CSU to Open "Figure as Narrative" Art Exhibition

COLUMBUS, Ga. - The Columbus State University Department of Art presents works by nationally respected artists in the exhibition The Figure as Narrative: Compelling Allusions Feb. 23-March 27 in the Corn Center for the Visual Arts’ Illges Gallery. An opening reception, 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23 will include a 6 p.m. gallery talk by curator and CSU art history professor Barbara J. Johnston.

Johnston has organized works by Nancy Morgan Barnes, Bo Bartlett, Heidi Brar, Brian Kreydatus, Greig Leach and Nicole McCormick Santiago. “The exhibition explores the human figure’s power, through gesture and glance to allude to richly compelling visual tales that run the narrative gamut from the mundane to the bizarre,” Johnston said. “Each artist approaches the figure in a unique manner, placing them in settings and situations that are seemingly identifiable while having an evocative, mysterious quality that draws the viewer into the piece.”

Johnston also said the pieces involve mystery and memory, odd juxtapositions and improbable coincidences that suggest the depth and breadth of human existence. “The titles of the works are integral to viewer’s perception of each piece and vary from the humorous to the mystifying, enhancing both the narrative richness of each work and the deeper meaning hidden within the image.”




Nancy Morgan Barnes’ career as a painter and art educator spans more than 25 years. She has received numerous awards and participated in about 80 solo and group exhibitions in the United States, Canada and Italy. She and her husband, artist Robert Barnes, retired in 2000 to Maine where Nancy continues to paint “genre scenes” of ordinary events depicted in extraordinary ways: “My search for paintable scenes of modern daily life has led me to places where people live, work, and play … I hope that my paintings honestly and positively reflect the complexity of contemporary life.”

Bo Bartlett is an artist of international reputation and one of this country’s premier realist painters, working in the manner of Thomas Eakins and Andrew Wyeth. A native of Columbus, Bartlett was educated at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and brings a modernist vision to the tradition of American realism. His works focus on the beauty of the American people and landscape while expressing the deep personal significance he finds in the commonplace and the extraordinary. The multilayered imagery is built on figural narratives drawn from the memories and experiences of his own life and the lives of his friends and family. His massive paintings are imbued with epic, archetypal themes of love, life, death, conflict, rites of passage and the “universal home.”

Heidi Brar has shown her artwork steadily in group and solo shows for the past 10 years. Her paintings portray figures interacting with the landscape. Their colorful, vigorously painted forms contrast with the rugged coastline and broad expanses of sea and sky. Her narratives appear deceptively simple and straightforward but possess the timeless quality of childhood memories and recollections of summer days by the sea. She currently teaches at the College of William and Mary’s Washington, D.C. campus.

Brian Kreydatus chair of art and art history at the College of William and Mary., has received numerous awards and honors and has had solo exhibitions in Ireland, Philadelphia, Washington, and Chicago. He also has participated in group shows around the world. His primary source of imagery is the figure, usually of close friends and relatives depicted in an unadorned way that emphasizes the corporeal quality of the human figure and its implications for mediation on the human condition.

Greig Leach is a painter, sculptor, and printmaker based in Richmond, Va., and New York City. He has exhibited nationally for 20-plus years, and his work is found in museums and numerous corporate and private collections. He also has was chosen as a visiting artist to the American Academy in Rome. Drawing on a combination of memory, sketches and life experience, his paintings are filled with a vibrating energy as his figures move through their daily lives, interacting with each other in a variety of venues to create narratives that are both humorous and profound.

Nicole McCormick Santiago is noted for using quiet, commonplace domestic scenes as her stage and capturing the internal narratives of her figures, which are often thinly veiled by their appearance, possessions, or actions: “My goal is to give insight into the social roles and relationships of my figures and to suggest something more about their lives, said McCormick, who also is part of the College of William and Mary faculty.

Illges Gallery hours are noon-4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free. For more information, call 706-507-8300. The gallery is part of CSU’s RiverPark campus at 6 West 10th St. in downtown Columbus. For more information, call 706-507-8301.