Curators’ Pick: “King’s Voyage” by Bertil Vallien

Curators’ Pick: King’s Voyage by Bertil Vallien

Bertil Vallien is recognized as the pioneer of the sand-casting technique, in which molten glass is poured into a firm sand mold. Much like the cire perdue or lost wax technique, the delicate nature of the mold material prevents more than one sculpture from being produced. Thus, Vallien’s sand-cast sculptures are unique works of art.

One of the most prominent vessel themes in his stoneware sculptures of the late 1970’s, the boat became a hallmark of Vallien’s later sand-cast sculptures (1984-88). Vallien’s boats are containers for messages and metaphors for man’s existence. They explore universal themes, like the journey of life and the unknown destination.

The Mint Museum from Home is Presented By Chase.

Curators’ Pick: “Ring of Iron, Ring of Wool” by Kay Sage

Curators’ Pick: Ring of Iron, Ring of Wool by Kay Sage

Kay Sage was one of the few American artists to be closely involved with the French Surrealist movement. “Ring of Iron, Ring of Wool” was completed at the height of her career and incorporates all of the hallmarks of her signature style: a haunting, desolate landscape; beautifully-rendered yet enigmatic forms; and sophisticated variations in tone and color. The title is thought to be a reference to the traditional gifts for a couple’s sixth and seventh anniversaries. 1947 marked the sixth anniversary of Sage and Tanguy’s move to Woodbury, Connecticut and the seventh of their marriage.

Credit: Kay Sage (American, 1898-1963). “Ring of Iron, Ring of Wool,” 1947, oil on canvas. Museum purchase: The Katherine and Thomas Belk Acquisition Fund. 2016.8. © 2016 Estate of Kay Sage / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York.

The Mint Museum from Home is Presented By Chase.

Curators’ Pick: “Flowerbed” by Yann Gerstberger

Curators’ Pick: Flowerbed by Yann Gerstberger

Yann Gerstberger creates murals, sculptures, and textile tapestries from his home in Mexico City. In Flowerbed Gerstberger uses inspiration from his world travels, both in person and electronically, to create imagery of lush rainforest and desert flora and fauna.

The Mint Museum from Home is Presented By Chase.

Expanding opportunities to create and experience art in Charlotte

Styled word mark for It Takes a Village: Charlotte Artist Collectives

Local artists and artist collectives are expanding opportunities to create and experience art in Charlotte

By Liz Rothaus Bertrand 

 

The Mint Museum’s exhibition It Takes a Village: Charlotte Artist Collectives puts local artists and the organizations that nurture them in the spotlight. Opening June 12 at Mint Museum Randolph, the exhibition will feature individual and collaborative pieces by artists who are part of three of Charlotte’s innovative artist collectives: BlkMrktClt, Brand the Moth, and Goodyear Arts.

Curated by the Mint’s chief curator and curator of contemporary art, Jen Sudul Edwards, PhD, sees the exhibition as a wonderful way to showcase the collaboration of local artists who are producing intriguing and inspired works of art. “One of the things I’ve found really wonderful about this city is the number of collectives that were created for artists to support each other. I rarely have encountered that in the other places I’ve lived.”

"Blocked" by artist Will Jenkins

Building artist communities

Collectives build something special for artists, says Todd Stewart, a member of the artist-led residency program Goodyear Arts. “There’s a reciprocal relationship within an art community, creating and seeing things,” he says. “Personally, I feel like I get more than I give.”

For Stewart, a trained sculptor who also explores painting in his mixed-media creations, working as an artist can be lonely. He says collectives really help to push past the feeling of isolation, even if you’re not actively collaborating with the artists around you. “That to me is just a huge boost of energy … seeing what these folks are up to really propels me forward,” he says.

The wide spectrum of artists—visual, performing and literary—and creative work at Goodyear Arts helps draw diverse audiences to events, most of which are free and offered in an accessible location. This expands relationships and exposure for other artists, too.

Matthew Steele, Division Phase. Courtesy of Artist.

Having the opportunity to show their work in a museum the caliber of the Mint is an exciting for collective members, Stewart says, with the potential to reach people who don’t yet know them and what they contribute to the community.

People often think of art coming from “meccas” like Los Angeles, New York, or London, Stewart says, “but Charlotte is building this creative capital, too. It’s rewarding putting your buckets down where you’re at and creating where you are,” he says.

Artists collectives depend on public and private support to continue their work. Goodyear Arts, for example, turns donated space into art galleries and studios. This kind of partnership is key to building opportunities for artists to create.

The fruits of such collaborations can already be seen around Charlotte through various public art initiatives.

Members of Brand the Moth and BlkMrktClt were pivotal in orchestrating Charlotte's Black Lives Matter mural on South Tryon Street in 2020.

What public art brings to the city

Besides beautifying and enriching the city’s landscape, public art like murals serve important social functions. Art inspires conversation and brings different communities together, says painter Sam Guzzie, partner and director of programming for Brand the Moth.

Last summer, Brand the Moth and BlKMrktClt were two of the key groups leading local artists in creating the Black Lives Matter mural on Tryon Street. The iconic project involved 20 different artists, who were each able to put their own distinctive mark on this collaboration.

Bringing community members into the creative process is important, too. For example, Brand the Moth’s 16th Street Bridge Mural was directly inspired by conversations with homeless residents at the nearby Men’s Shelter of Charlotte, who then volunteered side-by-side with Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department officers, and others to revitalize the area. Such efforts help create community dialogue over the paintbrush, says Hannah Fairweather, partner and director of curation at Brand the Moth.

Another unique collaboration took place at the McGill Rose Garden, where the Brand the Moth created a mural with UMAR, a nonprofit that promotes community inclusion for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Efforts like these strengthen community bonds and allow people all over the city to experience the arts. For some people, seeing or participating in a public art initiative may be the only chance they have to experience art. “Often public art is the gateway into that world for them,” Fairweather says.

Visitors to The Mint Museum can gain an appreciation for the role artist collectives play in our community through this exhibition. “It’s really something to be proud of and to invest in,” Sudul Edwards says.

Liz Rothaus Bertrand is a Charlotte-based freelance writer who has a love of the arts in all its forms.

This story was originally published in the January, 2021 issue of Inspired, the Mint’s biannual member magazine.

Gallery Chat with Curator and Community, Part 3

Gallery Chat with Curator and Community, Part 3

Coming together for another discussion surrounding works of art in the Mint’s permanent collection is Jon Stulhman, PhD, senior curator of American art, and Rubie R. Britt-Height, director of community relations at the Mint.

This series is a part of video series that examines and compares works of art currently installed in the Mint’s Contemporary Gallery at Mint Museum Uptown.

Watch the first two videos in this series using the buttons below:

Gallery Chat with Curator and Community, Part 2

Gallery Chat with Curator and Community, Part 2

Coming together for another discussion surrounding works of art in the Mint’s permanent collection is Jon Stulhman, PhD, senior curator of American art, and Rubie R. Britt-Height, director of community relations at the Mint.

This series is a part of new video series that examines and compares works of art currently installed in the Mint’s Contemporary Gallery at Mint Museum Uptown.

Watch the first video in this series here: https://mintmuseum.org/gallery-chat-with-curator-and-community-part-1/

Monteith and Stand- Curators’ Pick

Monteith and Stand – Curators’ Pick

Brian Gallagher, curator of decorative arts, tells us about this peculiar object found at Mint Museum Randolph.

A monteith was used to cool wine glasses, which were suspended upside down into iced water. The glass stems rested in the monteith’s notches. This particular monteith and stand were made for Thomas Lamb (1753–1813), a Boston shipping merchant who was very active in the early years of the American China trade.

The Mint Museum From Home is Presented By Chase.

Celebrating Mexican artist Zuleyma Castrejon Salinas for Cinco de Mayo

Celebrating Mexican artists for Cinco de Mayo

Get to know Zuleyma Castrejon Salinas

Haga clic aquí para leer la traducción al español.

Zuleyma Castrejon Salinas is a teaching artist living and practicing in the Queen City. She has experience teaching art at all life stages from child to senior adult. Her practice is very versatile and she likes to explore anything and everything from painting to jewelry making and everything in between.

Tell us a bit about your background

I was born in Huitzuco, Guerrero, Mexico to a young mother and father. I spent my first couple of years living there with my mother. My father made his way to the U.S when I was 1 year old to help provide for us, since we were scarce on money and resources.

My mom and I arrived in Monroe, North Carolina in August of 1996 shortly before my third birthday and my mom’s 18th birthday. We arrived to the United States at a time where resources for Spanish-speaking individuals were not as easily accessible as they are now. Mom and I did not speak any English and my dad was always working, so he did not teach us the little English that he already knew.

Early artistic roots

Because mom and I didn’t speak English, and mom didn’t know how to drive, we passed our time walking to the nearby Family Dollar. From a young age, Mom and dad always bought me coloring books, puzzles, crayons, watercolor paints, and notebook paper.

I eventually started kindergarten and the only things I knew how to say in English were, “Can I go to the bathroom?’ And “finger.” I learned English quickly after that and soon excelled in all of my studies. I was the first in my family to graduate both high school and college. I graduated summa cum laude from Johnson C. Smith University in May of 2016. At JCSU, I studied visual and performing arts with a concentration in studio art.

Observe. Bridge. Respond. Art (OBRA)

Early in college, I joined a Latinx-led art collective called OBRA collective. We are an art collective made up of Latinx and ally artists that create art that celebrates our heritage and raises awareness about issues that the immigrant community faces.

As an art collective, we:

• Lead community workshops
• Plan and execute art exhibitions
• Collaborate with different partners, including the city of Charlotte
• Listen and respond to the needs of our community

OBRA collective tapestry mural

This is one of our largest projects. We partnered with the city of Charlotte and the community of East charlotte to design and create a mural that was representative of the people of East charlotte. You can see the mural at the intersection of Monroe and Idlewild roads. The people of East Charlotte come from many parts of the world. These countries were represented through their fauna, flora, and traditional textile patterns.

My art is very reflective of my Mexican culture and heritage through its imagery and bright, bold colors. Most of my art is highly influenced and inspired by my experience as a Mexican woman.

Photography

These two photographic series were both inspired by my parents. I am forever grateful for all of their sacrifices because I wouldn’t be where I am without them.

Celebrando Artistas Mexicanos Por El 5 de Mayo

Llegar a saber Zuleyma Castrejon Salinas

Soy un artista docente que vive y ejerce en la Cuidad Reina. Tengo experiencia enseñando arte en todas las etapas de la vida, desde niño hasta adulto mayor. Mi práctica es muy versátil y me gusta explorar cualquier cosa, desde la pintura hasta la fabricación de joyas y todo lo demás.

¿DE DONDE SOY?

Nací en Huitzuco, Guerrero, México a unos padres jóvenes. Pasé mis primeros años viviendo allí con mi madre. Mi padre se dirigió a los EE. UU. Cuando yo tenía 1 año para ayudar a mantenernos, ya que éramos escasos de dinero y recursos.

Mi mamá y yo llegamos a Monroe, Carolina del Norte en agosto de 1996, poco antes de mi tercer cumpleaños y poco antes de que mi mamá cumpliera 18. Llegamos a los EE. UU. en un momento en el que los recursos para las personas de habla hispana no eran tan accesibles como ahora. Mamá y yo no hablábamos nada de inglés y mi papá siempre estaba trabajando, así que no nos enseñó el poco inglés que el ya sabía.

Primeras raíces artísticas

Debido a que mamá y yo no hablamos inglés y mamá no sabía conducir, pasamos nuestro tiempo caminando hacia el family dollar cercano. Desde temprana edad, mamá y papá siempre me compraron libros para colorear, rompecabezas, crayones, pinturas de acuarela y papel para cuadernos.

Finalmente comencé el kinder y las únicas cosas que sabía decir en inglés eran: “¿Puedo ir al baño?” y “dedo”. Aprendí inglés rápidamente después de eso y pronto sobresalí en todos mis estudios. Fui la primera en mi familia en graduarme tanto de la escuela secundaria como de la universidad. Me gradué Summa Cum Laude de la Universidad Johnson C. Smith en Mayo de 2016. En JCSU estudié artes visuales y escénicas con una concentración en artes plásticas.

Observe. Bridge. Respond. Art (OBRA)

Temprano en la universidad me uni a una colectiva de arte latinx llamada obra colectiva. Somos una colectiva de arte hecha de artistas latinx y aliados que crean arte que celebra nuestra herencia y que sensibiliza los temas que enfrenta la comunidad inmigrante.

COMO COLECTIVA NOSOTROS:

• OFRECEMOS TALLERES COMUNITARIOS
• PLANIFICAMOS Y EJECUTAMOS EXPOSICIONES DE ARTE
• COLABORAMOS CON DIFERENTES SOCIOS, INCLUYENDO LA CIUDAD DE CHARLOTTE
• ESCUCHAMOS Y RESPONDEMOS A LAS NECESIDADES DE NUESTRA COMUNIDAD

Tapestry mural

Este es uno de nuestros mayores proyectos. Nos asociamos con la ciudad de charlotte y la comunidad de east charlotte para diseñar y crear un mural representante de la comunidad de east Charlotte. Puedes ver el mural en la interseccion de Monroe Road Y Idlewild Road.

La gente de east charlotte proviene de muchas partes del mundo. Estos países estuvieron representados a través de su fauna, flora y patrones de textiles tradicionales.

Arte Personal

Mi arte refleja mucho mi cultura y herencia mexicana a través de sus imágenes y colores brillantes y atrevidos. La mayor parte de mi arte está muy influenciado e inspirado por mi experiencia como mujer mexicana.

Estas 2 series fotográficas fueron inspiradas por mis padres. Siempre estaré agradecida por todos sus sacrificios porque no estaría donde estoy sin ellos.

One year after Covid-19 shutdowns began, Silent Streets: Art in the Time of Pandemic reflects how it shaped a societal shift

One year after Covid-19 shutdowns began, Silent Streets: Art in the Time of Pandemic reflects how it shaped a societal shift  

By Liz Rothaus Bertrand  

When the world came to a halt in early spring 2020, so did museums everywhere. Doors closed, shipments stopped, planned exhibitions were put on hold. Then cities across the nation erupted in protest, as communities faced a reckoning with long-term injustices and systemic racism. The concurrent events posed a challenge: How could the Mint best serve the community through the crisis and uprising, while also facing financial uncertainty and logistical challenges caused by the pandemic?  

“This gave us [an] opportunity,” says Jen Sudul Edwards, PhD, the Mint’s chief curator and curator of contemporary art. “Instead of showing an exhibition that seemed incongruous with the times, we were able to construct something that reflected the times.”  

Silent Streets: Art in the Time of Pandemic opened April 21 at Mint Museum Uptown. The Mint commissioned new works by three North Carolina artists—Amy Bagwell, Antoine Williams, and Stacy Lynn Waddell. Their task: create works of art that respond to something that has happened since the pandemic began and reflects some change in their practice.  

CAPTURING A MOMENT WE’RE STILL EXPERIENCING  

As poet and mixed-media artist Amy Bagwell reflects on the past year, she lands on one overriding sensation: dissonance. Bagwell, who also teaches English at Central Piedmont Community College, watched her students grapple with both the dire consequences of COVID-19 and racial injustice. And yet she also heard people deny the virus’s existence and claim the protests were unjustified.  

“That dissonance is terrifying,” Bagwell says. “Absurd in a painful way.”  

Poetry she wrote during the Covid-19 pandemic inspired the three large-scale collages she created for Silent Streets. “As artists we’re trying to document this moment of multiple vexations,” Bagwell says, “but it will be an interim document because we’ll be going through this during and after the show. We don’t yet have the benefit of distance.”  

CONFRONTING SYSTEMIC RACISM  

Greensboro-based artist Antoine Williams says 2020 was shaping up to be a great year—but ended up being one of the worst. The pandemic upended his personal and professional lives while exposing, once again, systemic racism across the nation.  

An assistant professor of art at Guilford College, Williams says his work is influenced by critical race theory. For Silent Streets, his mixed-media work looks at the uprisings and their meaning. He explores the objectification of Black labor and culture, and the absurdity of public shock when Black people speak up against injustice.  

Creating during this challenging time has been cathartic, Williams says. “It’s a way of me shouting at the universe … or to feel like I’m contributing to this conversation.”  

RECLAIMING SYMBOLS OF POWER  

Artist Stacy Lynn Waddell of Durham often takes tools and uses them in new ways, redefining how we communicate. She has used branding irons on paper and acid to paint, among other experimental techniques.  

For Silent Streets, Waddell explores themes like representation and inclusion in symbols of power. Working alongside a master quilter, she used homemade textiles to create flags. By using a technique from a domestic realm and bringing it to a public sphere, she envisioned a way to reclaim symbols such as flags that are often weaponized, and explored how they could be redesigned to be more inclusive.  

“I think we’ll look back on this years later [and say] ‘This was an opportunity, even in all the bleak, difficult, sad lolling out of all of it,” Waddell says. “It’s still been an opportunity.”  

OTHER PANDEMIC-BORN PERSPECTIVES  

These three commissions form the core of the exhibition, but Silent Streets also features a wide spectrum of artists’ works during the pandemic. The exhibition also includes photo highlights from Diary of a Pandemic, a collaboration between Magnum Photos and National Geographic that features images taken by stranded photojournalists around the world in 2020.  

In the Pandemic Comics part of the exhibition, the focus is on how syndicated comic strips such as Pearls Before Swine, Liō, and Tank McNamara changed course suddenly as COVID-19 upended our lives. Silent Streets will also features As the Boundary Pulls Us Apart, a video and soundscape projection created by Charlotte artists Matt Steele and Ben Geller. 

 


 

Liz Rothaus Bertrand is a Charlotte-based freelance writer who has a love of the arts in all its forms.

This story was originally published in the January, 2021 issue of Inspired, the Mint’s biannual member magazine.