Spring Semester Show Opens Jan. 28

A-H-Show-header.jpgThe Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art on the campus of Central Methodist University will open its spring semester show with a reception on Sunday, January 28, with three unique and thought-provoking exhibits on display.

The Gallery’s own curator, Tyler Pierson, will have his own show in the Geist Gallery with his “Journey Through Dante’s Inferno.” In the Yancey Gallery will be a collection of 15 Afro-American quilts, and Gallery Two will feature works by George Caleb Bingham and Glasgow artist Cornelia Kuemmel.

With his charcoal and watercolor on paper works of art, Pierson joins artists like William Blake and Gustave Doré in illustrating the first book of Dante’s Divine Comedy.

“Tyler Pierson follows a tradition of famous artists who have illustrated this story,” said Dr. Joe Geist, registrar of the Gallery. “Our beloved curator has followed in the footsteps of other great artists doing the entire Inferno.”

Pierson’s illustrations, which he began making in August, depict Dante and Virgil as ethereal white figures, contrasting the highly detailed souls suffering in Hell. He says the distinction is to underscore their sense of displacement along their travels.

“The hope is to frame this show as educational, with descriptions of why everything is framed the way it is in the book,” said Pierson. “It’s predominantly a morality story. It’s about coming to terms with the self, because Dante starts out his journey lost. But in some ways, it’s a grievance story because he took the people he thought belonged in Hell and put them there.”

In contrast to Pierson’s dark and haunting work, the spring show will also feature a collection of quilts celebrating Afro-American culture and history. Hand-made by a number of quilters, including Vydella Chapman, these colorful works of art tell stories of African-American life.

“I’ve never been [featured] actually in a museum, but I’ve taken them to a lot of quilt shows,” Chapman said of her quilts. “I’ve gone all over, from Fulton to Jefferson City, Boonville up to Brookfield – wherever somebody calls me. But this is the first time in a gallery.”

Finally, in Gallery Two, a pair of Bingham works will premiere in the Midwest after being purchased by loyal patrons of the Gallery, Mary Jarboe and Susan Donnelly. These two works, including one believed to be one of Bingham’s “lost landscapes,” will be featured alongside art by longtime Glasgow resident Cornelia Kuemmel.

All these outstanding works will be on display all semester, from January 28 through May 2, every Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. The Gallery will close along with the rest of campus for spring break from March 11-15. Special tours and groups are welcome by appointment. Contact curator Tyler Pierson at tpierson@centralmethodist.edu or 660-248-6304 to schedule a time. The Gallery is located on the first floor of Classic Hall, on the CMU Fayette campus.

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