A retrospective of artwork from Mary Washington alumni and faculty past and present will be featured in one of two exhibitions hosted by the UMW Galleries, beginning on Thursday, Feb. 6. The other will honor the legacy of a former professor who was instrumental in cultivating the University’s art collection.
These shows, Origins: UMW Ceramics Faculty and Alumni in the duPont Gallery, and Julien Binford (1908-1977): A Legacy of Inspiration & Enterprise in the Ridderhof Martin Gallery, will open with receptions from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday.
Origins, on display through March 29, will feature ceramics created by 14 faculty and alumni artists from the past 50 years. It runs concurrently with this year’s National Conference on Education for the Ceramic Arts, which will be held in Richmond in late March.
“We’re showcasing the diversity of contemporary ceramic art and the strength of our studio program,” said Jon McMillan, chair of the Department of Art and Art History and a ceramics professor whose works will be shown in duPont.
Featuring a variety of expressions, techniques and processes, the exhibition illustrates the range and depth of contemporary ceramic art, from sculptural objects to installations to functional pottery.
Other faculty artists include Debra Balestreri, Teruo Hara, Lorene Nickel, Tracy Shell and Sarah Spencer White. Alumni who have contributed works include Christina Bendo, Diana Faris, Trey Foster, Hadrian Mendoza, Misha Sanborn, Katie Sleyman, Beth Sperlazza, Maria Stone and Neal Reed.
Julien Binford: A Legacy of Inspiration & Enterprise, which runs through March 15, honors the late Mary Washington art professor, who taught at the college from 1951 to 1971. Maureen Paige, a 1970 alumna, has loaned the University a series of Binford’s sketches and drawings.
Credited with developing UMW’s art collection, Binford began organizing annual art shows in the duPont Gallery in 1956, featuring the works of internationally renowned artists. This exhibition will showcase a selection of these works, as well as drawings for high profile commissions that Binford completed in the 1940s and 1950s.
As a contributor to FDR’s Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project, Binford produced 37 art works to help restore public confidence in the wake of the Great Depression. This led to a commission by LIFE Magazine, which requested drawings of New York Harbor during World War II that were published in a 1944 issue. The Greenwich Savings Bank also charged Binford with creating murals for its flagship office and another location, depicting the vibrant and youthful energy of 1950s New York City.
Both exhibitions are free and open to the public; the galleries are located on College Avenue on the Fredericksburg campus and are open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The galleries are closed during University holidays and breaks. Free parking for gallery visitors is designated in the lot on College Avenue on Thornton Street. For directions and more information, call 540-654-1013 or visit www.umwgalleries.org.