The Knoxville Museum of Art has dedicated this summer to honoring female artists’ work and the influences of east Tennessee through their exhibits “Currents,” “Women Artists” and “Higher Ground,” among others.
Located in World’s Fair Park, the KMA is open to the public Tuesday – Sunday with free admission for everyone. The display of collage paintings, sculptures and more selected from in-house collections remains available to enjoy through the middle of August.
In the exhibit “Currents,” which features contemporary women-made artwork from east Tennessee and all over the country, each piece includes an informational panel with the maker’s heritage, inspirations and explanation behind the artwork. A broad range of art forms fills the exhibit with a great deal of history and culture to be absorbed.
Aidyn Parkey, a KMA Visitor Services Representative, discussed just how much Knoxville is working to feature women’s art.
“As of right now, about 75% of art work on display in the museum are by women artists,” Parkey said.
In addition to the museum’s “Currents” gallery showingcasing all women contemporary artists, a limited time display coordinated by the Hunter Museum of American Art is showingcasing some of its most dynamic and alternative work created by women. The Hunter Museum of American Art, located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, teamed up with the KMA to support Knoxville’s intentions of strengthening the support of female artists and their work.
The exhibition “Women Artists” showcases a plethora of animated sculptures, photographs and paintings. Visitor Services Representative Christine Barron described one of the most captivating pieces in the exhibit, titled “Rise.”
“This piece shows a woman sitting, covered in a beautiful shade of red dust with banners behind her displaying a poem as if the words are about to lift her,” Barron said. “It’s really interesting because it makes you examine how your culture and society make you feel differently about certain colors.”
The exposition was gifted to the museum by artist Lesley Dill who has spent time in India, much of its influence showing through her work.
“Western culture often sees the color red as violent, but in India the color red is associated with happiness and celebration,” Barron said.
The museum’s permanent exhibit, “Higher Ground,” specifically promotes art created either by east Tennessee natives or in east Tennessee itself. The terrain of the state is highlighted in many of the pieces, along with notable historicalles and cultural traditions in the region.
A female artist featured several times in the exhibit is Catherine Wiley, recognized for her instrumental role in the Knoxville art scene during the 1900’s. Her work is not only displayed in the KMA but all over the country and even in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. She taught art at the University of Tennessee and is distinguished in the craft of impressionism.
The museum holds many other exhibitions including an audio visual experience, an assembly of contemporary glass work, an abstract gift shop and much more.
Coming up in the future, the KMA will house artwork created by Radcliffe Bailey, an assembly of innovative prints and a student exhibition containing art work made by children of all ages in the east Tennessee area.
Visit the Knoxville Museum of Art before the summer is over to see these exhibits highlighting the work of women artists and the influences of east Tennessee.