The third six-month rotation of the Springfield Art Museum’s Art In Our City exhibition went on display in October and features seven artists from four neighborhoods located in City Council Zone 3.
The featured artists are:
- Joshua Mayfield, West Central
- Madeline Brice, West Central
- Donna Rustin, West Central
- Joel Wolverton, West Central
- Lauren Sukany, Phelps Grove
- Steven Brown, Mark Twain
- Carl Glasmeyer, University Heights.
Zone 3 is located in the southwest quadrant of the city and is represented by Councilman Mike Schilling.
Selections were made by Springfield Art Museum Director Nick Nelson, from an open call for artists in the summer of 2017. The artists’ works range from painting, to low-relief mixed media sculpture, to textiles. Their work will show through late March, when the exhibit will rotate to feature 11 new artists from seven neighborhoods located in City Council Zone 4.
The museum has long collected works by local artists including Julie Blackmon, Bill Armstrong, Bill Wright, Jacob Burmood, Robert E. Smith, Beverly Hopkins, Dwaine Crigger, Rodney Frew, Sarah Perkins, Roberta Stoneman Baker, Louis Freund and Elsie Bates Freund, among others.
Representative works by these artists are frequently on view in the museum’s semi-permanent rotating exhibition of the museum’s permanent collection, Creating An American Identity, placed within the larger context of the contemporary American art world.
“Art In Our City is unique in that it places the emphasis solely on living local artists who are currently working,” says Joshua Best, development and marketing coordinator. “The exhibit’s location in Avant Art places it at the forefront of the museum, making these works some of the first that patrons encounter upon entering the museum.”
About the exhibition
Art In Our City is a special exhibition that highlights local artists and the character of Springfield’s unique neighborhoods. Art In Our City debuted in October 2017, featuring artwork from eight artists living in five neighborhoods located in Zone 1. More than 14,000 patrons have visited the museum since this new exhibition opened.
In addition to its great neighborhoods, Springfield is home to a vibrant artistic community, Nelson said, which inspired him to dedicate the museum’s new flex space to local artists for the next two years.
“The Art In Our City exhibition highlights and celebrates the creativity of the Springfield community, focusing on artists living and working in the neighborhoods that make up our city. This exhibition not only concentrates on the artists on display, but the neighborhoods they live in and what it means to live and work creatively here,” he added.
For information on how to submit your work for this exhibit, please visit sgfmuseum.org.
About the pieces
“This piece is acrylic on canvas and is a celebration. It was the first piece created after a six-month period of having no studio and no job to fund my painting,” Mayfield said. “It is a celebration of the studio I now have and also a job that allows me to provide for my family and fund my art. It this painting, I incorporated some of the brightest colors I could find, flinging them about like confetti at a parade or a birthday party surprise. These colors are contrasted against the void-like background of black paint simultaneously showing the new experimentation I began to work with and the contrast needed to appreciate the things that give life meaning. It was only when I couldn’t paint that I was truly able to slow down and appreciate what it mean to be able to paint,” Mayfield said.
“Having my work displayed at the Springfield Art Museum is a tremendous honor. I’m proud to represent West Central neighborhood, and I’m humbled to be included with such outstanding talent. Springfield really does have some top-notch artists living and working here, and I know that I continually take inspiration from them all. I’m incredibly thankful to the museum for giving me the opportunity to display my work.”
“My art is mixed media and consists of found objects from everywhere. The inspiration for Pale Mary comes from a lifelong struggle with mental illness and attempted suicide, which I believe to be the direct result of abuse from childhood by my mother and father, some teachers and bullies in school,” Rustin said.
“Pale Mary represents that even the strongest person can lose all faith and have no hope. She has given up, believing hell pales in comparison to life on this earth. She hears the words of ‘Amazing Grace’ coming from the church and believes it no more. She realizes no one notices she is gone or even cares. Hopefully, this piece and message will reach more people by being exhibited in the Springfield Art Museum and will raise even more awareness to what is happening to our children daily and they will be the ones who have to pay the price for this, as I did. I hope this will start a very OUT LOUD conversation about this tragedy more so than about the value or quality of my art.”
“One of the first in a series of ‘artificial night’ pictures, I entitled this digitally altered photograph, ‘Artificial Night, Library View,’ Wolverton said. “For people living in this area, the downtown Springfield inspiration is obvious. It’s been my neighborhood for almost 10 years. I have watched it grow and prosper, at the same time that I have developed many friendships with the people who work and live in this thriving neighborhood. The artificial night concept grew out of a desire to eliminate the sky and hence accentuate the subject matter. I found that black works best to achieve this, but also that it suggests that in some alternate reality, we could create artificial night. It is a wonderful honor to have my work on display in our museum in the same building as great and famous artists.”
“Conversation Homesick Revisited” is oil, acrylic and charcoal on canvas.
“”This painting, memory-inspired using developed compositions and less finished paint application, depicts mysterious scenes of figures in interiors maintaining life,” Sukany said.
“Themes of maintenance, celebration, conversation and leisure are emphasized using formal elements of figures in interiors, perspective and paint application. These compositions are memories based on a collection of moments in time. The pieces are not intended to portray real life, but a shared physical and mental space of the figures, creating a magical and mysterious element within the composition.”
“I was very excited to even have the chance to be a part of this exhibit. I have entered my work in a lot of competitions, submitted for publications, participated in grant work, shown in galleries, sold online – but this was the first time I had ever seen anything like this. When I received an acceptance letter, I was happy from ear to ear.
Before being selected, I went to the art museum taking my kids to the children’s art classes or to look at the exhibits. Now that my work is in the art museum, I am able to give as well as receive. I am so thankful to God and to the Springfield Art Museum for this opportunity for my work to be exhibited.”
“My work is an evaluation of Springfield values through redesigns of public spaces. By removing parking lots to make way for a new square, linking together disparate green spaces with paths and crosswalks, and integrating cycling ways with bus transit, Springfield’s priorities change to favor pedestrians rather than automobiles,” Glasmeyer said.
“Speed and size are replaced with variation and intimacy. A well-stitched urban fabric collapses the membrane between places. Interstitial spaces between opportunities for commerce, leisure and contemplation as more people dwell within them. This artwork is a sketch of possibilities to help encourage the transformation of spaces into pieces of value.”
About Avant Art
In April 2017, the museum shop, which was run by volunteers from the Southwest Missouri Museum Associates, the museum’s longest-serving support group, officially closed its doors. Soon after, the museum announced its intention to transform the former shop space into a new flexible social gallery that combines exhibitions, retail and limited beverage and snack service.
Avant Art was chosen as the name for the new space – the French word “avant” meaning “before.”
“Exploring this space is literally the thing you do before you enter the museum’s galleries, due to Avant Art’s prominent location near the museum’s renovated lobby that now includes the stunning ‘Autumn and Persian Feather,’ chandelier by renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly,” Nelson says.