Huntsville, Ala – The Huntsville Museum of Art (HMA) is sharing treasures from its permanent collection in a new exhibition Down Home: Contemporary Southern Masters, open NOW through June 11. The exhibit features a selection of more than 20 prints, photographs, and sculptures created with the enduring traditions of this region in mind. HMA’s permanent collection is rich in artworks produced by living artists with strong connections to the American South.
“Since its inception in 1970, the Huntsville Museum of Art has increased its permanent collection from a small handful of founding gifts to more than 3,100 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper, providing a unique resource held in trust for present and future generations,” Peter J. Baldaia, Museum Director of Curatorial Affairs, said.
With the Museum’s expansion in November 2010, additional gallery space became available to showcase various aspects of the collection alongside museum-organized and nationally traveling shows.
“Through long-term collections exhibits like the display of American studio glass and Buccellati silver animals, as well as temporary thematic shows like Down Home, the Museum is pleased to have more of an opportunity to showcase its own artworks and share them with the public,” Baldaia added.
Artists featured in Down Home include Jim Opasik and his wife, Mary Deacon Opasik, who both rely on found objects to create figurative sculptures. Jim’s whimsical portrait of a lion titled Rare, Please is created with repurposed kitchen utensils that are transformed so the viewer can experience them in a brand new way. Mary’s wall sculpture Searcher might initially appear humorous, but the artist infuses her assemblage with heartfelt emotion, assembling the work from cast-off furniture parts, aged metals and hardware to comment on aspects of birth and parenting.
In her painting Red Vine, Frances de La Rosa pays homage to the distinctive landscape of the region by focusing on abstracted plants native to her childhood home. Her work is painted from imagination and memory in high-keyed, often hallucinatory colors, akin in spirit to classic animation and folk art. Andrew Saftel’s epic Down Home uses found objects and mixed media to explore aspects of Southern culture.
Other exhibition highlights include quintessentially Southern images by photographers Nick Gruenberg and Chip Cooper; a series of regionally-inspired prints by Laquita Thomson; a nostalgic mixed media work by Sloane Bibb; and the outsider sculpture of Daniel Troppy. For more information, visit www.hsvmuseum.org or call 256-535-4350.