The University of Georgia's independent student newspaper, Red & Black, has a nice article by Laura Galbraith about the two new exhibitions. The full text:
'Natural creativity' the focus of two new museum exhibits
By: LAURA GALBRAITH
Who says you have to be a professionally trained artist to make remarkable art?
Starting Saturday, visitors at the Georgia Museum of Art can view two new exhibitions that demonstrate how people from America's past and present used their natural talent and creativity to create truly original and useful works of art.
"Amazing Grace: Self-Taught Artists from the Mullis Collection" features 90 works of folk art from more than 50 artists. The pieces, which include drawings, paintings, sculptures and mixed media constructions, date mostly from the 1960s to the 1990s and focus on a wide variety of thematic subjects.
Paul Manoguerra, curator for "Amazing Grace," said the diversity of style, artistic approach, color and subject matter gives everyone an opportunity to find a work he or she likes. The pieces give insight into the personal experiences and practical uses for the artists who made them.
"I think the visceral nature of the emotions, feelings and beliefs of these artists will be evident to anyone who steps into the galleries," he said.
"Real Western Wear: Beaded Gauntlets from the William P. Healey Collection" also contains works from self-taught artists. However, the artists are not your everyday people but rather the Plains, Plateau and Great Basin American Indians of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The exhibit includes 73 pairs of beaded and embroidered leather gloves that were once a favorite accessory of the Western cowboys' dress wardrobe. Such gloves were also a much sought-after souvenir for Eastern visitors who wanted to show proof of their Western adventures to family and friends back home.
Dennis Harper, in-house coordinator for "Real Western Wear," said one of the main fascinations of the exhibit is its sheer visual impact.
"[It's] like looking into a mosaic," he said in reference to the different colorful beaded patterns and images sewn onto the gloves.
Harper also said the Indians made these gloves in order to trade with the American settlers. However, the gloves eventually began to take on a more decorated, symbolic aim.
"The gloves came to be an emblem of Western experience," Harper said.
Jenny Collard, media relations coordinator for the Georgia Museum of Art, said the exhibits should be exciting and informative to those who choose to attend.
"I think with both exhibitions there is this incredible sense of history you will get through viewing them," she said.
Collard also said seeing the artworks will most likely help one gain an understanding and appreciation of how people can express themselves with limited means and training.
For "Amazing Grace," Collard said that visitors will be able to purchase a catalogue at the museum's gift shop that features essays from collector Carl Mullis and art historian Dr. Carol Crown, associate professor of art history at the University of Memphis. The publication contains images of the different pieces displayed in the exhibit, biographies of the artists and additional information on folk art.
A few preview photographs of the galleries, taken this morning before we even have exhibition signage up, from Amazing Grace...
...plus, a few details of some of the wonderful objects -- Otesia Harper's Coca-Cola quilt (very similar to the one at the Smithsonian American Art Museum); a view showing Minnie Adkins's Peaceful Valley 2 and David Butler's Whirligig; and Sulton Rogers's Haint House, a working lamp -- in The Mullis Collection.
Both exhibitions have large, hardcover, future-award-winning catalogues.