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Art

Earth Day 2020: “Mother Earth as Art”

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In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, JCSM explored the intersection of art and science with an online gallery talk for “Mother Earth as Art.”

Dr. Chandana Mitra, associate professor, Department of Geosciences, joined host Christy Barlow, curator of education for student and community programs, along with two graduate students who worked on the exhibition: Megha Shrestha, Department of Geosciences, Auburn University
and Nina Zamani Alavijeh, from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

“Alabama Political Reporter” featured an interview with Dr. Mitra and the digital exhibition as a part of its Earth Day 2020 coverage. Read the article.

A ruby-throated hummingbird approaches a cluster of blossoms, with other hummingbirds trapped in the blooms.

Collection Spotlight: Walton Ford

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Things are not as they seem in the charming print, “Limed Blossoms.” Contemporary artist Walton Ford pays homage to John James Audubon’s artistic style, but he also makes a critical statement on man-made threats to the environment.

What do you observe about the ruby-throated hummingbirds sipping nectar from the blossoms? One bird curiously approaches unaware. The others are trapped and lifeless. The title, “Limed Blossoms,” gives us a clue. Audubon and other collectors spread sticky birdlime on twigs and other perches to trap small birds to study, export and trade. Ford uses outdated and unassuming methods to symbolize the human footprint’s destructive impact.

Notice anything in the bottom left corner? Pollution blocks the rosy sunset. Through his artwork, Ford advocates for protecting the environment.

A ruby-throated hummingbird approaches a cluster of blossoms, with other hummingbirds trapped in the blooms.

Color etching and aquatint
Accompanying the limited-edition book Pancha Tantra
Edition: 100
Museum purchase with funds provided by the 1072 Society, 2012

A young girl leans out of a window, looking sad.

Collection Spotlight: Marion Greenwood

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Marion Greenwood, a social realist artist who worked in various mediums, is best known for her murals and work in Mexico.

Ever breaking barriers, she was the first woman to receive a mural commission from a foreign government and was one of two women selected as an artist war correspondent during World War II. Greenwood transferred her “terrific love for human beings and people” into becoming a painter of people focused upon their diversity. She won the Lithography Prize from John Herron Art Institute.

In Greenwood’s lithograph “Waiting,” a young African American girl leans out of a window. Her head rests on her stacked hands. How do you think she feels based on her posture and gaze? What is she thinking?

A young girl leans out of a window, looking sad.

Waiting, ca. 1950
Ink on Paper
Lithograph
9 3/8 x 12 1/2 in.
Museum purchase

Contributed by Leslie Schuneman, curatorial intern

I find that years later after the sieve of time takes place, you really know more about what you want to say personally.

Marion Greenwood
Warm light and shadows move across a book, opened to a picture of a heron.

Collection Spotlight: Jane E. Goldman

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Observe the passing months and seasons in the work of Jane E. Goldman. Cut flowers in glass vases and native plants frame each setting of her intricate prints. Patterned shadows dance on table cloths, floor tiles and opened books featuring images from John James Audubon’s “Birds of America.” Goldman works in various media, with her style described as “lyrical realism.” In her words, she is “looking inwards to depict incorporeal works of imagination that can’t be seen by observation.”

What seasonal elements can you sense by looking at “Audubon June?” The page in the book subtly moves, perhaps partially propped up by the chilled water glass or a burst of breeze. How does the reproduction of Audubon’s work blend into the scene? The branches in the upper right give partial coverage to the blue heron at the water’s edge.

Warm light and shadows move across a book, opened to a picture of a heron.

“Audubon June,” 2004
16-color screen print
Edition: 53/64
18 x 26 inches (image)
Gift of Lynn Barstis Williams Katz and Burton Katz

A melon baller and bottle opener posed as people; a glove with two fingers walking

Collection Spotlight: Janet Nolan

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Everything from squashed aluminum cans to plastic packaging finds its way into the work of Janet Nolan (B.V.A., 1968). As a young girl in Montgomery, Alabama she absorbed the aesthetic of repurposing objects into new contexts from a beloved uncle who reconstructed ”everyday broken things into useful objects; like old metal coffee pots into lamps with colander shades.”

Inspired by Louise Bourgeois’ feminist perspective and Robert Rauschenberg’s assemblages, Nolan began sculpting with broken umbrellas she collected from Manhattan streets after a thunderstorm in 1976. Nolan’s art-colorful, playful and thought-provoking has been exhibited at universities, art centers, galleries, museums and corporate headquarters across the nation. Cheerfully, Nolan asks us to shift our expectations of redemption, recycling, rescue and revival.

A melon baller and bottle opener posed as people; a glove with two fingers walking

(L to R)

I Do, 1995
Kitchen utensils, glass case, painted wood
Gift of the artist’s estate

Cruella, 2000
Fur and suede glove, wood base,
glass dome
Gift of the artist’s estate

Installation of Apollo the Healer

Collection Spotlight: Nancy Grossman

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Nancy Grossman, a New York City native, created this life-size etching, “Apollo the Healer,” in 1995. The Olympian god is associated with medicine and healing, and in this piece, the artist focuses our attention on a contorted collage figure of him, pieced together and made anew.

Grossman considered collage—the cutting and pasting of visual elements into a new form—as “the only way to make the disparate and ill-fitting parts of a life, an identity, an elegantly seamless experience. It satisfies both the urgent and the substantive thirst.” The museum, joining the world-wide chorus, offers thanks to all providing medical assistance during the pandemic, with hopes that this art provides a path away from suffering and toward restoration.

Contributed by staff

Figure of Apollo the healer

Edition: 3/20
65 in x 39.5 sheet
Spit-bite color etching
Museum purchase with funds provided by the 1072 Society, 2018

Collection Spotlight: Loren MacIver

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Native New Yorker Loren MacIver took Saturday painting classes at the Art Students League as a youth. After that, the then 10-year old refused to take any further training. Fast forward to 1935, when she became the first woman to enter the Museum of Modern Art’s collection. Primarily self-taught as an artist, McIver found success in a time when women faced extreme difficulty gaining notice among art critics and dealers. She was only one of three women included in Advancing American Art, a short-lived U.S. State Department-produced touring exhibition in support of American ideals and art.

“Finit” is inspired by the sights of Cape Cod. Delicate brushwork and a soft palette evoke early morning light at water’s edge. The rising sun begins to dry the atmosphere, and elements both near and far gradually emerge from the gauzy haze. MacIver is frequently compared to the artist Paul Klee. Like Klee and the Surrealists, MacIver seems to elicit revelations from the realm of the subconscious.

Loren MacIver
(American, 1909–1998)
Finit, 1939
Oil on canvas
21 x 34 ½ inches
Museum purchase with funds provided by the 1072 Society, 2019

Chris Krupinski (Hurricane, WV) Pears and Plums

Awards judge names winners in juried watercolor competition

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The “Watercolor Society of Alabama 77th Annual National Exhibition” features more than seventy pieces from artists all over the country. The exhibition is on view through Sunday, July 29.

Awards judge, Barbara Nechis, an artist and resident of Napa, California, is the former director of the Watercolor Society. “When making my selections first I look at the work and pay attention to which pieces I respond to without analyzing why. I look for work that appears to be particular to each artist and try to choose what I believe could be recognized as such even without a signature,” said Nechis.

“Emotional content is important to me but drawing and compositional skills, control of paint, shape and edge, an understanding of the proportions of figure or landscape, considered rather than random color, brush strokes that are purposeful, not arbitrary and works that demonstrate intent rather than accidental results are among my other considerations.”

Congratulations to the winners.

Chris Krupinski (Hurricane, WV) Pears and Plums

Award of Excellence

Chris Krupinski
(Hurricane, WV)
“Pears and Plums”

Joanna Ellington (Miramar Beach, FL) Storm on the Way

Board of Directors’ Award

Joanna Ellington
(Miramar Beach, FL)
“Storm on the Way”

Debra Scoggin/Myers (Ewing, MO) Father Is Always Working

Patron Fine Art Award

Debra Scoggin/Myers
(Ewing, MO)
“Father Is Always Working”

Iain Stewart (Opelika, AL) Two Boys and a Bike—Gothenburg, Sweden

Patron Fine Art Award

Iain Stewart
(Opelika, AL)
“Two Boys and a Bike—Gothenburg, Sweden”

Charles Rouse (Vista, CA) Hanging Out at Half King

Patron Fine Art Award

Charles Rouse
(Vista, CA)
“Hanging Out at Half King”

Z. L. Feng (Radford, VA) Roots

Patron Fine Art Award

Z. L. Feng
(Radford, VA)
“Roots”

Bruce Little (Savannah, GA) Ferry at Night

Patron Fine Art Award

Bruce Little
(Savannah, GA)
“Ferry at Night”

Tuva Stephens (McKenzie, TN) Norm’s World II

Patron Fine Art Award

Tuva Stephens
(McKenzie, TN)
“Norm’s World II”

Merit Award: James Brantley, (Opelika, AL), “Survivor”
Merit Award: Matthew Bird, (Sykesville, MD), “For You”
Southern Watercolor Society Award: William H. Mckeown, Quincy, FL, “The Old Salt”
Georgia Watercolor Society Award: Sophie Repolt Rogers, Tuscumbia, AL, “My Kinda Red Flags”
Louisiana Watercolor Society Award: Heike Covell, Huntsville, AL, “Proud”
Tallahassee Watercolor Society Award: Suzanna Spann, Cortez, FL, “Friday on Frenchman Street”
Texas Watercolor Society Award: Anne Hightower-Patterson, Leesville, SD, “Waiting In the Light of the Sun”
Signature Members Award: Keiko Yasoka, Houston, TX, “Happy Anniversary”
Signature Members Award: Barbara O’Neal Davis, York, SC “Proud”
Signature Members Award: Corky Goldman, Mobile, AL, “Generations”
Signature Members Award: Chuck Jones, McCalla, AL, “Cold Water School”
Signature Members Award: Florene S. Galese, Vestavia, AL, “Lazy Croc”

DETAIL: Ira Hill (Alabama, b. 1974) American Expressions, ongoing, originated in 2011 Fabricated steel and paint

Calling Art Enthusiasts: Meet and Greet with Ira Hill

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On April 26 at 5:30 p.m., Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art invites Ira Hill to the museum for an hour long Meet and Greet with Art Enthusiasts, the museum’s newest membership level.

Enthusiastic individuals with a shared interest in being part of the art community will enjoy beverages and one-on-one time with the artist and other guests. Hill will be giving a brief talk on the grounds surrounding his sculpture and members will be the first to sign Hill’s sculpture, “American Expressions.”

As a museum member, there are hundreds of resources at your disposal to bring you closer to art. It’s access and engagement that excites the newest museum membership level, the art enthusiasts.

Become an Art Enthusiast
Alabama artist Ira Hill poses with his work, American Expressions

Hill’s sculpture, “American Expressions” is a social experiment, political awakening, and artistic representation of expression through an 8-foot by 16-foot steel sculpture of an American flag. The flag was placed on the museum grounds in the fall as part of “Out of the Box”, the biennial outdoor sculpture exhibition and has since been the canvas for museum visitors to sign, sketch, and express themselves. Hill will be repainting the flag before Thursday’s event leaving a fresh canvas until the exhibition closes in mid-October.

The “American Expressions” flag was toured throughout the United States in the months leading up to the 2016 presidential election. By allowing people to write directly on the flag, it became a document of their encounters and a place of expression for the people of our nation. Upon traveling to the next destination, the flag was repainted, absorbing the expressions of the previous community, weaving thousands of voices together.

If you’re an art enthusiast who likes meeting people and wants to engage with the greater art community at exclusive events and programs, join today and come meet Ira Hill!

RSVP, and learn more about membership
Logo celebrating 1892-2017 and Auburn women

Celebrate American Business Women’s Day and 125 Years of Auburn Women with collection highlights

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Friday, Sept. 22 isn’t just the first day of fall–it’s American Business Women’s Day. JCSM is recognizing dynamic artists from our permanent collection, who are working and making art today.

The museum is also celebrating the Auburn Alumni Association’s 125 Years of Auburn Women. Now through Nov. 11, 2017, you can find women artists who have an Auburn or state of Alabama connection on view in the Louise Hauss and David Brent Miller Gallery.

Beginning Nov. 11, curators will change out the gallery for this year’s 1072 Society Exhibition. This year’s 1072 Society donor campaign will focus on significant artwork by women artists, thus proudly adding to the 96 females currently represented in the collection of more than 2,500 objects. You can learn more about supporting the arts at Auburn here. Here are a few highlights of women in the JCSM collection.

Florence Neal ’76

Throughout her career, Ms. Neal has created work that reflects her very personal experience and connectedness to the natural world, acknowledging those changing rhythms and cyclical patterns of growth and decay, ebb and flow and chaos and order. Though she has resided in Brooklyn, New York working as a
printmaker, sculptor, painter and curator for most of her adult life, she is a daughter of the deep south and her ties to the land are visceral and provocative. Ms. Neal is the Director and Co-founder of the Kentler International Drawing Space in Red Hook, Brooklyn. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Auburn University.

a pastel drawing of a bird's nest

Janet Nolan ’64

What you might step over on the streets of a big city, Janet Nolan uses to make assemblages, ranging from small to large scale. Often, rather than having an exact plan at the outset she allows the object to dictate the sculpture’s final form. The range of Nolan’s materials in recent years has included soda cans smashed in traffic, colorful plastic bottle caps, broken umbrellas and men’s neckties. Her collection of abandoned birds’ nests fills a china cupboard in her home and has inspired drawings such as the one in the museum’s collection. Currently, Ms. Nolan serves on the JCSMAdvisory Board as chair of Collections and Acquisitions.

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