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University of Richmond Museums opens three new exhibitions
Jay Bolotin (American, born 1949), Print XXXIV Some Patrons of the Theater, 2009, woodcut with handwritten text on Rives BFK paper, 20 x 26 inches, Joel and Lila Harnett Print Study Center, University of Richmond Museums, Museum purchase, funds from the Louis S. Booth Arts Fund, H2012.13.34, © Jay Bolotin, photograph by Taylor Dabney.

RICHMOND, VA.- Opening on August 21, 2013, in the Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art, the University of Richmond Museums are three exhibitions Jay Bolotin: The Jackleg Testament Continues, Annual Student Exhibition, and Notebooks: Prints by Matt Mullican.

Jay Bolotin: The Jackleg Testament Continues is on view August 21 through October 7, 2013. The art of Jay Bolotin (American, born 1949) crosses many disciplines, including visual art, theatre, film, and music. The exhibition features interrelated parts: two print portfolios, a woodcut motion picture, and Kharmen, the prologue of a new operatic animation film based on graphite drawings. He applies the densely layered narratives, imagery, and iconography of his prints, songs, drawings, and performances as a musician to the medium of animation. In his art, he inter-weaves his Judeo-Christian creation stories and personal mythologies to better understand and to comment on the human condition.

Raised on a farm in rural Kentucky, Bolotin’s childhood was filled with storytelling and music, both of which influenced his artwork. He studied art at the Rhode Island School of Design and served as an apprentice to sculptor Robert Lamb. In the early 1970s, he pursued his interest in music, working as a songwriter with Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard, and Dan Fogleberg.

The personal and narrative quality in Bolotin’s work as a musician is paralleled in his visual art. The viewer encounters characters embroiled in psychologically intricate dramas, and these characters appear – and reappear – in multiple pieces, created in a variety of media. This interdisciplinary approach to his art has provided the foundation for Bolotin’s multilayered, performance-based works that include plays, operas, films, and a music-theater-dance collaboration.

The exhibition features The Jackleg Testament Part I: Jack and Eve, an animated, operatic film woodcut motion picture that reinterprets the story of Adam and Eve as a dark, provocative tale in which Eve is lured from the Garden of Eden by a Jack-in-the-Box. Bolotin’s complex, ambiguous work references German Expressionism, American folk art, prints from the Northern Renaissance, and medieval religious imagery.

The Jackleg Testament Part II: The Book of Only Enoch is also featured in the exhibition. Bolotin annotates the drawings included in Part II by writing directly on the walls of the gallery, giving the viewer a sense of the progression of the storyline. The story is inspired by books of the Old Testament which are not included in the accepted version of the text. Enoch is a man “who went to Heaven and lived to tell the tale.” Bolotin renames this character “Only Enoch” who is the son of the only Jewish coal miner in Kentucky.

Kharmen, a twenty-minute animation will also be view. Kharmen was created through the digital manipulation of original graphite drawings inspired by the 1875 opera Carmen, and other Bolotin created characters.

Bolotin’s artwork is represented in the collections of The New York Public Library; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; Seattle Art Museum; Cincinnati Art Museum, Joel and Lila Harnett Print Study Center, University of Richmond Museums, and numerous other public and private collections. He resides in Cincinnati, Ohio.

On view from August 21 to September 29, 2013, the Annual Student Exhibition highlights works selected by the studio art faculty, this exhibition features works by studio art majors and minors along with non-majors enrolled in studio art classes during the University’s 2012- 2013 academic year.

Also on view, Notebooks: Prints by Matt Mullican will be on display from August 21, 2013 – June 29, 2014. American artist Matt Mullican (born 1951) rose to prominence as a member of the “Pictures Generation,” a group of young artists coming of age in the early 1970s in the United States. Since then, he has created a body of work that focuses on systems of knowledge, meaning, language, and archetypal symbols. Mullican works with the relationship between reality and perception, between the ability to see something and the ability to represent it. The exhibition features selected works from an untitled portfolio of ten screenprints and sixty-four etchings based on twenty years of the artist’s notebooks.

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