The Gadsden Museum of Art will host all new exhibitions featuring 15 artists throughout June with an opening reception on Friday, June 2 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
"Embodied: Contemporary Takes on the Dress" is a collaborative exhibition of thirteen artists: Merrilee Challiss, Leanna Leithauser Lesley, Alvina Zendejas, Montes Hill, Tara Stallworth Lee, Michelle Reynolds, Tracie Noles-Ross, Cynthia Wagner, Erin London, Katie D'Arienzo, Chiharu Roach, Amanda Banks, Kimberly Hart, and Sarah Jane Shaw.
Each dress is a visual narrative stemming from observation and experience, creating an immersive study into individuality, semiotics, joy, sorrow, and humanity.
Kentucky artist Brandon Smith will be showing on the second floor. In Mary Shelley’s "Frankenstein," when the monster stirs to life for the first time, the book says there is a “convulsive motion” in the limbs. The limbs hang and dangle. Lines describe what is there and what is not there. The carved dark shapes, the backs of hands and elbows are solidly described against a field of smoky neutral pale light. The lines arc toward the lurching bodies to lift or impede the weight.
Figures are composed of mismatched proportions, hewn at the joints with fragile red lines. Identity is obscured in thickets of opaque dark masses. In the vague expressive dust of soot and pigment rests forms uneasy in their shape, ungainly and uncomfortable. The blue washes over them, or suspends them in time. They sit, they yell in puddles of pink, wade through streams of viscous red, and troweled on blacks and brown.
Trapped in vague spaces of strokes and marks they reach, wobble and try to stand. They are dark and emotional, sentimental even and sometimes wretched in their form. They pay homage to the truth but only fleetingly and uneven. In the spaces between truth and visual chaos, they are both beautiful and grotesque.
In the Leo Reynolds Gallery, painter Wanda Sullivan presents her collection of kaleidoscopic floral paintings entitled “Natural Selections.” Wanda uses measured symmetry, and recently, deconstructed layers of computer-assisted designs with painterly, atmospheric layers of paint. She revels in color, undulating form and alluring textures.
“My flowers are beautiful, but they are monsters, contemporary, biomorphic Frankensteins,” she said. They are designed to seduce the viewer and lure them in, just like our dependency on fossil fuels, phones, tablets, and computers do.
Jacksonville State University Ceramics Professor John Oles’ work can be seen in the Courtyard Galleries. In his vessels and functional forms, he honors the tradition and familiarity of the domestic object, with its ability to enrich our lives through daily use, as a vehicle for communicating content. He approaches the making of each pot as an individual sculptural object, often with reference to landscape or the human figure.
The walls of these vessels are like that of a membrane, inflated, stretching thin, just barely able to contain the space within it. And on that skin is a mark. A finger swipe, a pinch, push- out, a gesture instantly records history, intent and expression onto the surface, while simultaneously building a tension with the interior volume.