Decade by decade: Weatherspoon Art Museum

Nikki Yopp

  Staff Writer

Gregory Ivy is not a name that most UNCG students will recognize; but it is an important one regardless. Ivy is important, because he founded the Weatherspoon Art Museum, and helped to transform UNCG into one that truly appreciated art and talent.

Ivy’s dedication to art, as well as many others, can be seen through the “Decade by Decade: Art Acquired in its Time” gallery. The gallery will be up on the second floor of the Weatherspoon Art Museum until Dec. 23 of this year.

There are also opportunities available to interact with this art in new ways. On Nov. 3 at 6:30 p.m., there will be a film showing at the Weatherspoon, there will be additional film showings, on Nov. 8 at 12:00 noon, and on Nov. 17 at 6:30 p.m.

The gallery itself, was one of the most stunning galleries that I’ve ever seen at the Weatherspoon. The images really spoke to their decades of creation, and it was such a unique experience to be able to see how artistic style has evolved over the past several decades.

One of the iconic pieces at the gallery, was the “Female Model in Red Robe on a Wrought Iron Bench,” made by Phillip Pearlstein in 1972. This oil on linen piece focused greatly on light hitting the model’s body, with an emphasis on the physical form of the female body in a non-erotic way. Despite the model’s short red robe in the work, it still feels very clinical, which is true artistry from Pearlstein, in that the piece has the ability to present the female body in more than one way.

As one continues through the gallery, there was another piece that begged for attention. “This is Out of Body” by Shinique Smith in 2015. This is an acrylic, ribbon, plastic bag, fabric and paper collage on wood panel. This piece is so contemporary and abstract, that it is hard to figure out the words to describe it.

It draws from graffiti, Japanese calligraphy and abstract expressionism. Looking at this piece of work is awe-inspiring, and really makes one think about what it could mean.

There is a mass dividing the artwork into a teal side and a pink side. This could be interpreted to mean a division between the self from childhood and the self from adulthood. It could also be thought of as a disconnect between people, as the mass in the middle of the artwork is a jumble. And consequently, it simply looks confusing.

Following in an abstract fashion, another work that caught my eye was Tom LaDuke’s “loop eternal” from 2012. One glance at this work, and one would understand why it is called “loop eternal.” There are so many layers to this piece of art.

The first two layers of this work are airbrushed, and then there is a layer of thick, gestural paint that helps to finish off the work. Each of these layers presents a different image.

In the first layer, there is an image from “The Silence of the Lambs,” when Dr. Hannibal Lecter inhales the scent of Clarice Starling, an FBI student. This is a very intrusive layer, because it deals with getting uncomfortably close to someone, and doing something that they may not notice.

The second layer features LaDuke’s studio. With careful eyes, a viewer can see the image of a skull, an easel, and a nude figurine within this second layer of airbrush. According to the plaque beside the artwork, there is also an art history book in this layer opened to Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’ 1845 painting,’ “Portrait of the Comtesse d’Haussonvillle.”

The third layer of loop eternal in turn, reflects some of the elements that LaDuke may have been inspired by in Ingres’ 1845 painting.

Despite these three works of art catching my eye, there were dozens more to be seen. From traditional wall hanging paintings to stand alone structures, there is something in this gallery for every intrigued artist to see.

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