William Christenberry: Changing Landscapes-The Source Revisited
October 4-December 29, 2001
William Christenberry, Rear of House after Removal of Kitchen; T.B. Hicks' Store; Red Building in Forest; South End of Palmist Building, 2001, Collection of the artist(clockwise, beginning in top left corner)
"William Christenberry is an exemplary artist whose poignant, sensitive works effectively communicate on a profound moral and poetic level. The beloved rural Southern landscape of his childhood has become his inspiring subject ever since he painted Tenant House I in 1960. Since then, the rural landscape with its structures, signs, outwards and inner nuances, and secrets, has found its way into Mr. Christenberry’s imagination. With his striking array of works, including photographs, drawings, wall constructions, and sculptures, the artist deals with emotionally charged manifestos of the known places an the effects of time on that place. In particular, Mr. Christenberry explores many powerful images the South offers, including its vanishing man-made structures, its ever-present vegetation, and the Ku Klux Klan. Mr. Christenberry’s work demonstrates that aesthetics and ethics are inseparable forces for him."
"The strength of William Christenberry’s vision comes from his recognition that ultimately, the local is global and that the specific is general. Although his consciousness has been permanently shaped by his childhood, family history and the landscape of rural Alabama, it is his sense of duty to deal with all things, difficult or tragic as well as things that he loves, that gives his breath to his art. Even though Mr. Christenberry is a master of several visual media including drawing, painting, sculpture, and photography, he also has a strong relationship to the poetics of the written word, resulting in honest and interconnected groups of works. He allows his audience to experience and be affected by his deep relationship to the world that has shaped him, without the viewers necessarily knowing the particulars."
Dream Building III, William Christenberry, 2001,
Collection of the Robert Mangrum.
-Milena Kalinovska, Guest Curator