Saturday, February 2, 2013

Report: Cressman Center for Visual Arts and ENID: 2013

Friday evening I had the opportunity to speak as part of a panel discussion entitled "Sculpture, Contemporary Art, and the Public Space" arranged by Stacey Reason from the University of Louisville. Panelists included myself; Mary Dennis Kannapell, Pyro Gallery; Andrew Cozzens (MFA, Wash U and artist whose work is on view at PUBLIC); and Chris Radtke, COPA. The panel discussion was in conjunction with the ENID : 2013 exhibition at the Cressman coordinated by Reason and overseen by Professor John Begley of the U of L.

My contribution to the discussion lay, first, in a brief overview of Enid's biography (1869-1934) and, second, a look at her career in light of the contributions of male and female sculptors of the time (c. 1890-1930).  

Enid Yandell, Bust of J.J. Rucker (Collection of Georgetown College)

My research on Yandell has been on going for a few years and is a project that I only became interested in as a result of studying a bust of Yandell's owned by Georgetown College -- the portrait of Dr. James Jefferson Rucker, mathematics professor at GC. Rucker's story is interesting to me because it was under his leadership the College was one of the first schools in Kentucky to become a co-ed institution. Women from the College's affiliated Female Seminary -- run by Rucker  and his wife -- began attending classes with men in 1884 and, by 1892, women were admitted as regular students.

Suzanne Mitchell, Vaino, 42” x 22” x 17”, tree pods and wood

Yandell's story is interwoven with that of contemporary art, particularly through the group known as ENID, a collective of female sculptors based in Louisville. Showing as a group since 1999, through formed up at least two years earlier, this artist group connects with Enid and yet their work conceptually, materially, and otherwise may differ from hers. Fifteen artists are featured in the exhibition including Caren Cunningham, Gayle Cerlan, Jeanne Deuber, Ewing Fahey, Sarah Frederick, Valerie Fuchs, Mary Dennis Kannapell, Fran Kratzok, Shawn Marshall (whose Vaina is pictured above), Suzanne Mitchell, Joyce Ogden, Jacque Parlsey, Cynthia Reynolds, Gloria Wachtel, Melinda Walters.  

Enid Yandell in her Paris studio at work on Pallas Athena (Courtesy Archives of American Art)

I enjoyed sharing my research on Yandell with my co-panelists and the audience but, perhaps even more, was captivated by the work on view and the comments and conversations before, during, and after the panel. Thanks to the U of L's Cressman Center for bringing us together and for furthering the knowledge of Enid Yandell and the group known as ENID. 


K-lev said...

Those mathematicians are so forward thinking! I loved that last picture.

Earl Grey said...

Yep! Good old JJ Rucker was avant-garde.

I'll have to show you some other photos of Enid -- she was queen of a pageant but was also known to "brandish a pistol" when looking for a male model. That statement is presumably hyperbolic and inflated, but amusing!