New gallery opens at Turner Center for the Arts

The painted eyes posted along the walls peer in to the past, drawing perspective in to history...
The painted eyes posted along the walls peer in to the past, drawing perspective in to history and humanity.(WCTV)
Published: Sep. 19, 2021 at 7:51 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - New artists are being featured on the walls of the Turner Center for the Arts. Each piece challenges viewers to interpret aspects of the human spirit.

On Monday the Turner Center for the Arts will hold an opening ceremony for its new gallery.

The painted eyes posted along the walls peer in to the past, drawing perspective in to history and humanity.

“They’re either portrait work or figurative. A lot of these subjects are family members or students, or people that these artists know,” said Curator Bill Shinton. “Not all art is meant to be pleasing and beautiful. Some of it is meant to actually shine the light on some dark subjects in human nature.”

Three new artists will be featured as part of the new gallery: Erin Kendrick and Amy Bennion from Jacksonville, and Travis Simmons from Valdosta.

Each collection highlights the human figure.

For artist Amy Bennion, that history runs through generations.

“A lot of our similar issues are repeated, not only in my siblings but in previous generations of our family, and now in my nieces and nephews,” Bennion said. “So we have sort of echoing stories that are happening.”

The collection is titled, “Your Glass,” inspired by Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

“Look at me and you can see yourself,” Bennion said. “Or look at me and I will tell you who you are.”

Since 2019, Bennion has been gathering interviews and having conversations with her siblings about their shared history, genetics and experiences with mental illness.

Each one of her family members is depicted on the walls of the arts center.

“It did open up a lot of conversations with me siblings that we might not have had it I hadn’t don’t the show,” said Bennion.

The pieces in the gallery are meant to inspire important conversations.

Paintings by Erin Kendrick depict African American women, aiming to spur dialogue about how language and spectatorship impact perception of these women.

Across the gallery hallways, paintings by Travis Simmons explore elements of philosophy, psychology and mythology.

“It’s not all pretty pictures of kittens and flowers,” Shinton said. “Sometimes it’s the dark side of human nature, but powerful art speaks to all of those subject matters.”

As viewers walk through the Turner Art Center walls, artists hope each piece will spark new conversations and a search for their own meaning.

“Looking to these, that are very specific to my family, my story, my sibings’ stories. But then hopefully that opens something up their own stories as well,” Bennion said.

An opening reception will be held at the Turner Center for the Arts on Monday at 5pm. The event is free and open to the public.

The pieces will be on display through November 3.

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