As part of the museum’s 10th year anniversary focus on sculpture, JCSM will present an exhibition of the work of acclaimed artist and Auburn University alumna, Jean Woodham. The selection of pieces in this exhibition reflects her long and successful career as a sculptor, which began in the late 1940s. Woodham is noted for her large-scale public sculptures, two of which are featured on the university campus: Spinoff,sited at the entry of JCSM, and Monody, located outside the Goodwin Music Building.
Woodham’s earliest works were often small, simplified figurative forms in stone, clay and wood but her true virtuosity as a sculptor developed as she mastered welding in the early 1950s and began to produce an expressive range of abstract forms and shapes that often relied on surface texture to engage the viewer. Later, smooth planes and linear forms that describe space and visual movement increasingly characterized her work. As her technical abilities evolved, Woodham eschewed the usual process of producing a maquette, which was then passed on to an industrial fabricator to carry out the project. Instead, she donned a hard hat, protective earmuffs and goggles to cut, hammer and weld the bronze, brass, steel and copper herself. In a time when women artists were omitted from art history surveys and rarely afforded the opportunity to exhibit their works or receive commissions, Jean Woodham defied the norm.