MCA’s newest exhibition in Rust Hall’s main gallery showcases the work of Kendall Carter, Orly Cogan, Margaret Evangeline and Mark Newport. Cross Currents explores the expectations of gender with accepted stereotypes illuminated through the art of these four contemporary artists in an effort to challenge the traditional roles men and women play in society.
“I have been aware of Mark Newport and Orly Cogan's work for a long time now and it struck me that both were working in ways that were against gendered expectations - men should not knit and women should make pretty embroidered articles for domestic consumption. I looked for two more artists to balance the show, Margaret Evangeline because her metal paintings are composed with gunshots and Kendall Carter because his works assimilate every day objects and question the boundaries of art and design,” says Jennifer Sargent, Associate Professor and Director of Exhibitions at MCA.
Contradictions in subject and form are inherent to the works, although not overt, as most people identify masculinity within the context of a heroic type, tough and unfeeling, while textiles and decorative arts are generally ascribed to the feminine ideal, soft and sweet, flowing with compassion.
However, Newport captures the male form (including the notably brooding and mysterious Batman) with a variety of quirky, full-body, knit suits. Evangeline’s works inversely transform luminous, often reflective, rigid surfaces into violent canvases shot through with different calibers of guns — in some cases softening the outward blast with glimpses of a delicate motif on ceramic to fully realize her vision. Cogan’s intricate embroidery work completes the show with all too truthful scenes of life, particularly womanhood, to beautifully convey the ugly realities behind closed doors. The exhibition runs until March 25th.
Right down the hall, the alumni gallery has an incredible show of paintings by Erin Morrison, now an MFA Painting Candidate at UCLA. Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, she has exhibited work in galleries from California to New York upon receiving her bachelor's degree from MCA, and has also been published in numerous arts magazines.
Composed with coffee, graphite, ink, crayon, gouache, acrylic, and pigment, this selection from Morrison’s Flight series demonstrates an impeccable fluency in constructing breathtaking scenes of surrealism. Her paintings are available for purchase, on display until April 8th.
This year's annual juried student exhibition at the University of Memphis is not to be missed. Barbara MacAdam of ARTnews magazine selected a wonderful combination of student works that display the potential of art education in AMUM's vast main gallery.
MacAdam has acted as deputy editor of ARTnews since 2005, having been a senior editor for the distinguished publication since 1987. The magazine is the oldest and most widely circulated art mag in the world, founded in 1902 by James Clarence Hyde as Hyde's Weekly Art News, now published eleven times a year.
The award for Best of Show was well-chosen, given to Katie Maish's large installation of snapshots compiled to portray a lazy day at the Levitt Shell.
The Centennial Award was granted to Michelle Foster's sculpture, Mrs. Bee, a creation that acts as a sort of caricature based on a kindly, yet authoritative figure from the artist's past.
Photography is well-represented, especially with the soft light and vintage quality that helps to explore uncomfortable southern territory in Kathy Barnes' digital print.
Paul Eade's pair of abstract oil paintings are a definite highlight of the graduate student space.
But all types of media are celebrated, such as Renee Embry's interactive piece, executed over many sheets of tracing paper as an exercise in animation.
I'd have to say that the most auspicious works were the many sculpture pieces represented. I was particularly taken with the magical quality of Alexandra Pearson's small box of finely crafted holy relics. But other artists display an amazing range of technique and interesting new perspectives with ceramics, newspaper, and even neckties.
The exhibition ends on March 10th, so be sure to take time to see the finest, most exciting new works that the university's artists have to offer.
A new Tributaries exhibition will open at the National Ornamental Metal Museum, featuring Chris Irick’s series, Flight. The artist will also give a public lecture at Memphis College of Art's Callicott Auditorium on February 23rd at 7 p.m. Flight is the result of a fascination with the history of both man-made and avian flight, exploring elegant engineering and ideas that never quite left the ground to combine fanciful contraptions with aspects from contemporary aeronautics. Irick's work reflects a particular interest in the design of turbine engines.
Irick received a BFA and MFA in jewelry and metalsmith arts from Texas Tech University and UMASS Dartmouth, respectively, and has instructed students in jewelry design and craft for many years. She is currently Professor of Metal Arts and head of the jewelry program at Pratt MWP in Utica, New York - an alliance between the renowned Pratt Institute in New York City and the Munson-Williams-Proctor Art Institute, an internationally recognized fine arts center. She has exhibited nationally and is included in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
One of the most interesting pieces to be displayed is the Gyroptere, patented in 1911 and built in 1914 in France. Known as the first air-jet helicopter, its design was based on the sycamore seed, which falls and turns on a one-blade rotor. A rotary motor was mounted onto the back of an axis of rotation, using a turbine to draw air in and then force it out through a nozzle at the tip of the contraption’s single blade.
The blade would turn rapidly, and the gyroscopic force of the motor was meant to lift the machine into a positive angle. The pilot, centered on a drum at the axis of rotation, controlled a separate air-duct to keep his seat from moving with the blade and provide forward thrust. However beautifully built, the apparatus was not a success. Tested in 1915 on Lake Cercey, the Gyroptere was wildly out of balance as the blade smashed repeatedly into the water.
Irick’s corresponding necklace has a series of 14k gold sheet wedges that slide into the silver die formed wing, to resemble the scientific model of the flying machine. When picked up, the gold wedges freely expand to allow the piece to be worn as jewelry. The opening reception for Irick's exhibition will take place on February 24th from 5:30 to 7 p.m.