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Indepth Arts News:

"Whispers from the Walls: The Art of Whitfield Lovell"
2004-07-03 until 2004-09-12
San Antonio Museum of Art
San Antonio, TX, USA United States of America

The San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA) presents Whispers from the Walls: The Art of Whitfield Lovell, on view July 3 through September 12, 2004 in the Cowden Gallery. This exhibition is a poignant and highly evocative installation piece that mixes found objects, photographs, wall drawings and sound to create a sensory experience of African American life in the South during the 1920s. Deceptively simple on the surface, the work is a complex amalgam, steeped in concepts of presence, absence, memory, identity, history and loss. The centerpiece of the installation is a one-room shack surrounded by a profusion of tattered clothing. The inside of the house is filled with personal effects—pots and pans, tables and chairs, jewelry, clothing and life-size charcoal drawings of human figures. These masterfully drawn figures give the piece a strong human presence as their haunting, silent imminence speaks to us in whispers, not shouts.

Lovell’s exploration of African American life is further enhanced by added layers of sensory experience, from the scents of musty fabric and a half-filled decanter of whiskey, to the sounds of a 1920s blues tune emanating from an old record player. The effect is to make the viewer feel like an intruder in the present, and a visitor to the past.

Whispers from the Walls is made possible by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and is organized by the University of North Texas Art Gallery, Denton and toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance. This exhibition is made possible by a generous grant from Lenora and Walter F. Brown. Additional support is provided by the Edouard Foundation, Jefferson Bank, Emory A. Hamilton, H. Rugeley Ferguson, The Harmon and Harriet Kelley Foundation for the Arts, Claudia Huntington, William Scanlan, Jr., Ruth Eilene Sullivan, Nathalie and Gladys Dalkowitz Charitable Trust, Pan Hellenic Council of San Antonio, Kay and Tom Edson, Karen Hixon, Orville Carr and Second Baptist Church of San Antonio. The exhibition is free with general Museum admission.

Whitfield Lovell
Hands III, 1995
Oil stick and charcoal on paper,
54” x 40”
Courtesy DC Moore Gallery, New York

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