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Bernice Sims - New York Heroes, 2001

#MuseumFromHome: Documenting Our Lives

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Bernice Sims - New York Heroes, 2001

Our #MuseumFromHome activity is inspired by our monthlong theme of diversity, inclusion and equity. Fitting, then, that we draw upon the work of Bernice Sims and the exhibition, “From Her Innermost Self: Visionary Art of Southern Women.”

Sims made art about important times in history that she experienced. In this work, she remembered the first responders during 9/11.

Like Bernice Sims, we can also make artwork about our experiences while we stay at home. Creating art can help you go through big feelings you may have or recognize people who change the world for the better. What is something that has happened in your lifetime?

What You’ll Need

Pencil

Paper

Eraser

Crayons, markers, colored pencils or other drawing material of your choice

Paper, pencil, eraser

Instructions

Before you begin, take a minute to think about some of the things you’ve seen or done that are really interesting to you. These can be things we are experiencing right now or another really important event in your life.

When you are finished, go ahead and use your pencil to sketch out your idea on paper. Bernice Sims’ style was very simple and clean, so try not to get too caught up in intricate details.

Finally, color in the picture.

Once you are done, share your work with others. Maybe even hang the work in your home or post to social media. We’d love to share your creation online @JCSMAuburn.

Collection Spotlight: Selections from the Catfish Press Exchange

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The Catfish Press Exchange folio vividly illustrates contemporary printmaking in the United States. The output of this collective usually remains in the private collections of the artists; but, JCSM greatly benefits from the generosity of donors Joe and Julie Sanders. These selections are striking examples of different printmaking techniques.

The word ”lithography” is derived from the Greek, litho meaning ”stone,” and graphy meaning ”writing.” This technique involves drawing with a greasy crayon on polished limestone or aluminum plates. A chemical solution is applied to bond the drawing to the stone, and then the surface is treated with water that only sticks to the non-greased areas. A special ink, which only adheres to the greased areas, is applied with a roller. The print is then run through a press.

Beauvais Lyons
Plate #345, 2003
Lithograph

The word ”intaglio” comes from the Italian intagliare which means ”to incise or carve.” In this method of printing, the areas that hold the ink are cut into the surface of a metal plate. After the plate is inked, paper is laid on the prepared plate and extreme pressure
is applied, forcing the paper into the incised lines to pick up the ink. There are several different types of intaglio prints such as etching, drypoint and aquatint.

Art Werger
Elements, 2003
Etching

Serigraphy, more commonly known as ”screen printing,” is a stencil-based technique, which uses screens made of fabric or fine mesh stretched over a frame. A chemical solution marks off the areas around the image, blocking the ink from going through the screen. A squeegee is then used to press ink through the open parts of the screen.

Lynwood Kreneck
Master Builder’s Attic, 2003
Serigraph

Relief printing is one of the oldest forms of printmaking dating back as far as c. 4000 BCE. To create a relief print, an artist carves into a material leaving raised areas that hold ink. Paper is laid on top, and pressure is applied with a ”baren,” transferring the image onto paper. Relief prints can be made from a wide range of materials, such as wood (woodcut, wood engraving), linoleum (linocut) and metal (letterpress).

Joe Sanders
The Sky is Falling, 2003
Woodcut

Digital is a general term used for any print that uses digital technology in image creation or printing.

Cima Katz
Reverberations, 2003
Digital collage on paper

Collection Spotlight: Auburn Oak Bowl

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Matt Moulthrop continues a legacy of innovation in woodturning, advancing techniques developed by his grandfather and father, artists Ed and Philip Moulthrop. In partnership with Auburn University, Moulthrop turned this bowl from the sizeable forked section of the Auburn Oaks at Toomer’s Corner. Do you notice the dramatic patterns from where the limbs intersected? He often works with trees that have a meaningful association in people’s minds or unique value to a community.

What significance does Toomer’s Corner hold for you? Does the work of art or woodturning process capture it in some way? What kind of item might you transform into art to preserve a memory or convey a story? Its history?

Auburn Oak Bowl, 2014
Turned wood (Live oak)
Ca. 15 x 26 ½ x 26 ½ inches
Gift of the artist, 2014

“Each tree has a story to tell. Wormholes convey past life, rings communicate growth and certain colors tell the story of death by lightning or blight. My job is to tell the story…lengthening the life of the tree rather than ending it.”

Matt Moulthrop
A sculpture constructed from wood beams, forming multiple X shapes.

#MuseumFromHome: Out of the Box

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Practice safe social distancing and explore the museum grounds. There are large scale sculptures you can walk around (and even inside) in our juried outdoor sculpture exhibition, “Out of the Box!”

Our #MuseumFromHome family activity is inspired by “Basics #38 (for Brancusi)” and household materials. Join people all over the world on Saturday, April 25, 2020, as they celebrate International Sculpture Day. Take photos of your sculpture and tag #ISDay/@JCSMAuburn.

The artist, Mattias Neumann, draws upon what he learned and practices as an architect to create his work. He thinks about the way public art changes a location. The one he made for JCSM is made just for our grounds.

He installed the first version of this sculpture at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Romania, and there have been other versions all over the country.

How does a sculpture or work of art change a public space? Does it make you stop and wonder in your everyday life, or do you just walk by?

A sculpture constructed from wood beams, forming multiple X shapes.

What You’ll Need

Popsicle Sticks

School Glue or Tacky Glue

Sheet of Paper

Pencil

Instructions

Using a pencil and a piece of paper, create a guide to lay your popsicle sticks on top of. Draw two X’s side by side, connecting the edges. It should look like this: XX.  To maintain the same pattern as you build, it is smart to label each line 1-4 like in the picture.

Numbered lines drawn on paper, forming two

Place your first popsicle stick (red in the picture) down on the line you have labeled “1.” Place a dot of glue in the center of the popsicle stick where your next stick will cross over it to create an X. Remember: the less glue the better! Using only a tiny dot of glue will help your sculpture to dry faster and not slip as you build.

Popsicle stick placed diagonally on the guide lines.

Position your second popsicle stick (yellow in the picture) down along the line you labeled “2.” This stick should cross over your first stick to create an ‘X’ shape. Place a dot of glue on the end of the stick.

Place your fourth stick over the dots of glue on sticks 3 and 1. This will create the XX shape we want!

Place a dot of glue on the center of stick 2 (yellow) and the end of stick 4 (blue).

It is time to repeat the process! Place a popsicle stick over the glue dots you created on sticks 2 and 4. Repeat the steps until your sculpture is the desired height.

Once you are done, share your work with others. Create your own sculpture garden using a variety of materials. Post to social media if you are able. We’d love to share your creation online @JCSMAuburn for a #MuseumFromHome.

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.

#MuseumFromHome: Artful Abstraction

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For this week’s #MuseumFromHome family activity, we are inspired by the beauty in our backyards and the work of Blanche Lazzell.

Throughout her whole life and artistic career, Lazzel always learned something new about art. Artists considered modernist, Like Lazzell, sought to use different techniques and imagery to reflect the early 20th-century experience.

With abstraction, Lazzell didn’t try to paint the landscape exactly as it looked to her. Instead, she used shapes, colors and marks to create her picture.

This painting showcases well all of the methods she studied. Follow our step-by-step guide below so you can explore something new, too.

American Landscape, Woodstock Ca. 1917
Oil on canvas
Museum purchase with funds provided by Gerald and Emily Leischuck

What You’ll Need

Paper or Canvas

Markers, colored pencils, oil pastels, crayons OR Paint with Q-tips

Pencil

Flowers, plants, grass or trees in your yard to create a scene, or landscape

Reference photo (optional)

Paper, pencil and markers on display for an art project.

Instructions

Draw a rough sketch of what you want to show in your illustration. You can draw outside or look at a photograph. Remember: what you see on the paper doesn’t have to look exactly like what is in front of you.

Begin blocking in the colors of the place using simple shapes, lines and multiple colors. They do not have to be perfect. See how much you can simplify the landscape using shapes.

Rough sketch as landscape

When using markers, colored pencils, oil pastels, or crayons, color little circles, dots, lines rectangles or squares instead of fully coloring in the object.

Painters, dip your Q-tip in the paint and stamp it on your artwork. It may be easiest to make little dots and circles, but make unique marks as well. What new techniques will you discover?

Fill every corner of the page with colorful shapes. Once every spot is covered, you are done! Go show your friends or family your beautiful artwork. We’d love to see, too. Tag us @JCSMAuburn for a #MuseumFromHome.

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 spider web connects to a glass porch light.

#MuseumFromHome: Look Closer

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Get to know and appreciate the world around you a bit more with a fun, engaging family activity. Post your finished artwork on social media and tag @JCSMAuburn to create a #MuseumFromHome.

Like the scientists at NASA, we will photograph Mother Earth as art. Explore the ordinary things around us that we don’t always notice: the little dandelion growing between the cracks of your porch; your cat taking an afternoon nap; the way light shines through bubbles in a glass in the sink—you name it.

For inspiration, browse our digital exhibition of “Mother Earth as Art,” and discover the ways that satellite imagery captures details that look like paintings.

What You’ll Need

Camera (Smartphone, digital camera, polaroid camera or tablet)

Subjects around the house or your yard

Photo editing app (optional)

Color printer with photo paper (optional)

Nature creates colorful patterns along the fingers of the Ord River in Australia.

Instructions

Ask an adult if they can help you use a camera, and look together around the house or outside to spy things you wouldn’t usually notice as you go about your daily life.

Once you find something, try placing the camera in different places for different angles—near, far, with the object on the right or on the left of the frame.

A spider web connects to a glass porch light.

Look at your photographs. Did they come out how you wanted? How can you experiment with where you place the camera? Does light or shadow change your photograph?

You may want to edit your photo or add special effects. Commonsense.org recommends some photo editing apps for students. Always ask a grownup first!

Once you are done, share your work with others to show them the beauty in everyday life. Maybe even print some out or post to social media if you are able. We’d love to share your creation online @JCSMAuburn.

Welcome to the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art!

We are excited that you are here with us. Feel free to look around and reach out to us by navigating to our contact page.