Vibrant summer shows use different approaches to explore the natural world

Amanda McCavour (Canadian, born 1985). Pink Field, Blue Fog, detail, 2016–2022. Thread, machine embroidery. Location: Louisiana Tech University, School of Design Gallery. Photographer: Amanda McCavour.

Amanda McCavour (Canadian, born 1985). Pink Field, Blue Fog, detail, 2016–2022. Thread, machine embroidery. Location: Louisiana Tech University, School of Design Gallery. Photographer: Amanda McCavour.

Columbia, S.C. – The Columbia Museum of Art announces two fresh summer exhibitions, both organized by the CMA, that offer complementary expressions of perspective, technique, and the natural world. In the Shadow of Monet: Giverny and American Impressionism, opening Saturday, June 11, features the work of over 40 American artists who traveled to Giverny at the turn of the 20th century to explore the avant-garde art movement of Impressionism. Amanda McCavour: Bright Little Day Stars, opening Saturday, June 18, features immersive, large-scale embroidered installations, including one brand-new work, from contemporary artist Amanda McCavour.

Both new exhibitions will be honored at the Members’ Opening Celebration on Friday, June 17. McCavour herself will be in attendance to give a talk that evening as well as a public talk on opening day of her exhibition.

“This summer the CMA is thrilled to present two exhibitions that bring the outdoors in,” says CMA Director of Art and Learning Jackie Adams. “Spotlighting an exploration of color, light, medium, and materials, artists of the historic Giverny Colony reimagined their natural and built surroundings through groundbreaking painting techniques, while today Amanda McCavour’s floating botanical gardens offer up surreal and immersive environments. Moving from one exhibition to the next, viewers will experience how McCavour’s work brings to life the paintings of the Impressionists, and vice versa. We are delighted for visitors to experience these grand reimaginations through side-by-side exhibitions that usher in summer’s vibrant and playful vibes.”

Visitors will walk through four galleries of American Impressionism, with flickering brushstrokes and gorgeous colors, and then have the extraordinary spatial experience of entering into McCavour’s gallery installations. The effect will be like walking into a painting that has been magically atomized.

In the Shadow of Monet: Giverny and American Impressionism
On view June 11 – September 4, 2022

In 1883, French Impressionist painter Claude Monet (1840–1926) settled in Giverny, a French village nestled at the confluence of the Seine and Epte rivers. This is the scene of the CMA’s beloved Monet landscape painting, The Seine at Giverny (L'Île aux Orties, Giverny), on view in this exhibition. Glimpses of the new, still-radical Impressionist style he pioneered inspired many American artists to go study in France where the movement was developing in real time.

American artists traveled to Giverny and home again for four decades at the turn of the 20th century, transforming the American art scene. This exhibition features over 40 artists, including Giverny Colony founders Willard Metcalf and Louis Ritter as well as Richard Edward Miller, Lilla Cabot Perry, John Singer Sargent, Mary Fairchild MacMonnies, and Guy Rose. It also includes two of the CMA’s rarely seen watercolors by Blondelle Malone, a Columbia artist who was one of those Americans to venture to Giverny. She pursued a meeting with Monet and painted in his garden in 1904.

While other villages outside Paris, such as Barbizon and Pont-Aven, made for summertime painting idylls for the French, Giverny seemed to attract artists from abroad. English was the dominant language among these artists, and so this colony had its own mood and sensibility. Monet served as a reluctant figurehead for personal exploration among the settings he popularized, including his famous haystacks. Those in the artist’s inner circle, like John Singer Sargent, worked directly with him in his garden, while Monet’s stepdaughter Blanche Hoschedé-Monet served as a conduit to the first young artist arrivals and often painted with them in her father’s garden.

The exhibition reflects the different generations of those attracted to Giverny — from the first intrepid painters in the mid-1880s to those more established artists who settled there in the early 1900s, some even staying through World War I.

Vibrant in terms of painterliness and wonderful color, In the Shadow of Monet is an opportunity to see works that reside in private collections and away from view, with a few spotlight loans from other art museums as well as pieces from the CMA Collection. This exhibition is an introduction to many artists visitors may not already know and a way to see how art movements spread geographically. Impressionism was a transitional modern movement that offered a new freedom to modern artists to experiment with seeing and conveying the world around them.

Organized by the Columbia Museum of Art.

Amanda McCavour: Bright Little Day Stars
On view June 18 – October 2, 2022

Poet Martha Lavinia Hoffman describes flowers as “bright little day stars scattered all over the earth.” Artist Amanda McCavour lifts those stars up into the air in this exhibition, creating hovering constellations of colorful flora. The Toronto-based artist creates astonishing embroideries by stitching into water-soluble fabric she then dissolves to leave only the stitching. She is interested in thread’s assumed vulnerability, its ability to unravel, and its strength when it is sewn together.

Pink Field, Blue Fog (2016–2022) transforms an entire gallery into an abstracted field of flowers, complete with hovering cloud. Bright Little Day Stars also includes Bloom (2022), a brand-new body of floral work in colored metal, also hanging from the gallery ceilings to create an immersive environment. Created specifically for this exhibition, it consists of circular wire shapes based on mathematical roulette curves found in the popular Spirograph toys translated into sculptural lines.

“I’m often inspired by things that are related to memory and looking back,” says McCavour. “This is a common theme I can see throughout my room pieces, the more abstract dream spaces and some pieces inspired by botany. It is important to me that the subjects relate to the material of thread somehow — either its delicacy or transparency.”

McCavour holds a BFA from York University, where she studied drawing and installation, and has recently completed her MFA in fibers and material studies at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. McCavour shows her work in galleries nationally and internationally with recent solo exhibitions in Gatineau, Quebec; Williamsport, Pennsylvania; and Vancouver, British Columbia. She has received grants and awards from The Canada Council for the Arts, The Ontario Crafts Council, The Toronto Arts Council, The Handweavers and Spinners Guild of America, The Ontario Society of Artists, The Surface Design Association, and The Embroiderers Guild of America for her work.

Organized by the Columbia Museum of Art.

Opening Programs

Public Tour: In the Shadow of Monet
Sunday, June 12 | 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Thursday, June 16 | 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Immerse yourself in a world of nature and light on this guided tour that explores the work of American Impressionists and their experiences in France. Free with membership or admission.

Contemporaries 101: Wine, Cheese, and Reflections of Bright Little Day Stars with Amanda McCavour
Wednesday, June 16 | 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Join CMA affinity group The Contemporaries for an exclusive preview of the exhibition Amanda McCavour: Bright Little Day Stars. McCavour joins us for a private tour and conversation. Refreshments provided by The Gourmet Shop. $40 / $30 for Contemporaries members.

Members’ Opening Celebration
Friday, June 17 | 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
CMA members are invited to celebrate new summer exhibitions Amanda McCavour: Bright Little Day Stars (the night before it opens to the public) and In the Shadow of Monet: Giverny and American Impressionism. The evening features a conversation between CMA Executive Director Della Watkins and Martha Severens, guest curator for In the Shadow of Monet, at 6:00 p.m. as well as a talk from exhibition artist Amanda McCavour at 7:00 p.m. Free. Members only. Light hors’ d'oeuvres and cash bar.

Opening Day Artist’s Talk with Amanda McCavour
Saturday, June 18 | 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
On opening day of her exhibition, hear from artist Amanda McCavour as she discusses her processes and the inspiration behind Amanda McCavour: Bright Little Day Stars. Free with membership or admission.

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In the Shadow of Monet: Giverny and American Impressionism is presented through the support of our generous sponsors and grantors. Supporting Sponsors: Anonymous; Patricia L. Beckler; Joyce and George Hill. Contributing Sponsors: Barbara and Roger Blau; Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough. Friend Sponsors: Barbara B. Boyd; The Braddock Group of Janney Montgomery Scott LLC; Joseph Bruce. Patron Sponsors: Columbia Museum of Art Docent Corps; John Kerr and Susan Gina Trippi; Margo Newton and Tom Collins; Rogers Lewis Jackson Mann & Quinn, LLC; Brenda and Joe Sullivan. Grantors: City of Columbia; Richland County Government; South Carolina Arts Commission; South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism.

Amanda McCavour: Bright Little Day Stars is presented through the support of our generous sponsors and grantors. Friend Sponsors: Barbara B. Boyd; Columbia Museum of Art Contemporaries; Ann Marie Stieritz and John Carran. Patron Sponsors: Beth and Matthew Richardson; Bill Schmidt. Grantors: City of Columbia; Richland County Government; South Carolina Arts Commission; South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism. The artist would like to acknowledge funding support from the Canada Council for the Arts and from the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.


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