Elevation from Within: The Study of Art at Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Richardson Family Art Museum, September 1, 2021 – December 15, 2021
In the wake of the Civil War, African Americans—enslaved and freed, in the South and the North—sought and fought for the education they had long been denied. From elementary lessons to advanced academics, standardized instruction was largely provided by white teachers in schools operated by white philanthropic organizations, such as the American Missionary Association. Available public education offerings, especially at secondary and college levels, were unequivocally separate, but never equal.
Following passage of the Second Morrill Act in 1890, land-grant institutions for black students were established in each of the Southern states. The African Methodist Episcopal Church had also begun to open black colleges—schools where African American intellectuals served as administrators and faculty members, schools that offered their student bodies an “unapologetic black space.” The handful of antebellum black colleges and universities grew to over ninety institutions by 1900; in the 1930s, the number of campuses peaked at 121. As the twentieth century progressed and court decisions secured scholastic opportunities for African Americans, approximately seventy-five percent of all black students attending college in the United States were enrolled at historically black colleges and universities—defined as those established before 1964.
Booker T. Washington’s early emphasis on vocational training eventually gave way to more robust curriculums in the liberal arts and laboratory sciences. In HBCU classrooms and studios, fine arts departments nurtured gifted African Americans eager to articulate their individual genius, as well as their shared cultural heritage. Curated by Dr. Leo Twiggs and featuring 47 works by 41 artists, Elevation from Within pays homage to HBCU alumni and professors whose educational backgrounds chronicle a vital chapter of American history and whose aesthetic achievements have made an indelible mark on this nation’s art.
View more information on the The Johnson Collection website: https://thejohnsoncollection.org/elevation-from-within/.
place, memory & identity: contemporary Korean-American women artists
Richardson Family Art Museum, September 1 – December 15, 2021
place, memory & identity: contemporary Korean-American women artists features recent works of three contemporary Korean-American women artists, In Kyoung Chun, Kakyoung Lee and Jiha Moon. Born and raised in Korea, Chun, Lee, and Moon currently live in the United States and are active in making art. As immigrant artists, sense of place, memory, and culture have helped to shape their artistic identities.
For In Kyoung Chun, home is her place of rest and recovery, and Table illustrates her search for personal and artistic identity in an intimate moment from daily life. A minimalistic depiction of recently-cooked rice on a table evokes different stories Chun wants to tell the viewer. For instance, her choice of saekdong (combination of color strips consisting of primary colors in Korean traditional attire) for rice, which is a primary food ingredient in Korean cuisine even among Korean diaspora in U.S., shows her identity deeply embedded in traditional culture. Fresh steam coming from the pot and table setting at night implies her identity as mother, waiting for family members to join.
Barbed Wire Series by Kakyoung Lee was created from the artist’s childhood memory of walking along the barbed wire fence from the U.S. Army base in her old hometown in South Korea, playing cat’s cradle with her sister against the wall. Lee combines hand-drawn images and prints to construct moving images that reflect the sequence of activities in ordinary life and allude to her search for her identity in the different geographic and cultural milieus through which she has passed in the travels between her two home countries, South Korea and U.S.
Jiha Moon sees herself as a cartographer of cultures and an icon-maker of fictitious worlds, incorporating various sources of inspiration to make her own stories, such as Korean folk art, fortune cookies from Chinese restaurants in America, pop artist Roy Lichtenstein’s brushstrokes, emoticons, even Southern face jugs and peaches, which are the state fruit of Georgia, where she has lived for the past 15 years. Lucky Monster, Keep Calm Carry On depicts “Grumpy Cat” on top of an imaginative beast, based on the mythical creature “haetae,” and Moon believes this creature wards off evil spirits and brings good fortune.
Linda Hudgins: A Retrospective
Martha Cloud Chapman Gallery, Sandor Teszler Library, September 1 – December 15, 2021
A graduate of Converse College and Rhode Island School of Design, Hudgins spent many years teaching art at Spartanburg Day School, in Botswana during her time at U.S. Peace Corps, and in China. Her attentiveness and honest responsiveness in those years and later has been truly inspirational, seen specifically through the rich colors and intriguing lines and shapes found in her works.
The recent pandemic and its consequent uncertainties greatly affected her life, including her art-making. Locked down in her home studio in Tryon, NC, she looked to art as her meditation, therapy, distraction and more. An array of works on pedestals lends the viewer insight into Hudgins’ methods still ongoing, and a glimpse of a path to a productive future.
Hot Now (annual student art exhibition)
Richardson Family Art Gallery, March 1 – March 31, 2021
Art of Printmaking: Global and Historical Approaches
Richardson Family Art Museum, Feb. 9 – May 16, 2021
The Art of Printmaking: Global and Historical Approaches examines printmaking methods throughout history, from early methods of woodblock printing to contemporary photomechanical techniques. Variety in printing methods have allowed artists to experiment with nuanced techniques for the transmission of their images and to display artistic virtuosity, as is evident in Durer’s engravings and Rembrandt’s etchings. In addition, prints played an important role in society because they disseminate information, political commentary, and art to the masses, thus increasing cross-cultural interactions, as with Cuban political propaganda posters. This exhibition unpacks these techniques and their diverse usages throughout history. Illustrated using works from different eras, countries, and stylistic periods, it captures the technical skill and creative ingenuity found in the printmaking medium.
Curated by Erin Mancini (class of 2021), this exhibition is a culmination of her yearlong art history honors project and is partially funded by SCICU (the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities) summer undergraduate research grant in 2020. Several prints on view in the galleries have been generously lent to this exhibition by the Museum & Gallery at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC and the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens, GA.
From: Mangroves To: Magnolias - MEMORIES OF LANDSCAPES, & LINEAGE OF THE EPHEMERAL
Richardson Family Art Gallery, Jan. 11 – Feb. 28, 2021
From: Mangroves To: Magnolias is a collection of work investigating adaptation and memory within landscapes through digital media and craft. The work presented is inspired by the ability of both mangroves and magnolias to continually grow in adverse environments, and thrive in the spaces at the margins as well as existing in areas of immense current population growth. Utilizing found material, digital artifacts, and collected ephemera the works become adaptive to the landscape of the gallery. Through the use of textiles, digital printing, and multimedia works the artists look to land as allegories for how to negotiate migration and nativism. Moving through time and space the artists connect their upbringings in coastal areas with their migration to the upstate of South Carolina and the past familial movements, presenting a body of work that is transitional, both expanding and decaying to ensure new growth. From items of enchantment to surreal moments the works highlight the feeling of being at home and homesick all in the same breath.
Dr. Harry Stille: dynamic shapes • bold colors • geometrical abstraction
Rosalind Sallenger Richardson Center for the Arts, Nov. 9 – Dec. 18, 2020
An artist as well as an inventor, Dr. Harry Stille served as professor of physical education at Erskine College in Due West, South Carolina, for 34 years before retirement. While continuing to teach part-time, he also returned to serving as mayor of Due West and held the office of a state representative from 1991-2003. He was a member of the Due West Town Council at the time of his death. He exhibited his artwork in one-man shows and conducted children’s art programs for the Abbeville Artist Guild; held patents on pitching and batting pads he designed; and created plans on which the design of the Galloway Center at Erskine College was based. The pieces shown in this exhibition display the sculptural qualities of his work that engage dynamic shapes, bold colors, and geometrical abstraction.
Central to Their Lives: Southern Women Artists in the Johnson Collection
Richardson Family Art Museum, Sept. 8 – Dec. 18, 2020
“Art is central to my life. Not being able to make or see art would be a major deprivation.” Nell Blaine’s assertion about the centrality—the essentiality—of art to her life has a particular resonance. The Virginia painter’s creative path began early and over the course of her life, she overcame significant barriers in her quest to make and see art, including serious vision problems, polio, and paralysis. And then, there was her gender. In 1957, Blaine was hailed by Life magazine as someone to watch, profiled along with four other emerging painters whom the journalist praised “not as notable women artists but as notable artists who happen to be women.”
Spanning the decades between the late 1890s and early 1960s, this exhibition examines the particularly complex challenges Southern women artists confronted in a traditionally conservative region during a period in which women’s social, cultural, and political roles were being redefined and reinterpreted. How did the variables of historical gender norms, educational barriers, race, regionalism, sisterhood, suffrage, and modernism mitigate and motivate women seeking expression on canvas or in clay? Whether in personal or professional arenas, working from studio space in spare rooms at home or on the world stage, these women made remarkable contributions by fostering future generations of artists through instruction, incorporating new aesthetics into the fine arts, and challenging the status quo.
Peter L. Schmunk: Photographs 2010 – 2020
Richardson Family Art Museum, Feb. 4 – July 31, 2020
A retrospective of the photographer’s creative interests and projects over the past ten years, this exhibition explores the different forms a photograph may take and the ways that photographic images may communicate meaning. Document, vignette, souvenir, ephemeral record, visual poem, abstract sign–the images exhibited here play one or more of those roles. Schmunk’s earliest efforts in photography were primarily dedicated to the subject of landscape, especially wild places, which he viewed from both panoramic and close-up perspectives. He continues to create images of that kind, as seen here in photographs of Looking Glass Rock in the Pisgah National Forest of North Carolina, all part of an extended project to document that site in comprehensive detail.
Since 2010 Schmunk has developed a strong interest in the ephemera of signage, graffiti, and advertising, especially as found in layered, timeworn condition in urban and industrial sites. His close viewing and tight framing of these subjects is highly selective and often results in images of purely abstract character. The seemingly insignificant marks they contain, however, often suggest meaning through allusion and metaphor. Schmunk has employed strategies of juxtaposition, combination, the addition of words in collaboration with poet Deno Trakas, and, most recently, the inclusion of elements of painting and drawing to augment the content of minimalist or wholly abstract photographic subjects. He seeks to link such images to music, the history of art, the experience of place, and other domains of memory. A full inventory of his photographic work may be found on his website at cultureandlandscape.com.
From Botticelli to Tintoretto: Italian Renaissance Art from the Tobey and Museum and Gallery at Bob Jones University
Richardson Family Art Museum, Feb. 4 – May 17, 2020
This exhibition charts the dizzying speed with which Italian Renaissance art developed between the late 15th and late 16th century. Mixtures of Christian subjects and humanist imagery drawn from antiquity are what one would expect from Renaissance art during this era. However, the style shifts rapidly, and artistic daring encouraged by artists, their patrons, and audiences manifest spatial and figural complexities well-represented in these works, as well as varieties in their format and media.
Thanks to generous loans from David and Julie Tobey in New York and the Museum and Gallery at Bob Jones University in Greenville, Art History students in Karen Goodchild’s Renaissance Art class will undertake research on actual Renaissance works, and their semester-long projects will be presented in late April and early May.
Rosalind Sallenger Richardson Center for the Arts, Feb. 3 – March 21, 2020
This exhibition features quilts of Wofford faculty and staff, displaying storytelling and shared cultural connections. Quilts are curated by Laurel Horton, an internationally acclaimed quilt researcher, author, editor, and lecturer. A catalog of the quilts will also feature each quilt and its story.
This interdisciplinary humanities project celebrates the many uses and meanings of quilts: as a work of art, an individual’s expression, a keeper of history, a healing comforter, an instrument of means, a generational teaching tool, a bonding experience, an accomplishment, a gift, a keepsake, a hobby, and a true craft. It can represent tangible pieces of memories, life and death, grief and joy, and all that lies between. Quilts span centuries and cultures, weaving humanity at every level of social class and race in America.
This exhibition is generously sponsored by the Wofford Cultural Affairs Committee and South Carolina Humanities, a not-for-profit organization; inspiring, engaging and enriching South Carolinians with programs on literature, history, culture, and heritage.
Gummy Labyrinth by Micah Tiffin
Richardson Family Art Gallery, Jan. 21 – Mar. 6, 2020
Gummy Labyrinth features works by Micah Tiffin, senior in Studio Art and Humanities and a 2019 Whetsell Memorial Fellowship recipient.
Artist’s statement: I remember writing the same sentence hundreds of times over and over on paper. Ironically, I don’t remember what the sentence said. It was probably three lines long, about something I did or said that I shouldn’t have said or done. I was implanted on a park bench, facing away from where the others dug holes to China and chased one another up the slide. Luckily, by now I had learned how to escape into my own space. I daydreamed about playing games and my stuffed animal penguins that waited for me at home. I became an artist early, creating spaces that served as distractions. My installation is an ode to this temporary refuge. My paintings and sculptures exemplify the struggle of reentering the “real world.”
Siendo mujer: a short study of the female experience in South America
Richardson Family Art Gallery, Oct. 17 – Dec. 20, 2019
As the 35th Presidential International Scholar, Lydia Estes attempted to uncover the visual representation of “la mujer,” or “the woman,” in the South American countries of Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Peru. Siendo mujer means “being a woman,” and Estes’ exhibition, Siendo mujer: a short study of the female experience in South America represents the conversations she shared with resilient, creative women for whom art plays a significant role in their female experiences, and vice versa--for whom the female experience plays a significant role in their art. It is further a collection of their artwork, also including her own photographs of them, their spaces, and moments which contribute to the story each is trying to tell through her work.
LaToya Ruby Frazier and “The Notion of Family”
Richardson Family Art Museum (lower level), Sept. 3 - Dec. 14, 2019
“I see myself as an artist and a citizen that’s documenting and telling the story and building the archive of working-class families facing all this change that’s happening, because it has to be documented.”
Photographer LaToya Ruby Frazier was looking at a history of her hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania, and noticed that the book omitted African-Americans entirely. Her 2014 series of photographs “The Notion of Family,” from which the three works in this show are taken, is her resistance to the “continued omission, erasure, invisibility and silence surrounding African-American sacrifices to Braddock and the American grand narrative.” The images, taken over 12 years, chronicle her own family in Braddock, especially focusing on herself and her mother and grandmother. Braddock is a town that has struggled for decades due to the loss of steel industry jobs, the high incidence of pollution–borne illnesses, population loss, and redlining. Although race may have initially inspired her series, Frazier says her work points to societal issues beyond race: “This is a race and class issue that is affecting everyone. It is not a black problem, it is an American problem, it is a global problem. Braddock is everywhere.”
By including herself in the photographs, Frazier moves the work beyond traditional social documentary photography, in which, generally, an outsider records the concerns of another. Instead, in these images, Frazier and her family work together to document their history, and that interaction seems to offer some hope, showing that even as governments may turn aside, families provide support for each other. But Frazier’s series is titled in a way that problematizes that idea. Its title refers to Edward Steichen’s “The Family of Man,” a huge exhibition organized in 1955 at the Museum of Modern Art. In that earlier show, 500 images from 68 countries emphasized those things that bind all humanity together in one family, an idealistic notion, and one that flattened cultural difference, but one that also has been lost as gaps between poor and rich increase and as social welfare programs diminish. Frazier’s photography points out the way America has scaled back the understanding of family to apply only to biological connectedness, to the detriment of us all. Wielding her camera, as she says, as “a weapon” of change, performing and collaborating with her family and her community, Frazier resets a narrative and retells a history, actively.
Frazier has her MFA from Syracuse University, and is the recipient of many prestigious awards, including a MacArthur fellowship in 2015. She has exhibited widely, including in the 2012 Whitney Biennial and in a solo show A Haunted Capital at the Brooklyn Museum in 2013. In 2014, Frazier’s book The Notion of Family received the International Center for Photography Infinity Award. Recently, Frazier has chronicled the Flint Water Crisis and contributed images to the New York Times project, “Why America’s Black Mothers and Babies are in a Life-or-Death Crisis.”
The three photographs by Frazier are on loan from the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta, Ga.
Southern Gothic: Literary Intersections with Art from the Johnson Collection
Richardson Family Art Museum (upper level) | Sept. 3 – Dec. 14, 2019
From the haunting novels of William Faulkner to the gritty short stories of Flannery O’Connor, the Southern Gothic literary tradition has exhumed and examined the American South’s unique mystery, contradictions, and dark humor. Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, American writers, epitomized by Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne, sought to reinterpret the Gothic imagination of their European counterparts, dramatizing the cultures and characters of a region in the midst of civil war and its tumultuous aftermath. Decades later, a new generation of authors—including Tennessee Williams, Carson McCullers, and Toni Morrison—wove Gothic elements into their own narratives, exploring the complexities of a changing social terrain and the ancient spirits that linger in its corners.
With works drawn exclusively from the Johnson Collection, Southern Gothic illuminates how nineteenth- and twentieth-century artists employed a potent visual language to transcribe the tensions between the South’s idyllic aura and its historical realities. Often described as a mood or sensibility rather than a strict set of thematic or technical conventions, features of the Southern Gothic can include horror, romance, and the supernatural. While academic painters such as Charles Fraser and Thomas Noble conveyed the genre’s gloomy tonalities in their canvases, Aaron Douglas and Harry Hoffman grappled with the injustices of a modern world. Other artists, including Alexander Brook and Eugene Thomason, investigated prevailing stereotypes of rural Southerners—a trope often accentuated in Southern Gothic literature. Collectively, these images demonstrate that definitions of the Gothic are neither monolithic nor momentary, inviting us, instead to contemplate how the Southern Gothic legacy continues to inform our understanding of the American South.
Props: Personal identities in the Portrait Photography of Richard Samuel Roberts
Richardson Family Art Museum (lower level) | Sept. 3 – Dec. 14, 2019
Richard Samuel Roberts was an African-American artist who opened a photography studio in Columbia, South Carolina, in 1922. For the next 14 years, he took portraits of Columbia’s citizens, writing that “no other gift causes so much real and lasting joy as the gift of your photograph.”
In the works exhibited here, as with most portrait images, the subjects wear carefully-chosen clothes and often hold or appear beside objects or props. The term “props” brings to mind those things used in the theater to establish the identity and even the meaning of a particular scene. But such objects may also be used to convey the “properties” of a character, supplementing the appearance of an actor-- or a portrait sitter-- with additional layers of information and meaning. This exhibition invites us to consider the ways that the props included, presumably items or garb chosen by the sitters themselves, tell us something about the subjects’ self-identities, their community standing, their connections to social groups, or their aspirations. “Props” is sometimes used as a contemporary slang term to mean “proper respect,” and the objects and outfits seen in these photographs frequently highlight the respect the subjects are due for their professional and social attainments. Sometimes, however, the props reveal more personal desires and interests, things outside the conventions of portraiture that are related to the sitter’s inner self rather than their outer achievements.
The photographs in the exhibit are on loan from the Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, S.C.
A Tale of Two Cemeteries: Celebrating Spartanburg’s History
Rosalind Sallenger Richardson Center for the Arts | July 30 – Oct. 12, 2019
A Tale of Two Cemeteries: Celebrating Spartanburg’s History is an exhibition based on the semester-long project of Dr. Helen Dixon and her students collaborating with the Spartanburg County Historical Association. Through the lens of two historical cemeteries of Walnut Grove and Fredonia Plantations, Spartanburg’s local and regional history and culture will be better understood. The exhibition runs through Saturday, Oct. 12.
Exhibited digitized materials are provided by the Spartanburg County Historical Association and the project has been generously funded by Council of Independent Colleges (CIC).
Otherness²: Hiding in Plain Sight by Lee Ann Harrison-Houser
Richardson Family Art Gallery, Sept. 10- Oct. 12, 2019
Otherness²: Hiding in Plain Sight explores the outsider’s perspectives and the impact of “Othering.” During the creative process, Harrison-Houser pursues authenticity and begins to reveal untold stories in her work. However, she instinctively hides within the mark-making with her use of symbolism, sgraffito, and abstraction. Layer after layer of gesso and paint erase her disclosures. Subsequently, the art installation shares these stories only in a type of Hide-and-Seek game for the viewer. For deeper connections, the viewer physically moves to a separate space to match the conceptual titles back to the abstract squares. Through this physical movement and mindfulness, the storyteller role shifts away from the artist and moves to the viewer to create awareness, conversation, and the momentum for change.
Clouds - A study of light and dark in moving form
Richardson Family Art Gallery | June 11 - Aug. 31
The Richardson Family Art Gallery features Clouds – A study of light and dark in moving form until Aug. 31, featuring the recent works by Josh Holt. Nine charcoal drawings started out as basic studies as Holt wanted to test the level of his technique by mastering (to a degree) the ever-exchanging forms of clouds and their striking spectrum of light and dark.
Recent Acquisitions 2017-2019
Richardson Family Art Museum | June 11 - Aug. 3
The Richardson Family Art Museum has acquired objects of cultural import to better serve as a valuable educational resource that strengthens, supports, and contributes to academic research on campus in different pedagogical disciplines. Since 2017, the museum has acquired more than 100 works of art through gifts, purchase or bequest, some of which are featured in this exhibition. Spanning classical Mayan ceramics to the early twentieth-century portrait of a South Carolinian Congressman, this exhibition features objects of different cultural and social contexts, which were created for devotional, social, aesthetic, or practical purposes.
Sacred and Secular: Netherlandish Baroque Paintings from Regional Collections
Richardson Family Art Museum, lower level | Feb. 5 - May 19, 2019
Dynamic and theatrical, but also down-to-earth, moralizing and sometimes comic. Triumphant, grandiose and propagandistic, and yet also intimate and inward. All of these terms are applicable to the art of the European Baroque, the cultural epoch of the 17th and 18th centuries, which produced an unprecedented richness and variety in creative expression. Complex and conflicting forces across the political, religious, economic and social spheres of life account for this artistic abundance. The Netherlands, a major center of artistic production during the Baroque period, was home to many of these contrasts and conflicts within its relatively small geographic boundaries along the northern coast of Europe. These diverse cultural forces are evident, in varying ways and degrees, in a selection of paintings generously loaned to Wofford College by the Museum and Gallery at Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C.; the Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, S.C.; and the Robicsek Family Collection in Charlotte, N.C.
Graphic Solidarity: The Internationalist Outlook of the Cuban Revolution
Richardson Family Art Museum, upper level | Feb 5. - May 19, 2019
This exhibition features posters produced in Cuba during the period following the revolution through the 1980s. The highlighted posters focus on Cuba’s efforts to spread the messages of its revolution worldwide and to inspire others in the fight against oppression stemming from the legacy of imperialism and colonialism. Primarily published by the OSPAAAL organization based in Havana, these works helped to facilitate the internationalist outlook and message of the Cuban revolution through their inclusion in the Tricontinental magazine, which reached people in more than 60 countries worldwide. The works in the exhibition are on loan from the collection of Lindsay Webster of Spartanburg, S.C. Curated by Katie McCorkle, class of 2019, this exhibition is a culmination of her yearlong honors project for art history and government. A Curator’s Talk will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 18, in the Richardson Family Art Museum.
There Was Always Tomorrow: The 2019 Senior Capstone Exhibition
Richardson Family Art Gallery | May 1 – May 19, 2019
The Wofford College Department of Art and Art History is pleased to present “There Was Always Tomorrow: The 2019 Senior Capstone Exhibition,” which features works from five senior Studio Art Minors in the Wofford College Department of Art and Art History. The work included in “There Was Always Tomorrow” expands on conversations of preservation and collection. Themes within the exhibition include the alteration of material ephemera and the dissection of past experiences through the creation of visual artifacts.
The Ninth Annual Juried Student Art Exhibition
Richardson Family Art Gallery | Feb. 5 – March 30, 2019
The Department of Art and Art History is pleased to host the ninth Annual Juried Student Art Exhibition in the Richardson Family Art Museum. This exhibition brings together works of visual art created by Wofford students over the past three semesters. The works on view were selected from approximately 150 submissions in a wide variety of media. Though the exhibition was open to all Wofford students, whether enrolled in art courses at the college or not, the works submitted and chosen reflect, in large part, the courses that have been offered recently in the media of drawing, painting, printmaking, pottery, photography and three-dimensional design and the projects undertaken in those courses.
This year’s jurors were Ambrin Ling and Marisa Adesman, Hub-City artists-in-residence.
Stoppages by Michael Webster
Richardson Family Art Gallery | Feb 5. - March 30, 2019
Sculptures in this exhibition are a collection of fragments, contradictions and run-on thoughts about the physical world. They emerge from a fascination with systems of the built environment and objects that occupy our space. When Michael Webster, assistant professor of art and art history, collects found things, he often lives with them for years before incorporating them into a sculpture, adding something to their long-established history. A faded, peeled-up yellow road line is the material embodiment of the syntax that organizes movement, but can we also imagine what could exist beneath the road line, and allow an absurd moment to unravel the margins of the system?