Past Exhibits

Art of the South 2016 Juried Exhibition presented by Number: Inc

May 16 – June 17, 2016
Opening reception: May 20

Maria FergusonA juried exhibition, open to all artists 18 and older working in any media residing in AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MA, MO, MS, NC, OK, TN, TX, SC, VA, or WV. Accepted work will be exhibited in one of two locations: The Martha and Robert Fogelman Galleries of Contemporary Art at the University of Memphis and Gallery 121 at Belmont University in Nashville. The two galleries will be connected through Skype the night of the opening (May 20) and will be open to the public from May 16 – June 17, 2016. Juror: Chad Alligood, Assistant Curator of Special Projects at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR.

For more information, please visit numberinc.org/art-of-the-south/

Graphic Design Senior SHOW

Graphic Design Senior Show 2016

May 5, 2016

Reception: Thursday, May 5, 6-8 PM

Join us for a one-night only exhibition of works by graduating University of Memphis undergraduate Graphic Design students. Presenters include Ethan Fowler, Hunter Hamilton, Taylor Holland
Nicole Lee, DaVario Looney, Shakeya Merriweather, Amanda Mize, Britany Neely, and Amy Nguyen.

Spring 2016 MFA THESIS Exhibition

April 11–29, 2016

Opening Reception: Friday April 15, 5-8 PM

Bless This Mess: Holt Brasher and Sarah Best Johnson

Bless This Mess is the MFA thesis exhibition featuring the works of Holt Brasher and Sarah Best Johnson. The title, a Southern colloquialism, reflects not only the two artists' upbringing in Louisiana and Alabama respectively, but also various aspects of their work included in the show itself.

Johnson's presentation is a culmination of drawings and paintings that critique the infantilization of women, the forced gendering of children, and society's repressed obsession with innocence. While decorated dolls are the focus of the paintings, the drawings are a crude reinterpretation of images inspired by obstetrics textbooks. The developing minds of children and the dolls they play with possess an innocence that adults can no longer understand, yet the images she creates are haunting.

Meanwhile, Brasher's work tends to lean towards the "Mess" side. After a decision to confront his identity shaped by the small, country town he grew up in, Brasher began to create a body of work consisting of various installations that deals with prevalent issues in his hometown. In his thesis work, he tackles the idea of the "Alpha Redneck" and the poor health, addictions, and temperament that goes hand in hand with the men identified as such. Influenced by actual men who seek to emulate this constructed identity, he has crafted a presentation of their world through his own artistic stylings, and welcomes viewers to join the conversation.

Red BabyHed

Left: Sarah Best Johnson, Red Baby, 2015. Oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.

Right: Holt Brasher, Hed 1, 2016. Woodcut, spray paint, and oil based ink. Courtesy of the artist.

/pərˈsēv/ /tu/ /ikˈspōz/: Mariah Selitsch Fyke and Katherine Stanley

/pərˈsēv/ /tu/ /ikˈspōz/ is the MFA thesis exhibition featuring photographic works by Mariah Selitsch Fyke and Katherine Stanley.

Art has an ability to engage viewers by bringing them to a particular moment in a situation and environment that the artist has created. Photographer Mariah Selitsch Fyke has been singled out her entire life, predominantly by complete strangers, because of the color of her skin and other physical attributes that would qualify her as different. In the series "Interstice" (2016), Fyke is exploring what visual cues prompt people to read her body as foreign, registering her as "other," in relation to a particular space. She inserts herself into people's homes and daily routines and hides herself in plain sight, often just showing her legs, to create a visual pun establishing a foreign aesthetic. With her work, she creates an indirect confrontation with the viewer, as her body is not always the first thing you see upon viewing the photographs.

Stanley's "Acquired Aberration" series (2015) explores the relationship between human constructed experience and human landscape through the use of altered perception, photographic language, and the passage of time. By constructing photographic montages, the photograph becomes the vehicle through which we question our perception by transforming our normal way of seeing. Borrowing cubist aesthetic strategies, the images physically and internally change our focus and perspective with the use of numerous vantage points. This removed sense of analysis alters our expectations and challenges what we think we know. The photographic language becomes a dialogue and an exploration between the familiar and the unsettling, the stable and the unstable, between believability and disorientation.

Untitled IntersticeUntitled Acquired Aberration

Left: Mariah Selitsch Fyke, Untitled, "Interstice" series, 2016. Digital archival inkjet print, mounted on Styrene. Courtesy of the artist.

Right: Katherine Stanley, 00:10:18, "Acquired Aberration" series, 2015. ChromaLuxe dye-sublimation metal print. Courtesy of the artist.






Spring 2016 BFA Studio Arts Exhibition

In Flux

IN FLUX, the spring 2016 BFA thesis exhibition, features works by nine graduating seniors of The University of Memphis Department of Art: Addie Ray, Cassandra Wery, Kayla Billings, Maggie McGrath, Malory Marlin, Mikeya Oliver, Ruben Garnica, Terrance Mason and Zi Felton. The exhibition is a compilation of works in a variety of mediums including painting, photography, sculpture, and installation art. The presentation celebrates the completion of undergraduate studies and the culmination of each student's artistic exploration and experiences. An opening reception will be held Friday, March 18th from 5-­8 PM in the galleries. The artists will also give a talk about their work in the Art and Communication Building, Room 310, on March 23rd at 7 PM. All events are free and open to the public.


Lawrence Matthews III

Lawrence Matthews III, Cool Aint Cold (Newport), 2016. Digital archival
inkjet print. Courtesy of the artist.

Lawrence Matthews III: The Marketing of Perception

February 15 – March 4, 2016

Opening Reception: Friday, February 19, 2016  5-8 PM

The exhibition Lawrence Matthews III: The Marketing of Perception features Matthews' recent work exploring issues of race, image, and appropriation. Derived from cigarette and alcohol advertisements in issues of Ebony magazine from the 1960s and '70s, the artist's vibrant photographs of African-American men and women, featured out of their original context, provoke questions of image making on both literal and figurative levels. Stemming from Matthews' recent foray into photography, the exhibition also includes the artist's trademark video installations comprised of analog televisions playing commercials from the period.

On his subject matter, Matthews recalls, "In college, I began to collect copies of Ebony from the 1960s and 70s. I was amazed by the progressiveness of the articles, as well as the beautiful photography in the ads. They portrayed Black people as intelligent and successful members of society. However, I began to notice nearly all of these ads where for liquor and cigarettes. Brands I'd known as stereotypically "Black" such as Newport, Seagrams, Hennessy, and Salem were repeated throughout the pages. I started to wonder why products known to be harmful were featured so prominently in a magazine existing to uplift Black Americans."

Matthews' close zoom brings to the forefront products once subtly placed in everyday scenes while his deliberate cropping removes the ad copy that once surrounded these images. His photographs take on new meaning as standalone images of cool, sexy, powerful, and respectable individuals, yet under their veneer, also allude to a contentious, racialized history of corporate power and blighted communities.

Lawrence Matthews III was born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1991. His work ranges from painting, collage, photography, and ready-made sculpture, to music and film. In 2014, Matthews received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Memphis. His work has been included in multiple solo and group exhibitions around the mid-south including Caritas Village, Circuitous Succession Gallery, David Lusk Gallery, and Crosstown Arts, among others. He has received numerous grants and awards including Best of Show at The University of Memphis' 31st Annual Juried Student Exhibition in 2014, the Dean's Creative Achievement Award and Department of Art Creative Achievement Award in 2015.


10th Annual Art Education Alumni Juried Exhibition

10th Annual Art Education Alumni Juried Exhibition

February 15 – March 4, 2016

Opening Reception: Friday, February 19, 2016  3:30-5 PM (awards presented at 4 PM)

In its tenth year, the Annual Art Education Alumni Juried Exhibition features the work of area K-12 art educators who are graduates of The University of Memphis Art Education Program, or who have completed coursework at the University during their teaching preparation or careers. This year's exhibition theme is Finding New Words Through Vision and Creativity. Every year, this exhibition is held during Youth Art Month and is in accordance with the mission and vision of The University of Memphis, the Department of Art, and the Tennessee Art Education Association. Award winners will be selected by this year's judge, Jody Stokes-Casey, Interim Associate Director of Education, Family and School Programs at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.


Kelly HendersonJarvis Boyland Ruben Garnica

Left to Right: Kelly Henderson, Untitled, 2015. Photograph; Jarvis Boyland, Black Boy (detail), 2015. Oil on canvas; Ruben Garnica, Untitled (detail), 2015. Steel.

A tradition for the past 33 years, the 2016 Annual Student Exhibition will feature works by 41 University of Memphis undergraduate and graduate students who have taken courses in the Department of Art. From over 100 submissions, 44 works have been selected by exhibition judge, Michael Aurbach, a Nashville-based artist-educator. Showcasing the breadth and diversity of U of M's student talent, the exhibition is comprised of various media, including ceramics, drawing, graphic design, painting, photography, and sculpture. The exhibition will be on view in The Martha and Robert Fogelman Galleries of Contemporary Art from January 22 to February 5, 2016, as its normal venue, the Art Museum of the University of Memphis, remains closed for renovations.

Student awards have been generously sponsored by The University of Memphis Office of the President, Graduate School, Fogelman College of Business & Economics, and Department of Art, as well as by local institutions and businesses including the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Metal Museum, Dixon Gallery and Gardens, National Civil Rights Museum, and Art Center.

Related Programming

Administrative Vision

Michael Aurbach, Administrative Vision, 2013. Mixed media. Image courtesy of the artist.

"Three Decades of Making Stuff": Public Lecture by Michael Aurbach

Thursday, January 21, 2016
7 PM

Art and Communication Building, Room 310 (3715 Central Avenue; Memphis, TN)
Free and open to the public

Nashville-based artist-educator Michael Aurbach and exhibition judge will reflect on the past three decades of his career. Mr. Aurbach is best known for his socially inspired sculptures that addresses issues of identity, death, institutional power, and contemporary forms of scholarship. He has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards. Among the institutions and foundations that have provided support for his work are the National Endowment for the Arts, the Southern Arts Federation, the Tennessee Arts Commission, Art Matters Inc., the Puffin Foundation, the Beren Foundation, and Vanderbilt University. From 2002-04, he served as president of the College Art Association, the world's largest organization of visual arts professionals.
In December 2015, Aurbach retired as Professor of Fine Arts at Vanderbilt University, having taught sculpture and drawing since1986.

For more information, please visit the artist's website: www.aurbachsculpture.com

Graphic Design Senior Show Poster Fall 2015

Graphic Design Senior Show


  • When: Thursday, December 10th (6pm-8pm)
  • Where: Fogelman Galleries
  • Directions: Click Here

inveterate: toni collums roberts

November 23 – December 4, 2015

The Martha and Robert Fogelman Galleries of Contemporary Art

inveterate: toni collums roberts

The Martha and Robert Fogelman Galleries of Contemporary Art is pleased to present inveterate: toni collums roberts. For this MFA thesis exhibition, Collums Roberts has created a body work lacking the standards of today's visual culture. Spanning both gallery spaces with an installation-based performance involving 8,000 plaster cubes in one, and a video in the other, the exhibition is an attempt at creating a fertile place for boredom to be generated, questioned, or ignored. The combination of these elements creates a space for theories of art and philosophy to merge and morph, examining the possibility that technology's perpetuation of boredom is at the root of contemporary society's darkest fantasies.

Collums Roberts' performance will occur daily throughout the duration of the exhibition.

The Martha and Robert Fogelman Galleries of Contemporary Art is open Monday through Friday from 9 am to 4 pm, but will be closed November 25-29, for the Thanksgiving holiday.


November 13 – 20, 2015

The Martha and Robert Fogelman Galleries of Contemporary Art is pleased to present FOOD, a BFA thesis exhibition featuring works by eight graduating seniors of The University of Memphis Department of Art. This presentation includes the work of Brooke Smith, Adam Clark, Anna Irace, Terrell Harmon, Alli Lemon, Thomas Sully Allen, Anna Maranise, and Zachary Morgan. These young artists' work ranges from ceramics, painting, and sculpture to collage and bookmaking. The exhibition represents a culmination of their individual explorations and experiences—navigating issues concerning relationships, the media, semiotics, nature, and the unnatural.



Two UofM Exhibitions Celebrate Contemporary Folk Art

Folk Art

October 7, 2015 - The exhibitions "The True Gospel Preached Here: Photographs by Bruce West" and "Memphis Collects Contemporary Folk Art" at the Martha and Robert Fogelman Galleries of Contemporary Art at the University of Memphis are on display now until Nov. 6.

"The True Gospel Preached Here" features a selection of photographs by Bruce West documenting the spiritual and creative work of the Rev. H. D. Dennis (1916-2012), a self-proclaimed preacher, artist and architect, and his wife Margaret (1916-2009), in Vicksburg, Miss. West's vibrant photographs explore the fantastic world of the couple who devoted more than 20 years of their lives to converting Margaret's grocery store into an eclectic nondenominational church.

Guided by visions from God, the Rev. H.D. and Margaret erected several painted towers, constructed their own Ark of the Covenant and developed new religious iconography. Rev. Dennis used his ever-evolving church as a roadside attraction to draw in visitors to hear his fiery sermons and orations. A sign at the site's entrance proclaimed, "The True Gospel Preached Here."

Spanning nearly 20 years and multiple site visits, West's photographs are both intimate and bold, revealing the couple's love of God and one another, a sense of commitment to one's work and the transformation of person and place. West is a professor in the Department of Art and Design at Missouri State University. His photographs have appeared in numerous exhibitions throughout the United States and Europe and are included in museum collections such as the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Library of Congress, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Showcasing standout works from several local private collections, "Memphis Collects Contemporary Folk Art" features the paintings, drawings and sculptures of more than 25 self-taught artists, ranging from Rev. Howard Finster, perhaps the South's most famous contemporary folk artist, to the little-known Memphian Floyd "Pussum" Glover. Highlighted are the unconventional materials used by these artists and the common interests they share in religion, social issues and popular culture.

The exhibition also considers the usage of the terms "contemporary folk art" and "outsider art." Contemporary folk art refers to work produced by unschooled artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. Outsider art most appropriately describes the highly individualistic creations of self-taught artists with atypical mental states or disabilities. Central to both is their making at the hands of artists who have taught themselves. "Memphis Collects Contemporary Folk Art" is curated by Dr. Carol Crown, professor emerita in art history at the UofM. Crown is author of numerous publications including Coming Home! Self-Taught Artists, The Bible, and the American South and The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture Volume 23: Folk Art.

"The True Gospel Preached Here: Photographs by Bruce West" and "Memphis Collects Contemporary Folk Art" coincide with the Folk Art Society of America's annual conference, which will be held in Memphis from Nov. 5-8. A free symposium featuring leading scholars of folk art and music will be held Saturday, Nov. 7, from 9 a.m. to noon in 310 Art and Communication Building at the UofM.

The Martha and Robert Fogelman Galleries of Contemporary Art are located in rooms 230 and 240 of the Art and Communication Building, 3715 Central Ave., and provide vastly expanded professional display space for the Art Department. The galleries serve as a valuable educational experience for our students. Additionally, it gives the College of Communication and Fine Arts expanded capacity to bring contemporary working artists to campus to enrich the curriculum and broaden our students' understanding of today's art world within the national and international context.

White(s) Only 

WHITE(S) ONLY seeks to reexamine "whiteness" in the United States from the early twentieth century to the present. Comprised of 22 works by Lester Julian Merriweather, the exhibition elaborates the themes, beliefs, and passions that have concocted America's ideologies in its struggle to deal within and against established institutions, often directly engaging their social contexts. Several works appear as renditions of beloved (to some) icons in a conscious effort to unsettle assumptions about America's racial climate.Lester Merriweather

Lester Julian Merriweather, Hooded, 2015. Wood, plastic, and acrylic latex, 12 x 12 x 12 in. Courtesy of the artist.

The exhibition title, WHITE(S) ONLY, comes primarily from a loaded history of signage that was commonplace to the American era of Jim Crow and the South African era of apartheid. Metaphorically, the title seeks to examine the ever-changing language that encompasses "whiteness" in very literal visual forms. It also underscores the difficulty of neatly defining the country's ethos and inhabitants, a challenge that lies at the heart of understanding America's continually evolving relationship with People of Color. The exhibition's narrative stems from an unending search for culturally in-sensitive titling of everyday household items (specifically here, paint products). The exhibition's installation is a combination of new works on canvas and silkscreens juxtaposed with related found imagery and objects.

WHITE(S) ONLY constitutes a kind of collective memory—one that represents a range of conflicting attitudes toward what America might represent to some as well as what that representation means to/for others. By simultaneously mining and questioning our past, we do not arrive at a comprehensive conclusion, but at a moment ripe with new questions for all to consider.
All works are courtesy of the artist.

The Attendant

August 24 – September 25, 2016
Opening Reception: Friday, August 28, 2016 5-8 PM

Untitled (For M.A.B.T./P.A.D.P.L.)

Hamlett Dobbins, Untitled (For M.A.B.T./P.A.D.P.L.), 2015. Acrylic on canvas, 40 x 48 in. Courtesy of the artist and David Lusk Gallery.

Hamlett Dobbins: The Attendant encompasses a body of recent abstract paintings by artist Hamlett Dobbins, inspired by his interactions with particular people. Though labeled "Untitled," each painting's name is followed by a series of initials—for instance, Untitled (Notes on F.B./J.P.B./G.L.M./T.J.J.)—denoting the person for whom the work was made.

Because the works are based on a specific experience with an individual, each painting tends to have its own sets of parameters and challenges. Discussing the work, Dobbins says, "I use painting to focus on an experience and to wrap myself in the moment. By building the experience I begin to understand what about the moment moved me to paint in the first place." Reverence for these moments can be felt through the meticulousness of Dobbins lines and his color specificity.