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Past Exhibitions

Discovering the Chattahoochee Valley: Silk Paintings by René Shoemaker

August 23, 2015 - July 2016


Artist René Shoemaker has transformed the Galleria with an exhibition of large-scale silk paintings, on view until the July 2016. Shoemaker, a long-time resident of Athens, Georgia, creates hand-painted silk works that celebrate the distinctive character of a city or place. For her exhibition at The Columbus Museum, the artist has created site-specific works about the Chattahoochee Valley after visiting here and immersing herself in its sights, sounds, and smells and making preliminary sketches of buildings, spaces, and people. Shoemaker solicited responses from the Columbus-area community through social media to decide which buildings and locations could be used in the paintings. The silk paintings on view in the exhibition thus truly capture the characteristics that make the Chattahoochee Valley unique.

Shoemaker explains that the project was “about discovering what makes the city and valley unique to its citizens and visitors. What patterns in the landscape are distinguishable, and how can I tease out the beauty of these sites great and small? What memories are held by the people there; what locations do they like to visit the most? Where are the neighborhoods they drive through without really seeing, and where do they like to meet with friends? What do the children remember as they grow up in Columbus?”

Shoemaker’s medium of hand-painted silk has dye applied directly to the material.  For this project, she used silk twill, a midweight silk that billows gently as the air moves.  Shoemaker received her B.F.A. from the University of Georgia and a degree in library sciences (M.L.I.S.) from the University of South Carolina.  She lives in the woods in Oconee County, Georgia in a handmade octagon house.

This exhibition is generously underwritten by Synvous | CB&T.