February 03, 2009
Retrospective - Quick Overview...
Left B'ham in heavy rain, arrived in Florence 2.5 hours later in bright sunshine... promising! Florence and Muscle Shoals are sister cities across the Tennessee River... lots of music history here, the University of North Alabama adds the college element, plus historical names like Helen Keller, Frank Lloyd Wright and W.C. Handy...all the ingredients for an eclectic community with deep southern roots.
Two beautiful, classic homes make up the complex of the Kennedy Douglass Center for the Arts... located across from a large city park. Obviously well funded, the houses have been joined in the back, linking and creating spacious and elegant rooms used for all manner of art related endeavors.
My dedicated space was the large front room off the center hall, empty except for a large grand piano at the front windows. The walls are fabric covered, only an ancient patterned rug and a few extra easels furnished the space. I had somehow thought there would be a series of smaller rooms that would break up the jump from series to series, but lots of forethought had gone into the presentation and the series moved smoothly from the left of the entrance around the room, interrupted appropriately as I headed in new directions. My worst fear was that it would look like a group show and not the steady advancement of one searching artist.
Mary Nicely, the program coordinator, had been working with me from the onset... she was a delight to meet and work with as we worked to make the best presentation while keeping the timeline and series development in order. She had sent a previous invitation which I'd had to refuse due to gallery schedules, and happened to send another invite at a time I'd just quit the Memphis gallery. I agreed, thinking I'd have plenty of work on hand... but then the opportunity to join a Charlotte gallery came along and now what would I do for work? That's when the idea of a retrospective bloomed. And what a trip it has been! I hung the show the day after my 70th birthday... so it's like throwing a party with all my old paintings as guests, on hand to meet the new ones... why do I feel a tad like Alice...?
As mentioned earlier, there will be no opening, but I will give a gallery talk just before the show comes down in late March. Mary's attention to detail, her research via my website for promotion purposes... impressive! I hope to take better installation pics at that time, I hurried through these as it had been a long day and we needed to move on.