The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts is celebrating paper, pattern,
and politics this summer with the opening of three exhibitions on Thursday, July 23. All of
the exhibitions will run through September 27, 2009.
Mia Pearlman: MAELSTROM
Mia Pearlman: MAELSTROM features the work of New York artist Mia Pearlman, who creates site specific cut paper installations and large scale works on paper inspired by nature and uncertainty. This will be the artist’s first solo museum exhibition.
The focal point of the exhibition will be MAELSTROM, a giant, multi-level mobile 12 feet in diameter that hovers and turns above the heads of viewers. Pearlman created the sculpture initially to reveal the “invisible weather pattern” inside a space.
In addition to MALESTROM, Pearlman will create a three-dimensional, site-specific cut paper installation entitled TURBULENCE in the adjacent gallery. The exhibition will also feature several of the artist’s BREATH PAINTINGS, large works on paper.
Pearlman’s working process is very intuitive, based on a combination of chance and control. She begins preparing for an installation by making complex line drawings on large rolls of paper in India ink. Then she cuts out selected areas to create a new drawing, made of positive and negative space, on the reverse. These pieces are transported to the gallery space where Pearlman sculpts them, using paper clips and small tacks, into a three dimensional drawing through trial and error, reacting to the dimensions of the room, lighting, traffic patterns and desired visual effect. Through this process, her two-dimensional cut outs become a three-dimensional drawing in space.
The BREATH PAINTINGS are also unpredictable in nature. Using an assortment of handmade and store-bough wands, Pearlman blows bubbles of paint onto paper, adding painted and drawn linear shapes to highlight both the depth and artificiality of this invented cosmos. The shape, location and size of the bubble imprints are the result of experimentation, intuition and chance.
Pearlman asserts, “I see the BREATH PAINTINGS, TURBULENCE and MAELSTROM as deeply interrelated: both clouds and bubbles are made of water and air, constantly in flux, ephemeral and insubstantial. Together, these works symbolize exhalations and inhalations of physical space that evoke both natural beauty and environmental chaos, drawing our attention to the ambiguous nature of reality”.
Alabama Threads: African-American Quilts from the Permanent Collection
Though the materials may be common, quilts as both art and document have held an important and cherished place in many American’s cultural and family histories. Initially created in domestic settings, quilts continue to serve both a decorative and practical purpose for those who create and collect them.
In 2004, the Museum began its collection of African-American quilts, with an acquisition of 48 quilts created between 1945 and 2001 primarily by women from West Alabama. In late 2008, the Museum added 10 more quilts to its collection. This summer, the MMFA will display most of these new quilts for the first time, along with others from the initial 2004 acquisition. Featured artists include Yvonne Wells and Nora Ezell, whose quilts showcase the variety of styles and techniques of quilt making in the MMFA’s permanent collection.
Alabama Threads: African-American Quilts from the Permanent Collection is organized by the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, and sponsored locally by MAX Credit Union.
Beverly Erdreich: Metaphor Boxes and Drawings
In 2007, Birmingham artist Beverly Erdreich prepared an exhibition that was a striking departure from her previous work. Associated primarily with abstract painting, Erdreich began to research topical issues as subjects for mixed media presentations of drawings, paintings and box-based constructions. The result is Metaphor Boxes and Drawings, which challenges the viewer to consider the larger implications of the most important social and political concerns of our modern world. Erdreich writes, “For the last several decades I have been a painter. My work has been primarily abstract and approached in a rather lyrical manner…. However, the foreboding tragedies of AIDS and drugs, reccurring tragedies of war and devastation, the dark and continuing prejudice among people, the unquestioned side of religion and the lost innocence of children…. prompted me to want to deal with these topics.”
Her responses to these issues take the form of two-dimensional works accompanied by boxes she conceived and constructed in order to prompt the viewer’s contemplation and involvement. The 15 pairs of works on view in this installation address subjects ranging from free speech and First Amendment Rights (Jury Box) and intolerance (In the Name of Box). In each case she includes visual and verbal allusions to the topic derived from history and the media.
Beverly Erdreich: Metaphor Boxes and Drawings is sponsored by ServisFirst Bank
An opening reception for all three exhibitions will be held on Thursday, July 23 from 6 to 7 P.M.
For more information, call the Museum at 334.240.4333.
The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday Noon to 5 p.m. Admission is free and donations are welcome. For more information, call the MMFA at 334.240.4333 or visit the website at www.mmfa.org.
The MMFA, a department of the City of Montgomery, is supported by funds from the City and County of Montgomery and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts Association. Programs are made possible, in part, by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.