On Feb. 4, 2021, Meredith’s Art Department hosted a virtual tour of the Frankie G. Weems Art Gallery showcasing the artwork of 15 current and former faculty and staff members. Gallery Director Molly Hull narrated the virtual tour of the gallery via Zoom, displaying the artwork that is currently set up in Gaddy-Hamrick Art Center while highlighting the meanings and significance of each piece featured in the exhibition. The virtual tour was followed by a live discussion on Zoom in which all of the artists further elaborated on their works.
The tour opened with Assistant Professor of Art Holly Fischer’s ceramic, soapstone and alabaster sculptures, a striking highlight of the exhibition. Fischer’s three works, “Love Triangle,” “Becoming” and “Bewitch,” explore themes of femininity, fluidity and growth, themes that are common among many of the featured artists’ pieces. Another common theme throughout the exhibition is injustice. “Systems and Symbols 1” and “Systems and Symbols 2 (diptych)” by Associate Professor of Art Cameron Johnson, who employs mixed media in these pieces, draw one’s attention to people of color’s ongoing experiences with injustice. Johnson’s pieces remind viewers to continue conversations about humanity and the value of human life.
Similar to how works by Fischer and Johnson reflect themes of femininity and injustice, “Inclusion,” “American Symbols” and “White,” graphite drawings produced by Adjunct Professor Kiki Farish, emphasize inequalities faced by women in the United States. Farish aims to explore the conflicts between patriarchy, bodily autonomy for women and rights for women of color in her artwork featured in this exhibition.
Other themes that are present throughout multiple pieces of art in the exhibition are maternity and women’s history in relation to textiles. Assistant Professor of Art Emily Howard’s “Old Wives’ Tale” employs natural fibers and found objects to merge the ideas of motherhood and women’s long history with textiles by reflecting on the stereotypes that accompany motherhood and what is often thought of as women’s work. Howard created this piece and another work, “Weighing Me Down,” by utilizing weaving, a technique that other featured artists used as well. Artist in Residence Lydia Brown’s “Trepanation,” Administrative Assistant Debra Laube’s “M.I.L.” and “The View out my Window,” as well as former Artist in Residence Leah Hathcote’s “You’re my Innocence,” “Mama Bird” and “Women and Women First” also use natural fibers and various weaving techniques. This exhibition showcases more weaving than has been featured in past years.
Professor of Art Shannon Johnstone’s illustrations for author Teri Saylor’s book “The Adventures of Puddin and the Fruit Bat” are also included in the exhibition. Johnstone created three archival inkjet prints that follow the experiences of a dog, a cat and a puppy: “Rotten Mischief,” “Pudding Walks Through the Gate” and “Puddin Before the Fall.” Other artists featured in this exhibition are Kate Loughlin, Woody Holliman, Greg Carter, Jane Terry, Taylor McGee, Sherry DiFilippo and Dana Lovelace.
The Art Department Faculty & Staff Exhibition is running until March 3, 2021, in the Frankie G. Weems Art Gallery in Gaddy-Hamrick and is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on weekends from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The virtual tour and the recording of the live talk are also both available on the Meredith YouTube channel.
By Molly Perry, Features Editor