The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia will feature work by the contemporary artist Suzanne McClelland in “STrAY: Found Poems from a Lost Time,” an exhibition opening Jan. 25 and running through May 26.
“STrAY: Found Poems from a Lost Time” is an in situ project in which McClelland responds to “Found Poems from a Lost Time: A Short History of the Civil War,” 12 epistolary poems published in 2006 by the late George Garrett, the renowned poet and former professor of creative writing at U.Va. The poems, which describe the physical and psychological horrors of war, are constructed from passages lifted from letters written by two soldiers – both Garrett’s distant relatives – who fought on opposite sides during the American Civil War.
McClelland, who has long explored the various forms of language and the way in which they function in different contexts, created visual “portfolios” comprising drawings, printed matter and photographs that feature passages lifted from Garrett’s text, much as he did from the original letters; she also copied the physical shape of the poems themselves.
“These materials are displayed in loose, layered configurations on a bulletin board-like form on the wall, a structure that provides an alternative method for reading and, in turn, for interpretation,” said curator Jennifer Farrell, the museum’s curator of exhibitions and contemporary art. “Together with videos and works on paper, – several of which were created in Charlottesville for this exhibition – these portfolios create a visually compelling installation that inspires fresh consideration of the role of language, perception, conflict and both one’s own history and history more broadly considered.”
“STrAY: Found Poems from a Lost Time” also includes a diverse group of works drawn from the museum’s collection by artists including Käthe Kollwitz, Francisco de Goya, Larry Clark and Sally Mann.
“These pieces from the Fralin Collection, all of which were selected by McClelland, will be in dialogue with her art and will provide a unique opportunity for visitors to engage pieces from the collection in a new context while also studying the work of this important artist,” Farrell said.
Based in New York City, McClelland has exhibited internationally since the early 1990s. She has produced paintings, drawings, prints, photographs and videos, in each case experimenting with the process and possibilities of each medium. Her art is featured in numerous public and private collections and she has received several grants and awards from prominent organizations and foundations.
The museum, located at 155 Rugby Road, one block from the Rotunda, is open Tuesdays through Sundays, from noon to 5 p.m.
The Fralin Museum of Art’s programming is made possible by the support of The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation.
The exhibition is made possible through the support of The Stanley Family Fund, U.Va. Arts Council: Enriching the Arts on Grounds, the McIntire Department of Art in the College of Arts & Sciences, Albemarle Magazine and Ivy Publications LLC's Charlottesville Welcome Book.