University of Virginia Art Museum Features Exhibit on 'Speed'

May 7, 2008 — The University of Virginia Art Museum features "Speed" in a special exhibit opening May 10. Drawn from the collection of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, "Speed" explores artists' use of "motion" in their work. Featured in the exhibition are a variety of pieces, ranging from paintings to sculpture and mobiles. In addition to exploring the ability to literally depict or more subtly convey speed and motion in a particular work, the exhibition also examines the dialogue between an artist's intention and the viewer's perceptions, such as whether an artist intended a brush stroke to give the appearance of being made slowly or quickly.

"All over the world and throughout history, speed and motion in art can mean much more than just going fast," said Sandra Rusak, one of the exhibition's two curators and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts' associate director for education and outreach.

"From the sleek beauty of a racing yacht to the energetic brushwork of the abstract expressionist painters, expressions of speed in art can communicate motion and emotion," she said.

The exhibition's other curator, Aiesha Halstead, who is the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts' coordinator of exhibitions planning, said artists take advantage of people's innate ability to see motion not only in real time, but also in static art.

"By observing simple brush strokes, we are able to calculate potential movement. 'Speed' will encourage an exploration of how artists of many cultures and through various media have dramatically conveyed speed and motion in their work," Halstead said.

Among the works featured in the exhibition are James E. Butterworth's 19th-century painting, "A Racing Yacht on the Great South Bay," Jacob Lawrence's 1943 watercolor "Subway – Home from Work," Virginia native Stephen Fox's 1990 painting "Roadside," a 20th-century Eshu dance hook made by a Yoruba artist and an 18th-century Tibetan "Dakini" sculpture made of bronze with gold leaf.

On May 15, Halstead will give a Lunchtime Gallery Talk at 1 p.m. in the museum

"Speed" is part of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts' special "Look Here" series highlighting its own collections and making them accessible to all Virginians. Since the series' start in 2006, more than 75,000 Virginians — from Abingdon to Fredericksburg and from Norfolk to Winchester — have experienced a "Look Here" exhibition in their community.

The "Look Here" exhibitions are sponsored by SunTrust with support from the Commonwealth of Virginia. Additional support was provided by the Richard S. Reynolds Foundation, the Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Exhibition Endowment, the Fabergé Ball Endowment, the Fabergé Society, and The Council of VMFA.

Next year, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the U.Va. Art Museum will present "Matisse, Picasso and Art in Paris." This exhibition, scheduled to open in March 2009 in Charlottesville, and organized by both institutions, will offer a window onto modern art of the 1920s and 1930s and focus on the School of Paris and its major figures, including Georges Braque, Marc Chagall, Raoul Dufy, Juan Gris, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso. Artworks to be featured have been drawn from The T. Catesby Jones Collections held by both the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the University of Virginia.

The University of Virginia Art Museum is free and open to the public Tuesdays through Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. Parking is available on Bayly Drive off Rugby Road, or in the Central Grounds Parking Garage on Emmet Street.

For information call 434-924-3592 or visit the museum Web site at