Ruin is a Secret Oasis


Somewhere South of Violet, 2008


March 13–July 7, 2018

Opening Reception: Thursday, April 19, 2018, 6–8:00 p.m.

It is precisely their fragmentary nature and lack of fixed meaning that render ruins deeply meaningful. They blur boundaries between rural and urban, past and present and are intimately tied to memory, desire and a sense of place.
—Tim Edensor, Industrial Ruins: Space, Aesthetics and Materiality

My studio in downtown Memphis is in an old medicine factory at the end of a dead-end street. Last in a row of empty warehouses, the building is an outpost of long-gone industry, surrounded by empty lots, crumbling edifices and thick copses of trees. The Mississippi River flows by less than a mile away, but leaves this area untouched by its progress.

I am drawn to the forgotten, to the mysterious traces of memory in our physical world. My work references objects and places that continue their slow transformation after someone turns away: rich, charged, vibrating places. Rooted on the edges of our world, these thin spaces are quietly pulsing with a kind of murmuring remembrance: the crumbling wall with flowering vines pushing through the cracks, the drape and sway of a fence that separates nothing from nothingness, the silhouette of folding and unfolding structures. Neglected and abandoned, these mysterious sites live on in an active collapse, their old stories settling into their foundations and becoming new ones as nature reclaims them for their own.

Starting with photographic documentation of these sites, I work through an intricate and laborious process of tracing, drawing and layering of gouache that puts the painting at a remove from the original photograph. Through this method, the image is abstracted and reduced to its essence, while the inherent ephemerality of the site is echoed in the material terrain of found paper. Out of decay and isolation a poetry of resilience and new growth is revealed. The works in Ruin is a Secret Oasis mine this liminal space—the region between the bloom and the decay—and pursue the sense of place these sites inspire. In them, beauty is resilience and an acknowledgement of the ravages of nature and time. Through this imagery I explore a landscape of change and the traces of experience that remain.

—Maysey Craddock

Exhibition made possible by support from the Jane Becker Heidelberg Endowment for the Arts.

Mississippi Collegiate Art Competition

February 6–March 10, 2018

Reception and Awards Ceremony: February 10, 2018, 2–4:00 p.m.
(Awards Ceremony at 3:00 p.m.)

The Mississippi Collegiate Art Competition is a student art exhibition for all four-year college and university students within the state. This exhibit of student work—created in all mediums and completed within the last 12 months—is juried by Dan Brawner, Chair, Graphic Design, Watkins College of Art, Design, & Film (Nashville, TN).

EL Yoga, 4.05, 105

EL Yoga, 5.03, 149

Mary Zicafoose Video Interview

Conservator Presentation

Friday, February 2, 2018
4:30 p.m.

followed by light refreshments

Conservator, Amy Abbe, will discuss her process in a slide show presentation and will show examples of works she has restored. Amy trained and worked as a sculpture and objects conservator for more than 15 years in museums and institutions in the Northeast, and is now living in Athens, Georgia, and serving the Southeast region.

She has extensive experience conserving sculpture and objects in materials as varied as stone, metal, wood, ceramics, basketry, polymers, and painted surfaces.

She worked previously as an Associate Objects Conservator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She’s also worked for other major NYC institutions, including the Guggenheim Museum and the American Museum of Natural History, and for a prominent private conservation studio. She completed advanced internships at the Walters Art Museum and Harvard Art Museums and has also been a site conservator on multiple excavations in Turkey.

She trained in conservation and studied art history at the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, after studying classical archaeology and chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Amy Jones Abbe maintains memberships in several conservation professional organizations and adheres to the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice in her work.

Conservation Observation Week

Aphrodite sculpture

Wednesday, January 31, 2018
10:30–11:00 a.m. and 3:30–4:00 p.m.

Conservator Amy Abbe will be working on ancient marble sculptures from the David M. Robinson Collection of Greek and Roman Art. This is the first conservation done on the Collection at the Museum in over twenty years! Work will be performed in one of the Mary Buie Galleries. We invite anyone with an interest in the process to please stop by for public viewing and Q&A sessions during one of the scheduled times listed above. Following her week long residency, Amy Abbe will give a short talk about her work performed on the marble sculptures, as well as two Greek vases, also from the Robinson Collection.

Mary Zicafoose Artist’s Lecture & Reception

Mountain-For-Buddha, Wine

Mountain For Buddha – Wine, photograph by Kirby Zicafoose


Mary Zicafoose Artist’s Lecture & Reception

January 24, 2018

6–8:00 p.m.


Mary ZicafooseMary Zicafoose is largely a self taught weaver; she received her B.F.A. from St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana. Her graduate studies include the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Nebraska. She credits her courage at the dye pot to the influence of painter Mark Rothko and her designs to every textile she has seen and touched. Ms. Zicafoose’s work is exhibited in over twenty U.S. Embassies worldwide, as part of the State Department’s fiber arts collections.
She will discuss her career and current exhibition, Fault Lines.


The artist will also present a loom-based demonstration,The Art of Ikat, at the Oxford Fiber Arts Festival

January 26, 2018
9:00 a.m.

413 S. 14th Street

Museum Entrance Enhancements

Commencing in the month of January, 2018 the Museum is making an entrance adjustment that will improve both our security and the visual quality of visitor arrival experience: the Side Door off the parking lot will become Museum Staff Only and all Visitors will be asked to use the main Front entrance.

This change is associated with the exciting introduction of our new Admission Desk, which has been custom-fabricated by artisan furniture makers Limber Timber, working with Museum staff members Melanie Munns and Taylor Kite.

We have been addressing several matters of arrival experience and Facility upgrades which include the Admission Desk now being sited along the South wall of the Lobby—(on the right upon entry). The former admission desk placement directly in front of the Permanent Collection galleries has been eliminated.

In the process of these adjustments, it becomes necessary to close the Side Door in part due to our Security Staff and Student workers no longer having a direct sightline down the long hallway to that side entrance. In no small degree due to the very high number of young children who are in the Museum so many days, we have a distinct obligation to assure that all visitors to the Museum are directly observed upon entry.

Of course, several benefits follow from this change, not least of which is the elimination of the ‘first-impression’ challenge we have had for so many years: such a high percentage of Visitors having entered through the Side Door being required to traverse a concrete-block hallway toward a generic office-supply metal desk as their initial experience of the Museum.

While we are certain that the main Front Entrance becoming the sole public entry will result in a much higher-quality arrival experience, and convey a much stronger initial impression of the Museum, we recognize that patterns of access via the door nearest the Parking Lot have many years of existence, and even habit for our frequent guests.

As a result, we ask for everyone’s patience with this change—with the extra 50 steps required perhaps constituting a fitness benefit, as they correspondingly result in a first-impression improvement of very high magnitude.

Many thanks, everyone.

Robert Saarnio, Director

EL Minimasters/4.12, 116