Arkansas Arts Center curators are always looking for new works to add to the Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection, especially works that add depth and context to the collection, challenge existing narratives, and use innovative techniques and materials. Here’s a look at a selection of recent acquisitions that have added to the Arts Center’s holdings of drawings and contemporary craft objects, as well as its collection of works by iconic modernist John Marin.
St. Martin-in-the-Field, Trafalgar Square, London by John Marin
A 1908 Marin watercolor – from the artists early career in Paris – depicts Trafalgar Square in London. The watercolor is an addition to the Arts Center’s exceptional collection of works by Marin, which includes nearly 300 drawings, watercolors and etchings. The acquisition of St. Martin-in-the-Field is key to completing the story of Marin’s career in the AAC Collection. Previously, the collection didn’t include any of Marin’s rare watercolors made in London, where he first experimented in the modernist style.
Orchid Transformation #2 and Headdress #2 by Susan Schwalb
With the acquisition of two works by metalpoint artist Susan Schwalb, the Arts Center continues to grow its exceptional collection of work in the medium. The 1978 Orchid Transformation #2 is from early in Schwalb’s career in metalpoint. From her first series in metalpoint, Orchid Transformation #2 is inspired in part by Georgia O’Keeffe’s well-known and loved depictions of flowers. With her 1979 Headdress #2, Schwalb used a candle to burn away part of the paper and create graceful lines of sooty smoke. Following the smoke with lines in metalpoint, she violated the history of preciousness and perfection historically associated with the medium. Both works were featured in A Luminous Line: Forty Years of Metalpoint Drawings by Susan Schwalb at the Arkansas Arts Center last year.
Mantle by Andrew Hayes
An addition to the contemporary craft collection, Andrew Hayes’ 2014 Mantle in fabricated steel and book paper. A one-time industrial welder, Hayes became a Core Fellow at the Penland School of Crafts and continued to develop his style, exploring a variety of a materials and techniques. In this work he faces the challenge of marrying the rigid qualities of metal with the delicacy of the book page.
New Skin by Lisa Krannichfeld
Little Rock artist Lisa Krannichfeld won the Grand Award in the 60th Annual Delta Exhibition with New Skin, and now the work is joining the Arkansas Arts Center Collection. Across her work, Krannichfeld refutes historic depictions of women as passive subjects to be gazed upon, evident in their confrontational and, at times, defiant expressions. With this mixed-media drawing, Krannichfeld’s innovative use of materials and unique feminist vision are fully on display.
Always Facing South Bear by Aaron Calvert
Also acquired out of the 60th Annual Delta Exhibition was Aaron Calvert’s stoneware Always Facing South Bear. Calvert, based in Arkadelphia, Ark., is a professor of ceramics at Henderson State University. Always Facing South Bear was awarded an honorable mention in the Delta, and was acquired in honor of former AAC Executive Director Todd Herman.
Still Life with Fruit (from Derriere Le Miroir) by Georges Braque
As co-inventor of Cubism, Georges Braque’s work provides a window into one of the most important movements in Modern art. This lithograph, Still Life with Fruit, was originally published by French art dealer and publisher Aimé Maeght in the magazine Derriere Le Miroir, and joins two prints and two drawings by Braque in the Arkansas Arts Center Collection.
Footprints in Amber by David Ambrose
In works like Footprints in Amber, New Jersey artist David Ambrose takes abstraction in a new direction – straight into the paper. This work is an example of Ambrose’s distinctive pierced works, in which he works watercolor and gouache through holes in the paper so that linked but quite different images appear on the front and back. Inspired by Gothic architecture and lace-making, Ambrose uses innovative techniques to achieve these elaborate or improvisational compositions.
Wildflower, Jamaica Bay by Mary Reilly
Mary Reilly’s exquisite drawings of trees and flowers have been popular with Collectors Show & Sale visitors for years, and now her work joins the Arkansas Arts Center Collection. Reilly, who is based in New York, studied at the School of Visual Arts, Art Students League and the National Academy School of Fine Arts. After a short stint as a graphic designer, Reilly turned to fine art. Her often photo-realistic graphite drawings capture the tranquility, beauty and mystery of the natural world.
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