A group of discrete projects presented under one title, A View Beyond the Trees will offer a variety of historic and contemporary artistic approaches to landscape and geography. The exhibition will include solo projects by contemporary artists Joe Hamilton (Australia), Dawn Holder (Arkansas, US), and Stacy Lynn Waddell (Durham, NC). The work of these artists will be shown alongside a group of 19th century American landscape paintings from the ZMA Permanent Collection, researched and curated by Kennesaw State University faculty Dr. Daniel E. Sachs.
This exhibition will consider how an object’s meaning shifts as it is moved from one context to the next. Contemporary artwork will be put into dialogue with a set of early 20th-century ivories from the KSU Permanent Collection. The ivories will serve as signifiers—transitional objects whose definition has moved from cultural artifacts to souvenirs to museum relics. Alongside the contemporary artwork, they will trace how collecting, crossing boundaries, the removal of resources, and extraction of cultural artifacts changes the value, accessibility, and understanding of an object. Transitions will ask us to consider the complexities of geography, globalization, cultural identification, ownership, and humanity’s relationship with the natural world.
Sleight of Hand will focus on the art, ritual, and spectacle of ivories and postcards, collected during 19th-century Western colonial expeditions to what is now the Republic of the Congo. The staged scenes in the postcards depict life in Congo Coast's trading posts and communities, while the ivories often show similar scenes with even more sensationalized content. This unique assemblage of imagery will offer an opportunity to peer into a world that perpetuated ivories into a global commodity and fed into glamorized ideals and false perspectives of an ‘exotic’ Africa for non-African tourists. Altogether, this collection of artwork will aim to show how the sociological and psychological trauma of colonialism collides with artistic imagination to create a reclamation of power through unique creative expression.
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