Vadis Turner, Object Heirloom, A Recipe Box and Sewing Box as Flower Beds, 2017, hand-stitched quilts, ribbon, fabric dye, wood, resin, mixed media, 83 x 127 in.

Since 1986, the Huntsville Museum of Art has presented a noteworthy series of solo exhibitions highlighting acclaimed regional contemporary artists. The Encounters exhibitions have developed a strong critical reputation in the Southeast, affording viewers an opportunity to see how creative inspiration combines with subject and materials to convey a unique artistic expression. The gallery that houses the exhibitions is large enough to accommodate a solid body of work, yet small enough to retain a sense of intimacy and focus. A well-designed and illustrated catalogue, featuring an extended interview with the artist, accompanies each exhibition. The upcoming installment of the series focuses on the accomplished works of Vadis Turner, an award-winning artist based in Nashville.

Vadis Turner transforms domestic materials into new forms, both reviving and reinventing a function for handmade objects in a society with progressively fewer hands-on activities. She manipulates textiles and other elements, allowing the materials to transcend their intended functions, contradict their structural natures, and challenge their traditional gender association. Turner’s engaging works resist categorization, occupying a zone between textile art, painting, craft and sculpture.

Vadis Turner, Messy Vessel, The Crazy Lady, 2021, burnt wood, leather, ribbon, resin, hardware, 29 x 32 x 16 in. Photo by Hannah Deits.

After receiving her BFA and MFA from Boston University, Turner became fascinated by the possibilities presented by traditional handicraft materials to define and contradict conventional gender roles. Her mixed-media work began with a debutante gown made out of wax paper from her mother’s kitchen. To this day, she continues to create works that go beyond the materials’ intended functions to become a vehicle for social commentary.

Turner observes, “Transforming domestic materials into contemporary art objects bonds me with ancestral forms of craft that determine a woman’s value, sexual worth and cultural identity. My time—like generations of women before me—is judged by what I make with my hands.”

Turner received the Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Grant in 2016. She has had exhibitions at numerous museums across the country, including the Brooklyn Museum, the Andy Warhol Museum, the Minnesota Museum of American Art, the Knoxville Museum of Art, and the Cheekwood Museum and Gardens. She is currently the Hamblet Artist in Residence at Vanderbilt University, and is represented by Zeitgeist Gallery in Nashville and Geary in New York City.

Encounters: Vadis Turner opens in the Grisham gallery of the Huntsville Museum of Art on July 31, 2022, led by a Gallery Walk and Reception at 2 p.m. that afternoon. Access to the opening event will be included with the general price of admission for Non-Members and is free for Members. Tickets can be purchased at the front desk in the lobby of the Museum or online here. The exhibition will be on display until November 27, 2022. It is made possible by Lead Sponsors Sasha and Charlie Sealy and the Exhibition Series Sponsor, PNC Bank.