Past Exhibitions

2024 visual arts seniors at Sweet Briar College Pomegranate , 2024
Visual Arts Seniors: Amy Berta '24, Renée Taylor '24, Alexis Hoyt '24, Lilloette Lee '24, and Alyssa Ramirez-Wallace '24

Passion Fruit, 2024

April 5 to May 17, 2024

Benedict Gallery – Open 24/7

Passion Fruit is a ripe reflection of what is truly important to the visual art majors of Sweet Briar College. Each artist has been working on their pieces since the start of their senior year, but the work to get there started long ago. This exhibition compounds their effort, resilience, and dedication to each of their passions and garnishes the gallery with works that reflect years of hard work.

Through painting and more, Amy Berta teaches about the controversies of conservation, while sculptures of mother daughter relationships are explored with Renée Taylor. Adventure and storytelling are expressed by Alexis Hoyt and Lilloette Lee, and Alyssa Ramirez-Wallace shares her love and appreciation for her family with myriad media.

Valé Shenandoah, Ian Donegan Valé Shenandoah,
Ian Donegan
Valé Shenandoah, 2024

January 15 to March 30, 2024,

Vaulted Gallery, in the Library – Open 24/7

Ian Donegan’s relationship to land is a through-line in his practice, which spans painting, drawing and video. The places he paints are precious to him. He is engaged in reciprocity with his surroundings, and sees painting as a way to honor the places that have shaped him. He finds clarity and peace in nature - it is sacred to him. Ian Donegan is an interdisciplinary artist based in Richmond, VA and a 2021 graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University.

For Evelyn, 1990Laura Pharis For Evelyn, 1990
Laura Pharis
In Print
: Laura Paris, 2024

February 8 to March 30, 2024

Benedict Gallery – Open 24/7

Where do female artists find themselves in collections? Here on Sweet Briar College’s campus we display prints and print exchanges by Professor of Visual Arts, Laura Pharis, alongside a couple of her paintings and one sculpture. Some are generous loans from the artist, others are long term loans that seem to have morphed into permanent presences without payment, and others are in our decorative display collection. A few made it into the fine art collection. However, her predecessors, such as the former male Professor of Studio Art Loren Oliver, have their paintings predominantly logged in the fine art collection. What makes for this difference? Is it gender, medium, or availability? It is time to rethink how we collect women artists’ work.

Kimono, 1976Miriam Schapiro Kimono, 1976
Miriam Schapiro
Cut Pattern Paste
, 2023

Oct. 7 to Dec. 16, 2023

Pannell Gallery 

You might not think the pattern on your grandmother’s wallpaper is subversive… but a group of artists in the 1970s co-opted decorative ephemera, from cake icing to paper doilies, as art that challenged traditional hierarchies. Through excessive paper cutting, wallpaper patterning, and doily pasting, on every square inch of the canvas, they rebelled against ideas of ‘women’s work’.

Taking inspiration from Islamic patterns, they introduced tessellations and calligraphy into their art, expanding visual associations to cultures beyond Europe and North America. Turning to crafts found in the quilt bee and letter writing circles, they also elevated the tactile and repetitive acts of domesticity. Artists in this Pattern and Decoration (P&D) movement resisted 1950s abstraction, liberating future artists to use, misuse, and subvert the decorative in their art and tell new and troubling stories.

The exhibition Cut Pattern Paste contains Sweet Briar College collection works by Pattern and Decoration artists from 1970 to 1985 (below in bold), as well as their contemporaries, and those working now.

Jennifer Bartlett - Phyllis Bramson - Amy Chan - Christo and Jeanne-Claude - Lalla Essaydi - Mahsa R. Fard - Ida Kohlmeyer - Joyce Kozloff - Henri Matisse - Deb Mell - Joe Monk - Uzo Njoku - Ann Pakradooni ’43 - Judy Pfaff - Faith Ringgold - Miriam Schapiro - Krystyna Smiechowska - Kara Walker.

Exhibition paper-collage and dot-painting signage commissioned from Dahbia Bensaada ’23 and Melody Cooper ’24.

Mother Eye 01, 2023 Amy Chan Mother Eye 01, 2023 Amy Chan Minor Arcana - Amy Chan, 2023

Oct. 4 to Dec 9, 2023

Benedict Gallery

Amy Chan’s paintings contain the optimism that is part of their making. The joyously artificial color hums with dissonance through the clean materiality of gouache. The flat shapes offer humor and monumentality, while hinting at the unease of a science fiction landscape. Chan draws from disparate sources like cartoons, science textbooks, plants, design and operation manuals for her paintings. The interplay of color and shape to perch on the edge of harmony, while pointing the viewer towards something more unknowable.

Water Dancers 2, 2021 Austin Auz Miles Water Dancers 2, 2021 Austin Auz Miles Water Dancers - Austin “Auz” Miles, 2023

Sept. 14 to Dec. 9, 2023

Vaulted Gallery

Austin “Auz” Miles’ work uses a mixture of abstract and figurative imagery to tell stories about beauty ideals, spirituality, ancestry, and individual experiences of women as they relate to the African Diaspora. Through her work, Austin hosts visual conversations that ignite understanding and inspire community healing. Miles has produced a number of key murals in Richmond, including one through the Mending Walls project in 2020. Her studio is in Petersburg, Virginia.

The Sacred Grove, 2023AnaMarie Liddell '88 The Sacred Grove, 2023
AnaMarie Liddell '88
Looking Deep 
- AnaMarie Liddell ’88, 2023

May 27 to August 20, 2023

Benedict Gallery

AnaMarie Liddell was born in The Netherlands, completed a Studio Art degree at Sweet Briar College in 1988, and forged a career as an artist and arts manager in Charlottesville, Virginia. The root of her arts practice is in the mesmeric process of careful observation, seen in these large-scale graphite drawings of horizons and tidelines. Liddell’s monochromatic palette is simple and direct, invoking the Dutch landscape tradition of the 17th Century. Going beyond representation, each work brings an element of the fantastical to the wonders of the natural world. Drawn on visits to North Carolina and Maine, each landscape is a chance to enter into her realm of deep ecological attention.

artwork by Joan Mitchell Migrating Abstraction , 2023
Joan Mitchell
Migrating Abstraction, 2023

May 21 to September 16, 2023

Pannell Gallery

Migrating Abstraction gathers abstract artworks in the Sweet Briar collection from the 1950s to the 1990s. The exhibition considers the distinct European and American approaches to abstraction that merge with each artist’s migration across the Atlantic. Artists on show are Josef & Anni Albers, Alexander Calder, Joan Mitchell, Dorothy Dehner, Jon Schueler, Jose Guerrero, Loren Oliver, Pat Steir, and March Avery. The exhibition was selected and researched by Introduction to Arts Management students, and contains artwork made by students in the Painting: Color and Abstraction course.

Trash Series, 2020-2022 Laura Pharis Trash Series, 2020-2022 Laura Pharis Studio Art Faculty Show, 2023

January 20 to September 9, 2023

Vaulted Gallery

The Studio Art Faculty Show features recent work by professors, Lou Haney (painting), Shawn O’Connor (ceramics), Laura Pharis (painting & printmaking), Claire Stankus (painting), and Medford Taylor (photography). This quadrennial exhibit celebrates the arts practice the studio art faculty sustain, alongside their teaching, providing insight into work made during and in recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. The show also offers students a once-in-a-degree moment to see how their own skills in the arts, as well as across disciplines, might be nurtured by those who teach them at Sweet Briar College.