Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Jerry Siegel at the Julie Collins Smith Museum

Alabama-based photographer Jerry Siegel has just opened a show of his portraits of Southern artists at the Julie Collins Smith Museum at Auburn University.

The show is called Facing South: Portraits of Southern Artists. This show opened last Saturday, June 2nd, and is up through August 18th, 2012.

The museum describes the show, and Jerry's work, this way:

"Jerry Siegel's photographic portraits of southern visual artists compose a highly personal survey of some of the most interesting inhabitants of our region.

"An Alabama native, Siegel has spent the last 17 years traveling the area to capture the likenesses of both well-known and emerging artists in their familiar settings.

"Facing South assembles 100 black-and-white and color portraits of Siegel's subjects, including Benny Andrews, Radcliffe Bailey, William Christenberry, Lamar Dodd, Ida Kohlmeyer, Charlie Lucas, Charles Shannon, and Kathryn Windham.

"Expressive, intimate, and evocative, Siegel's body of work offers sensitive insights into the region's creative soul."

The Museum is doing this right by hosting a show of work by artists included in Jerry's portrait show at the same time as Jerry's show.

This show is called  Southern Artists / Southern Art?: Selected Works by Artists Featured in Facing South. It opened on May 12th and will be up through August 11th, 2012.

Jerry has published a large collection of his portraits in a book called Facing South: Portraits of Southern Artists from the University of Alabama Press, available from them, or from Amazon, here.

My copy is on order; I want to see the range of Jerry's work, and also to read the accompanying essays, especially one by Dennis Harper on "the regional countenance reflected in Siegel’s portraits." I'm intrigued by the concept of a regional countenance -- looking forward to finding out what a Southern artist really looks like.

Jerry has been very gracious to me. When John Menapace, the dean of North Carolina fine art photographers died in 2010, Jerry sent me some images of John that he had just made in one of his periodic forays across the South, to share with readers of this blog.

And I know that Jerry continues his work on this project. He met and photographed my colleague Elaine Orr at an artists' workshop earlier this summer.

Thanks to Jerry for his fine work, and congratulations on this well-deserved recognition of his accomplishments.

Wish I could make the show in Alabama, but I will enjoy the book.

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