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Birmingham Museum of Art Installs Exhibition of New Works by American Artist Sharon Louden
Screen capture from the video animation, "The Bridge" (2008), by Sharon Louden.
BIRMINGHAM.- The Birmingham Museum of Art (BMA) opens an exhibition of newly commissioned work by New York-based artist Sharon Louden from September 28, 2008 to January 4, 2009. The works in Sharon Louden: Taking Turns will visually connect the Museum's galleries and Sculpture Garden through different media: paintings, a projected video animation, and a site-specific installation of illuminated cable in the trees.

Louden’s approach is abstract yet formal, focusing primarily on line, gesture, and materials.

“Sharon’s work is both elegant and playful, and for this project she is exploring the idea of an exhibition moving from space to space,” says Ron Platt, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art. “Her work in all media comes out of drawing and her drawing is borne of human gesture. She considers the site-specific illuminated cable works as three-dimensional drawings.”

For her gallery installation, Louden is creating twelve 13 x 13-inch paintings with watercolor, acrylic, and transparent gel medium on gessoed wood panels. Her brushstroke-like marks invite viewers to look closely. Benjamin Genocchio of The New York Times described her drawings as having an unusual sculptural quality and as “feeling airborne, as though Louden blew them out of her hand.”

Louden’s projected video installation for the BMA is an animated sequence that gives viewers a window onto a spare digital landscape where the artist’s characteristic marks appear to intermingle with blown sheets of paper and other elements.

“She really got my attention several years ago with her video installations. They were more about line than about the language of film or video, and it is unusual for an artist so focused on formal concerns to work in video,” Platt says. “There is a synergy between all of the work in this exhibition that links the separate spaces, a thread the viewer can follow to make the connections.”

“I wanted to embrace the Birmingham Museum of Art’s architecture,” Louden says. “The spaces enable a visual connection and physical experience between the gestures in the paintings and animation inside the galleries to those in the trees in the outdoor garden, showing that art lives beyond the walls of a museum. The positioning of these different mediums, inside and out, allow and encourage visitors to take the experience with them after leaving the interiors.”

“Glowtown” Artist Workshop, October 4, 2008
Louden will share her approach to transforming the most common materials into surprising, glowing “landscapes” with custom phosphorescent paints in a workshop on Saturday, October 4 at the BMA. Participants will create their own 12-inch three-dimensional cube to be combined in a “Glowtown” installation piece for display through the month. With the assistance of teen and adult volunteers, Louden will teach one session for ages six to nine and the other for older kids and adults. “Glowtown” is revealed at the end of each session when the cubes are assembled and the lights go out.

Taking Turns coincides with an exhibition of rare Leonardo da Vinci drawings on view at the BMA from the Biblioteca Reale in Turin, Italy (September 28-November 9), which also invites the viewer to closely examine line and texture.

Louden graduated with an MFA from Yale University School of Art and a BFA from the School of The Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has been exhibited at the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, the Drawing Center in New York, and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, and is in the permanent collections of the Neuberger Museum of Art (Purchase, NY), the National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC), the Arkansas Arts Center (Little Rock, AK), Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, CT), the Weatherspoon Art Museum (Greensboro, NC), and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (TX).

Sharon Louden: Taking Turns is supported by Mr. and Mrs. Werner H. Kramarsky, the Toby D. Lewis Philanthropic Fund, EBSCO Industries, Inc, and an anonymous donor. The BMA exhibition will travel to the Weatherspoon Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

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