‘Evolution of Sight’ Takes Flight

UHD Professor of Art Floyd Newsum is receiving his first large-scale retrospective at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA) in Madison, Wisconsin, from May 20 through October 8, 2023. Entitled “Evolution of Sight,” the exhibition will reflect on the artist’s entire practice, including his paintings and models of his public art commissions, such as sculptures and relief installations.

The exhibition is organized by guest curators Dr. Lauren Cross, Gail-Oxford Associate Curator of American Decorative Arts at The Huntington in San Marino, California, and UHD’s own Mark Cervenka, Professor of Art and O’Kane Gallery Director.

Cross and Cervenka organized the exhibition by engaging in a dialogue that reflects on the depth and extent of the artist’s production. Rather than curating a traditional retrospective, Cervenka looked back to Newsum’s foundational pieces, and Cross is bringing attention to work made in the last few unprecedented years. This collaboration has resulted in a nesting exhibition of early works in conversation with the artist’s most recent series.

“Floyd Newsum is a leading artist whose work has been shown and represented in major institutions and collections across the U.S.,” said Cross. “Newsum’s powerful message of hope transcends time and space and has remained relevant both historically and into the present. I am excited to connect Newsum’s dynamic work and practice with the Madison community through this survey of his work. The interrelationship between Newsum’s style over time—his past figurative works, public art career, and metaphorical abstract paintings—all tell different stories that I believe visitors will connect with today. His productivity and ambition to create monumental work through a global pandemic showcases Newsum’s desire to reinvent new ideas and connect historical moments within our culture to the lived experiences of everyday people.”

Cross’s curatorial practice delves into the untold narratives that are within an artist’s career and examines how they reflect back on our society. She approached Newsum’s work with a fresh perspective yet has been aware of his work for many years. Cervenka, on the other hand, curated an exhibition of Newsum’s work at UHD’s O’Kane Gallery in 2018 and is currently working on a book documenting the artist’s long career.

Newsum’s vivid canvases and often whimsical sculptures will soon fill the main galleries of the MMoCA. As he shares his symbolic works, centered on themes of spirituality, love, family, community, and culture, Newsum will inspire new audiences with his highly personal and unique “expression of the soul.”

Source: UHD News

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