A! Magazine for the Arts

Frame installation by Charles Clary

Frame installation by Charles Clary

'Lift Your Spirits' exhibit celebrates creativity at William King Museum

January 24, 2022

The McGlothlin Exhibition Series presents “Lift Your Spirits: Nurturing the Human Spirit Through Creativity,” on display at William King Museum of Art in Abingdon, Virginia, Feb. 3 through May 29. Learn more about the exhibit at williamkingmuseum.org.

This group exhibition celebrates the cathartic effect and the power that creativity can have on us when we engage in it and allow ourselves to be creative. It has been proven that engaging in creative activities nourishes the human spirit; this varies from artist to artist and is also applied to collectors. This exhibition investigates several questions. Why do we create? Why are we drawn to art enough to construct it and collect it? In what ways does art aid us in our own catharsis?

Surrounded by thousands of hand-cut butterflies, visitors experience the fully immersive and calming installation of Christina Laurel’s work “Refugium.” A refugium is a specific environment in which a species can survive, whereas outside this environment it cannot. Laurel notes, “Key to our survival is refuge within an oasis of calm, a counter-balance to the sensory bombardment of our daily lives.” “Refugium” is intended to be such an oasis.

Charles Clary also uses hand-cut paper to explore emotion by channeling grief into conceptual and meticulous works of art. His elegantly framed works entice the viewer with childhood memories of walls adorned with family photos, and yet the sculptural worlds that emerge and recede in each frame, tell a different story.

One collector’s acquisition of Haitian Drapo Art Flags honors the spirits and beliefs of the individual artists themselves, all the while instilling a sense of hope, protection and esoteric divinity. The narratives within each beaded flag offer a coalescence of religious tradition and contemporary art practice.

Deeply inspired by the masters, Demond Melancon works solely with needle and thread to sew glass beads onto canvas. He has developed a contemporary art practice using the same beading techniques he’s applied over the past 28 years as a Black Masker. Melancon’s work is used as a tool to mine topics such as stereotypical representations of Black identity. His work reflects his interest in storytelling and redefining the notions of portraiture.

Art has the power to connect us, inspire us and heal us, whether you make it, enjoy it or collect it. Art can offer moments of respite, aid us in confronting trauma, give us a sense of hope and provide us an avenue for catharsis.

Tours at Two, a free curator-led tour of the exhibition, is held Sunday March 20, at 2 p.m. Call Anna Buchanan at (276) 628-5005 ext.106 to reserve a spot. Learn more about upcoming exhibitions online at williamkingmuseum.org or call (276) 628-5005.

William King Museum of Art is open seven days a week: Monday through Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from 1- 5 p.m. Admission to the museum is free.