Otherness²: Hiding in Plain Sight by Lee Ann Harrison-Houser
Richardson Family Art Gallery, September 10- October 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.
LaToya Ruby Frazier and "The Notion of Family"
Richardson Family Art Museum (lower level), September 3 - December 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, PA, 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) | September 3 – December 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) | September 3 – December 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, SC.
A Tale of Two Cemeteries: Celebrating Spartanburg’s History
Rosalind Sallenger Richardson Center for the Arts | July 30 – October 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, October 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).
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 August 31, featuring the recent works by Josh Holt. 9 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 Bob Jones University Museum and Gallery 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 – Mar. 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. - Mar. 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?