THE MONTGOMERY MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS PRESENTS EXHIBITION OF CONTEMPORARY WORKS WITH A TWIST ON ART HISTORICAL TRADITIONS
On view through January 7, 2024, the artists of Present Tense reveal new directions in portraiture and still life through photography and paint.
Montgomery, AL, October 24, 2023 – The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts proudly presents Present Tense, an innovative art exhibition that delves into the ever-evolving relationship between history and contemporary art. On view at the Museum through January 7, 2024, Present Tense explores how all art is a reflection of the present, revealing its deep connection to the cultural zeitgeist of its time. The exhibition features the works of three contemporary artists, David Crismon (American, born 1964); E2, the collaborative team of Elizabeth Kleinveld (American, born 1967) and Epaul Julien (American, born 1972); and Kira Nam Greene (American, born South Korea). Each of these artists embraces historical, iconic imagery as inspiration for their contemporary creations, offering a thought-provoking glimpse into the transformative power of art.
Crismon takes a unique approach to reinterpret historical paintings, challenging the notion that the past is static. He combines 21st-century technology with centuries-old art to create captivating works of art. By splicing together elements from small-scale, obscure seventeenth-century portraits, landscapes, and still lifes and embracing the resulting glitches, he breathes new life into these works. The result is a metaphorical excavation of time, exemplified by the layers of oil and acrylic paint that he layered on and sanded away, revealing our fragmented grasp of the past and the power it continues to convey onto our present and future.
E2: Kleinveld and Julien
The collaborative duo, E2, believe in the power of empathy and images to transform perceptions. Their series, In Empathy We Trust, reinvents iconic paintings from a 21st-century perspective. E2 meticulously recreates historical masterpieces, adjusting elements such as gender and race to reflect a more diverse and inclusive world. Their work challenges viewers to reevaluate their beliefs, interrogate history, and question the structures of authority.
Kira Nam Greene
Greene explores materialism, femininity, and cultural exchange through a fusion of watercolor, gouache, ink, acrylic, and oil paint. She collaborates closely with her subjects, often fellow creatives and friends, incorporating elements of their cultural heritage and personal stories into her portraits. In her colorful works, Greene melds realism and abstraction to investigate ideas of duality. “Present Tense provides a fresh perspective on the dynamic interplay between history and contemporary art,” says guest curator Jennifer Jankauskas. “Each of these artists pays homage to the past while simultaneously questioning historical narratives— challenging our understanding of the past and demonstrating its enduring impact.” Senior Curator at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts Margaret Lynne Ausfeld adds, “the theme, content, and creative impetus for Present Tense is quite literally found in the art historical traditions of Western Europe. We are honored to show this exhibition at the same time as another exhibition, European Splendors: Old Master Paintings from the Kress Collection, which offers visitors the opportunity to see a selection of representative works providing visual reference and context for the art of Present Tense. This combination creates a ‘visual conversation’ that reveals how artists of today explore subject matter that is timeless, and universal in their own unique terms.”
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Painter David Crismon lives and works in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute, MO, and his MFA from the University of Oklahoma, OK. Crimon has participated in solo and group exhibitions at various venues including City Arts Center, Oklahoma City, OK; Massman Gallery at Rockhurst College, Kansas City, MO; and the Governors Gallery, Oklahoma Capitol Building, Oklahoma City, OK.
E2: Kleinveld and Julien
Elizabeth Kleinveld is an artist and photographer originally from New Orleans and now based in Amsterdam. Epaul Julien is an artist from New Orleans. The two artists began collaborating in 2010, and E2’s work has been exhibited internationally in institutions such as: Royal Academy of Art, London, UK; Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, Netherlands; Palazzo Fortuny, Venice, Italy; Museum Castelvecchio Verona, Italy; Galerie SIRIUS, Tokyo, Japan; and the New Orleans Museum of Art and Ogden Museum of Southern Art both in New Orleans, LA. The duo’s work appears in numerous public and private collections, including: Benetton Collection, Treviso, Italy, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Trento, Italy; Hilliard University Art Museum, Lafayette, LA; and The Marks Collection, Houston, TX.
Kira Nam Greene
Born in Seoul, South Korea, Kira Nam Greene lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Greene holds a BFA from San Francisco Art Institute, an MFA from School of Visual Arts, and a BA in International Relations from Seoul National University. Before her artistic career, she earned a Ph.D. in Political Science from Stanford University, specializing in Political Economy in East Asia. Her work has been featured at notable venues like Sheldon Museum of Art, Lincoln, NE; Brown University, Providence, RI; and the Bronx Museum of Art, NY. In 2019, she was a finalist for the Bennett Prize, and in 2022, she was also a finalist in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery sixth triennial Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. Greene is currently part-time faculty at Parsons School of Design in New York.