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Fall exhibitions at Miami museum explore a Crossroads theme

Miami University Art Museum and Sculpture Park will present three new Crossroads-themed exhibitions this fall. The Art Museum is free and open to the public.

“There is a unified thread that runs through each of the exhibitions, and it’s a theme called Crossroads,” said Jason Shaiman, curator of exhibitions for the museum.

He said there are some commonalities between the exhibitions, because they are about the various crossroads that each of us encounter.

“The three exhibitions have connections that build upon one another, and that’s how we came up with the Crossroads theme,” Shaiman said.

“Comfort Zones: The Crossroads of Urban & Rural” will feature paintings by Mary Phelan and Eldridge Bagley. The exhibition highlights 46 paintings that explore urban and rural connections.

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Shaiman said urban and rural locales are typically viewed as distinct worlds, mutually exclusive of one another, but the exhibition takes a deeper look into the fabric of these locations, revealing that there are a lot of similarities between the two that are often overlooked.

“…There are a lot of parallels that I’ve drawn in pairing up the works. I’m hoping they are going to challenge people to say, I’ve never really thought about this in the rural, because people from the city, who may tend to think that rural is being so far removed, but as we know around this area, Cincinnati isn’t very far from Oxford,” Shaiman said.

Phelan depicts the density of urban environments, with taller buildings, crowded streets, and bustling city life. She captures the energy of the city and urban environment in which she lives.

In contrast, Bagley presents open vistas, which allow viewers to enter farms and the natural topography of a rural countryside. He presents the tranquil rural life he’s known all his life, focusing on family and community.

Shaiman said there’s an intimacy in each artist’s work as they’re documenting their respective areas, and it really hits on the notion of a sense of place, how they belong to that space, how it has affected them and who they are as a resident and as an artist. Yet, each of the artists are looking at similar issues.

In addition to “Comfort Zones: The Crossroads of Urban & Rural,” there are two other exhibits on display this fall that explore the idea of Crossroads. “I’m in the Wrong Film: Photographs by Hans Gindlesberger,” a FotoFocus Exhibition, showcases 17 digitally-assembled photographs by Gindlesberger, focusing on a socio-economic study of Middle America.

“Lonesome Traveler: Prints by Rockwell Kent” features 17 prints from the art museum’s permanent collection of Kent’s work, including wood engravings and lithographs.

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