Spring Exhibitions

Words and figures on fabric

Lesley Dill Wilderness: Light Sizzles Around Me

Organized by the Figge Art Museum, Davenport, Iowa and made possible by Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities

Mortin Gallery and Don Russell Clayton Gallery

March 14 - May 13, 2023

Wilderness, Light Sizzles Around Me features a uniquely inspired group of sculptures and two-dimensional works more than a decade in the making. The exhibition represents Dill’s ongoing investigation into the significant voices and personas of America’s past. For Dill, the “American” voice grew from early America’s obsessions with divinity and deviltry, on fears of the wilderness “out there” and the wilderness inside us. The extremes of both shaped history and gave pulse and heat to the words of activists like John Brown, Sojourner Truth, Mother Ann Lee, and Dred Scott. Dill writes, “These personas and their times stir something deep in my own family history and sense of self. I am compelled to this restrictive time-period of limited access to a diversity of written word, and the bravery of these figures’ response.” The book Lesley Dill: Wilderness, Light Sizzles Around Me by Scheidegger & Spiess, Zurich is available in conjunction with the exhibition and features essays by Nancy Princenthal, Andrew Wallace and others. This exhibition is organized by the Figge Art Museum, Davenport, Iowa.  
Lesley Dill has had over one hundred solo exhibitions. Her artworks are in the collections of many major museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art New York, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 2017 she was named a fellow of The John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and is a Joan Mitchell Foundation Creating A Living Legacy artist and grant recipient. Her opera, Divide Light, based on the poems of Emily Dickinson, was performed in San Jose in 2008. In 2018 the opera was re-staged in New York City and captured in an award-winning film by Ed Robbins. Dill was the recipient of the Emily Dickinson Museum’s 2019 ‘Tell it Slant’ Award. In her work, Dill transforms the emotions of the writings of Emily Dickinson, Salvador Espriu, Tom Sleigh, Franz Kafka, and Rainer Maria Rilke, among others, into works of paper, wire, horsehair, foil, bronze and music—works that awaken the viewer to the physical intimacy and power of language itself. Dill’s exhibition Wilderness: Light Sizzles Around Me, organized by the Figge Art Museum, is currently traveling to 7 venues through Winter of 2023. The exhibition amplifies voices of the North American past as they wrestle with divinity, deviltry, and freedom, including Mother Ann Lee, Black Hawk, Sojourner Truth, John Brown, Emily Dickinson, Horace Pippin, and Sister Gertrude Morgan. Dill is represented by Nohra Haime Gallery in New York and Arthur Roger Gallery in New Orleans. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.  This exhibition is Organized by the Figge Art Museum, Davenport, Iowa, and was made possible by Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

Image Credit: Lesley Dill, Emily Dickinson and the Voices of Her Time, 2016. Oil paint, hand-cut paper and thread on fabric-backed acrylic painted paper. Courtesy of the Lesley Dill Studio, Brooklyn, NY.

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Ruth V. Zuckerman Collection: Inside Out

Long-term display Location: Ruth Zuckerman Pavilion 

Curated by Teresa Bramlette Reeves

For the preservation of artwork, museums must often hold their permanent collections in storage rather than in public view. "Visible storage," maintains the necessary safe-keeping of the objects while allowing museum visitors to see and study work that would otherwise be unavailable. This installation employs visible storage to showcase a substantial number of Ruth Zuckerman's sculptures and drawings from the KSU Permanent Collection, while making aspects of a collection's care transparent for the public.

KSU ruth v. zuckerman inside out collection

Project Walls

Detail of Imi Hwangbo's "Lepidoptera" consisting of layers of blue geometric cut mylar paper


Project Wall North: Lepidoptera

The ZMA is thrilled to present a work by Georgia artist Imi Hwangbo selected by Emily Knight, Museum Services Coordinator, on our Project Wall North this spring. Imi Hwangbo received her B.A. in Studio Art from Dartmouth College. She received her M.F.A. in Sculpture from Stanford University, where she studied with the painter Nathan Oliveira. Ms. Hwangbo has been the recipient of numerous international artist fellowships, with residencies at the American Academy in Rome, the Camargo Foundation in France, and Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Scotland. Within the United States, she has been an artist-in-residence at Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art.

  • Ms. Hwangbo’s work has been acquired by major corporations, including Fidelity Investments, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong. Her work in constructed drawing has been exhibited in solo shows at the Volta Art Fair and the Pavel Zoubok Gallery in New York City, and the Miller Yezerski Gallery in Boston. She has shown her work in two-person and group shows at the David Winton Bell Gallery of Brown University, the International Print Center New York, the Weatherspoon Art Museum, and the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center. Articles and reviews of her work have appeared in The Huffington Post, Art in America, Sculpture Magazine, The Boston Globe, the Washington Post, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She is a professor of art at the University of Georgia.

    Her current work explores the notion of constructed drawings. The pieces are fabricated with translucent mylar that is colored, cut in elaborate patterns, and layered in such quantity that sculptural forms are created. Her imagery is based on the ornamentation of Buddhist temple doors and Korean decorative arts. In her work, these traditional patterns are reconfigured and expanded into space. Light is used a medium to convey the image, with patterns gaining depth through the translucent layering of light and shadow. As art critic Lilly Wei has written: “Hwangbo’s geometric motifs and lacy botanicals are related to traditional designs, filtered through a modernist syntax of diamonds, circles, and squares configured as infinitely expandable systems in which solids and voids are similarly important and mind and dream intertwine.”

    The selected work by Hwangnbo, Lepidoptera, is a large-scale work from the artists' The Portal Series, created from hand-cut mylar. The Portal Series is a body of work exploring the notion of three-dimensional drawing. These pieces are made with multiple layers of paper that are printed, cut, and layered in such quantity that sculptural forms are created. The pieces are made with up to thirty layers and can be up to three inches deep. 

Project Wall East: Cloud Morphology VI

Like Ben Butler's Uncharted, this cast sculptural work borrows the image of a natural phenomenon that is both ubiquitous and ephemeral and transposes it into a counterintuitive material.  The work embodies conflicting human responses to these phenomena – the desire to dwell in their fleeting beauty on the one hand, and the need to freeze them in time, to analyze and comprehend their mysteries, on the other.  The rhythmic segmentation of the form, like the drawn grid in Uncharted, underlines this analytical impulse.  It asserts the fact of the artifice, but still not enough to undermine the captivating power of the image - water or cloud – from which it is drawn.   

Image Credit: Ben Butler, Cloud Morphology VI, 2022, Painted cast hydrocal. Courtesy of the artist. 

Detail photo of Ben Butler's Cloud Morphology VI, which is an installation of cast concrete abstract clouds




Installation view of Ben Butler's "Uncharted" which is a long rectangular piece which shows a zoomed in photo of crumpled paper, printed in blue, resembling waves of water


Project Wall West: Uncharted

Uncharted is rooted in the artist’s fascination with natural phenomena and how human processes seek to describe them. The print is a meditation on perception and the physicality of images. Created by photographing crumbled paper that had been manipulated to mimic the surface of water, the enigmatic work presents a number of contradictions. It is at once drawing, sculpture, and photograph, simultaneously haphazard and meticulous, both invented and discovered.

Ben Butler is a sculptor and public artist working in Memphis, Tennessee, and Quoque, New York.
In addition to showing his work extensively in gallery and museum exhibitions, he has produced commissioned sculptures, murals, and installations in a range of media for hotels, hospitals, parks, and other public spaces nationally, including the Hyatt Regency Chicago and the Crosstown Arts Theater in Memphis.

Butler received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and his BA from Bowdoin College. He is the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Individual Artist Grant and numerous fellowships at residency programs including the MacDowell Colony, The Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, and the Ucross Foundation. He currently shows at John Davis Gallery in Hudson, New York.

“My sculptures reflect the sensibility that objects are not fixed and finite, but are the product or residue of ongoing processes. They provide evidence of unseen forces, and they point to the distinction between the human and the non-human. Throughout the natural world, unexpected complexity emerges from simple, persistent processes. When the order of things is not readily apparent, complexity is often mistaken for chaos. In the rush to comprehend we often miss the wonderful unseen forces at work. My response is to play in these boundaries between the simple and the complex, and between the complex and the overwhelming.” — Ben Butler

Image Credit: Ben Butler, Uncharted, 2022, Dye sublimation print on fabric. Courtesy of the artist. 




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