The Savannah College of Art and Design is introducing a new series of exhibitions at the renowned SCAD Museum of Art. Featuring a diverse group of emerging and established artists from around the world representing a variety of mediums, techniques and perspectives, the exhibitions are dynamic, thoughtful and inspiring. This fall, SCAD MOA presents the public with a unique opportunity to engage with world-class art exhibitions, some of which are debuting in the U.S. for the first time.
“We have artists on view from Brazil, from Colombia, from South Korea, from China and many places all throughout the United States. A number of these are artists’ first solo museum exhibitions in the United States. . . The global diversity of artists we’re exhibiting right now is really incredible and so engaging. There’s so many different perspectives that we’re excited to offer on view as well as the diversity of media. We have works that are photography, printmaking, sculpture, installation, painting, [and] video as well. We’re certain that everyone is going to find something that they are really going to be enamored with and wowed by,” said Daniel S. Palmer, SCAD MOA chief curator.
There are eight solo exhibitions and two group exhibitions on view this fall. The exhibitions explore many themes of contemporary life, including the relationship between mankind and nature, pop culture, modern architecture and more.
Each exhibition has something to say about the current moment that’s worth contemplating, and SCAD MOA offers itself to the public as a welcoming, approachable environment to engage with these artworks.
The Dog Show
“These artworks emphasize the relationship between human beings and dogs. . . Thinking about man’s best friend, but also the way we project onto dogs, the way we love them, and the way they love us. It’s partly a homage to dogs, but partly a reflection on the social role of dogs and what they tell us about our own psychology,” said Palmer.
Entre sistemas invisibles
“It speaks to the connection between the artist and the place that she comes from,” Palmer explained.
Dentro e fora infinitamente
In vitrines on the exterior walls of SCAD MOA, Maria Nepomuceno’s “Dentro e fora infinitamente” is on display. Nepomuceno is originally from Brazil and this is her first solo museum exhibition in the U.S. She works with a group of artisans from her home country who weave carnauba palm straw into functional objects. Nepomuceno experiments with this medium, integrating unconventional materials like beads, raw clay, ceramic, resin and rope into these inventive creations.
“She uses traditional palm weaving . . . to create these beautiful almost window-like sculptures that include floral motifs but are also really dynamic as sculptures. They sort of expand out and recess back into the space in a way that really activates those works very powerfully,” said Palmer.
Aaron Douglas: Sermons
Another group exhibit, “Aaron Douglas: Sermons” is presented in SCAD MOA’s Evans Center fro African American Studies. The exhibition places key artworks by Douglas in conversation with contemporary artists including Adebukola Bodunrin and Ezra Claytan Daniels, Afua Richardson, Akeema-Zane and Rena Anakwe, Allson Janae Hamilton, Diedrick Brackens, Khari Johnson Ricks, and Kara Walker. These works come together to demonstrate the ways that Douglas’ influence and the spirit of the Harlem Renaissance remain alive today, continuing to shape the aesthetics and politics of representation.
“Four historically important Aaron Douglas works on paper are brought together with four video artworks and three others by contemporary artists to really speak to the continued legacy and importance of Douglas’ work. He is a historical figure who continues to have resonance and inspires artists today,” Palmer added.
“Last Call” is Anna Park’s first solo museum exhibition in the U.S. A rising star talent, Park is originally from South Korea but currently lives and works in New York City. Her work consists of large-scale black and white charcoal drawings that are a contemplation on contemporary culture and the unique chaos that defines life in the internet era.
“Her work pulls simultaneously from iconographic imagery that she takes from the internet, and from images of all different types. But then she brings it all together, almost collages it in a way that speaks to the cacophony and dynamism of the way images circulate online right now. And to a point where she’s walking this fine line between figuration and abstraction. The charcoal drawings are so dynamic that the recognizable imagery kind of fractures apart at certain points,” Palmer explained.
Waiting for a response which we might never get
Shi Jinsong of Wuhan, China is also having his first U.S. solo museum exhibition at SCAD MOA. His exhibition, “Waiting for a response which we might never get” is a meditation on the human need for speed, and particularly the rapid urbanization on traditional Chinese landscapes. Juxtaposing natural forms and industrial machinery, Jinsong’s artworks are unique and striking amalgamations that contrast the archaic and the futuristic. The exhibition includes mechanical bamboo and impressive tree-motorbikes that combine organic forms and metallic machinery.
“This whole exhibition for Shi Jinsong is really about a hybridity as well, a hybridity of the technological with the archaic, with the ancient. With this wood that’s as old as time and with bamboo forests that feel like they’ve been around forever but then brought into this hyper, new technological mode. . . That’s what we know artists always do. They just push the envelope. They push us forward in ways of thinking that is so far beyond our norms,” said Palmer.
Studies in Form
“Studies in Form” by Seher Shah and Randhir Singh is an exhibition featuring a series of 121 cyanotype prints, which is an early photographic process and the precursor to the blue print.
“It’s a series of six portfolios that the artists created that are really about the intersection of art, architecture, printmaking, and photography. In many ways it’s a meditation on the legacies of modernist architecture as it’s grown and traveled around the world,” Palmer explained.
The exhibition examines the built environment, isolating specific elements of buildings and analyzing architectural principles of scale, materiality and mass. The images seen in the cyanotype prints are mined from Shah and Singh’s personal archive, featuring buildings constructed in several cities during the 1960s and 1970s.
Ominous, Crude Beauty
Displayed in a darkened room is an impactful exhibition by Allison Schulnik called “Ominous, Crude Beauty.” The exhibition is quite ominous and foreboding, featuring four video pieces of incredible stopmotion and clay animation. In addition to the videos, the exhibition includes sculptures, and on another wall, there are all of the drawings for one of Schulnik’s animations called “Mound.”
“Allison’s work is very macabre. It’s very intense, dramatic but also beautiful and poetic. It’s really just incredibly compelling, It’s kind of eerie in some senses but not alienating. It’s very inviting and poetic and just the meticulous detail through which all the animations were created especially is really powerful. It’s like her paintings but brought to life,” commented Palmer.
Roxy Paine is a renowned artist who really came into prominence during the 90s and early 2000s. Through his work, he navigates the tension between humans and the natural world, particularly our quest for control and how that fails against natural forces of death, decay and entropy. Paine is back with recently-created artworks that take these tensions head on, representing fungal networks, oil drums, the surface of the moon, and more and how these natural forms reclaim the built environment over time. The exhibition features Paine’s meticulously made pixel paintings as well as dioramas, mimicking the format of natural history displays while complicating their function.
“The whole exhibition really is a meditation on the dialogue between human existence and the natural environment. And maybe more directly, the fallacy of thinking human beings can really control the environment, that we can set everything in our way,” Palmer explained. “It’s also this fascinating meditation on human subjectivity and the world around us. . . It reflects back on our own lives and our own existence, to make us think about our daily lives, and who we are and how we exist in the world in a different way.”
The Feminist Divine
Gisela Colón coined the term “Organic Minimalism” to describe the dual condition of her work: reductive yet active and seemingly alive. Her exhibition “The Feminist Divine” features sizable, dynamic and iridescent monolith sculptures and pod wall works that reflect, refract and emit light in mesmerizing ways. Her seductive and almost cosmic curvilinear sculptures are made using aerospace technology, and though they shine, are not lit internally; it’s all done by natural light.
“This work is also really in dialogue with historical minimalism, but it’s made a little bit more natural, a little bit more organic. . If a lot of the historic minimal work or big work is usually so macho, so masculine, her work has something much more poetic, much softer, much more sensuous, more organic and more illuminating to it.,” Palmer expressed.
Each with their unique perspective, all of the exhibitions come together to say something important about the contemporary moment we live in.
“The whole museum becomes a group show in a way. Each of the individual artists get their own spaces and present and share their own worldview. Everyone has a different perspective and a different unique set of stories to tell that all join together so beautifully,” Palmer added.
He encourages all members of the community to come out and see what the SCAD MOA has to offer to the community.
“This really is the highest caliber of art from all around the world that we bring here. . . It’s not that we only show the most important art in the world and these really significant artists, but we also want to do it in a way that is accessible, and that there are lots of different entry points,” he began, “We’re not the kind of museum that would show art that is alienating or inscrutable or wouldn’t welcome people in, be they students who are just at the beginning of their own creative growth, or community members who know a lot about art or maybe don’t. There’s a spectrum of experiences that people can have here.”
Most of the exhibitions will be on view through December or January. The exhibitions launch Wednesday, Sept. 21 and there will be free programming all day including artist talks and an opening party at 6 p.m. SCAD MOA is open to the public every day except Tuesdays.
To learn more about SCAD MOA and the exhibitions currently on view, visit scadmoa.org