New image gallery opens Murmuration exhibition series featuring Virginia artists

James Madison University jmuTwo galleries in the School of Art, Design and Art History at James Madison University will have an opening reception for two new exhibitions on Jan. 29, 5-7:30 p.m.

New Image Gallery will open Murmuration, which counters expectations of a conventional exhibition series. The show will have three variations, each adding to the previous, reshaping and building in complexity as the series evolves, creating a harmony of imagery and narrative from nine Virginia women artists.

The exhibition will grow with additional work on Feb. 12 and March 18.

“Last summer, while I was watching the senate hearings, I started to think about ways that women are not heard or, by choice, stay silent and wait,” said Rebecca Silberman, one of the featured artists and a professor of art at JMU who is curating Murmuration.  “I wanted to put together a project that would build into a kind of chorus of collective ideas and voices to counteract the moment of hopelessness. Days later, I fortuitously discovered the book ‘When Women Were Birds’ by Terry Tempest Williams. The opening passages are blank, an invitation to imagine/reimagine the words left unspoken or the stories that can be told moving forward.”

In addition to a callback to Williams’ book title, the exhibition title Murmuration comes from “the idea that the whole series is one single thing, in a kind of responsive, creative flux, like the magic one witnesses in watching a bird murmuration,” according to Silberman.

Murmuration I: Jan. 29

Nava Levenson: project manager for InLight at 1708 Gallery in Richmond, Va. (JMU B.F.A. ‘17)
Martha Saunders: assistant professor of art, Mary Baldwin University
Rebecca Silberman: show curator, professor of art (photography) at JMU

Murmuration II: Feb. 12

Corinne Diop: professor of art (photography) at JMU (JMU B.S.)
Julia Merkel: preservation specialist for JMU Libraries Special Collections (JMU M.F.A ’92)
Kristin Skees: senior lecturer at Christopher Newport University

Murmuration III: March 18

Christa Bowden: professor of art at Washington and Lee
Dymph de Wild: professor of art (studio art) at JMU (JMU M.F.A ’12)
Rosemary Jesionowski: Associate Professor of Studio Art at University of Mary Washington

Faculty, students, staff and community members are invited to the opening reception celebrating both of these show on Jan. 29, 5-7:30 p.m.

New Image Gallery is open Wednesday and Thursday, 2-4 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, noon-2 p.m.


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