No season is as emblematic of creativity as spring. Literally, the earth is regenerating—shoots and buds pepper the landscape, often in surprising places. Maybe you feel it, too. The need to make something, do something, clean something, and with it, the need to get out, to see something new, to experience life and art. Renowned regional museums like the Asheville Art Museum or the Gibbes in Charleston offer up spring exhibitions to inspire, provoke, and meet that blooming springtime energy. From nature-themed, early twentieth-century Japanese prints to surreal abstractions bursting with color, here are some exhibits that might tempt you (safely) out of your house and into a museum.
With the world’s largest collection of works by painter Andrew Wyeth and a significant offering of paintings by South Carolina artist Jasper Johns, Greenville is lucky to be home to the Greenville County Museum of Art. Currently, GCMA is offering free guided tours to groups of ten or more when scheduled three weeks in advance. Experience The Real Thing, a collection of impactful works by African American artists, with the luxury of a docent and the entire place to yourself. To schedule a tour, call (864) 271-7570, ext. 1017. gcma.org
Everyday materials take on a number of their possible manifestations in GCCA’s spring exhibition Shaping Identity. Greenville photographer Eli Warren is joined by sculptor Katie Kameen and photographer Elizabeth Claffey in a show that explores identity and history through object and form. Ends March 24. ARTalk March 9 at 6pm. artcentergreenville.org/upcomingexhibitions
Woodblock printing secured its place in Japanese culture at the start of the Edo period, beginning in the mid-1700s. The vivid illustrative works are known as ukiyo-e, and feature highly stylized and direct points of view, often of the wilds of nature or known figures. The Gibbes in Charleston, home to a definitive collection of Japanese woodblocks, presents an exhibition of sixty rare prints from the Read-Simms collection. From the eighteenth to nineteenth centuries, the works feature popular ukiyo-e subjects like Kabuki actors and breathtaking landscapes.
April 30–Oct 3. The Gibbes Museum of Art, gibbesmuseum.org/exhibitions/lasting-impressions-japanese-prints-from-the-read-simms-collection-/114
The ubiquitous nature of science currently rides front-seat in the American consciousness. We look to it for assurance, as a guiding light. This spring, Reynolda House in Winston-Salem bursts back on the scene with a gleaming tribute to the art of natural science, shifting a focus toward the clandestine effects of biology. Cross Pollination is a collection of natural specimen paintings from the nineteenth century to the twenty-first, exploring the nature of ecology and the interconnectedness of its life-giving pollinators.
Thru May 23. reynoldahouse.org
Southern-born painter Beauford Delaney moved to Paris in 1955, prompting a friendship with writer James Baldwin and a shift in artistic style. Asheville Art Museum’s exhibition Beauford Delaney’s Metamorphosis Into Freedom threads together the intellectual and creative relationship of the two, and the ways that each shaped the other’s emerging worldviews. Delaney’s abstract works pose movement with light, excavating his own identity as a gay man of color, and the freedom that identity opened up for his friend.
April 2–June 21. ashevilleart.org/exhibitions/beauford-delaneys-metamorphosis-into-freedom