UK Art History Students Curate LAL Show Exploring the World of Fairy Tales
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 22, 2013) — During the 2012 fall semester, 13 University of Kentucky art history students came together for AH 504, a curatorial studies class taught by Becky Alley, exhibitions and programs director at the Lexington Art League (LAL). The students were challenged to develop a thematic concept that was universally relevant and to create an exhibition to be shown at LAL’s Loudoun House Gallery.
"The Loudoun House was an inspiration to us because it is architecturally something out of a fairy tale," said art studio senior Andrea Clark, a student from AH 504. "The tower looks like something Rapunzel’s hair could spill out of. When you close the giant front doors, you feel like you’re closing the gates at Winterfell. The gargoyles on the staircase summon thoughts of Hogwarts. The house is a playground for imagination, and we decided to create a story-themed exhibition to celebrate it."
"Tales They Told Us," open through May 12, is an exhibition investigating myths, legends, epics and moral tales. An opening reception will be held 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, March 22, at LAL’s Loudoun House, located at 209 Castlewood Dr. The celebration is free for everyone ($5 donation suggested) and features music by Reva Williams and refreshments from Athenian Grill, Cluckin’ Burger and West Sixth Brewing.
More than 30 artists from 15 states and Germany will be exhibiting in "Tales They Told Us," which includes 2D works of art as well as sculpture, video and site-specific installations. One noteworthy installation is Beauvais Lyons’ "Association for Creative Zoology," a traveling exhibition from the Hokes Archives. Lyons, an art professor at the University of Tennessee, has created an immersive installation of pseudo-scientific objects and prints through a kiosk of curiosities that blurs fact and fiction and scrambles history and fantasy. Another highlight is an installation of Alice Pixley Young, a Cincinnati-based artist whose fairy-tale-inspired video sculptures capture magic and mystery. Young will give an artist lecture or her process and work beginning 1 p.m. Saturday, April 13.
As part of "Tales They Told Us," LAL will also present "Tales We’re Telling You," a collaborative collection of woodprints done by students in LAL’s Common Good Art Club and artist Joel Feldman. For this project, students from north Lexington neighborhoods did drawings exploring themes such as love, power, bullies and playtime, and Feldman transformed their narrative pieces into woodblock prints.
"We are introduced to good and evil and fact and fib as children, when we are absorbed by stories read to us or created in our subconscious during playtime," Alley said. "Those formative concepts stick with us through adulthood and inform who we are and how we see the world. We know the monster isn’t under the bed, but we still know the fear that comes with uncertainty. We know a fairy godmother won’t be turning us into royalty for a night, but we understand the value of someone in your corner. 'Tales They Told Us' and the collaborative work by Joel Feldman and Common Good delight the imagination and challenge viewers to explore the influence fairy tales, fables and folklore have on shaping who we are."
To encourage dialogue about myths and memories, artists Katie Hargrave and Amber Ginsburg will present "Johnny Appleseed: As American as Apple Pie" as a special "Tales They Told Us" event. This two-day affair features an all-apple dinner at 6 p.m. Saturday, April 6, and an apple grafting party noon to 2 p.m. Sunday, April 7.
For the apple dinner, guests will bring their favorite cooking or eating utensil, enjoy an all-apple family style dinner, and share some crisp conversation about the legend of Johnny Appleseed and the symbolic significance of the apple through history. An apple grafting party will be held the next day, featuring apple-centric games and demonstrations of apple grafting. Participants will also take home an apple tree seedling to plant and perpetuate the legend of Johnny Appleseed. Both events are free, however an RSVP is requested since space is limited.
Patrons will also be encouraged to get involved in storytelling through "Story Soiree" from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, April 26, at LAL’s Loudoun House. Mick Jeffries, a local musician and photographer, will collect stories about Café LMNOP, a club that was a zeitgeist of music and arts culture in downtown Lexington in the 1980s. The stories will be archived as part of the Kentucky Historical Society’s oral history collection. The soiree will also feature music by Soul Funkin’ Dangerous; refreshments by Athenian Grill, Fork in the Road and West Sixth Brewing; and the art of "Tales They Told Us." Admission is free for everyone; a $5 donation is suggested.
In addition to storytelling, LAL will host an art book workshop to promote artful story making. Pat Gerhard, a well-known Lexington artist whose Third Street Stuff and Coffee encourages community creativity with shared journals, will guide participants in the creation of a book that tells a story through imagery, texture, color and architecture more than through words. "Art Book Making 101" will be held 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at Loudon House. The cost is $45 ($40 for LAL members).
"Stories are bridges between generations, societies and geographies," said Stephanie Harris, LAL’s executive director. "We all remember the warnings of the boy who cried wolf, the vanity of the Wicked Queen, and the danger of temptation in 'Hansel and Gretel.' Those narratives taught us life lessons in childhood that stay with us until we meet the Grim Reaper. The programming, events and art of 'Tales They Told Us' celebrate the power of stories in an imaginative and universally accessible way."
For more information about "Tales They Told Us" or to register for the Appleseed event or "Art Book Making 101," visit LAL's website at www.lexingtonartleague.org.
AH 504 is offered by the UK School of Art and Visual Studies in the UK College of Fine Arts. The school is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the fields of art studio, art history and visual studies, and art education.
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