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Exhibit includes sculpture, performance works

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The “Little Light” exhibition, featuring sculpture and performance works by artist Harriet Hoover, will launch the Barton Art Galleries’ 2018-19 season. An opening reception and gallery lecture, featuring the artist, will be held on Thursday, Aug. 23, in Case Art Building on the campus of Barton College.

The reception will begin at 5 p.m., with the lecture following at 6 p.m. The exhibition will be on view through Sept. 28. This opening event and the exhibition will be open to the public at no charge, and the community is invited to attend.

“In ‘Little Light — An Antiquarian’s Unease,’ Hoover presents sculptures and photographs that explore the curious role objects have in our fragile relationship with the near past,” noted Maureen O’Neill, assistant professor of art and director of exhibitions and education programming for the Barton Art Galleries. “This project is inspired by the tale of a missing lantern, and its fictitious role in the heroic and monstrous chapters of early American history. Hoover combines the visual tropes of battlefields, Southern garden design, distorted family heirlooms and provisional building materials to assemble representations of problematic family mythologies and ancestral identity.”

Hoover is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice is concerned with connecting the past and present with the personal and social through sculpture, performance and curatorial endeavors. She uses ordinary materials of everyday life, such as soap, gum wrappers and toothpicks, along with family heirlooms that she distorts and manipulates, to create sculptures and performances that explore personal responses to space, place and memory. Her process begins with walking, drawing, measuring and collecting objects, sounds and oral histories from the sites she chooses, assembling an eclectic store of materials to inform the visual expression of her work.

The work itself reflects the diversity of its components, often taking the hybrid form of figure and machine. “I am not interested in a didactic result or overt political narrative,” Hoover said. “Rather, I create open-ended sculptural work that encourages the viewer to connect with their own experiences and narrative.” In her performances, these qualities are heightened through repetitive gestures and movement, referencing labor, agricultural practices and other cultural signifiers that describe the social, environmental and political landscapes of her own history and the communities she has lived in.

Her work has been featured in “Art on Paper” at the Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro, the “People’s Biennial II” at The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, and at LIGHT Art + Design in Chapel Hill.

Hoover is the recipient of the 2016-2017 North Carolina Arts Council Artist Fellowship Award. She studied Art + Design + Textile Technology at North Carolina State University and received an Master of Fine Arts in sculpture from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Hoover was formerly the coordinator of studio, teen and college programs at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh. She currently serves as the associate department head of fine art and foreign language at Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh. She lives and works in Chapel Hill.

The Barton Art Galleries, located inside Case Art Building on the campus of Barton College, are open Monday­ through Friday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., or by appointment. For additional information, contact Maureen O’Neill, director of exhibitions and educational programming for the Barton Art Galleries at 252-399-­6476 or artgalleries@barton.edu.

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