Four Exhibitions Open on Tuesday, Nov 3rd at the Albany Museum of Art

Monday, November 2nd, 2020

With its Haley Gallery transformed into a giant canvas for four 25-foot-wide murals, the Albany Museum of Art has a new, exciting slate of exhibitions that will greet museum guests on Tuesday, Nov 3, 2020. 

“We are thrilled to introduce to all our visitors a new chapter in the evolution of the Albany Museum of Art,” AMA Executive Director Andrew J. Wulf, Ph.D., said. “Today, this museum, that prides itself on experimentation and innovation, has taken yet another bold leap of faith to become a true laboratory where artists have carte blanche to transform our spaces into vibrant, meaningful artworks.”

The AMA has free admission and is open to the public 10 am-5 pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and 10 am-7 pm on Thursdays.

On the Wall features the works of five artists. Muralists David Hale, Shanequa Gay, Amanda Jane Burk and Chris Johnson have their individual styles to the exhibition, which also includes a selection of paintings by Sarah Emerson.

“Wall painting has been central to our culture and environment from the beginning of human civilization,” AMA Guest Curator Didi Dunphy said. “I am inspired by the movement of work, the artists at work. I have been gifted this amazing opportunity to turn the Haley Gallery into a working studio where the walls are the works of art, the fruits of this artistic labor by these four talented muralists.” 

The four muralists are Georgia artists. Hale resides in a creekside cottage near Athens, where his family, Love Hawk, shares in the creating process. Hale worked with his son to create the AMA mural.

Gay, an Atlanta native who earned her MFA at Georgia State University, explores through her work the historical and contemporary social concerns of hybrid cultures from the viewpoint of the African-Ascendant female progenitor. She is a Do-Good Fellow, which is awarded to individuals working toward a better South (2019-20), and is an Emory University Arts and Social Justice Fellow, a program which explores racial injustice and other inequities. 

Burk, who earned her MFA from the University of Georgia, is a printmaker living in Athens. She founded and co-owned a print shop that offered items designed and handprinted by Burk and her business partner. 

Johnson, a South Georgia native residing in Columbus, earned his MFA from the University of South Carolina and is an associate professor of art Andrew College in Cuthbert. Since 2017, Johnson has painted more than two dozen large-scale public murals, including the murals he created last year at Lincoln Elementary Magnet School in Albany in a project with the AMA funded through a Vibrant Communities grant the museum received from the Georgia Council for the Arts. 

The giant murals are complemented by seven paintings by Emerson. She earned her master’s degree at Goldsmiths College in London, and has exhibited in galleries throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. The Atlanta artist teaches at Agnes Scott College in Decatur. 

“This is a selection from her O Smithereens! series,” Dunphy said. “Emerson’s work dives into the contemporary landscape and how it is transformed by human intervention and natural phenomena.“ 

In the East Gallery, Midlands is a multimedia installation by Courtney McClellan, an artist and writer from Greensboro, N.C., who now resides in Atlanta. McClellan, who earned her MFA at Tufts University and the School of the Fine Arts in Boston, was recently named the 2021 Innovator-in-Residence at the Library of Congress. 

Her installation at AMA includes three videos, and six photographs depicting courtroom scenes.

“Midlands is the result of a three-year project that intersects art and performance with academic pursuits in the field of law,” Dunphy said.  “This is an exploration into the theatricality and performative space of a courtroom setting.”

The West Gallery has taken on a fantasy landscape peopled by an equally fanciful cast of characters in Escape Plan by Elinor Saragoussi, a Denver, Colo., native who is now based in Athens. Earlier this year, she was awarded a Shelter Projects Grant from the Willson Center for Humanities & Arts.

The installation by Saragoussi was designed specifically for the space in the West Gallery. Dunphy said the installation “transforms” the way a visitor experiences the museum.

“It is really a fantastical arrangement of imaginary creatures, plants, animals and sounds,” Dunphy said. “This is an immersive sculptural installation that includes a unique soundscape by Max Boyd.” As the musical duo Baby Tony and The Teenies, Saragoussi and Boyd write and perform doo-wop inspired pop ditties inspired by performers such as Lesley Gore and The Beach Boys

The second floor McCormack Gallery, which has been closed since the museum was severely damaged by the Jan 2, 2017 hurricane-force storm, will reopen local flair with the annual exhibition of the Georgia Artists Guild of Albany. 

The show has 18 works by Southwest Georgia artists, and includes paintings, photography and sculpture. This is the artists guild’s 27th annual exhibition.