Animations, animals, amazing alumna: WAM summer exhibitions

Posted on June 14, 2022

two art viewers in front of a colorful mural
two art viewers in front of a colorful mural
Museum visitors with “Pause and Breathe, We Got This” (2020) by Sheena Rose MFA ’16

It’s a given that UNC Greensboro’s Weatherspoon Art Museum holds multiple galleries full of dynamic art. And in the summer, there’s often  an enhanced sense of fun there for  art lovers, out-of-town visitors, campers in summer programs, and students of any age who are out of school. It’s a unique, free-admission fine arts experience, Tuesdays through Saturdays, and visitors can find refreshments from Borough Coffee in the sculpture courtyard until 3 p.m. on most weekdays.

It’s not only on the Greensboro arts radar, though. The museum was recently featured in a multi-page New York Times feature about “To the Hoop,” curated by Emily Stamey in 2020

High quality exhibitions roll out at WAM continuously, including those open this summer, detailed below.

Amazing alumna’s work

The first thing that currently greets viewers in the atrium is a large, vibrant mural by a powerful young alumna, Sheena Rose MFA ’16. “Pause and Breathe, We Got This” is a piece commissioned by the Weatherspoon and installed in 2021.

Rose is a native of Barbados who attended UNCG as a Fulbright Scholar 2014 to 2016. Her work has shown internationally, and she received the 2020–2021 Distinguished Alumni Award in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. 

Read “A Conversation with Sheena Rose,” to learn more about her work and the featured piece.

Bestiary: Animals as Symbols and Metaphors
June 11 – Dec. 3

a black and white drawing of mythical animals
“Riding Urian (the Devil)” (1922–23) by Ernst Barlach
“Portrait of Two Cats” (1969) by Anne Arnold

A bustling menagerie occupies the Guild and Ivy galleries. A bright painting of gorillas accompanies sculptures of house cats, prints of puppies, drawings of vultures, horses, and many more creatures. The animal depictions drawn from the museum’s collection are arranged by species and the exhibition as a whole is a contemporary spin on the bestiary tradition. This zoo is full of fun, symbolic meaning.

a woman with an old graphing machine
Mary Ellen Bute. Photo by Ted Nemeth. 

The Eye and the Ear: Animations by Mary Ellen Bute
May 14 – Sept. 10

Three sound-visualizing animations play in Gallery 6. Bute created experimental animations from the mid-1930s to the 1950s, and her collaborators included inventor Leon Theremin, mathematician Joseph Schillinger, cinematographer Ted Nemeth, and Bell Telephone Laboratories. Her work paired abstract light motion with iconic classical music. She and Nemeth, also her husband, did their work during the Great Depression, often building their own equipment and creating effects from objects like mirrors, ping pong balls, colanders, cellophane, and even foods. 

The installation that features Bute’s work celebrates the fall launch of UNCG’s new Bachelors of Fine Arts Concentration in the UNCG School of Art.

Ostensibly So: Sculpture from the Collection
May 28 – Aug 18

“Spoon-Ladle” (2011) by Ursula von Rydingsvard, “Spin Too!” (1995) by Nancy Davidson, “Heidi’s Bicycle” (1972) by Howard Gross

In the largest gallery, eye-catching, three dimensional works embrace humor, social commentary, and experimentation in methods and materials. Many have an element of personal narrative, and some are functional objects rendered differently, sometimes nonfunctional. Bold and colorful sculptures take up space and ask questions. In WAM’s words “the common denominator between the objects is their service as points for focus and (re)consideration.”

Compiled by Susan Kirby-Smith, University Communications
Photography/images by Martin W. Kane and Susan Kirby-Smith, University Communications, and courtesy of the Weatherspoon Art Museum


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