Title: Art Exhibit: Southern Gothic: Literary Intersection with Art from the Johnson Collection, Richardson Family Art Museum (upper level)
  Date: Sep 12, 2019
  Time: 1:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  Calendar: Arts and Cultural (On Campus)
  Contact: Youmi Efurd
  Description:

From the haunting novels of William Faulkner to the gritty short stories of Flannery O'Connor, the Southern Gothic literary tradition has exhumed and examined the American South’s unique mystery, contradictions, and dark humor. Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, American writers, epitomized by Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne, sought to reinterpret the Gothic imagination of their European counterparts, dramatizing the cultures and characters of a region in the midst of civil war and its tumultuous aftermath. Decades later, a new generation of authors—including Tennessee Williams, Carson McCullers, and Toni Morrison—wove Gothic elements into their own narratives, exploring the complexities of a changing social terrain and the ancient spirits that linger in its corners. 

With works drawn exclusively from the Johnson Collection, Southern Gothic illuminates how nineteenth- and twentieth-century artists employed a potent visual language to transcribe the tensions between the South’s idyllic aura and its historical realities. Often described as a mood or sensibility rather than a strict set of thematic or technical conventions, features of the Southern Gothic can include horror, romance, and the supernatural. While academic painters such as Charles Fraser and Thomas Noble conveyed the genre’s gloomy tonalities in their canvases, Aaron Douglas and Harry Hoffman grappled with the injustices of a modern world. Other artists, including Alexander Brook and Eugene Thomason, investigated prevailing stereotypes of rural Southerners—a trope often accentuated in Southern Gothic literature. Collectively, these images demonstrate that definitions of the Gothic are neither monolithic nor momentary, inviting us, instead to contemplate how the Southern Gothic legacy continues to inform our understanding of the American South.

  Location: Richardson Family Art Museum (Upper Level)