Here We Are: Painting and Sculpting the Human Form

Mar 9, 2019
- Oct 20, 2019
2nd Floor: The Gregory D. Ivy Gallery and the Weatherspoon Guild Gallery
Willem de KooningWoman, 1949-50, oil on canvas, 64 1/8 x 46 in. Lena Kernodle McDuffie memorial purchase, 1954.

“We convince,” wrote the poet Walt Whitman, “by our presence.” He argued that the human body is not merely a physical object, but the means to emotional experience and connection. In celebrating its dynamic nature, he famously proclaimed, “I sing the body electric.”

Countless visual artists likewise have explored and affirmed the charged power of the human form. With works from the Weatherspoon’s collection of modern and contemporary art, this installation considers the myriad ways in which they have done so. Some have presented their own bodies in self-portraits that address how we shape and construct our identities. Others have depicted celebrity figures, highlighting the social contexts in which certain individuals achieve acclaim or notoriety. Still, others have offered up fragments of unnamed bodies that speak to vulnerability and loss.

Richly varied in style and content, these artworks collectively underscore the complexity and diversity of lived experience. At the same time, they remind us of the shared nature of our humanity across time and context.

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

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