Lipscomb’s art professors are encouraging diversity at Lipscomb, specifically through art exhibits in Hutcheson Gallery.
“A lot of perspectives can be learned through art,” said Lawrence Matthews, the curator of Hutcheson’s new “Colour Somewhere” exhibit. The collection features art from African-American creators who are from or currently live in Tennessee.
Cliff Tierney, Chair of Lipscomb’s Visual Arts program, said he is excited to feature more diverse artwork at Lipscomb.
“One of the things that we wanted to make sure we did is have a diverse series of shows for this academic year and from here on out,” Tierney said. “I think it’s important that Lipscomb be more involved with the African-American community…And our part, as a visual arts department, is to do exactly what we’re doing here: exhibit the work of black artists…”
The gallery, which was curated by Memphis-based artist and musician Lawrence Matthews, features work from a variety of African-American artists, ranging from about 19 to 38 years old.
Lipscomb faculty member Brian Jobe, who was raised in Memphis, shared mutual friends with Matthews. According to Tierney, Matthews had curated a Memphis show the previous year that “went really, really well,” so Jobe recommended Matthews to Lipscomb.
“I called him and said, ‘Would you like to put together a show at some point in the academic year?’ and he was on board immediately,” Tierney said. “I trusted him to bring in what he felt would be the best, and there’s a really beautiful variety of work in here.”
Matthews, who attended the gallery opening, said he wanted to create an exhibit that represented the artists’ “blackness” or “black ideas,” according to Matthews.
Matthews said the curation process started with piecing together artists from Memphis. After he found or was recommended to artists, Matthews focused on crafting a room of artwork that flowed from piece-to-piece.
“I let [the artwork] speak to me about how they connect[ed] to each other, and then [hung] them in the space that way,” Matthews said. “I kind of let this color-based story guide me through selecting work and putting it together…You have the pieces that you know you want to be your centerpieces, so you kind of focus in on that, and then you branch out from that.”
As a musician, Matthews relates the flow of separate art pieces to the combination of instruments.
“If there’s something missing, you can feel it,” Matthews said. “There’s this symmetry, this flow,”
Many Lipscomb art students attended the opening and enjoyed the diverse collection.
“Everything tells a story,” graphic design major Ciara Clark said.
Art therapy student Scarlett Bacon said Coulour Somewhere was her favorite exhibit so far. Bacon especially enjoyed the collective of artists, saying it gave a “fuller and better experience.”
Hutcheson Gallery will continue to feature exhibits throughout the school year.
“We are grateful to the president and the administration, and for the library leadership, for allowing us to actually have a dedicated gallery space that is professional,” Tierney said. “Everything about it is exactly what you would want in an art gallery.”
“A lot of narratives can be shared…through art,” Matthews said. “I think those narratives matter, and the university should support those in whatever way they can.”
Matthews’ “Colour Somewhere” exhibit will be up through March 15. Students can enter the gallery whenever the library is open. For details on Beaman Library hours, click here.