Saturday, February 19, 2011

Viewed two exhibits/ receptions: A Yadkin River Story and The Trains That Passed In the Night

Last night, I was able to view the Yadkin River Story exhibit and attend the reception at the Sawtooth Center Gallery. It is really enjoyable to get out and immerse myself in the art community. I was introduced to one of the artists, Christine Rucker, whose rich and beautiful black and white photographs reminded me of one of my AIB colleagues. I need to write her and tell her about this artist, that she may want to include as a reference for her work.

Christine was also intrigued by my Tau cross, and asked me if I was a Franciscan. After replying affirmatively she introduced her mother to me, who was present, and a 'sister' from the fraternity in Charlotte. Small world, but that Tau cross is an instant connection for those professed to the order (SFO).

Following the reception at Sawtooth, my daughter and I headed over to Reynolda House, Museum of American artist to view the exhibit of photographs by O. Winston Link, The Trains That Passed In The Night. These photographs mostly from the years 1956-57, were also rich with narrative, composition and aesthetic of the black and white photograph. These photographs were deeply nostalgic and made me consider the world and culture of the time I was born into.

At the reception at Reynolda House, I was able to visit with my past mentor as well as others, and meet a new artist/ art professor from a local university, who was a professor of my student student teachers last school year. We discussed the proposed devastation to budgets of our state institutions and how they will impact the art departments.

Among other things we also discussed the ever ending discussion about 'what is art', and who gets the funding and why.

In reference to the outstanding exhibits, both made me reflect on the 'archive' and Critical Theory II: An archive from the past, and an archive from the present. Both with strong evident marks of visual culture.

More on these exhibits below:

Yadkin River Story Exhibit

Yadkin River Story comprises the work of Christine Rucker--photographs, Phoebe Zerwick--essays, and Michelle Johnson--multimedia.

A River of the People

Welcome to Yadkin River Story, (see link at a multimedia project about the people who have made the river a part of their lives. The Yadkin has its source beside a resort hotel in Blowing Rock, N.C., then flows east for nearly 100 miles before turning south at the East Bend. This project focuses on the region near the East Bend and tells the river’s human story—of fishermen and farmers, immigrants and worshippers, mothers and sons—of people whose lives are defined one way or another by the river. Their stories are meant to be seen and heard. We hope the river speaks to you as it has to us.

Trains that Passed in the Night: The Photographs of O. Winston Link, Reynolda House Museum of American Art: features photographs drawn from the collection of O. Winston Link's former assistant Thomas Garver and circulated by the Center for Railroad Photography & Art. The exhibition is on view Feb. 19- June 19 in the main gallery of the Babcock Wing. The exhibition includes 50 black-and-white gelatin silver photographs, all printed during Link's lifetime and signed by the artist. The gallery also will feature images of Link staging his highly technical photographs, and a multimedia area where visitors can listen to recordings of steam engines and watch film of the Norfolk & Western Railway.

O. Winston Link’s photos are one-frame narratives of 20th-century transportation. An American photographer, his images capture the last days of the steam operation on the Norfolk and Western Railway in the late 1950s. Link said he wanted “to preserve a beautiful era” and show “how the railroad interacted with the people who lived along the line.” The combination of Link’s technical expertise and sensitivity as both artist and documentarian has earned him a place in photographic history.

In 1957, Thomas Garver assisted O. Winston Link in his documentation of the last years of steam power on the Norfolk and Western Railway. Garver will give a well illustrated lecture on the development of Link's photographic style and technique, and show how he brought his skills as a commercial photographer to the project.

Garver contributed to Link’s first book, Steam, Steel & Stars, published in 1987, and authored a second book of Link’s railroad photographs, The Last Steam Railroad in America, published in 1995. Now retired, Garver served as organizing curator of the O. Winston Link Museum, located in the former Norfolk and Western Railway passenger station in Roanoke, Virginia.

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