The Samford Art Gallery is currently showcasing its first series in the John and Marsha Floyd Art and Design Series through the end of the month.
Husband and wife artist duo, Debra and Ted Barnes, are featuring their exhibits “Heaven’s Gate and Pilgrim’s Progress.” The exhibits contain religious aspects along with several personal stories of the artists.
“The imagery I choose to use in my work is personal and autobiographical, and used to confront issues of gender and transformation,” Debra Barnes said in her artist statement. “Sometimes I use interpretations of spiritual symbols (crosses, angels, etc.), mentioned so many times in the Bible.”
Her husband, Ted Barnes, brought a similar mind to the canvas in his exhibit, “Pilgrim’s Progress.” In the showcase, religion and spirituality are heavy factors in the art.
“The use of religious themes and spiritual imagery has provided a major source of inspiration for my artwork throughout my career, and travel has been central to this investigation,” Ted Barnes said in his artist statement.
According to Ted Barnes, he has traveled to many countries around the world in the last decade. He claims that immersion into other cultures have greatly influenced him and provided a strong vocabulary.
“While my work does not attempt to literally imitate forms of other cultures, the imagery and cultural practices I gather from these travel experiences gets synthesized through my personal postmodern aesthetic and then culminates into a body of work that is concerned with a personal spiritual pilgrimage within the mystery and paradox of our secular world,” Ted Barnes said.
Debra and Ted Barnes live in Temple, Texas and are active members in the community. Debra Barnes has taught elementary and middle school art and is a strong proponent of public art education. Debra Barnes’ collections can be found in public and and private collections across the Southeast.
“I have a reckless affection for pattern, color, and ornament and a need to make these kinds of images for my own excitement,” Debra Barnes said. “My desire and intention overall, is to make art that comes from the soul and speaks loudly to the viewer’s senses.”
The John and Marsha Floyd Art and Design Series will feature rotating exhibits throughout the year showcasing professional artists and students.
“A gallery exhibition program is crucial for visual arts program,” Associate Dean of the School of Arts Larry Thompson said. “Other exhibitions this year will allow our students to also exhibit examples of their work within their classes in a professional exhibition environment.”
According to Thompson, bringing guest artists into the art department helps serve as a compass to students exploring the artistic field and create opportunities to network with professionals.
“This exhibition, and really all of our exhibitions relate to the Samford, and wider communities, by showcasing creative scholarship in the areas of art and design,” Thompson said.
“Heaven’s Gate” and “Pilgrim’s Progress” exhibits will be on display through Sept. 25. There will be a closing reception and an artist talk on Sept. 25.
Daniel Dodson, Copy Editor