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Museum | Upcoming Exhibitions

Spring Exhibitions

April 1 – May 28, 2017

Sharon Wolpoff and Tammra Sigler: Geometry and Other Myths

April 1 – May 28

At first glance the art of Sharon Wolpoff has little in common with the art of Tammra Sigler. Wolpoff is a painter of carefully composed scenes from life, suffused with light and heightened color. Sigler is an expressionist artist who is known for improvisation and bravura brushwork. However, similarities and contrasts emerge in their work as they engage with three different paths to knowledge of the world: geometry, psychology, and spirituality. Sigler's work starts with geometry as a foundation and moves away from it towards the emotional, while Wolpoff's work begins with an emotional response and moves towards the underlying geometry or structure. Both artists have beautifully structured artwork, and their uses of structure have psychological and spiritual functions, as well. 


Summerford Legacy 

April 1 – May 28

Ben L. Summerford (1924-2015) taught at American University's Department of Art from 1951-1987. All of the artists in Summerford Legacy studied under Professor Summerford and took different aspects of his teaching to heart. Some stayed close to their artistic roots in AU's Department of Arts, and some used those roots to support far-flung but personal explorations. All of the artists exhibit the artistic integrity embodied by their teacher, and approach their art as an act of discovery. 


Foon Sham: Escape

April 1 – August 13

Foon Sham is a master of wood sculpture. To be within one of his vessel sculptures is to experience the palpable space of a woodland creature’s habitat, or the concealed space of someone wanting to hide. For the Escape exhibition at the American University Museum, he has built two tunnels, one horizontal measuring 62 feet long, the other vertical towering 36 feet high. Escape is one of a series of participatory sculptures, begun in the 1990s, meant to be experienced with all the body's senses and to resonate socially. Dualism, as in the Taoist yin/yang dichotomy, is a consistent theme in Sham's work. Escape may be possible spiritually, if not physically. The outsider defines the insider. Darkness coexists with light. The yin and yang are complementary, two sides of the same coin.

The title Escape signals that a political interpretation is valid. The outdoor sculpture’s craggy ridgeline echoes the mountain ranges of the American West and traces the line of the US-Mexican border. Without being politically prescriptive, the title and tunnel imagery evoke the hotly-contested issues of immigration and the plight of the refugee that figured so heavily in both American and European recent elections. The journey for the viewer of Escape may be short and sensory, or may be evocative of bigger issues like the death-defying travails undertaken by Central American and Syrian refugees. May each visitor find the way to experience this monumental work.


First and Second Year Studio Art Masters of Fine Art Candidates

April 1-19 and April 29-May 28

American University Department of Art presents the work of current first and second year Studio Art MFA candidates in a two-part exhibition. From April 1-April 19, MFA First year students present work completed during their first year, followed by the thesis presentation of MFA second year students from April 29-May 28. Collectively, these emerging artists represent study, experimentation, and reflection while also providing a window into each artist’s individual artistic practice.


Time Stands Still: Elzbieta Sikorska

April 1 – May 28

No matter how we reflect on time, it is a contemplative and complicated subject. Time affects everything: people, animals, woodlands, earth, stone, and artifacts. These are the elements that Elzbieta Sikorska uses in her large scale, multimedia drawings, conceived as loose pictorial narratives whose common thread is the continuity of being. Rather than offering definitive conclusions, these works are intended to lead us into a deeper and more intimate consideration of our own relationship to time – our constant companion. This exhibition is curated by Aneta Georgievska-Shine


Green Machine: The Art of Carlos Luna

April 1 – May 28

Green Machine features the latest work of one of Cuba’s leading contemporary artists, Carlos Luna. In this exhibition, painting, sculpture and installation become one to portray Cuban stories and fables. While using culturally-specific imagery, Luna demonstrates all that we have in common. “Ever since the first people were around, our problems have been about ourselves, what we are doing, our existence…but people even from different backgrounds can relate to human problems.” Luna brings his viewers into the darkness and returns them to the light, both physically and psychologically.


Maya Alphabet of Modern Times by Frida Larios

April 1 - May 28

Maya Alphabet of Modern Times intends to re-codify a small part of the Maya mythic narrative, giving the artistic tradition new graphic form. In the Maya Alphabet of Modern Times typo-graphic works, Frida Larios, a native of El Salvador, has borrowed directly from the logo-graphic language of the ancestral Maya scribes, but speaking to and for the Indigenous Maya of today. Since finishing her master thesis in London in 2005, Larios has regenerated nearly 100 new designs that have been integrated into diverse media: books, works on paper, installations, sculptures, garments, jewels and toys. These new artifacts carry through the Pre-Columbian heritage to a contemporary audience of every age, thus intending that the Meso American script is preserved to see a new generation.


The Stations of the Cross

A pilgrimage for art lovers 

March 1 - April 16

Across the chasm of two thousand years, Jesus' tortured journey through the streets of Jerusalem resonates with people of many faiths and backgrounds. This unique exhibition—held in 14 locations across Washington, DC—will use works of art to tell the story of the Passion in a new way, for people of different faiths. The Stations weave through religious as well as secular spaces, leading viewers across the District from the United Methodist Building adjacent to the Supreme Court, to the National Cathedral.

This exhibition was curated by Rev. Dr. Catriona Laing and Dr. Aaron Rosen. It is supported by the Cambridge Interfaith Programme, Coexist House, the Episcopal Evangelism Society, and Trinity Church, Wall Street.

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Tammra Sigler, A Very Serious Garden – Pink
Tammra Sigler, A Very Serious Garden – Pink, 2016. Acrylic and mixed media on Arches Oil Paper, 51.5 x 50.5 in.


Foon Sham, Escape
Foon Sham, Escape, 2016. Pine, 14 x 62 x 5 ft. Courtesy of Gallery Neptune and Brown.


Sharon Wolpoff, Marco Serving Spaghetti
Sharon Wolpoff, Marco Serving Spaghetti, 2016, Monotype, 10 x 7.5 in.


Elizbieta Sikorska, Landscape, Up and Down

Elzbieta Sikorska, Landscape, Up and Down, 2016. Mid panel of a triptych mixed media on paper, 52 x 71 in.