Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Little Journeys - Brown Art Gallery at Swilley Library, Mercer University

Here is the link for Little Journeys on the Swilley Library website.

Little Journeys
October 24-December 12, 2008

Brown Art Gallery at Swilley Library (lower level)

Mercer University - Atlanta Campus

3001 Mercer University Drive

Atlanta, GA 30341

monday-thursday: 7:30 am - 10:00 pm; friday: 7:30 am - 8:00 pm; saturday: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm; sunday: 1:00-9:00 pm
(678) 547-6280

Friday, October 24, 2008

Little Journeys, mixed media and beadwork

On Wednesday, Robin and I drove to Atlanta to install the show and today my solo exhibition, Little Journeys, opens at the Brown Art Gallery of Mercer University's Atlanta campus. The gallery is located on the lower level of the Swilley Library (3001 University Drive) and the show runs from October 24th through December 12th. If you're nearby, please stop in and take a look! Here is an image of the work, Little Journeys, that the exhibition is named after.

There are six 2008 works in the show and Little Journeys is a new piece. The fabric in the background is a piece of an old quilt that has been dyed black and then painted with graphite. The wreath references wreaths from 19th century framed memorials in which a wide variety of materials, such as wax, shells, dried flowers, bird feathers, hair, etc. were used. The hat pins, pocket watch, tintype, horse drawn carriage, and bifocal lens were found at different antique stores.

I bought the horse drawn carriage from a local antiques store, Habersham Antiques, here in Savannah. It was originally a very innocent looking brass pencil sharpener before I transformed it into a doombuggy.

In my Artist Statement for the Little Journeys exhibition, I quoted Emily Dickinson's poem, Because I Could Not Stop for Death:

Because I could not stop for Death-
He kindly stopped for me-
The carriage held but just Ourselves-
and Immortality.

The poem's imagery is a primary source of inspiration. The work is also inspired by the poems and illustrations from the Danse Macabre of Women in which Death, personified as a skeletal figure, calls a woman (The Virgin, The Widow, The Bride, etc.) and leads her to the grave. Another inspiration is the folk ballad Young Charlotte and Frozen Charlotte porcelain dolls. The title of the show itself comes from Elbert Hubbard's Little Journeys to the Homes of Good Men and Great.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sweet Dreams Mr. Poe

Sweet Dreams Mr. Poe is another mixed media work inspired by Edgar Allan Poe. The idea was to imagine what Poe's dreams might have looked like, and, somehow, I don't envision Poe dreaming about a box of kittens. Instead, I tried to create a doomed, apocalyptic, nightmarish atmosphere. Add a pinch of horror vacui and sprinkle a little anxiety on top. I was also inspired by Poe's short story, The Masque of the Red Death , although it was slightly after the fact. Shortly after I began working on the piece, I found myself thinking: red and black... red and black... what was that story?

Kym Hepworth / Sweet Dreams Mr. Poe / 2006 / mixed media /21 x 27 ½ x 2 in.

I chose the image of the volcano (on the bottom of Sweet Dreams) from one of Robin's lantern slides. My original idea was to sew the lantern slide into the piece and let my Technical Advisor (a.k.a. Robin) figure out how to install a small light behind it, inside the shadow box frame. However, I didn't want an electrical cord hanging out of the bottom of the frame. In the end, Robin scanned the lantern slide and enclosed the image inside two pieces of glass and I sewed it into the piece.

The images inside the eyes of the skull are scans of a burning building from one of Robin's old photographs. I like it because the windows of the house echo the shape of the skull's teeth. I covered the scans with red cellophane that originally wrapped a box of Valentine's Day chocolates.

The black border around the piece was inspired by 19th century mourning envelopes that I bought on eBay.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

SCAD Pinnacle Gallery exhibition - January 2008

In my previous post, I wrote about Pillow (Nevermore). An image of this work was used on the exhibition card for my solo exhibition, Silent Slumber, at SCAD's Pinnacle Gallery.

If you're interested in reading a review of the exhibition, Gothic Visions, written by Allison Hersh for the Savannah Morning News, here is the article.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Pillow (Nevermore), mixed media and beadwork

The title of this work is Pillow (Nevermore). It is a mixed media piece made in 2006. The work was inspired by mourning art. It took the form of a pillow because I was responding to a euphemism for death – sleep, as seen in many variations on gravestone epitaphs, such as “asleep in Jesus” or “At Rest”. I wanted to juxtapose that idea against the regular sleep of dreaming and the subconscious. Another inspiration for Pillow (Nevermore) was the poem, The Raven, by Edgar Allan Poe. Like many others, I’m drawn to the atmosphere of Poe’s stories and poetry - a world of mystery and darkness, and an oppressive sense of time, memory, mourning, anxiety, decay, death, yearning, and unfulfilled desire. A short feature on my Poe-inspired work was published in The Edgar Allan Poe Review, Spring 2008, Volume IX, Number 1, pages 71-3, Penn State Lehigh Valley.

The soul effigy, or winged face, came from a rubbing I did in a cemetery in Cape Cod, MA. The text originated from a photograph I took of an entryway gate with the word, Nevermore, engraved on it, located in the Garden District of New Orleans, LA. I used doll hair along the border of the pillow as a reference to hairwork in mourning art. Hairwork was a popular 19th century art form and women made jewelry, flowers, and wreaths from the hair of a deceased loved one as a remembrance or memento mori. Below are two images from my (very small) collection of 19th century mourning jewelry where hairwork is used.

I also used a human hair in Pillow (Nevermore). The single gray human hair that rests on the pillow refers to the ending of William Faulkner’s short story, A Rose for Emily. In the story a “long strand of iron-gray hair” is found on Emily’s pillow, next to the rotting corpse of her sweetheart, whom she had poisoned. Ahhhh…. ain’t love grand?