Feature Articles

July 2013

Ackland Art Museum in Chapel Hill, NC, Offers New Exhibits for the Summer

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is presenting two new exhibits at the Ackland Art Museum including: Adding to the Mix 6: Raymond Jonson’s ‘Abstract Naught’ (1930) and In Pursuit of Strangeness: Wyeth and Westermann in Dialogue, both on view through Aug. 25, 2013.

Adding to the Mix 6: Raymond Jonson’s ‘Abstract Naught’ (1930) explores two divergent themes - landscape conventions of the American West and serial artistic production - using as a focus the recently acquired painting Abstract Naught (1930) by New Mexico artist Raymond Jonson.

A founding member of the Transcendental Painting Group, Jonson also played an important role in the history of abstraction in America. Abstract Naught marks a key transition in his artistic progression, preserving traces of an earlier fascination with New Mexico’s distinctive landscape, while manifesting his increasing commitment to painting in series; this work was the first in a sequence of compositions based on the numerals 0-9.

Other artists whose work is presented alongside Jonson’s Abstract Naught include, for the exploration of landscape, Ansel Adams, Albert Bierstadt, Kimowan Metchewais, Thomas Moran, and Minor White, and, for seriality, Josef Albers, Francisco de Goya, Nikki S. Lee, Robert Motherwell, and Lucas van Leyden, among others.

This exhibition is part of the Ackland’s informal exhibition series “Adding to the Mix,” which sets recent acquisitions within the context of resonant works already in the collection.

The exhibition was curated by Klint Ericson, 2012-2013 Eaton Curatorial Intern in American Art, Ackland Art Museum.

For many people, a childhood home conjures memories of comfort and contentment, of a safe place away from the toils of everyday life. For others, their childhood home may evoke feelings of familiarity coupled with strangeness, exemplifying Sigmund Freud’s concept of the “uncanny.” Through works by Andrew Wyeth and H.C. Westermann, In Pursuit of Strangeness explores diverse responses in American art to the uncanny home, as well as domestic architecture’s role in defining the boundaries between ourselves and the outside world.

Dating from the early twentieth century to the present, the works on view exemplify the complexities of our relationship to home and place through unsettling perspectives and unusual materials, subverting the understanding of home as familiar (heimlich) and transforming it into something foreign (unheimlich). The exhibition also investigates the difference between a house and a home, as well as how homes become extensions of their inhabitants. In addition to Wyeth and Westermann, other artists in the show include Ralph Gibson, Marilyn Anne Levine, Bruce Nauman, Aaron Siskind, and Minor White, among others.

This exhibition was curated by Erin Corrales-Diaz, Huntley Intern, Ackland Art Museum.

In Pursuit of Strangeness is the culmination of this year’s Joan and Robert Huntley Art History Scholarship for a graduate student at UNC-Chapel Hill, which supports collaboration between the Ackland Art Museum and the North Carolina Museum of Art. In keeping with the goals of the scholarship, this exhibition brings together objects from both collections in a way that invigorates and informs both collections.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Museum at 919/966-5736 or visit (http://www.ackland.org/index.htm).

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