Artists' Reception for Justin Bowles and Melissa Wilkinson
08/23/2019, 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Beverly & Sam Ross Gallery map
The Beverly & Sam Ross Gallery at Christian Brothers University (CBU) announces two new exhibitions which will be on display through September 11, 2019. In the main gallery, Justin Bowles has created an installation entitled Temple of the Cha-Cha-Hua, while Melissa Wilkinson exhibits a series of watercolor paintings collectively titled “Copia” in the gallery foyer.
A public reception for both exhibitions will be held on Friday, August 23 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Justin Autumn Bowles was born in Little Rock, Arkansas and currently lives in Memphis. She received a BA in English and a BFA in sculpture from the University of Kansas, and an MFA from Memphis College of Art. Bowles has most recently exhibited around Memphis and regionally at Dixon Gallery and Gardens, the University of Mississippi, and in a group traveling show by Arkansas artists called "Abstract Art." She has produced public art with the Downtown Memphis Commission, was one of five inaugural Community Supported Artists featured by ArtsMemphis, and an NEA Southern Constellations Fellowship nominee.
Bowles describes Temple of the Cha-Cha-Hua as a fantasy environment that will hopefully speak to a sacred space inside each of us: the essence of our childhood dreams. She says that the primary inspiration for this installation was her 2015 trip to Mexico City. Once inside the temple-like space, the viewer may explore several elements of the space. In one corner is the Sparkle Mystery Garden, full of strange plants, insects, and animals. In the center of the space is a reflecting pool made of paper, inhabited by plastic flamingos and water plants, also made of paper. This pool leads up to the central piece of the installation, a large sculpture of a Chihuahua puppy. Paper vines tumble down from the windows that line the top of two walls in the space. Viewers are invited to sit on benches in the space and reflect.
"I was fascinated by the Mesoamerican sacred spaces recreated in the Museo Nacional de Antropologia," says Bowles. "Using these ancient works as a model, I created a temple-like space populated with plants and animals made from craft and found materials."
Melissa Wilkinson is a painter and associate professor of art at Arkansas State University-Jonesboro. She was born in suburban Chicago and received degrees from Western Illinois University (BFA) and Southern Illinois University-Carbondale (MFA). Her work has been featured in wide-reaching publications throughout the country including three editions of New American Paintings. She has shown in various galleries nationally and internationally, including South Korea and India, and has won numerous awards, grants, and fellowships throughout her career. Her work is included in private collections throughout the country and abroad, and she currently exhibits at Greg Thompson Gallery and M2 Gallery in Little Rock, Arkansas. She paints and lives in the Memphis area.
The paintings collected in “Copia” relate to Wilkinson's stated interest in dichotomies: obscuring and revealing, attraction and repulsion, good and evil, the past and the present. "I am deeply interested in the interaction of parts and am attracted to tactile physicalities in an increasingly technological and dehumanized time," she says. "I appropriate imagery from 19th century naturalist illustrations, bodies, and typically sensual subject matter to develop a pastiche that fractures both into the surreal and suggestive."
The Beverly & Sam Ross Gallery is located on the lower level of Plough Memorial Library in the center of the CBU campus on the Buckman Quadrangle, easily accessible from the Central Avenue parking lot. All exhibits and lectures are free and open to the public.
For more information, visit www.cbu.edu/gallery.