HOME AWAY HOME
January 4 – February 10, 2013
Brown-Forman Gallery, Third Floor
The exhibition is organized by Curatorial Intern Cecilia Adwell under the direction of Associate Curator Joey Yates.
The Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft (KMAC) presents Home Away Home: New Works by Derrick Snodgrass and Selections from the Permanent Collection, a unique exhibition that examines the inherent fascination with the supernatural realmby self-taught artists from the South. Derrick Snodgrass, a tattooist and self-taught painter from Kentucky, was invited by KMAC’s Curitorial Intern Cecilia Adwell to select works from the permanent collection that reflected similar ideas to his own work. Snodgrass was drawn to the figurative woodcarvings of devils, demons, and serpents by Kentucky folk artists Ronald Cooper, Junior Lewis and Edd Lambdin. Adwell said, “Pairing Snodgrass’ transcendental paintings with spiritually focused woodcarvings expresses the cross-generational longing of local artists to look beyond the hills of Kentucky and into a metaphysical world for inspiration and motivation for artistic production.”
Snodgrass paints abstract landscapes with bold colors and strong lines which vaguely depicts recognizable places, a familiarity which differs from viewer to viewer and yet draws in any who looks, and holds them captive in a metaphysical world. These hypnotic landscapes provide the perfect otherworldly background for folk art representing the darker side of human spirituality. Snodgrass and the artists in the permanent collection bring into reality what the viewer may experiencesubconsciously in dreams and nightmares. Free from the weight of academic and market concerns, Snodgrass, like other self-taught artists, simply create because they feel the need to outwardly express what is seen in the minds eye. These expressions are on display in the gallery space and act as a mirror for the mind of artist and viewer alike and a window into a space beyond what we conceive of earthly human existence.
Derrick Snodgrass- (b. 1975) A self taught artist specializing in painting and drawing Snodgrass is recently returning to Louisville after a decade of living in the Oakland, California and Brooklyn, New York, Snodgrass brings his memories of traveling and nature to life in vivid abstract landscapes. His paintings contain shapes and colors pulled from his dreams while maintaining psychedelic references to music and artwork he enjoys. Working as a tattooist, his art practice allows him to escape the very structured and figurative art he creates on his clients. Snodgrass has shown in London, Mexico City, and San Francisco illustrating the wide interest in the surreal places he creates for the viewer.
Erma “Junior” Lewis- (1948-1999) Working as a tobacco farmer and cousin to folk- artist, Tim Lewis, Junior Lewis started making art late in his life around 1987. He uses a chainsaw to rough out shapes from blocks of wood and then finishes the pieces by sanding and carving by hand. Inspired by Native American art, his devils take on tribal qualities in the way they are animated through stark contrasting red and black paint as well as the geometric shapes that give them facial features. Lewis is best known for his devil figures, which are occasionally left unpainted. KMAC’s collection also contains biblical scenes of the Garden of Eden, the birth of Christ and the Last Supper.
Ronald Cooper- (1931-2012) He started making art after a near-fatal car wreck in 1984 as an outlet during recovery. Using found objects and carved wood, the Flemingsburg native created scenes of hell that inhabited his mind during a state of prolonged depression. The works by Cooper in the permanent collection take on an exceptionally dark tone when the haunting narrative of Satan and the damned are created in animal bones. His wife, Jessie, Is also and artist who, ironically, paints pastoral scenes of heaven on found objects. The work of the Coopers, while in direct opposition to each other, creates a sense of harmony between good and evil through their frequent artistic collaboration.
Edd Lambdin- (1935) A native Kentuckian and carpenter who took up wood carving as a hobby around 1985, he is best known for adapting the natural shapes he finds in tree branches into snakes and other animals. While his works painted quite whimsically they take on a darker tone when one learns of Lambdin’s personal connection to the morbid. His Mother’s home was located next to a funeral home and memorial graveyard, he would often repurpose bits of funeral wreaths and gifts left at the gravesite that he found in the dumpsters. Much of his work satirizes the Bible Belt culture of the South, besides featuring the serpent, he carves monkeys as snake handlers and in Madonna and child scenarios.