Cleve Carney Art Gallery Presents “Past Time: American Self-Taught Art from the Collection of Jim and Beth Arient,” “Quilts of Gee’s Bend” This Fall
The Cleve Carney Art Gallery at the McAninch Arts Center at College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., in Glen Ellyn, will present an exhibition of works from the contemporary American Folk Art collection of Naperville residents Jim and Beth Arient Thursday, Sept. 3, through Saturday, Oct. 10.
“Past Time: American Self-Taught Art from the Collection of Jim and Beth Arient” features selections from four artists among many in what is considered of one of the world’s most important private collections of the genre.
The Arient family traveled the country for more than 30 years, acquiring various pieces and the resulting collection is widely respected for its size and depth, but also the approach Jim and Beth Arient have taken to collecting. When the collection began in 1977, few self-taught artists were represented by galleries or dealers, compelling the Arients to seek them out. From this necessity grew a wealth of personal relationships with folk artists across the country, as well as a strong network of collectors that has brought their work to the general public. With the sustained support of this network, self-taught art has become sought after by many major museums, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which will host an exhibition of self-aught and naïve art in the fall of 2016.
The four artists included in “Past Time” share a common focus on repetitive forms, employing systems of repetition as an artistic method to assess the world around them. This method invites the viewer to compare and contrast these forms, revealing the uniqueness of each effort despite the consistency of method and materials.
The works on display include stoneware pottery, clay sculptures, hand-painted signs and wood carving. Georgia-born artist Lanier Meadersgrew up assisting in his father’s pottery shop, later becoming well-known for the sculptural creativity of his face jugs and continuing the ceramic craftsmanship tradition of White County, Georgia that has been in existence since the early 1800s. Virginian pottery artistGeorgia Blizzard also found material and inspiration in the Appalachian hills, and used the clay from the creek behind her home to create vessels depicting characters from her own life. The exhibition also includes carved wood canes by the famed selfVtaught Kentucky artist Tim Lewis, and the painted protest signs of Jesse Howard, whose work is held in the permanent collections of The American Folk Art Museum and the American Visionary Arts Museum.
In conjunction with “Past Time,” the Cleve Carney Art Gallery will also display a group of quilts by the artists of Gee’s Bend, Alabama. Since the mid-nineteenth century the artists and quilt makers living in this rural African American community have created hundreds of colorful and intricately crafted quilts, widely recognized to be masterpieces of textile design.
“Past Time: American Self-Taught Art from the Collection of Jim and Beth Arient” can be viewed 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Saturday, and 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday. The gallery also is open one hour prior to MAC performances held in the Belushi Performance Hall and during intermission. For more information about the exhibitions and related special events, visit cod.edu/gallery or call 630) 942-2321.
“The Quilts of Gee’s Bend” can be viewed during building hours 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Sunday in the MAC Lobby.