Cornell Fine Arts Museum Announces Winter 2016 Exhibitions

New shows of works featuring avant-garde paintings and stilt-walking costumes will be on view beginning January 16, 2016.

Laura Anderson Barbata in collaboration with Los Zancudos de Zaachila and the Brooklyn Jumbies,
Performance for San Pedro festivities, 2011, Courtesy of the artist, Photo: Marco Pacheco

Laura Anderson Barbata in collaboration with Los Zancudos de Zaachila and the Brooklyn Jumbies, Performance for San Pedro festivities, 2011, Courtesy of the artist, Photo: Marco Pacheco

The Cornell Fine Arts Museum (CFAM) at Rollins College is pleased to announce its winter 2016 exhibition line-up of two dynamic shows. On view from January 16 to April 3, 2016, Doris Leeper: Hard Edges and Transcommunality: Laura Anderson Barbata, Collaboration Beyond Borders are distinct exhibitions featuring everything from avant-garde paintings to costumes, stilts, maquettes, videos, and photographs.

Doris Leeper, Multiple Images: 24, ca. 1975, Collection of Atlantic Center for the Arts
Doris Leeper, Multiple Images: 24, ca. 1975, Collection of Atlantic Center for the Arts

Doris Leeper: Hard Edges

Focusing on the different ways in which Leeper’s work presents crisp lines and strong geometric forms, this exhibition brings together a group of dynamic paintings created in the 1960s and 1970s from local private and public collections. The show includes two loans by Karl Benjamin and Helen Lundeberg, West Coast practitioners of hardedge painting. By showing Leeper’s works within the context of her contemporaries, Doris Leeper: Hard Edges allows the artist’s avant-garde paintings to be seen within a national context and emphasizes how, despite living in relative isolation, she produced work in keeping with major artists and artistic movements.

Helen Lundeberg, Discovery II, 1961, The Feitelson/Lundeberg Art Foundation, courtesy of Louis Stern Fine Arts
Helen Lundeberg, Discovery II, 1961, The Feitelson/Lundeberg Art Foundation, courtesy of Louis Stern Fine Arts

Known to many as “Doc,’’ Leeper was a trailblazing abstract painter and sculptor based in Eldora, Florida, near New Smyrna Beach. Originally from North Carolina, Leeper found an artistic oasis in Central Florida. The region allowed her to work in relative isolation but also augmented her interest in natural preservation. Today, the Doris Leeper Spruce Creek Preserve remains a testament to her environmental dedication. Leeper’s impact on Central Florida also was apparent through her support for artists and cultural engagement. She was, for example, a founder of the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Leeper’s local legacy manifests itself most profoundly through her artistic production. Her bold forms, strong color palette, and propensity for clean lines aesthetically aligned her with minimalism.

To recognize the leadership and celebrate the accomplishments of arts visionaries active in Central Florida from the 1930s through the 1980s, Orange County museums and galleries joined forces and shared collections to create the Art Legends of Orange County initiative. Doris Leeper: Hard Edges is CFAM’s contribution to the initiative, which includes more than 15 exhibitions and events celebrating 20 artists and patrons who helped build Orange County’s vibrant cultural landscape.

“I am delighted to contribute to the legacy of Doris Leeper in this region and to raise awareness about Leeper and other important artists locally,” CFAM Curator Amy Galpin says. “Our show celebrates a local pioneer, but also reinforces the notion that her work is worthy of national prominence.”

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Laura Anderson Barbata in collaboration with the Brooklyn Jumbies, Spontaneous intervention, 2008, Courtesy of the artist, Photo: Frank Veronsky 

Laura Anderson Barbata in collaboration with the Brooklyn Jumbies, Spontaneous intervention, 2008, Courtesy of the artist, Photo: Frank Veronsky

Transcommunality: Laura Anderson Barbata, Collaboration Beyond Borders

This exhibition includes dynamic costumes, stilts, maquettes, videos, and photographs that relate Anderson Barbata’s commitment to performance, social practice, and her long-term engagement with distinctive creative communities.

Transcommunality documents the work of the Mexican-born, New York-based artist, focusing on the decade-long project she pursued with stilt-walking communities in Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico, and Brooklyn.

Laura Anderson Barbata in collaboration with the Brooklyn Jumbies, Intervention: Wall Street, 2011, Courtesy of the artist, Photo: Frank Veronsky

Laura Anderson Barbata in collaboration with the Brooklyn Jumbies, Intervention: Wall Street, 2011, Courtesy of the artist, Photo: Frank Veronsky

“The Transcommunality exhibition aims to connect various cultures through the platform of contemporary art in order to initiate collaborations, exchange, and knowledge.” Anderson Barbata says. “Through this exercise of shared experiences and cultures, we are able to recognize and value each tradition as its own manifestation, which connects us to the past while all voices have a place and are supported by each other.”

Anderson Barbata’s project highlights the vitality of the moko jumbie stilt-walking tradition and demonstrates the possibility of using this storied art form as a platform for social contemporary performance, group participation, and protest. The word “moko” is derived from the name of an African deity, and “jumbie” is a West Indian word for spirit or ghost.

“For 15 years, I have been following the work of Laura Anderson Barbata,” says CFAM Curator Amy Galpin. “It is an honor to share her Transcommunality project with Central Florida. Anderson Barbata’s imaginative and ethereal works included in this exhibition are the result of powerful collaborations between distinctive communities and suggest both the perseverance and evolution of tradition.”

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