Permanent Collection Exhibition: Curator Selects... at the Marietta Cobb Museum of Art

Foil Painting #1 by Ken Waterstreet, 1973, oil on canvas
New England Coast by George Howell Gay, undated, watercolor
Untitled by Lidya Buzio, 1981, ceramic

                 For our upcoming exhibition of the MCMA Permanent Collection, the Museum’s curator, Madeline Beck, selected her personal favorite and most noteworthy objects from our vault of American artwork. With painting, drawing, and sculpture that encompasses and blends the traditional and historic with the experimental and contemporary, Curator Selects… showcases the Museum’s esteemed and varied permanent collection while also exploring the personal taste and interests of our curator.

                  Madeline Beck was an intern at MCMA during college and has been the Museum’s curator since the summer of 2017. Prior, she was the Curatorial Assistant for the Zuckerman Museum of Art. Beck fell in love with art history while taking AP Art History in high school. She graduated summa cum laude from Kennesaw State University with a BA in Art History and a minor in Classical Studies. While an undergraduate, her paper on Greek vase painting was the very first paper in the department ever to be published in the National Journal of Undergraduate Research. Beck’s interests in fine art include but certainly are not limited to: conceptual artwork, Italian Renaissance painting and sculpture, folk and outsider art, and art and artifacts from Western antiquity.

Madeline Beck’s Personal Statements on Her Top Three Pieces in Curator Selects…

1) Foil Painting #1 by Ken Waterstreet, 1973, oil on canvas

Humans have an innate attraction to the shiny and sparkly, or at least I do! This painting by Waterstreet is simply eye-catching with its color and dimensionality. But further, this piece is technically remarkable. The subject borders on abstraction, but this was actually an exercise in photorealism. Photorealism is quite hard to execute successfully, especially with more amorphous forms like this draped, metallic foil.

2) New England Coast by George Howell Gay, undated, watercolor

What grips me most about this piece by George Howell Gay is the atmosphere. The hazy presentation makes  me feel like I am in the scene myself, trying to discern the horizon through a mist of sea water. The energy and movement are palpable as the white sea foam crashes against the rocks and waves undulate far into the distance. This piece gives me a sense of nostalgia, even though this specific landscape is not one I am attached to.

3) Untitled by Lidya Buzio, 1981, ceramic

This ceramic piece by Lidya Buzio is one of my favorites from MCMA’s sculpture collection because it blends painting with sculpting and representational imagery with an abstracted form. I find the clean line work to be very satisfying to the eye and the way the artist attached strips of clay to make the painting three-dimensional makes it even stronger. Further, I believe the way Buzio has created an illusion of 3D buildings using shading on a 3D object is fascinating.