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Bethany Collins

Bethany Collins

Old Ship I , 2023

Bethany Collins's solo presentation, Bethany Collins: Accord at the Jule Collins Smith Museum Of Fine Arts in Auburn, Alabama.

The Jule Collins Smith Museum Of Fine Arts's press release follows:

Born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama, artist Bethany Collins explores histories of the American South through objects that use language, song, and the printed word, as well as through materials such as paper and stone.

From the literary journal, The Southern Review, Collins reproduces and heavily redacts an academic journal. With entire sections covered, we are pushed toward the margins. Collins says, “I cannot help but see my obsession with language through the lens of my body. . .In the first Southern Review, I initially threw away those imperfect, messy, and ripped pages until realizing that my sooty fingerprints all over the surface was the work. . .[These marks] show the history of my touch and my reading.”

Sculptures reflect architectural details from the Old Ship African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Zion Church, the oldest Black church in the artist’s hometown. Through these acanthus motifs — often symbolizing rebirth — Collins explores concepts of transformation of space and memory by casting together handmade paper and pink granite dust from a dismantled and crushed 1921 monument to Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson, once sited in Charlottesville, Virginia.