Beginning Oct. 29, The Samford Art Gallery will be displaying the “Syzygies” collection by Sarah West.
“The word syzygy refers to an alignment, often of the celestial variety,” according to a statement on the Art Gallery website. “In her paintings, Sarah West creates a cosmos of symbols sacred and domestic, ancient and contemporary, corporeal and digital.”
The show will focus exclusively on West’s artwork.
“It’s a solo show of her work. Just paintings all made by her,” Gallery Coordinator Lauren Evans said. “She’s a local artist. She lives in Birmingham and has been here for a few years.”
The Samford Art Gallery is faculty run. Evans explained how the process of selecting gallery shows is a collaborative effort.
“We come together and suggest artists for the next year’s season and we put names forward,” Evans said. “[West] is a name that I had put forward two years ago, and she kind of didn’t fit what we’re looking for the last year, so then she was already on my radar for this year.”
Evans shared more about what she takes into consideration when selecting artists’ work.
“I like to choose an artist that I admire and artists that I want to learn more about and want to get to know better,” Evans said. “It’s great when we can also showcase the work of a local artist because then we can engage not just the campus community, but the local arts community in a more meaningful way.”
West’s work focuses on both the past and modern times.
“A lot of her paintings are pulling from various works from art history,” Evans said, emphasizing the unique blend of modern technology and traditional imagery.
One image Evans specifically described is one that depicts prayerful hands holding devices like cell phones, commenting on modern attitudes toward technology.
“She engages matters of faith in her work as well, as someone who identifies as a Christian,” Evans continued.
Though the gallery will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays for in person visits, the artist talk has been modified to adhere to coronavirus restrictions.
“Typically, we would have an artist talk happen in the gallery during the reception, but since we’re not doing groups in that way, we’ll do it virtually so that gives students and the public an opportunity to hear from the artist in her own words,” Evans said.
Evans said West will also take time to work with Samford students.
“She’ll also do studio visits with our seniors who are working on their senior projects within the art major,” Evans said.
Syzygies will be on display until the end of the semester in Swearingen Hall. It is open to all Samford students, though Evans asks that no more than 12 people enter at a time to comply with social distancing guidelines.