Zuckerman Museum of Art Opens Fall Block of Exhibitions Exploring Portraiture and the Figure


KENNESAW, Ga. (Aug 20, 2018) — The Bernard A. Zuckerman Museum of Art’s fall exhibition block explores portraiture and the figure in art. Two new exhibitions, Class Pictures and Figure Forward, approach figuration from different angles.

Class Pictures, organized by ZMA director of curatorial affairs Teresa Bramlette Reeves, considers how power, authority, and affluence are asserted or subverted through portraiture. Figure Forward, organized by ZMA curator Sarah Higgins, looks at the figure’s ability to represent selfhood outside the boundaries of the individual.

A Hundred Blossoms and the Sweetest Scent, Sonya Yong James’ year-long solo exhibition on the ZMA stairwell project wall, also opens, with a free public reception Saturday, August 25, 2-4 pm. The fall exhibitions will be on view through December 21, 2018.

Class Pictures features six figurative works from the ZMA Permanent Collection loosely paired with the work of five contemporary artists to suggest overlapping narratives about social class, economic status, and identity. Work from the permanent collection includes a large ceramic sculpture by Viola Frey, paintings by Leon Moran, Dupree Fuller, Eastman Johnson, Robert George Harris, and an anonymous American artist from the 19th century. Included contemporary artists present a mix of paintings, collages, cross-stitch portraits, photographs, and video works. The variety of approaches to portraiture and figuration reveal traditional strategies that favor realistic representations and conceptual interpretations that offer a different form of insight. Featured artists include: Melissa Basham, Paul Stephen Benjamin, Aubrey Longley-Cook, Yanique Norman, and Don Robson.

Figure Forward features three artists, each working in a different medium: Jill Frank in photography, Jaime Bull in sculpture, and William Downs in drawing. The exhibition prompts questions: When does the figure in art function as a portrait? How can artworks represent the body in a different way? In the included artworks, the body can represent a surface on which to perform identification with a group, a psychological state, or a stand-in for internal experiences. Together, these artists’ works invite consideration of how the bodies and subjectivities of artists and viewers are implicated in these negotiations. Featured artists are Jaime Bull, William Downs, and Jill Frank.

A Hundred Blossoms and the Sweetest Scent, a large-scale mixed-media installation, transforms the ZMA stairwell project wall. Taking inspiration from the tale of “Little Red Riding Hood,” artist Sonya Jong James weaves together fiber, flowers, roots, and found objects to explore the themes of this fable and their evolution over time. She says, “The girl and wolf inhabit a place, call it the forest or the human psyche, where the spectrum of human sagas converges, and their social and cultural meanings play out.”