Nate Lewis

The Weatherspoon is excited to announce its acquisition of a newly commissioned work by artist Nate Lewis, whose practice brings together interests in art, science, and history. Lewis worked for years as an intensive care nurse. That experience of physically attending to the human body and understanding its complexities through medical imagery is critical to his work. Layering patterns and textures into altered photographs, he challenges us to look deeply from multiple perspectives—to see in a manner similar to how doctors use scans, tests, and samples to collectively understand an illness.

The work Lewis elected to make for the Weatherspoon is one of many he has based on photographs of Southern monuments, here a statue of Charles Aycock, long known as North Carolina’s “Education Governor.” While Aycock did advocate for public school reforms, his nickname recalls only part of his biography. Aycock was also a White supremacist who campaigned for the disenfranchisement of Black citizens and agitated for a coup that decimated the Black community of Wilmington in 1898. Cutting through a photograph of the stone statue and combining it with depictions of internal organs, Lewis dissects our image of Aycock—reminding us that history is rarely as straightforward as monuments suggest.

Nate Lewis, Probing the Land 9 (Charles Aycock, after the fire), 2021. Hand-sculpted inkjet print, ink, frottage, and graphite; 70 x 32 in. Weatherspoon Art Museum, UNC Greensboro. Museum purchase with funds from the Weatherspoon Art Museum Acquisition Endowment for the Dillard Collection, 2021.10. © Nate Lewis