Make sure to make it into the Beach Museum of Art before January 28 to catch the last view of the exhibition Elizabeth “Grandma” Layton: You Gotta Have Art.
Elizabeth “Grandma” Layton: You Gotta Have Art
October 11, 2016—January 28, 2017
The Beach Museum of Art’s twentieth anniversary theme, “You Gotta Have Art,” was inspired by the words printed on caps worn by Elizabeth Layton and her husband in many of her self-portraits. The caps were gifts from her friend Don Lambert, the Ottawa Herald reporter who discovered her work in 1977 and helped to establish Layton as an important American artist through his writing and curation of exhibitions. The succinct phrase encapsulates how art was a positive force in Elizabeth Layton’s life. After an unstable marriage that ended in divorce, the death of a son, a lifelong battle with manic depression, and thirteen debilitating electroshock treatments, Layton took her first class in contour drawing and discovered how art could help her heal. Her drawings examined universal human experiences such as aging, death, social injustice, and love through the lens of her own life and body. She demonstrated the power of art in forging personal connections and developing understanding and empathy. In the comment book from her 1992 exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, one visitor wrote: “I am going through a hard time right now and it takes some effort to remember that it’s all a part of life. Your drawings… remind me that other people feel pain and ecstasy, rage and glory. Thank you for celebrating.”
Layton is now represented in the collections of more than one hundred and fifty art institutions in the United States, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum. She has been the subject of features in Life, People, and on National Public Radio. Lambert facilitated the entry of several Layton drawings into the Beach Museum of Art collection.
Large format film-based photography brings back the term ‘making a photograph’ in contrast with the contemporary term ‘taking a photograph.’ Working with a large format camera is cumbersome, slow and yet ultimately a very rewarding process. There are many variables including darkroom chemicals, which shape the resultant image. This technique belongs in the tradition of 19th century survey photography in the American West, and is still practiced by many visual artists. The exposure captured on the film has a very wide latitude due to the use of a specialized staining developer. This gives the negative its distinctive low contrast and high acutance. The prints are made using a warm-tone paper, processed to museum standards. Besides the formal sophistication of analog prints this process has a phenomenological advantage over the digital image capture: it puts temporal distance between the lived moment and its representation. Unlike the instantly gratifying digital images, which tend to compete and sometimes overshadow the lived experience, this process allows the photographic representation to stand independently from the lived moment; whereby the memory of the moment is not replaced by the image made in that moment.
This post was written by Assistant Professor of Art at Kansas State University Shreepad Joglekar. The Beach Museum of Art staff thanks Professor Joglekar for his amazing work and the unique experience.
I trust you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I know we all are thankful for the Meadow at K-State, and Katie and I are very thankful to those supporting the project in various ways.
You are needed!
We have one more day in the Meadow for final clean-up of clippings — a much-needed task given that we weren’t able to complete this last week. We hope you can lend a hand between 1-3 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 4 to bring a close to the maintenance needs this year.
Feel free to come as is convenient for you during this 2-hour period. Lindsay will be renting a machine to handle final cutting beforehand. So all we’ll need is your hands and leaf rakesto gather and pile.
Dress appropriately, bring a hydrating beverage and a friend.
Like last time, Varsity Donuts were provided for us. You might want to bring coffee or cocoa.
This post was written by Riccardo Prudenti, Master’s Candidate – Landscape Architecture – Kansas State University.
The Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art furthers the teaching, research, and service missions of Kansas State University by collecting, studying, caring for, and presenting the visual art of Kansas and the region.