Connections: Jim Neel & Karen Graffeo

November 13, 2016 – March 19, 2017

Connections: Karen Graffeo/Jim Neel showcases two Birmingham artists whose work examines aspects of dislocation inequality, and injustice in marginalized societies. It is the fourth installment of the new Connections exhibition series which focuses on contemporary artists whose work is linked by subject matter and sensibility.

Graffeo’s documentary photographs present a compelling portrait of the inhabitants of Roma (Gypsy) refugee encampments, caravans, slums, and housing projects in Europe. Neel’s evocative ceramic sculptures address the horrific effects of war on children through over-sized and fragmented objects of childhood that appear to have been extracted from a disaster zone. The work of both stems from immersive firsthand experiences in Europe and the Middle East and seeks to bring deeper awareness to important humanitarian issues largely ignored by the West.

Neel’s sculpture, drawings and photography have appeared in regional and national exhibitions including the New Orleans Contemporary Arts Center, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art, and the Alexandria Museum. As a freelance photojournalist, he covered the wars in Central America and life and death among the Serpent Handling Holiness of Southern Appalachia.