Pause focused on the idea of stillness through the lens of portraiture and a selection of figurative paintings, drawings, photographs, videos, films, and sculpture. The curatorial approach was revealed in four overlapping themes, each of which was represented in the catalogue and on the wall in the following form:
Seek: Attempting Stillness
Skip: Presence and Absence
Pause: Isolating the Moment
Stop: Break in Action
This organizational element was intended to expand our understanding of stillness. In Seek, one will find references to the need for immobility and concentration, the possibility of activating an inanimate object, and the suspension of sleep. In Skip, death is omnipresent, as are ideas of in-betweenness, time, and artistic practice. Pause focuses on isolated frames, tiny interruptions, and moments of re-thinking and re-direction. And Stop is a real break, a cessation of action. Within all of this was a quick look at the change in portraiture brought about by photography and the fundamental importance of the figure as a subject in art. But the underlying impulse was to encourage viewers to pause, look, and reflect.
To achieve this contemplation, traditional portraits from the KSU permanent collection were paired with contemporary figurative art. Work from the collection included paintings by an unknown artist from the early 19th century, Philip Hale, Leon John Moran, Julius LeBlanc Stewart, and Eastman Johnson. Contemporary artworks included pieces by Merce Cunningham, Diana Flowers, Reinike Dijkstra, Stewart Ziff, Kehinde Wiley, Andy Warhol, Jereon Eisinga, Phong Bui, Andre Keichian, Christina West, Sean J. McCormick, Peter Bahouth, Dawoud Bey, Elizabeth King, and selected tintypes and early 19th c. photographs from Atlanta-based collector George Whiteley.
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