Exhibition on view “Alicia Henry: There Was a House”

  • on 6 Oct 2012
  • University Art Gallery

Sewanee’s University Art Gallery is pleased to present Alicia Henry: There Was a House, an exploration of personal relationships, community and the stories that unfold behind closed doors. Henry’s compelling masks and figures establish relationships, and evoke, in the words of the artist, “adventures, heartache, and lovely things happening.” The exhibition will be on view Sept. 4 through Oct. 7. (Right, "Untitled," mixed media, courtesy of the artist)

Described as “[c]ombining the engaging simplicity of folk art and the psychological presence of African ritual sculpture,” Henry’s faces and figures are stitched together from layers of different materials: paper, fabric, leather. Cut-outs with individual features and qualities, each of her masks and figures assumes a distinct and compelling presence. Their blank features also, however, resist easy characterization or identification. Frist Curator Mark Scala has described Henry’s works as “anti-portraits,” representations not of interior subjectivity or personality, but of people as “social beings” with layers upon layers of masks.

Alicia Henry received her B.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her M.F.A. from Yale University. Henry has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, along with many other grants, residencies, and awards, including from the Ford Foundation, the MacDowell Art Colony and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Henry’s works have been exhibited nationally and internationally. She has exhibited regionally at both Fisk’s Van Vechten and Aaron Douglas galleries, Zeitgeist Gallery, Cheekwood Museum, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, and Rhodes College’s Clough-Hanson Gallery. Henry is an associate professor in the Language and Arts Department at Fisk University.

Sewanee’s University Art Gallery is located on Georgia Avenue and is open 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon–4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The gallery is free, accessible, and open to the public. Call 931.598.1223 for more information, or visit the gallery website.