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LCVA showcases new set of exhibitions

The Longwood Center for the Visual Arts (LCVA) is currently showcasing three new exhibitions that examine and respond to the current social — and physical — landscape in America.

“Asterisks in the Grand Narrative of History,” “SCRAP TIME,” and “Rabbit/Hare,” each powerful as individual exhibitions, provide a sprawling narrative of artists’ creative response to a complex and nuanced present day world that at times can seem completely upended. All three exhibitions will be on view until through April 4.

“Asterisks in the Grand Narrative of History” gathers together not just artists, but also curators and institutions in the creative process. The exhibition features nine artists, spans galleries at Longwood University and Hampden-Sydney College, and is curated by Jay Simple (visiting assistant professor in photography at Longwood University) and Emma Steinkraus (asssistant professor of fine art at Hampden-Sydney College).

“‘Asterisks’ is even more impressive when one considers how quickly it was organized after the exhibitions we originally had on our calendar were postponed due to the impacts and uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic,” LCVA executive director Rachel Ivers said. “It is a testament to what can be achieved when we work together, and speaks to the effectiveness of the arts in addressing present-day issues facing all of us.”

The artists in “Asterisks in the Grand Narrative of History” use diverse strategies to address questions of how artists interrogate history and to resist and remake historical narratives in pursuit of a more just world. These artists draw on a variety of sources, including pop culture, family photos and government archives to illuminate the ways individual stories and historical forces are intertwined. Artists on view include: Marisa Williamson, Jason Patterson, Becci Davis, Anina Major, Amir George, Zora J Murff, Kieran Myles-Andrés Tverbakk, and Richard-Jonathan Nelson.

Amir George’s video works are on view at The Gallery at Brinkley Hall at Hampden-Sydney College. “We are excited to collaborate with LCVA to bring Simple and Steinkraus’ thoughtful curatorial vision to the community. Now more than ever it is vital that we share our resources to enrich our communities. In particular, I am looking forward to the conversations about race and our culture that rise from Amir George’s rich videos,” Mary Prevo, senior lecturer and coordinator of The Gallery at Hampden-Sydney College, said.

“SCRAP TIME” is a body of work created by Lauren Rice, Longwood University associate professor, during the pandemic while balancing the demands of being a working artist and mother. At once sculpture, collage and painting, Rice’s newest work is a playful experiment in materials, process and making marks. The leading character, the scrap – which on its surface doesn’t seem to hold much merit – is invited and repurposed to find new meanings and values. This gathering of seemingly inconsequential bits and pieces is of critical importance to Rice, and serves as a visual metaphor for the layering of home and work life brought about by the global pandemic; in bringing disparate pieces together, she forms a new, unified whole.

“Rabbit/Hare” is a nostalgic – and sobering – juxtaposition to “Asterisks in the Grand Narrative of History” and “SCRAP TIME.” Created in 2017 by David Billet and Ian Kline in a pre-pandemic America, the exhibition invites the viewer to sustain their gaze and thinking, trust their intuition, and, just as importantly, to feel through these pictures. Although these photographs were created during Billet and Kline’s road trip from the east coast to Texas, they are more than the traditional “road-trip” photo survey that merely captures things, people, and landscapes; this work is complex, emotive and enigmatic. While the viewer will certainly witness nods to the west through the open road, cowboy hats and a few lassos, there is much more to the concepts of masculinity that these subjects might suggest.