Sir Wilfred Grenfell College Art Gallery is pleased to present Hokes Medical Arts, Nov. 15-Dec. 19. A reception to celebrate the opening of the exhibition will be held Nov. 15, 7-9 p.m.
Hokes Medical Arts is the latest traveling exhibition created by Beauvais Lyons, a University of Tennessee art professor known for creating various mock-documentary projects. In the past he has fabricated and documented imaginary cultures such as the Apasht and the Aazud, created The George and Helen Spelvin Folk Art Collection, a collection of contemporary folk art, and was instrumental in bringing a centaur specimen to the library at the University of Tennessee as a permanent display. For this project Lyons has created a collection of anatomical prints and drawings from the Hokes (pronounced “hoax”) Archives. This series of elaborate prints and drawings appear to be authentic depictions of abnormal human anatomy. Instead, they are works of fiction that comment on science and the representation of the body.
These prints are also an outgrowth of his interest in the history and visual conventions of scientific illustration. His style in these works is informed by 19th century color lithography and reflects his appreciation for the vernacular print. The works also strives to walk a line between ideas of beauty and the grotesque. The critic Arthur Blade has stated that these works “serve as a bridge between the scholarship of Dr. Gray and the whimsy of Dr. Seuss.”
Theories about the body have been a subject that numerous artists have addressed in recent decades. Barbara Stafford’s 1991 book Body Criticism: Imaging the Unseen in Enlightenment Art and Medicine (MIT Press) offers a history of medical and anatomical science that has evolved since the advent of the Enlightenment. Feminism called into question issues of the body as a contested territory in relation to ideas of beauty and personal liberty. Given the size of the medical profession as a percent of the gross national product of industrialized nations, and our increased cultural attention to health and beauty, the subject has other levels of meaning and interest.
The art gallery will host a public talk by Beauvais Lyons on The Art and Scholarship of Everitt Ormsby Hokes on Thursday, Nov. 15, at 7:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts lecture theatre, FA224, during the reception intermission.
The Grenfell College Research Office and the Visual Arts Program will host Beauvais Lyons’ lecture on The Politics of Parody at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16, in the Fine Arts lecture theatre, FA224. This slide lecture provides a survey of work by contemporary artists who have mocked the authority of the academy, the museum, science, history and commerce. Professor Lyons covers a great many disciplines (painting, prints, sculpture, ceramics, photography and design) in his lecture, which has a broad appeal for artists, academics and the general public. Works by Hans Haake, Fred Wilson, Eleanor Rappe, Norman Daly, Ann Fessler and many others are included. Refreshments will be offered, courtesy of the Research Office.
For more information on the Hokes Archives please access the archives website: http://web.utk.edu/~blyons.
For more information on this exhibition, please contact Gail Tuttle, gallery director, at 637-6209 or access the gallery website at: www.swgc.mun.ca/artgallery
Images and image credits are available on request.