Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Maier exhibitions feature work of student curators and art professor's paintings

This spring, the Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College features two exhibitions created by the Randolph community.

Five students curated The Modern Woman: Roles or Reality?, an exhibition that explores how women are depicted in art. The exhibition Fear and Wonder includes 19 works that art professor Jim Muehlemann painted during the 2012-2013 academic year.

Both exhibitions will open to the public with a reception from 6–8 p.m. on Friday.

Last semester, art professor Leanne Zalewski taught a curatorial seminar designed to teach students how to curate an exhibition, from selecting a theme to hanging the paintings. Monica Varner ’14, Ainsley Hoglund ’14, Thea Ezinga ’15, Katie Vance ’14, and Hannah Neifert ’14 took the class and decided to explore artistic depictions of women and think about whether the art is true to women’s psychological and physical reality.

“I hope that we can create a discussion with our exhibition and get people thinking about how women are represented in art,” said Neifert.

Each student found several paintings and drawings from the College’s art collection that relate to the theme. Together, they chose which works to include in the exhibition, wrote wall text, and hung the paintings.

"Angels" is one painting in the exhibition Fear and Wonder.
The students appreciated getting to practice curating rather than only reading about it. “I was very excited to be able to work in a curation class, since this is the field I want to go into,” said Ezinga. “To get to do this, and get hands-on experience while still an undergraduate, is really amazing.”

The paintings in Muehlemann’s Fear and Wonder exhibition were inspired by Japanese art that often portrays striking beauty intertwined with fearful, violent images. Most of the paintings juxtapose graceful birds flying on alarming backdrops such as burning skyscrapers or flying arrows.

“While the birds in his paintings may evoke fear and wonder, they also appear hopeful,” Zalewski said in an essay she wrote in the catalog for Muehlemann’s exhibition.

The Modern Woman: Roles or Reality? and Fear and Wonder will be on view at the Maier through April 13.