Exhibition Announcement

Splinters of a Secret Sky
Angela Fraleigh | Falk Visiting Artist


The Weatherspoon Art Museum at UNC Greensboro is excited to announce an exhibition of new works by artist Angela Fraleigh—a stunning new installation inspired by the museum’s history and collections. Splinters of a Secret Sky will be on view October 9 through December 11, 2021.

In Fraleigh’s dynamic, large-scale paintings, female subjects culled from art historical images take on new lives in dreamlike scenes. Throughout art history, women have often been painted as objects for the male gaze. In Fraleigh’s work, however, they converse, engage, and share—existing for themselves and each other rather than a viewer. Fraleigh explains: “Nothing has meaning independent of what we give it. In my work I’m repeatedly asking: Can we reframe the images of the past to change how we see ourselves in the present and create a new future?”

While mining art history broadly, Fraleigh also digs deep into particular stories—often drawing inspiration from specific museum collections. For her Weatherspoon exhibition, she turns to the legacy of Claribel and Etta Cone—the formidable sisters whose transformative gift of artworks helped establish the museum’s collection.

At the turn of the 20th century, the Cone sisters were faithful to tradition in so many ways, yet also defied expectations. While devoted to family and committed to decorum, they sidestepped marriage and motherhood, instead wedding themselves to the intrepid pursuit of art. Financially independent thanks to their family’s successful textile business, they traveled in style to Europe where they spent time in artists’ studios, befriending and supporting two young emerging artists of the avant-garde: Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. From them and others, the Cones amassed a collection of vibrant, daring artworks.

Fraleigh’s new trio of paintings takes visual cues from their stunning collection, including works the sisters gifted to the Weatherspoon and others that they left to the Baltimore Museum of Art. Layering these modernist references with older art historical imagery, Fraleigh conjures a dense tableau blending realism and abstraction—one that celebrates
the sisters’ brilliant artistic eyes and patronage while also embracing the depth and complexity of their lives as a marker of the richness of women’s stories throughout history.

Weatherspoon Curator of Exhibitions, Dr. Emily Stamey, notes that “This exciting new work offers up opportunities to honor and critically explore the lives of these incredible patrons, while also launching out from their legacy to consider a breadth of compelling questions related to the complicated ways in which history is recorded, relayed, and reimagined.”

Angela Fraleigh earned her MFA from Yale University School of Art and her BFA from Boston University. She has had solo shows at the Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE; the Edward Hopper House Museum, Nyack, NY; the Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY; and the Vanderbilt Mansion, Hyde Park, NY. Her artist residencies include the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha, NE; the Kemper Art Museum, Kansas City, MO; and the Core Program, Glassell School of Art MFAH, Houston, TX. She is currently Associate Professor of Art at Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA.

This exhibition is organized by Dr. Emily Stamey, Weatherspoon Curator of Exhibitions

The Falk Visiting Artist Program is a partnership between the Weatherspoon Art Museum and the UNC Greensboro School of Art.

Image: Angela Fraleigh, Splinters of a secret sky, 2021 (detail). Oil on canvas, individual painting from larger installation, 96 x 72 in. © Angela Fraleigh

Related Public Programming:

Artist Talk: Angela Fraleigh
Thursday, October 21, 7 pm

Join us as artist Angela Fraleigh talks about the breadth of research that goes into all of her paintings, as well as her specific study of the Weatherspoon’s Cone Collection for her newest monumental project.

Guided + Self-Guided Visits
School and community groups are invited to visit the museum on their own or via a docent-led tour. Admission and tours are free. Please contact us at least three weeks in advance to schedule your visit, (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon@uncg.edu.

About the Weatherspoon Art Museum

The Weatherspoon Art Museum at UNC Greensboro enriches the lives of diverse individuals and connects multiple communities, both on and off campus, by presenting, interpreting, and collecting modern and contemporary art. In recognizing its paramount role of public service, the Weatherspoon fosters an appreciation of the ability of art to positively impact lives.

The Weatherspoon Art Museum at UNC Greensboro was founded by Gregory Ivy in 1941 and is the earliest of any art facilities within the UNC system. The museum was founded as a resource for the campus, community, and region and its early leadership developed an emphasis—maintained to this day—on presenting and acquiring modern and contemporary works of art. A 1950 bequest from the renowned collection of Claribel and Etta Cone, which included prints and bronzes by Henri Matisse and other works on paper by American and European modernists, helped to establish the Weatherspoon’s permanent collection.

In 1989, the museum moved into its present location in The Anne and Benjamin Cone Building designed by the architectural firm Mitchell Giurgula. The museum has six galleries and a sculpture courtyard with over 17,000 square feet of exhibition space. The American Alliance of Museums accredited the Weatherspoon in 1995 and renewed its accreditation in 2005 and 2015.

Collections + Exhibitions
The permanent collection of the Weatherspoon Art Museum is considered to be one of the foremost of its kind in the Southeast. It represents all major art movements from the beginning of the 20th century to the present. Among the nearly 6,200 works in the collection are pieces by such prominent figures as Henry Ossawa Tanner, Edward Weston, Joseph Stella, David Smith, Jackson Pollock, Elizabeth Catlett, Louise Nevelson, Gordon Parks, Sol LeWitt, Robert Mangold, Cindy Sherman, Adrian Piper, Betye Saar, Amy Silman, Nick Cave, Jennifer Steinkamp, and Sanford Biggers. The museum regularly lends to major exhibitions nationally and internationally.

The Weatherspoon also is known for its dynamic exhibition program. Through a lively annual calendar of exhibitions and a multi-disciplinary educational program for audiences of all ages, the museum provides an opportunity for visitors to consider artistic, cultural, and social issues of our time—enriching the life of our university, community, and region.

UNC Greensboro
Led by Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr., UNC Greensboro is 1 of only 59 doctoral institutions recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for both higher research activity and community engagement. Founded in 1891 and one of the original three UNC System institutions, UNC Greensboro is one of the most diverse universities in NC with 20,000+ students, and 3,000+ faculty and staff members from 90+ nationalities. With 17 Division I athletic teams, 85 undergraduate degrees in over 125 areas of study, as well as 74 master’s and 32 doctoral programs, UNC Greensboro is consistently recognized nationally among the top universities for academic excellence and value. For additional information, please visit uncg.edu and follow UNCG on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Weatherspoon Art Museum
UNC Greensboro
Spring Garden and Tate Streets, PO Box 26170
Greensboro, NC 27402-6170, (336) 334-5770, weatherspoon@uncg.edu

For more information or press images, contact:
Loring Mortensen, (336) 256-1451, lamorten@uncg.edu