Gallery exhibition illustrates patterns in art — and life

Posted on September 01, 2016 by Jennifer McManamay

A new exhibition of works from Sweet Briar’s permanent collection opens Monday, Sept. 5, in Pannell Gallery. “Set/Repeat/Multiply: Artworks in Sequence” will remain on view through Dec. 9.

The exhibition features more than 90 artworks — paintings, prints and drawings — that incorporate repetitive patterns, episodic or serial narrative, and sequential motifs.

Although no opening reception will be held, two interdisciplinary events are planned in conjunction with the show.

Bridget Riley, “Elapse,” 1982, 40 x 25 inches. Gift of Shirlee S. Dalton, 2002. Sweet Briar College Art Collection Bridget Riley, “Elapse,” 1982, 40 x 25 inches. Gift of Shirlee S. Dalton, 2002. Sweet Briar College Art Collection

A “Conversation in the Gallery” is planned from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20, with professors Debbie Durham, an anthropologist, and Raina Robeva, who teaches mathematical sciences. Each will present informal remarks on the concepts of sequence, series and repetition in their disciplines and in their own current work and will invite discussion with the audience. Attendees are welcome to bring lunch.

“Sequence: An Evening of Performance” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4. Sweet Briar students will perform dance, music and dramatic readings inspired by and referencing the works in the exhibition.

The cross-disciplinary events bring together members of the academic community for lively discussions around the intersections of visual art and other areas of study. Durham, whose research examines what “adulthood” means in different cultures, will talk about the ways people conceptualize the life cycle, incorporating ideas such as recurrence, reversibility and non-reversibility.

Robeva will describe the use of patterns and recursive mathematical definitions in applications such as animation. The short talk will demonstrate how specific mathematical structures, called L-systems, can be used to generate realistic images of plants and trees.

In addition to the interdisciplinary talks, galleries director Karol Lawson has made a practice of inviting music, dance and theater students and professors to perform in Pannell Gallery. She is happy to welcome them back for the Nov. 4 event, she says.

“In the last few years we have hosted several performances that have complemented our exhibitions, and it has always been quite wonderful to witness different art forms melding and weaving together.”

The general public is always welcome at Pannell Gallery events, along with the campus community, she says.

“I encourage our neighbors and friends to come and enjoy the exhibitions and programs. It’s free and no reservations are needed.”

Pannell Gallery is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. For more information, email Lawson at or call (434) 381-6248.