On Thursday, four exhibits will be highlighted in a free Summer Social where the public can mingle, eat and learn about art.
The Daum Museum of Contemporary Art at State Fair Community College will host the free event this evening from 6 to 8 p.m. with champagne, hors d'oeuvres and a gallery talk by Director/Curator Thomas Piche’ Jr. The public is invited.
Piche’ told the Democrat Wednesday, the featured exhibit “Sarah Nguyen: Winged Eclipse, Momentary Shadows” uses symbolic images that “pulls” one into the work. Also on exhibit are “Constructions & Interventions: Photographs from the Collection,” brought together by Exhibitions Coordinator and Registrar Matt Rahner, “Dreams: Sedalia Visual Art Association Members’ Exhibition,” and “Salon Style: Contemporary Prints from the Collection.”
Nguyen, of Columbia, uses storytelling with her recent series of “cut-fiber panels.” The panels, which look like lacey curtains, are all hand-cut Tyvek — a white, plastic fiber used in house construction that looks like paper but is breathable.
“She sketches out her design on the back and then very meticulously, makes all these cuts with an X-Acto knife,” Piche’ said. “She sits at a table, and keeps it rolled up and works on a little section at a time.”
Many of the large pieces are poetic and symbolic portraits of people. Nguyen uses a nature motif incorporating flora and fauna in her intricate work.
“The title of her show … I think that sets up a kind of a poetic feeling, making it very open-ended,” he said.
Piche’ said one piece, “Flannery—Everything that Rises Must Converge,” is more specific. The piece is also full of color and is a spin off the book of the same name by renowned author Flannery O'Connor.
“You have this vivid, cut Tyvek and then a more collaged backdrop, with two peacocks fighting,” he explained.
As for her other pieces, Piche’ said she includes hand-cut trees, sunflowers, birds, rabbits, bees, spiders, moths and the moon in different phases. Plus, she finds ways to use positive and negative spaces.
“She’s really great at playing around with positive and negative space,” Piche’ said. “The other thing that’s important to her is the idea of shadow. These hang away from the wall and then you get this beautiful, interesting shadowy effect.
“For her, that brings to mind storytelling around the campfire,” he continued. “Or ancient ancestors telling myths and histories by firelight. The idea just sets up a provocative space where narrative is expected.”
The Salon Style exhibit in the Freed Gallery displays works from the collection in a different manner than usual exhibits.
“We are playing with the idea of salon style, which was a hanging method that was established in 17th century France, where many artists would exhibit together in a summer exhibition,” Piche’ said. “Paintings would be touching and they would go from floor to ceiling.
“We try to highlight the permanent collection in the summer,” he continued. “And, this lets us get a lot of prints out.”
The Salon Style exhibit features several themes on specific walls, such as the human figure, narrative, pop art, social engagement, “doodles” based on mathematical algorithms and Native American art that leads into “painterly abstractions that focus on color.”
The Daum Museum of Contemporary Art presents four special events and extended evening hours on the fourth Thursday of the month this summer through August. Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. June 27, July 25 and Aug. 22. The Daum is on the campus of State Fair Community College, 3201 W. 16th St.