A Look Ahead: BA’s 2019 Preview

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As we begin a new year, BURNAWAY looks ahead to ten exhibitions we’re anticipating in 2019, including shows in Atlanta, Richmond, Lexington, New Orleans, and elsewhere.

Seeds, a juried show. applications open through August 5 at Westobou Gallery, Augusta

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Amy Sherald at the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta
January 31 – May 18, 2019

Rounding out its national tour, the opening of this exhibition in Atlanta marks a homecoming of sorts for Sherald, a Clark Atlanta University alumna who took her undergraduate painting classes at Spelman. Although she’s been working actively for fifteen years, Sherald achieved immediate international prominence last year following the unveiling of her official portrait of former First Lady Michelle Obama. Spelman’s presentation of Sherald’s exhibition will include two new works completed since it originally opened at the Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis, in May 2018.

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Installation view of Cauleen Smith’s “Give It or Leave It” at ICA Philadelphia, where it was on view last year. (Image courtesy Mousse Magazine.)

Cauleen Smith at the Institute for Contemporary Art, Richmond
February 16 – May 5, 2019

Following its debut at the Institute for Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, Smith’s solo exhibition “Give It or Leave It” travels to the ambitious, recently opened ICA at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. With its title reversing the threatening phrase take it or leave it, the exhibition promotes a spirit of hospitality and generosity through Smith’s cinematic explorations of the lives and work of figures including spiritual leader and musician Alice Coltrane and Black spiritualist Rebecca Cox Jackson. Drawing on Smith’s longstanding engagement with experimental filmmaking, the exhibition also includes sculptural and installation elements.

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“Way Out There: The Art of Southern Backroads” at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta
March 2 – May 19, 2019

Inspired by Walks to the Paradise Garden, an abandoned manuscript for a guidebook of Southern self-taught artists by the late North Carolina poet Jonathan Williams, this exhibition traces intersections between American photography and literature and documents exchanges between self-taught and avant-garde artists in the South. Lexington’s Institute 193 is set to posthumously publish Williams’s Walks to the Paradise Garden in conjunction with the exhibition, which is organized collaboratively between the High’s photography and self-taught art departments.

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Leslie Hewitt, Riffs on Real Time with Ground (Mirror Blue with Black Diagonal and Horizon Daybreak), 2018; digital chromogenic print, silver gelatin print, 45 by 54 by 2 in. (Image courtesy Galerie Perrotin.)

“Hinge Pictures: Eight Women Artists Occupy the Third Dimension” at the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans
March 14 – June 16, 2019

Organized by CAC chief curator Andrea Andersson, “Hinge Pictures” suggests the possibilities of “a new feminist formalism” by bringing together work by eight women artists confronting the male-dominated heritage of European modernism: Sarah Crowner, Julia Dault, Leslie Hewitt, Tomashi Jackson, Erin Shireff, Ulla von Brandenburg, Adriana Varejão, and Claudia Wieser. Borrowing its title from the writings of Marcel Duchamp, the exhibition will dedicate a gallery to each artist and include many new large-scale commissions. An accompanying catalogue published in collaboration between the CAC NOLA and Siglio Press will comprise eight artists’ books-within-the-book and serve as a print platform for the exhibition.

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Wihro Kim at Institute 193, Lexington
March 23 – April 27, 2019

Following a solo exhibition at Poem 88 last year and a two-person exhibition at Swan Coach House Gallery opening this month, Atlanta-based painter Wihro Kim presents his first out-of-state solo exhibition at Institute 193 in Lexington this spring. In previous paintings, Kim has used overlapping surfaces and uncannily depicted architectural features to explore perceptions of space, memory, and longing.

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Holly Coulis, Grapefruits, Persimmons on 2 Tables, 2018; oil on linen, 32 by 39 in. (Image courtesy of the artist.)

Holly Coulis at SOCO Gallery, Charlotte
Opens March 2019

In March, at SOCO Gallery in Charlotte, Canadian-born painter Holly Coulis presents her first solo exhibition in the South since relocating from Brooklyn to Athens, GA, with her husband, painter Ridley Howard, nearly three years ago. Coulis is best known for her colorful, visually flattened paintings of fruit, beverages, dishes, and other household items, such her 2016 mural Dishes and Fruits at Atlanta Contemporary.

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William J. O’Brien at Atlanta Contemporary, Atlanta
Opens April 2019

Chicago-based artist William J. O’Brien draws upon sources ranging from his Catholic faith and queer sexuality to craft traditions and self-taught art to create works including drawings, paintings, and ceramics, the last of which are often presented in elaborate tabletop arrangements.

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Nancy Friedemann-Sánchez’s Casta Paintings on view at Halsey Institute in Charleston through July16


Natalie Escobar, Aliza Morell, Esther Ruiz at Camayuhs, Atlanta
Opens May 2019

This three-person exhibition at the Atlanta gallery Camayuhs presents work by Atlanta-based painter Natalie Escobar, New York-based painter Aliza Morrell, and Los Angeles-based artist Esther Ruiz exploring representations of darkness and light.

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Sonya Yong James, Nothing Gold Can Stay, 2017; horsehair, wool felt, thread, and acid dye, 16 ft. by 8 in. (Image courtesy of the artist.)

Sonya Young James at Whitespace, Atlanta
September 6 – October 12, 2019

Known for her monumental installations involving textiles such as felt and wool, artist Sonya Yong James has been a fixture of the Atlanta art scene for years, but her upcoming presentation at Whitespace this fall marks the long overdue first solo gallery exhibition of her work. In the meantime, her site-specific installation One Hundred Blossoms and the Sweetest Song remains on view at the Zuckerman Museum of Art through July.

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Mary Lee Bendolph at the Georgia Museum of Art, Athens
October 5 – December 29, 2019

This survey presents nearly 30 quilts created by artist and quiltmaker Mary Lee Bendolph over the past six decades. Born in 1935, Bendolph has been a part of the traditional quilting community in Gee’s Bend, AL, since first being taught to quilt by her mother at age 12. She has dedicated herself to quiltmaking since retiring in 1992, with occasional forays into other artistic mediums, such as when she created a series of intaglio prints in collaboration with her daughter-in-law, Louisiana Bendolph, in 2005.

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