The Hunter’s 70th anniversary has been a year for highlighting the ways in which the museum has grown and how it offers a wide range of unique arts experiences to area visitors through its exhibitions and programs. The museum’s stairwell installations are no exception. With the idea of bringing a “wow” factor to the staircase that takes guests from the newer part of the museum to the historic mansion, Hunter curators are adding art to the space. Although not a traditional gallery, the stairwell and its curving walls provide a place for special installations that offer added moments of delight and insight to a museum visit, said officials.
Birmingham-based artist Amy Pleasant’s Passing Through, a series of large-scale graphic canvases, is now on view in the historic mansion stairwell. Ms. Pleasant, whose work has been recognized by such prestigious organizations as the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and Joan Mitchell Foundation, creates in a variety of media, ranging from painting and drawing to printmaking and sculpture. No matter the medium, the human figure is a constant in her work.
"Amy Pleasant's works activate the stairwell space, welcoming visitors to the mansion and setting the tone for themes and subjects they'll encounter in the early American galleries on the mansion’s second and third floors," said Natalie Mead, Hunter Museum curator who organized Passing Through. "Although deceptively simple, Amy's graphic silhouettes are rooted in traditions of early American portraiture and contemporary themes of identity and human behaviors."
Pleasant’s simple renderings of parts of the body are done in a calligraphic style and reveal an entire form out of one or two simple brush strokes and the surrounding negative space. The minimalist, repetitive compositions blur the line between figuration and abstraction, inviting viewers to consider the history of the figure in art and how it has shaped our understanding of human experience. said officials.
As it connects the contemporary wings of the museum to the historic mansion, Passing Through allows visitors to experience the passage in a new way and sets the stage for new perspectives in the mansion galleries. Visit the Hunter to experience the stairwell gallery and all the other fresh takes the Hunter has to offer.