Release Date: February 25, 2008
Exhibition uses blood from slave descendants
Contact: Cheryl Anderson Brown, Assistant Director of Public Relations,
770-499-3417 or firstname.lastname@example.org
(Above) "Antebellum Classicism" by Robert Sherer uses the blood of slave descendnts to explore ideas about the South.
Photo by Matt Haffner
(Below) Robert Sherer draws blood from volunteer Keith Smith.
Photo by William Cash
Kennesaw, Ga.—At first glance, the drawing looks like an architectural detail of a column top from a book about architecture in the Old South. A closer examination shows that the usual leaves of a Corinthian column have been replaced with cotton blossoms and tobacco leaves, two of the main crops of the slave-based economy of the antebellum period. When you read the wall tag, you discover that the drawing was made using the blood of slave descendants.
The drawing, “Antebellum Classicism,” is part of an exhibition at Kennesaw State University in metropolitan Atlanta called, “Robert Sherer: Blood Works, Portraits of Love and Loss in the Age of AIDS”, which continues through March 11 in the Fine Arts Gallery on campus.
In the “Blood Works”
series, Alabama-born Sherer uses blood as a medium to create pen-and-ink drawings. In most of the drawings, which have been collected worldwide, Sherer employs botanical images to convey messages about personal responsibility and relationships in the age of AIDS. Most recently, Sherer realized the strong tie between blood and racial identity and has begun creating Blood Works pieces that explore this idea, particularly as it relates to the history of his native South.
“I think it's important when we remember the beautiful Old South, that we also remember that it was literally built on the blood of slaves,” Sherer says.
To create the piece, Sherer used blood from several African American volunteers. One of those volunteers was fellow artist, Keith Smith.
“I volunteered because, because I like how Robert Sherer is infusing concept into his work and exploring issues that are important to African Americans,” Smith said. “This is my heritage as an African American, but I also think in a way that this is everybody's heritage.”
“Antebellum Classicism” is one of several new works that will be seen for the first time in this exhibition. Sherer has asked that these new drawings be sold to benefit a new scholarship fund for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students at Kennesaw State, where he is an associate professor of art.
“Antebellum Classicism” is one of several new works that is being shown for the first time in this exhibition. Sherer has asked that these new drawings be sold to benefit a new scholarship fund at Kennesaw State, where he is an associate professor of art.
Works from the series previously have been exhibited in more than 20 shows, including at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia; Garden Gallery in Provincetown, Mass.; Anthem Gallery in New York City; and at the 2002 Triennale International d'Art Contemporain in Paris, France.
In 2006, Sherer's Blood Works were recognized for their academic and scholarly value when he received the KSU College of the Arts Distinguished Scholarship Award, the Kennesaw State University Distinguished Scholarship Award and the KSU Foundation Prize for Distinguished Scholarship. These awards also have prompted the creation of a book about “Blood Works” which will be published by the KSU Press in Spring 2009.
Robert Sherer studied art at Walker College, Atlanta College of Art, Georgia State University and Rhode Island School of Design. He also holds a master of fine arts degree from Edinboro University in Pennsylvania. In addition to his work as an artist and educator, he has worked as an art critic, juror, lecturer and dealer. In addition to exhibiting at the 2002 Paris Triennale, he also represented the United States in the 2001 and 2007 International Biennale of Contemporary Art in Florence, Italy. He is represented by the Robert Kidd Gallery in Detroit, New Arts Gallery in Litchfield, Conn., and Lyman-Eyer Gallery in Provincetown, Mass.
The exhibition continues through March 11. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. The gallery is closed for all university holidays. There is no admission fee. For more information, contact the KSU Museum and Galleries office at 770-499-3223 or click the gallery link at www.kennesaw.edu/arts.
For more information about the Robert Sherer Scholarship Fund, call 770-499-3214.
Kennesaw State University is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing student population exceeding 20,000 from 132 countries. The third largest state university out of 35 institutions in the University System of Georgia, KSU offers more than 55 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
The KSU College of the Arts is one of only four Georgia institutions to have achieved full national accreditation for all of its arts programs.