Thursday, August 25, 2016

Spotlight on Studio Workshops: Q&A with Instructor Kristen Ashley

This September, Athens-based artist and educator Kristen Ashley will be leading "Studio Workshop: Abstraction," a four week course that explores abstraction and non-representational art through various techniques and materials. We got to learn more about Kristen and her work with a brief Q&A.

Kristen Ashley
1. What are some of your favorite works at the Georgia Museum of Art?

Some of my favorites are Josef Albers' "Goldengate", Elaine DeKooning's "Bacchus #81", and Edgar Degas' self portrait.

2. How does a visit to the museum inspire you as an artist?

An art museum is a holy place for me. Just being around the centuries' worth of artwork inspires me, and in spirit, I feel closer to the artists themselves. Getting to see the works up close, trying to figure out how the artists worked and what influenced them, gives me new ideas for my own work and a sublime feeling of my place in art making's long history.

3. Is there something you are currently working on or are excited about starting that you can tell us about?

Right now [K. A. Artist Shop] is my work of art! We are a young art space, and I take great pride in how the environment is set up and organized, as well as in the overall visual experience I'm creating for my shoppers, students, and gallery visitors. I'm also working on a series of oil paintings, where I take imagery from textiles and weavings and translate them into two-dimensional works on wood.

4. What do you read, listen to, or look at to fuel your work?

I love podcasts and books on tape. My favorite authors du jour are Oscar Wilde and G. K. Chesterton. I listen religiously to "Science Friday," "99% Invisible," "Radiolab" and "My History Can Beat Up Your Politics." I even sleep with headphones on ... I'm not happy unless I'm learning.

5. What advice or words of wisdom have influenced you as an artist?

"Art is never finished, only abandoned" (various attributions, usually DaVinci) has stuck with me since I first heard it. The trick for me is finding the exact right moment to abandon a painting ... I usually go too far and start looking for an eraser!

"Studio Workshop: Abstraction" runs Thursdays, September 1 through 22, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. This workshop is open to artists of all levels and experience, from enthusiastic beginners to more seasoned practitioners. The sessions will draw inspiration from the museum’s collection, including works from the archives and many not currently on display. The cost of the course is a $15 materials fee, which will cover all necessary supplies for the four sessions. Call 706.542.8863 or email to register. Limited to 15 participants.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

New Acquisitions: "A Ride Home at Sunset" by Lyell Carr

Lyell Carr, A Ride Home at Sunset (1891)

This scene was painted on Tolburt Plantation in Haralson County, Georgia, by Lyell Carr, a painter to be recognized for his scenes that accurately and charmingly portray life in the South at the close of the 19th century. Born in 1857 in Chicago, Illinois, Carr studied in Paris for one year at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, where his teachers were Jules Joseph Lefebvre and Gustave Boulanger. These masters emphasized the importance of drawing to good painting. Their training had a lasting effect on Carr’s style, which is characterized by the firm definition of form and a realistic handling of space.

Throughout Georgia’s early history, the predominant demographic group was ordinary white families who farmed for a living. With abundant natural resources and less class-ridden social structures than their European counterparts, these families were often prosperous and enjoyed their American liberty and bounty. Their existence was distinctly different than that of enslaved African Americans who were denied most of the American bounty and founding doctrines of personal freedom, but the families came to share many agrarian values with emancipated enslaved people later. The visual culture of the white “yeomanry” produced few artists, and most representations of these people are fraught with condescension and caricature. The museum has long wished to present a worthy image of ordinary Georgians with our collection of plain-style furniture from yeoman homes; this image by Lyell Carr is a rare and gratifying image that depicts two children of the yeoman class with realism and dignity.

“A Ride Home at Sunset” was purchased in memory of Samuel “Sam” Marvin Griffin Jr.

Dale Couch
Curator of Decorative Arts

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Curator Chronicles and Upcoming Tours at Two

The latest research and scholarship by our museum’s curators has attracted audiences beyond the walls of the Georgia Museum of Art. Sarah Kate Gillespie, curator of American art, recently completed a book, "The Early American Daguerreotype: Cross-currents in Art and Technology," published by the MIT Press, and delivered a talk and hosted a book signing at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. At the lecture, Gillespie traced the activities of a unique mix of artists, scientists and mechanical tinkerers who took the daguerreotype and turned it, in the words of the MIT Press, into "something wholly and remarkably new: a product of science and innovative technology that resulted in a visual object." Gillespie also participated as a panelist at “New Eyes on Alice Austen,” a roundtable discussion held earlier this year at the Whitney Museum of American Art in honor of Women’s History Month and Austen’s 150th birthday.

Book signing with Sarah Kate Gillepie, curator of American art

In June, Lynn Boland, Pierre Daura Curator of European Art, presented a paper at Stockholm University titled "The Politics of Technology in the New York Collection [for Stockholm], 1973," for the European Society for Literature, Science and the Arts. The collection was donated to the Moderna Museet in Stockholm in 1973 at the height of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Although many of the artists — and even the works of art themselves — were decidedly antiwar, the donation of the collection ignited fierce debate within the Swedish artistic community.

Also this summer, Dale Couch, curator of decorative arts, served as a juror for the critique of the Instant Gallery for the American Association of Woodturners, which exhibits the work of hundreds of intermediate and advanced wood artists during the annual Wood Art Symposium. Couch also sat on a panel at the Collectors of Wood Art Forum to discuss how artists can learn and benefit from critiques.

For local audiences who wish to tap into the talent and inside knowledge of our resident experts, join us for our upcoming Tours at Two. On Wednesday, August 17 at 2 p.m., Boland will lead a tour of the exhibition "Paper in Profile: Mixografia and Taller de Gráfica Mexicana," and Gillespie will lead a tour of the newly reinstalled permanent collection galleries on Wednesday, August 31 at 2 p.m. At this week's Tour at Two, "Visitors' Choice," Boland will speak on "Folded Squares," a neon light sculpture by Nils Folke Anderson. For a full list of our programs, including lectures, tours and family activities, visit our monthly calendar.

Stella Tran
Editor, Department of Communications

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Tour at Two: Visitors' Choice

Running now through October 9 in the Boone and George-Ann Knox Gallery II is our Recent Acquisitions exhibition, which features more than two dozen works of art, including works on paper, decorative arts, paintings and a neon light sculpture by Nils Folke Anderson. All four of the museum's fine-art curators — Dale Couch, curator of decorative arts; Shawnya Harris, Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Curator of African American and African Diasporic Art; Lynn Boland, Pierre Daura Curator of European Art; and Sarah Kate Gillespie, curator of American art — collaborated to select the works on display.

Now it's your turn: We are looking for input to select one of these works to be featured in our next gallery talk/tour — to be led by whichever curator picked the work. Vote for your favorite by clicking on and “liking” the photo on our Facebook photo album. (As you click through the album, the wall text for each is shown after the image.) If you are in the museum, you can vote using the box in the exhibition's gallery. The tour will be held at 2 p.m., Wednesday, August 10, and is free and open to the public.