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Reece Museum opens new exhibit

Wallflowers: Antique Portrait Photographs

Published: Sunday, January 26, 2014

Updated: Sunday, January 26, 2014 22:01

The Reece Museum on campus is the perfect place to visit during one of those awkward hour-long breaks between classes, especially when we all need refuge from the winter wind howling outside.

Current exhibits at the Reece Museum are Wallflowers: Antique Portrait Photographs from the Permanent Collection and Life in the City: The Art of Joseph Delaney.

The permanent collection Early History of Country Music in the Tri-Cities is also worth viewing.

 Wallflowers, curated by Shannon Brown, showcases photographs that are part of the Reece Museum’s permanent collection.

The prints are paired with timeworn frames, also from the permanent collection.

 Most are photographs, but there are also some hand drawn portraits.

The portraits, representing mostly anonymous people, offer a glimpse into the lives of people now long-gone.

 Through aged prints and past torn edges, human faces stare out of the frames, most with solemn expressions, but some wearing broad smiles.

The subjects include people of various ages and time periods.

One displays an elderly woman surrounded by bouquets of flowers, while another presents a young boy wearing a straw hat.

A few others display brides in all their lacy glory.

A visitor only has walk across the foyer to view a completely different exhibit.

Life in the City showcases many works by artist Joseph Delaney.

Born in Knoxville, Tenn., in 1904, the African-American artist ended up studying art in New York.

He lived there for the next 56 years until returning to Knoxville and occupying the post of artist-in-residence for the University of Tennessee Department of Art, a post he held until his death in 1991.

On exhibit are watercolor paintings, charcoal and ink sketches, and other works created using pastels and oils.

One room showcases many landscapes, such as beach scenes and cityscapes.

Delaney also captured vibrant city events like parades, strikes and sports victories.

Also included in the current exhibit are Delaney’s sketch books, enclosed in glass, and dozens of portraits, including a few self-portraits.

Most, though, focus on African-American subjects and are untitled.

Derek Drew, a federal student worker who has worked at the museum for about a year and a half, provided helpful information about upcoming exhibits.

On March 4, The Life of Louise Goff Reece will be unveiled.

There is some talk of assembling this exhibit in conjunction with the Women’s Studies program at ETSU.

The centerpiece will be Ms. Reece, whom Drew described as a “transitional woman” and a “powerful female figure in the community.”

With Black History Month coming up in February and Women’s History Month in March, now is the perfect time to see these unique, beautiful, and resonant exhibits at the Reece Museum.

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