Making Place: Nancy Lancaster and the Country House Style

In the early decades of the 20th century, the Virginia-born tastemaker Nancy Lancaster (1897-1994) created an interior aesthetic we now know as the Country House style. Based on a nostalgia for her family home, Mirador, and responsive to the cultural shifts of the post-World War I era, the style conflated ideas born of the Lost Cause and the Lost Houses – the post-war demolition of the great English estates and their pre-war lifestyles. This talk considers the style’s narrative and material composition as symptomatic of an era and Lancaster’s idealization of “home.”

Collecting for the Commonwealth, Preserving for the Nation: A Century of Art Patronage at VMFA

In 1919, John Barton Payne made a gift of artworks to the Commonwealth of Virginia. His vision: a public art museum that could educate and unite a disparate people. A hundred years on, VMFA has emerged a leading repository of great world art. That success is due to the passion and persistence of a century of patrons who, on the example of Payne, have collected, donated, bequeathed, and financed more than 35,000 works for the benefit of the people. Highlighting VMFA’s most transformational donors with representative selections from its diverse holdings, Collecting for the Commonwealth is a celebration of Payne’s legacy and its underscored belief in art as a medium of humanity.

Of Glitter and Grit: American Art from the McGlothlin Collection

From the early investment in landscape as the mythological source of America’s manifest destiny, to the closing of the frontier and the rise of a gilded empire, to the disaffection caused by rapid economic, social and political change: the development of the United States finds visual voice in the American art of the McGlothlin Collection. This talk considers the content and context of the McGlothlin collection as a lens on the evolution of America during the formative decades of 1830 to 1930.

A Return to the Grand Tour: Micromosaic Jewels from the Collection of Elizabeth Locke

Elizabeth Locke’s collection of micromosaics provides a lens on the continuity of the ancient craft of mosaic into the modern era. As well-heeled English travelers crossed the channel to tour the “cradle of western civilization,” Roman mosaicists responded to the demand for classically-inspired works by producing micromosaics evocative of their journey. This talk considers the historical legacy of Locke’s collection within the context of the Grand Tour.

The Gilded Age: A Tale of Two Bedrooms

From the 1880s Aestheticism of VMFA’s Worsham-Rockefeller bedroom to the 1910s neoclassicism of Beulah Branch’s boudoir, the Gilded Age was remarkable for an eclecticism reflective of both technological advances and socio-economic change. This talk considers the content and context of patronage and taste that shaped elite bedrooms of the era.

Talk – Confluence: Artist Blythe King’s Complex Women

Blythe King creates richly layered portraits that weave together images from an eclectic array of source material. Her work combines image transfer, photo collage, Zen calligraphy, and gold leaf to reveal the complexity of feminine identity. Join King in a conversation about how her background in Buddhist philosophy, Japanese art, antique collecting, as well as her interest in popular culture, informs the creation of her art.

Program – Layers of Meaning: Creating Image Transfer Portraits for Historical Projects

By creating portraits, artists have long held a pivotal role in recording history. Contemporary artists create visual narratives that represent the complexity of history and historical figures. Image transfer provides new opportunities for artists to develop this avenue of exploration. The image transfer process produces a transparent image that allows for the visibility of multiple collaged layers within a single work of art all at once. Learn the image transfer process to transform copies of photographs, as well as images and text from magazines and books into transparent layers within your art. This workshop offers an introduction to a variety of methods of using safe, non-toxic adhesives to manually transfer images, with a focus on portraiture, visual narrative, contrast, and composition. After learning this new skill, continue to experiment with combining various media, source material, and collage techniques to create multidimensional, layered, mixed-media portraits. Work on a variety of surfaces, including fabric, paper, and wood.

Age range: prefer middle and high school students, but open to all ages 12+
Class size: prefer 8-10 participants, 15 max

Program – Altering Images: Photographic Transfers for Painting, Printmaking, and Collage

Image transfer provides artists with the option to create photographic images without the use of a camera. The image transfer process produces a transparent image that allows for the visibility of multiple collaged layers within a single work of art all at once. Learn this process to transform copies of photographs, as well as drawings, images and text from magazines and books into transparent layers within your art. This workshop offers an introduction to a variety of methods of using safe, non-toxic adhesives to manually transfer images, with a focus on contrast, composition, and repurposing materials. After learning this new skill, continue to experiment with combining various media, source material, and collage techniques to create multidimensional, layered works of art. Work on a variety of surfaces, including fabric, paper, and wood.

Age range: prefer middle and high school students, but open to all ages 12+
Class size: prefer 8-10 participants, 15 max

The Art of Every Day Photography – Point & Shoots, Polaroids & Phone Cameras Welcome

Yolonda Jones, photographic artist, envisions holding and facilitating space for VMFA distanced student participants to experience a primer in the Art of Everyday Photography. She will conduct the session in three parts: guiding students through an introduction to the theory of photography as art, getting cameras (phone build-ins, DSLRs, point and shoot, Polaroids—whatever’s available) into the hands of budding artists to explore photography in practice; and finally exposing student creatives to the process of constructive critiquing as offered by their peers. She will briefly discuss and showcase some of her own work before engaging the group in a demonstrative conversation around terms like composition, light, shadow, the rule of thirds, mood and storytelling.

Once Upon a Time: Storytelling in Art

Effective storytelling is an essential means of both documentation and inspiration. This is no more true than in the visual arts. This presentation considers successful visual storytelling across a variety of mediums, genres, and styles.