life casts and optical devices, for example – that illuminate process and intent.
After its premiere at the VACR, which continues through Feb. 17, 2008, the exhibition will tour to several venues beyond the state, bringing overdue national attention to this extraordinary artist. It will travel to Dartmouth College in spring 2008, in conjunction with King’s residency there, continuing on through early 2009 to the David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University in Providence, R.I.; the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery in Lincoln, Neb.; and the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in Charleston, S.C.
Born in 1950 in Ann Arbor, Mich., Elizabeth King received BFA and MFA degrees in sculpture from the San Francisco Art Institute. In 1985, she joined the faculty of Virginia Commonwealth University, where she currently serves as School of the Arts Research Professor in the Department of Sculpture + Extended Media.
Awards recognizing King’s accomplishments include a 2006 Academy Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a 2002-03 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 1996-97 Fellowship in the Visual Arts at the Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute, now called the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study, at Harvard University. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
Last year, King’s work was the subject of a solo show at New York’s Kent Gallery. She has also recently participated in the group exhibitions Brides of Frankenstein at the San Jose Museum of Art, Beyond Real: Surrealist Photography and Sculpture from Bay Area Collections at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Faster Than the Eye at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, and Endless Love at DC Moore Gallery in New York. Her film animation, What Happened, made with Richard Kizu-Blair, was screened last November at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, as part of the program Black Maria Film Festival: The Legacy of the Short Film. Later this year, she will be represented in the exhibition All the More Real, curated by painter Eric Fischl for the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, N.Y.
Style Weekly review by Paulette Pullen
Time for Design
October 27 – December 10, 2006
Featuring Graphic Design: Bizarre Market Collective, Rob Carter, David Colley, Christopher Hibben, and John Malinoski; Fashion Design: Kristin Caskey, Ignatius Creegan & Rod Givens, Karl Green, and Bryony Renouf; Architecture & Interior Design: 3North Architects, Donna & Robert Dunay, Edwin Pease, Christopher Rea, and Camden Whitehead.
Curated by fashion designer Kristin Caskey, graphic designer John Malinoski, and architect Camden Whitehead in association with VACR curator Ashley Kistler, this exhibition explores the evolution of design solutions and the intersections of various design disciplines through an in-depth look at intention, concept, process, outcome, and client relations. The array of works selected for the show focuses primarily on projects by local designers and also connects to the upcoming renovation of the VACR, scheduled to begin in early 2007. For the curators, a primary motivation in organizing the show is to raise consciousness for design in Richmond, informing a broader public of its challenges and its potential for catalyzing change.
September 8 – October 15, 2006
Featuring work by Reed Anderson, Polly Apfelbaum, Roberley Bell, Nancy Blum, Imi Hwangbo, Kirsten Kindler, Kurt Lightner, Rob de Mar, Roxy Paine, Alyson Shotz, Jennifer Steinkamp, Yoshihiro Suda, and Yuken Teruya
Nancy Blum, Frenzy, 2006, ink and color pencil on paper, 48.5 x 110 inches.
Photo by Cathy Carver, courtesy of the artist.
This exhibition includes work by thirteen artists, both well-known and emerging, who employ a lush, often over-the-top decorative aesthetic and labor-intensive processes in their treatment of imagery drawn from nature. Besides turning the center’s galleries into their own sort of garden, the show explores various themes relating to the garden as a site of meditation, commemoration, refuge, delight, and wonderment. From exuberant, Pop-inflected images to intricately crafted, contemplative pieces, these diverse works cover a broad emotional and psychological terrain.
Among the works featured in the exhibition are Polly Apfelbaum’s lively cartoon flowers rendered on dyed fabric, Roberley Bell’s sculptural “flower blobs” in which the artificial holds sway, and Jennifer Steinkamp’s projected computer animation of dahlias that move fluidly in unison as if being blown by a breeze. Using a wide range of media to explore a mediated view of nature, Alyson Shotz makes digital prints of imaginary flora, as well as hand-wrought sculptures of plants that incorporate quirky elements like feeding tubes.
Nancy Blum explodes the scale of voluptuous botanical motifs in her monumental drawing, while Rob de Mar creates a miniaturized fantasyscape with the little flock-coated islands that punctuate his sculpture. From hyper-realistic to abstract images, the exhibition not only includes Roxy Paine’s meticulous renditions of fungi and Yoshihiro Suda’s precisely carved sculptures of weeds, but also Imi Hwangbo’s obsessively constructed Mylar reliefs based on the floral imagery of traditional Korean wrapping cloths.
In this selection of works, paper re-emerges as a material fraught with expressive potential. Subjected to processes both additive and subtractive, it is cut, folded, layered, punctured, stenciled, and painted by artists Reed Anderson, Kurt Lightner, Kirsten Kindler, and Yuken Teruya to create densely patterned drawings, intricately layered collages, elaborate installation pieces, and delicate sculptures.
On Site / Artists’ Projects: Shigeo Kawashima
New Video Download!
In this animated sequence of images, photographer and VACR facilities technician Michael Lease documented Shigeo Kawashima’s daily progress on Curve.
Kawashima working in Santa Fe, 2003. Courtesy of Tai Gallery.
At the invitation of the Visual Arts Center of Richmond, sculptor Shigeo Kawashima arrives in mid-May from his home in Kanagawa, Japan, to spend three weeks at the center as a resident artist. Intricately weaving strips of fresh-cut bamboo, Kawashima will construct a monumental sculpture that he has conceived specifically for the VACR’s galleries. The exhibition also includes a selection of Kawashima’s small-scale maquettes, for which he has become internationally known.
Kawashima’s residency follows the VACR’s 2004 exhibition, Contemporary Japanese Bamboo Arts, which introduced his work along with that of 30 other Japanese artists to audiences in central Virginia. His exhibition is also the sixth installment of On Site / Artists’ Projects. This annual series supports the creation of site-specific works that stretch traditional boundaries and expectations, giving both artist and audience new challenges and opportunities for interaction.
Although Kawashima’s early training was tradition-based, he later pursued a path as an independent artist instead of joining a professional craft-arts organization. Born in 1958 in Tokyo, he was in his twenties when he began teaching at the Beppu Occupational School. Because of his youth, his students did not take him seriously until he challenged them to a competition to see who could split bamboo the fastest and most accurately.
According to Robert Coffland, a specialist on Japanese bamboo arts and director of the TAI Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Kawashima’s sense of artistic experimentation was inspired by Shono Shounsai, Japan’s first Living National Treasure in the bamboo arts, who was a major advocate of the sculptural possibilities of bamboo. “Kawashima’s creativity and his deftness at mastering new techniques,” Coffland notes, “have established his reputation as a leader in the next wave of bamboo sculptors.”
In the 1990s, Kawashima began making large-scale bamboo sculptures in natural and urban settings. Characterized by graceful curvilinear forms and dramatic surfaces, these unprecedented works have led to several recent site commissions in this country. Over the last decade, his small sculptures have entered more than 30 collections throughout Japan, Europe, and the United States, including the San Francisco Asian Art Museum, and have been included in a dozen shows featuring new work by emerging contemporary artists.
On Site / Artists’ Projects: Shigeo Kawashima is made possible by a generous grant from the Japan Foundation. Additional support has been provided by BB&T, Joe & Junko Liesfeld, and Jay & Junko Quesenberry. The VACR also thanks Robert Coffland and his staff at TAI Gallery for their kind assistance with this project.
Stained & Scattered: Glass Works by Judith Schaechter & Jack Wax
April 7 – May 21, 2006
Judith Schaechter, Beehive Heaven, 2004, stained glass in light box, 19 x 30 x 6 inches. Collection of Tara Duke, courtesy of Claire Oliver Gallery, New York.
In this exhibition, contrasting approaches by two highly respected, nationally known artists underscore the expressive versatility of glass.
Displayed in light boxes, Judith Schaechter’s meticulously crafted stained-glass narratives evoke the age-old tradition of ecclesiastical glass while also drawing inspiration from a range of contemporary sources. Like her medieval predecessors, Schaechter manipulates the intrinsic beauty of her medium and infuses each piece with a kaleidoscopic array of sumptuous color and vibrant pattern. Against these fantastic backdrops, eccentric characters endure various tribulations, prompting one viewer to describe her compositions as “psychoanalytic allegories of a modern woman’s teeming subconscious.”
Based in Philadelphia, Schaechter is a 2005 recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her work has been shown extensively throughout the US, including the 2002 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and a 2004 solo exhibition that traveled nationally to four museums. She is represented by Claire Oliver Gallery in New York.
Jack Wax, Eye-leffts (detail), 2006, glass and enamel, 60 x 108 x 3 inches.
Jack Wax, by contrast, uses glass as a sculptural medium – sometimes in combination with other materials – to create abstract works with a contemplative presence. While Wax fabricates discrete wall-mounted and freestanding forms that often refer to the human body or bodily systems, he also makes expansive installation pieces by assembling a multitude of small component parts. For this exhibition, he has conceived two such multipart, site-specific works in which experimentation with subtle variations of color plays an increasingly prominent role.
In 2002, after teaching in several American universities and for six years in Japan, Wax joined the faculty of Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of the Arts, where he heads the glass program. Among other projects, he recently completed commissions for Markel Corporation and Philip Morris USA. He is represented by Reynolds Gallery in Richmond.
Carrie Mae Weems: To Be Continued
February 3 – March 19, 2006
Since developing her first photographic series in the early 1980s, artist Carrie Mae Weems has continued her investigation of “trying to understand something about the human spirit, how it operates, where it goes awry, how to address it, how to look at it, how to unravel it.” Storytelling, she also says, is a fundamental aspect of her work, “a way to best express the human condition.”
Combining photographs with written text, audio recordings, or other media, often in room-sized installations, Weems’ artful stories probe what shapes our perception of race, class, and gender, and our understanding of memory, tradition, and history. This exhibition presents the artist’s well known Kitchen Table Series, a domestic drama exploring a full range of encounters set around the kitchen table, enacted through photographic tableaux and narrative text. In her ongoing investigation of identity, Weems counters these gritty struggles of daily life and love with the lush, dreamlike imagery of her recent May Days Long Forgotten, which incorporates a video projection in addition to photographs.
A resident of Syracuse, New York, Weems has participated in many solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally, including a mid-career survey organized and toured by the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC. Her work is represented in major museum collections nationwide. She recently received the prestigious Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, as well as the Distinguished Photographers Award from Women in Photography International.
The exhibition was organized by the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia, where it was seen this past fall. It is accompanied by a 65-page catalogue, available at the center’s front desk for $25.00.