Each of us on the Woodson Art Museum staff does a sort of time-travel two-step, dancing between the present, while preparing for future exhibitions. One minute, I’m writing social media posts about the Rarely Seen photography exhibition, for example; the next, it’s on to prepping the summer events calendar and then resizing publicity images for an exhibition opening in December.
At times, this dance seems a bit like playing a game of Twister. Here’s the Hasbro website description: “it challenges you to put your hands and feet at different places on the mat without falling over! Be the last player standing to win.”
The variety, though, and learning about each new exhibition are what I love most about what I do. I truly consider it a privilege to get these tantalizing glimpses into the future.
Here’s a sampling of the wonders to come.
This summer, walk into an immersive installation created by Miami-based artist Federico Uribe. Take a peek at his wardrobe; that clothing is a clue that we’re in for a treat. His effusive, exuberant sculptures also are intriguing because of the materials he chooses to use in surprising ways. He deconstructs shoes to fabricate a cheetah, morphs measuring tapes into a pig, and disassembles leather saddles to create a horse. He reconfigures books into trees and bullet shell casings into bunnies.
As he wrote in “I Turn 1000s of Bullet Shells into Animal Trophies without Killing a Single Soul,” a 2015 online article, “. . . as a recurrent intention in my work, I encourage the viewer to discover, beyond the sole function of an object, an underlying symbolic and aesthetic reality where life overcomes death and beauty supplants destruction.”
Uribe’s goal is clear: “I’m more interested in making people smile, rather than telling them what to think,” he says. For The World According to Federico Uribe, on view June 2 through August 26 at the Woodson Art Museum, Uribe will create a large-scale, site-specific, walk-in environment – thought-provoking, yet overflowing with joy.
This fall brings a perennial favorite, Birds in Art, the Museum’s flagship exhibition, on view September 8 through November 25. During Birds in Art 2018 opening festivities, New England pastel artist Cindy House will be honored as the 2018 Master Artist. House’s exquisite pastel landscapes appear – by design – to be oil paintings and feature sweeping vistas of avian habitats.
House began as a bird-book illustrator working in watercolor, a career she credits Birds in Art with helping to launch. Editors, seeking an artist to work on illustrations for a new National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, attended the Birds in Art opening in 1981, House’s first year in the exhibition. “Impressed by my work, they called me a week later,” House said. “From then on, to be accepted into Birds in Art was an annual goal for me.” Since then, she attained that goal twenty-six times and attended the opening twenty-three of those years.
Besides helping to launch her career, “Birds in Art also contributed to my search for a new medium – one where I could express myself in a manner that was comfortable yet demanding,” House said. “I eventually found my life’s passion in pastels, and it was at Birds in Art where they first found an audience.”
The year concludes with Victor Vasarely: Op Art Master, on view December 1, 2018 through February 24, 2019. The world-renowned father of the Op Art movement, Victor Vasarely experimented with background, color, and materials, combining geometric elements. His innovative use of optical illusions became popular in the 1960s and ‘70s, and optical art in design, advertisement, architecture became a part of everyday life. This One Source Traveling Exhibition was organized by PAN Art Connections and is from the collection of Herakleidon Museum, Athens, Greece.
From colorful sculptures and pastel landscapes to symmetrical serigraphs, varied upcoming exhibitions are sure to inspire you in delightfully fun, mind-twisting ways. Mark your calendars and plan to step onto the Woodson welcome mat frequently in the months ahead.