Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Nene Humphrey

The Benny Andrews Foundation Gallery, on the fourth floor of the Ogden's Goldring Hall, is a space dedicated to the exhibition of works by Benny Andrews, his late father George Andrews (the Dot Man), and his wife, Nene Humphrey. Currently on display are works by Nene Humphrey as chosen from the Ogden's collection by Collections Manager, Bradley Sumrall.

Nene Humphrey’s work is concerned with the body, as well as issues of domesticity and the female identified world. Born in rural Wisconsin in 1947, Nene grew up in an environment that placed great value on labor and women’s hand-work. Raised Roman Catholic, she was greatly influenced by the church’s symbolism and body imagery. This background enabled her to create a body of work both firmly rooted in the craft traditions passed from mother to daughter, and in a post-minimalist tradition of using process and material as metaphor in a simple, pure aesthetic.

The human hand is central to Humphrey’s symbolism, being both portrait and tool. The hand is the vehicle through which we experience the world, feed ourselves and our loved ones, and create. Even when the hand is not used as the primary symbol, it is inferred through the process of traditional hand-work. The spoon, another major theme in Humphrey’s work, is simply an extension of the hand, used to provide sustenance.

To learn more about this Nene and her work, visit her website, www.nenehumphrey.com.
To see her most recent work, visit http://www.lesleyheller.com/artists/nene_humphrey/index.html.
Photos by Richard McCabe.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Living Treasures

The Ogden is currently hosting an exhibition of works by the 2009 recipients of the North Carolina Living Treasures Award. The University of North Carolina at Wilmington started the award in 1987 to recognize masters of traditional arts and crafts in North Carolina. The recipients of this year's award are master potters, Cynthia Bringle and Norm Schulman. Each of these icons of ceramics live and work in Penland, North Carolina. Combined with our exhibitions of Penland glass, Newcomb pottery, George Ohr, the works of post-minimalist Nene Humphrey, and our Center for Southern Craft and Design, these works complete a rare volume of craft and traditional hand-work on exhibit at the Ogden Museum. Artdaily.org has posted a nice blurb about this exhibition with bios on Norm and Cynthia. It can be viewed at http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=2&int_new=29292. The image above is of the work of Norm Schulman; below are goblets by Cynthia Bringle.