Neighborhood for Painters Opens Thursday at Albany Museum of Art

Staff Report From Albany CEO

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

An exciting new exhibition of narrative paintings that tell stories on a grand scale by four talented Georgia artists opens Thursday, June 28, at the Albany Museum of Art when patrons will be welcome to visit a Neighborhood for Painters.
Neighborhood for Painters features works by Art Rosenbaum, Michelle Fontaine, Jennifer Hartley and Terry Rowlett, all of whom have ties to the Athens, Georgia area. The exhibition in the Haley Gallery will continue through September 29, 2018.
“These are four very talented painters working in Athens, Georgia,” Albany Museum of Art Guest Curator Didi Dunphy said. “Some are Georgia natives. Some are Georgia transplants. Several are well into a very robust professional career and others are starting off on what will become a very stellar career. I like to mix up people’s levels of training and interests.”

While the artists are in different stages of their respective careers, they share some common characteristics in their work. They tell stories with their art, and their works are large in size, up to 78 inches by 106 inches for Rosenbaum’s Rakestraw’s Dream, an oil on canvas piece he created in 1993.  

“Even though the artists are diverse in their careers, all the paintings have a focus on narratives and figures, telling stories,” Dunphy said. “Many of these stories come from everyday life, what you see on the corner of your block.

“Some of these stories come from dreamscapes, that subconscious level that we all share. And others of these stories are combinations of fantastical biography or manufactured fiction that have ties to urban myths, such as Art Rosenbaum’s Rakestraw’s Dream.”

Each artist captures real people, sometimes transporting them to imaginary realms.

“Jennifer Hartley lives in a neighborhood in Athens, and most of her imagery comes from her walks, her daily bicycles rides and where she takes her students to draw perspective from the top of a parking deck,” Dunphy noted. “Terry Rowlett’s paintings, again, are from real-life characters, friends of his—lifetime friends—set in a fantastical landscape where magic happens.

“Michelle Fontaine takes a lot of her imagery and juxtaposes it with architecture in a more collage-style fashion. Most of her subjects are women and her women friends.”

With so much information to get across, she said there is “a lot to see” and soak in.

“If you think about your own individual story, it isn’t just a linear progression—A, B, C. It is a lot more round about the corner, coming around the bend,” she said. “There are a lot of different ways, overlays of experiences, people and lessons learned. I think these paintings look at life that way.”

Dunphy said she was pleased to be able to present the exhibition in the AMA’s spacious Haley Gallery.

“The scales (of the paintings) are rather large,” she said. “These are some big paintings. (The Albany Museum of Art) has a fantastic, big room with very tall ceilings. With my other curatorial positions, it’s a luxury to be able to hang big paintings and be able to step away, look at the complexity of what’s going on in that scale, and to feel the presence.”

A reception for the AMA’s summer exhibitions is set for 5-7 pm on Thursday, August 9, at the museum. In addition to Neighborhood for Painters, the summer exhibitions include Florence Prisant: A Retrospective, which opened June 14 and continues through August 25 in the West Gallery, and the juried Educators as Artists, which will be in the East Gallery from August 2 through October 13.
Currently exhibiting in the AMA’s East Gallery is Justin Hodges’ installation Time Time and a Half, which continues through July 14.