A Snallygaster Summer
July 2 – August 14, 2016
In the 1920s and 1930s, a group of young artists, many of whom were students at the Maryland Institute College of Art, painted in the Middletown Valley of Western Maryland. Working outdoors, en plein air, with inspiration and support from their instructor, Charles H. Walter, the group established a distinctively modern style that has come to be known as the Snallygaster School. Through idyllic landscapes, mountain views, and picturesque farm scenes, this exhibition–drawn primarily from the WCMFA collection–captures the beauty of summer’s more relaxed pace and the spirit of simpler times.
Organized by the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts
Boo! Images of the Macabre
August 21 – October 30, 2016
Why are we so fascinated by images of the macabre? Exploring our fears inspires a quickening of the pulse and heightens our awareness of the mysteries of life–and death. Psychologist Carl Jung wrote that the artist’s role is to give expression to the shadowed side of humankind, which usually dwells below the level of consciousness. He advocated forcing shadows into the light in order to master dark impulses and maintain a healthy balance.
As a prelude to Hagerstown’s annual Halloween festivities, visitors will be invited to engage their subconscious curiosity and fascination for the macabre through art that explores eerie landscapes, creepy creatures, ghostly figures, and other mysterious intersections of reality and imagination. Highlights include works by Hendrik Goltzius, Kathe Kolwitz, Salvador Dali, and Luis Jimenez.
Organized by the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo, MI
Foon Sham: Sea of Hope II
September 10, 2016 – January 8, 2017
Created in memory of his mother, Catherine Siuhing Yiu Sham, who died from breast cancer in 2002, Foon Sham’s groundbreaking Sea of Hope installation featured a large, elongated object made from laminated blocks of wood, mounted on a pedestal. This central boat-like object was surrounded by small boats, folded from handmade paper by gallery visitors and inscribed with their personal prayers or messages for departed friends and relatives. Each paper boat contained a cone of tea leaves, evoking the Eastern tradition of burning incense in memory of deceased ancestors.
Foon Sham described the Sea of Hope project as follows: I made a long, wooden vessel for my mother, who died of cancer in 2002, as a metaphor for her to travel to somewhere peaceful. The tea leaves, which contain anti-oxidants, were used as symbols of cures-hopes. Viewers can participate by writing their messages to their loved ones who also died of cancer, on the paper boats that I provided during the exhibition.
As guest artist at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, Foon Sham will create Sea of Hope II in the museum’s Groh Gallery. The commissioned sculpture will, once again, be accompanied by a fleet of handmade paper boats created, inscribed, and dedicated by museum visitors throughout the period of the exhibition.
Organized by the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, in collaboration with the artist.
Distant Journeys: Willem Dooijewaard’s Drawings of Mongolia and Bali
November 12, 2016 – January 22, 2017
A personal friend of WCMFA founders William and Anna Brugh Singer, the Dutch artist Willem Dooijewaard (1892-1980) helped the Singers expand their art collections through carefully chosen acquisitions. Travelling throughout Asia, Indonesia, and North Africa in the 1920s and 1930s, Dooijewaard visited many places that were then unknown to most Americans and Europeans. This exhibition, featuring 14 large-format drawings by Dooijewaard, captures the young artist’s sense of adventure as well as his fascination with the details and discoveries of exotic lands and peoples.
Organized by the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts.