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Winthrop Galleries Pay Tribute to Late Painting Professor

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 In its newest exhibits running through March 13, the Winthrop Galleries turns its focus to highlighting the work of Freeman and Assistant Professor of Fine Arts Stacey Davidson.


ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA — For nearly 40 years, David Freeman (1937-2013) dedicated his life to Winthrop University, serving in various positions including director of the then-sole Gallery and a distinguished professor of painting.

In its newest exhibits running through March 13, the Winthrop Galleries turns its focus to highlighting the work of Freeman and Assistant Professor of Fine Arts Stacey Davidson.

Opening in the Elizabeth Dunlap Patrick Gallery “NEO | NEO – A Retrospective of the Late Winthrop Faculty David Freeman” highlights his bold, abstract mark-making, offering a new look at abstract art’s return to favor in contemporary aesthetics and creative thought in recent years. His paintings act as “concrete manifestations of his personal escape from reality” and show he channeled interpretations of both representational subjects and musical influences into an emotional painting experience.

The infiltration of virtual reality and technology into society has aided in this renewed interest in abstract modern art. To honor this, the Galleries is collecting video submissions exploring abstraction in conjunction with the exhibit. Videos must be no more than one minute long and are open to interpretation. They can be submitted through Entrants can then find the event group page NEO |NEO: A Virtual Abstract Experience and join.

Freeman was an “unapologetic and persistent studio artist” whose dedication helped establish a way of working for himself and his students that continues to resonate on campus today, Fine Arts Chair Tom Stanley noted in an introspective of Freeman. Throughout his career, he was exhibited nationally and internationally in Italy and pioneered the new art scene in Charlotte.

Opening in the Rutledge Gallery is “Small is the New Big.” Davidson spent summer 2013 honing her exploration of the shared human condition at the McColl Center for Art +Innovation in Charlotte as an artist-in-residence, although her pieces represent work over the course of 15 years. She creates poseable figures and dolls and reflective narratives from paint, canvas, paper or moving images to visualize our delusions, foibles and weaknesses along with our beauty, vulnerability and “smallness.”

Davidson began teaching at Winthrop in 2011. She has won fellowships from the Ohio Arts Council and the McKnight Foundation, among others, and has had her work displayed in galleries in London and the United States.

Davidson describes her exhibit as “a partial mid-career survey” and reflects her “departures and returns to painting,” which she considers her creative homebase.

As part of her exhibit, Davidson will conduct live portrait sessions in 130 Rutledge Building on the following dates from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.: Jan. 23-24, Feb. 6 and Feb. 28. Galleries hours will be extended for these dates.

Davidson will also host an artist talk Tuesday, Feb. 3, at 7 p.m. in Rutledge Gallery with fellow artist John W. Love Jr. It is a free cultural event.

An opening reception for both exhibits is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 23, at 6:30 p.m. in the Rutledge and Patrick Galleries.

Other spring 2015 Galleries events include (all in the Lewandowski Student Gallery):
• Interior Design: Rendering and Design, Jan. 20-Feb. 2
• Illustration Exhibition, Feb. 10-23
• Emergence: New Questions in Craft and Object Making, March 3-23

Winthrop University Galleries hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. It is closed on weekends and university holidays. All artist talks, exhibitions and receptions are free and open to the public.

For more information, call the Galleries at 803/323-2493 or e-mail Karen Derksen, Galleries director, at Follow the Galleries online on Facebook or Twitter.

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