The Year of Women Artists at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art
The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University has opened a new exhibition offering the public a complex picture of race, culture, religion and everyday life in the South by self-taught 20th-century women artists who operated beyond the bounds of the mainstream art world.
“From Her Innermost Self: Visionary Art of Southern Women,” on view Feb. 18 through May 24., contains more than 30 mixed media pieces created by Southern female folk artists including Minnie Adkins, Mozell Benson, Georgia Blizzard, Minnie Evans, Lorraine Gendron, Sybil Gibson, Bessie Harvey, Clementine Hunter, Annie Lykes Lucas, Sister Gertrude Morgan, Mary L. Proctor, Juanita Rogers, Mary Rogers, Mattie Ross, Nellie Mae Rowe, Bernice Sims, Mary Tillman Smith, Annie Tolliver, Inez Walker, Myrtice West, Mary Frances Whitfield and Ruby C. Williams.
The works in “From Her Innermost Self” are broadly divided into four thematic sections: “Call to Witness” (religion and spirituality); “African American Experience” (race relations and civil rights) “Making a Life” (common subjects including animals, leisure, still life, other “genre” subjects); and “Pictured in Her Mind” (fantastical and visionary creations).
Themes in the exhibition range from depictions of daily life experiences to spiritual visions and poignant cultural and hostorical moments. Working often with little or no formal training, the artists create across a broad spectrum of media such as painted wood carvings, ceramics, watercolor, hand-stitched quilts and painted metal.
“The art is profoundly heartfelt and accessible,” said Museum Director and Chief Curator Cindi Malinick. “Any viewer can connect to some aspect of it—whether through a familiar figure like a barnyard rooster or on a deeper subconscious level, like the fears or visions encountered in a dream.”
Courtesy: Jonathan Osborne, Director of Marketing and Communications Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center and Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University