Mary S. Byrd Gallery of Art


Junk Whale: A Research Exhibition Breaking the Surface of Plastic Pollution

"Junk Whale" Oil Painting by Avalyn Zilke by Avalyn Zilke
April 12 – April 20, 2018

Opening Reception:
Thursday, April 12, 2018 ,
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Washington Hall, Mary S. Byrd Gallery of Art

Avalyn Zilke is a senior in Augusta University’s Department of Art and Design. Zilke's work examines the impact humans have on the environment as it pertains to the ocean. Specifically focusing on whales and the growing issue of plastic pollution and micro plastic pollution, she draws inspiration from Marcus Erickson’s book Junk Raft, and attempts to blend research and environmental activism with a theatrical yet scientific approach.

Junk Whale features a large-scale wall installation of a whale covered in an average year’s supply of discarded plastics. Documentary photographs will also be displayed alongside paintings featuring plastic originally encompassing the canvas embedded directly into the paint.

Ms. Zilke states, “The average American contributes 4.3 pounds of trash to the world a day, and 1569.5 pounds of trash a year. The interaction breaks the surface of just how much plastic waste is created and how much of it ends up in the ocean to last for decades to come. It is estimated that 15% to 40% of litter and thrown away plastic enters into the ocean and effects wildlife.

“As this exhibition has grown over the past two years so has the concept," Zilke continues. "Last year around March I began collecting plastic trash from anyone willing to give me their plastic. Throughout the year each of them has mentioned how much this has impacted them; they never realized just how much plastic they used in an average week. The research for this exhibition and its preparation have affected me and it is my hope the exhibition will have the same on effect on others.”

Marginalized and Mythological:
Shanequa Gay’s Disruption of the Pastoral Landscape

A sample of Shanequa Gay's artworkJanuary 11 - February 16, 2018

Intended to showcase one year of the artist’s research, creative process and production, this exhibition features selections of Shanequa Gay's source materials, her sketches and three distinct installations to include a video, a domestic setting and a wall mural inside the gallery.

Influenced by her research of printed fabric and its history, the designs created by Gay reflect her interests in the Civil Rights era, Southern vernacular, and current issues faced by African Americans. Her thematic approach to contemporary issues rendered through genre scenes and mythological figures echoes her research of the practices of illustrators who created the imagery for the fabrics produced by the Oberkampf Factory in Jouey-en-Josas, which operated in France during the 17th and 18th century, producing the pastoral genre commonly known as Toile de Jouey, or simply,"toile," and traditional African patterns such as Adinkra. The wall mural in this exhibition features Gay's deertaur — a mythological creature featuring the head of a deer and the body of a man that she often uses in her work to reference the "hunted" status of the African American male.

Following the Department of Art and Design’s tradition, as the first exhibiting artist of the calendar year, Ms. Gay will serve as the juror for the Byrd Gallery's annual student exhibition open to all Augusta University students. She will also be in residence with the Department beginning January 8th and will work with current students and recent alumni to produce the exhibition's featured wall mural.

About Shanequa Gay

Contemporary artist Shanequa Gay (b. 1977) is a native of Atlanta, Georgia where she continues to live and work. Widely acclaimed for her paintings and illustrations, Shanequa has also received accolades for her advocacy of projects that challenge the violence and injustices committed against the black body in America and across the globe. Her current body of work integrates imagery of the black body into paintings, toile schema, found objects, and video media, addressing its use and control for decorative purposes.

Shanequa’s art is regularly featured in exhibitions by museums and galleries throughout the U.S. including the Chattanooga African American Museum, the Hammonds House Museum, Emory University, Wofford College and the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center. Her works are collected by individuals with notable collections such as Samuel L. Jackson and held by public and private institutions.

Among her honors, Shanequa boasts of selection by The Congressional Club to serve as the illustrator of the hostess gift presented at the First Lady’s Luncheon by Michelle Obama, 2013. She is also the recipient of an Independent Study Fellowship, Iwakuni, Japan and the Gene Arthur Allcott Scholarship, the Glenda Knight Keyes Prize for Outstanding Talent and the Artistic Honors Scholarship presented by the Savannah College of Art and Design. Additionally, her work is featured by the film and television industry including the Lion’s Gate film production Addicted, the BET television series Being Mary Jane, Zoe Ever After and the OWN series Greenleaf.

Shanequa holds a B.F.A. in Painting from the Savannah College of Art Design (2015) and is currently a candidate for an M.F.A. at Georgia State University.

A Celebration of Our Own: Department of Art and Design Faculty Exhibition

Raoul Pacheco, Little Lame Balloon Man (homage to ee), Stoneware, 2016.October 26 - December 1, 2017

Opening Reception: Thursday, October 26, 5 - 7 p.m.

This exhibition is presented in honor of the artistic excellence of the Augusta University Department of Art and Design faculty members. 

We celebrate our faculty members with an exhibition of their recent works featuring a wide array of two-dimensional and three-dimensional work in various media including graphic media, paintings, print making, photography, sculpture and fine art quilts. 

Featured artists include: Kristin Casaletto, Tom Crowther, Carrie Dyer, Philip Morsberger, Jennifer Onofrio, Randy Pace, Raoul Pacheco, Brian Rust, Chadwick Tolley, Julie Sibley and Janice Whiting.

Philip Morsberger: An Augusta Treasure

September 14 - October 13, 2017

Philip Morsberger

Mary S. Byrd Gallery of Art is pleased to present the exhibition Philip Morsberger: An Augusta Treasure. This exhibition honors Philip Morsberger, who served as the William S. Morris Eminent Scholar in Art for five years and holds the title of Professor Emeritus with Augusta University Department of Art and Design. Renowned for his work and his career as an artist, Morsberger is also a beloved part of the Augusta community. 

Prior to his arrival in Augusta, Philip Morsberger served as the Ruskin Master for The Ruskin School of Art at University of Oxford (1971-1984) and taught at notable institutions such as Harvard University, Dartmouth College, University of California- Berkeley, California College of Arts, and Miami University in Ohio. His work is collected and exhibited by institutions and galleries throughout the US and abroad.

The Department of Art and Design will also present the works of previous Morsberger Scholar Award Recipients in Washington Hall. This award is granted annually to students who are selected by a faculty member of the Department of Art and Design. 

Field Day with works by Didi Dunphy

June 22 – August 24, 2017

Didi DunphyMary S. Byrd Gallery of Art is delighted to present the exhibition Field Day with works by Didi Dunphy, June 22 – August 24, 2017.
The works on display in Field Day comprise a variety of two-dimensional images, sculptures and video’s. Ms. Dunphy’s interactive piece, Conversational Rocker, is designed for swaying, friends and fun, will provide viewers of all ages with an opportunity to take an indoor recess from their summer work schedules.

Mary S. Byrd Lecture/Reception August 24th at 5 p.m. University Hall, Room 170
Reception to follow in Washington Hall immediately following 6-7 p.m.

Curatorial Conversations August 25th 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Ms. Dunphy will be in residence for a new program designed especially for Augusta University, Department of Art and Design, Juniors and Seniors on Friday, August 25. This program designed to help and support upperclassman, within the Department, as they begin to conceive and establish a body of work for their senior exhibitions.

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