The Collegian
Sunday, December 05, 2021

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Contemporary art exhibits on display throughout Richmond

<p>The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, located in Richmond's Museum District, is a popular location for University of Richmond students to hang out and relax.</p>

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, located in Richmond's Museum District, is a popular location for University of Richmond students to hang out and relax.

Local galleries released new modern and contemporary art exhibits in Richmond for the rest of fall and early winter.

Many of these free exhibits appear in smaller galleries throughout the city, such as the Reynolds Gallery in the Fan District. This contemporary art museum features two new painting and photography exhibitions: Ron Johnson’s “Alive in the Superunknown” and Brittany Nelson’s “Beam Us Home.”

The creation of “Alive in the Superunknown,” an exhibit featuring predominantly abstract paintings, was influenced by Johnson’s travel experience across the western United States. Using geometric shapes and bright colors, his exhibit aims to “[afford] space to experience life in the moment,” according to the gallery’s press release.

On the other hand, the content of the photography exhibit “Beam Us Home” revolves around the artist's desire to contribute to an “ongoing dialogue around loneliness and isolation in the LGBTQ+ community,” according to Nelson’s press release. The exhibit features scans of darkroom paper undergoing chemical reactions, creating large-scale prints of abstract shapes and visuals.

Many other locations are also featuring new exhibits at this time. The Branch Museum of Architecture and Design recently released Joanna Tyka’s “Cityscapes RVA” painting exhibit, open from now until the end of December. 

“Cityscapes RVA” explores Richmond’s architecture through picturesque portraits of various locations throughout the city. Tyka’s paintings rely heavily on color changes based on varying climate in order to create a “distinct reflection and modern look at the city as it stands today,” according to the Branch Museum website.

Yet another gallery presenting new artwork is Virginia Commonwealth University’s Institute for Contemporary Art. Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste’s contemporary sculpture exhibit, “Set It Off,” uses space and sound to influence the viewer, creating “site-specific experiences for sound to be deeply felt,” according to the ICA website. The exhibit is also available at the 1708 Gallery, where the main sculpture on display is a darkened pool, as opposed to the Institute for Contemporary Art’s use of large-scale black cubes. 

A tried and true gallery location for art lovers, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts also released a new exhibition for the public. Man Ray’s “The Paris Years” is a paid exhibit that showcases the portraits Ray took throughout his time in Paris, France. Ray’s photographs illustrate early 1900s Paris as “a powerful center of artistic freedom and daring experimentation,” according to the VMFA website.

The University of Richmond shuttles and public transportation provided by the city of Richmond allows students to see these local galleries for themselves. First-year student George Matthes visited the Reynolds Gallery’s newest exhibits, reflecting on the experience as “the perfect expectation for a nice walk through a small gallery.”

Contact lifestyle writer Bella Stevens at bella.stevens@richmond.edu.

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