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The Patient Eye

Exhibition, April–October 2018
Curated and with installation design and custom wallpaper by Jonathan VanDyke
The Columbus Museum, Georgia

Jonathan VanDyke's installation in the Leebern Gallery of The Columbus Museum features two of his paintings, objects he chose from the museum's collection, and a site-specific wallpaper—
containing over 600 photocopies—that he created for the space. In selecting works from the museum's collection vaults, the artist sought out material that was rarely, if ever, on public view, while blurring the distinction between material culture and works of art. He playfully re-arranged the miniature furnishings inside an early 20th-century dollhouse kitchen and the parts of a wooden block set, imbuing them with new meaning.

Two photographs from the family albums of renowned painter Alma Thomas, found stuck back-to-back, are shown here in a double-sided frame, revealing intimate views of Thomas and her sister John Maurice. A pair of circa 1914 photographs was taken at the Kowaliga School, which offered vocational training for young African-Americans in the Columbus region. The pair of images reveals the same young woman lounging and posing on the school's grounds, taken perhaps minutes apart. Shown side by side, the viewer has an opportunity to contemplate the slightest passing of time as the sitter's identity is framed by the lens.

An important quilt, made by African-American quilter Angeline Pitts between 1875 and 1910, displays an extraordinary array of fabrics, some of which are repeated often, while others appear only a few times. Utilizing the Lone Star pattern, Pitts' pieced quilt makes an ingenious use of scraps when large sections of fabric were scarce. The wallpaper installation picks up on this theme of the scrap, imaging bits of fabric, torn paper, and thread-the types of materials found in the workshop of the quilter, as well as in VanDyke's own studio, where he creates his pieced paintings.

Organized by Jonathan Frederick Walz, Curator of American Art, The Columbus Museum