Photography is the medium for three new exhibits opening next week at Waterworks Visual Arts Center. The exhibits include one by Salisbury photographer Sean Meyers, “The Faith Experience.” Meyers. Also on exhibit are “Boundaries,” the large-scale wall murals of Anne Kesler Shields and “Elysium: A Gathering of Souls,” the black and white images of New Orleans’ cemeteries by Sandra Russell Clark.
The opening reception is from 6-8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15. The exhibits run through April 19.
“The Faith Experience” is a new body of work by Salisbury photographer Sean Meyers that documents traditions of faith, spirituality, and devotional expression in denominational, nondenominational and even nonreligious settings within the Piedmont area. One photograph shows Hindu women worshipping in brightly colored cultural dress, while another image presents the viewer with a dark and sobering Good Friday Crucifixion display. Some images show no organized church or religious center at all, such as one photograph of a local man who crafts handmade macramé crosses.
“The Faith Experience” is presented by Susan and Edward Norvell.
Meyers previously worked on a year-long project documenting African-American worship services while living in Texas.
The artist earned his photojournalism degree in 1991 from the University of Florida and has 15 years of professional newspaper and magazine experience, including publications in the Dallas Morning News, People, ESPN Magazine and Newsweek. He currently teaches digital photography classes at Catawba College and operates his own freelance photography business. He lives in Salisbury with his wife Dr. Elizabeth Homan, their two dogs, Stanley and Stella, and their cat, Pluto.
Living in a highly visual society, we are surrounded by visual clutter. To make a statement, images must be thoughtfully combined and intellectually juxtaposed. Anne Kesler Shields’ installation accomplishes this in her large-scale photographic murals, “Boundaries.”
Shields conspicuously places photographs of all sorts of walls throughout the installation: there are urban walls, rural walls, ancient walls, and even walls made of prison bars. What all these walls have in common is their purpose to serve as dividers, as boundaries, as tools to keep others out and to imprison people within.
The artist positions famous works of art within the visual mix. In looking at the golden glitter of an Egyptian funerary mask, the disturbing grace of an Italian Renaissance image of the martyred St. Sebastian, or the jewel-like tones of a Middle Eastern manuscript, the viewer realizes that all cultures are deep and multi-faceted.
Shields earned an MFA from the UNC Greensboro in 1959. Her exhibition history includes solo and group shows held in New York, Virginia, and North Carolina, including recent shows at the Mint Museum of Craft and Design and the McColl Center for Visual Art in Charlotte, Green Hill Center for North Carolina Art in Greensboro, and Artworks Gallery in Winston-Salem. nnn
“Elysium: A Gathering of Souls” displays hauntingly beautiful black-and-white photographs of the historic cemeteries of New Orleans taken by award-winning photographer and curator Sandra Russell Clark. It is the first exhibit to document the visual, aesthetic, and atmospheric dimensions of New Orleans’ unique aboveground cemeteries. These black and white images reflect over 200 years of the city’s distinctive religious and cultural history.
A walk through “Elysium: A Gathering of Souls” illustrates the pain of losing children, the course of devastating epidemics, the waves of immigration, the nuances of social status, comparative degrees of wealth or poverty, and a hundred other details of life ó and death ó in the South.
“Elysium” is a recent addition to Southern Visions: The Folk Arts & Southern Culture Traveling Exhibits Program, a program of the Southern Arts Federation that features work that celebrates the South’s rich cultural heritage and traditional arts. This program provides Southern communities with access to artistically excellent traveling exhibits.
“Elysium: A Gathering of Souls” is sponsored in part by Summersett Funeral Home.
Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday; 10 a.m.- 7 p.m. Thursday; and 10 a.m. -4 p.m. Saturday.
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