Friday, January 24, 2014

New Birmingham Public Library Exhibit Features Discarded Trash Turned Into Treasured Works of Art


The Birmingham Public Library has a new exhibit that highlights the work of Fayette, Alabama, artist Lois Wilson, who took discarded pieces of trash and turned them into treasures. Ladies, Gentlemen and Bazards: The Art of Lois Wilson will be on display through February 21, 2014, in the Fourth Floor Gallery of the Central Library. The exhibit is free.

The exhibit focuses on Wilson’s “found art,” which includes pieces made of wood that Wilson scavenged from demolition sites, parts of furniture she disassembled, old brushes, ironing boards, and toilet seats. She used left over food for coloring. The art illustrates the issues that were important to Wilson: environmentalism and conservation, racism, spiritualism, the needs of the aged and homeless, and the emptiness of modern American materialism. Wilson died in 1980. The pieces are on loan from the Fayette Art Museum in Fayette.

“Bazard,”pronounced buh-zard, is a made-up word that conveys how Wilson saw herself, which is as “a bizarre person, an oddball, an outsider,’’ says Jim Baggett, Birmingham Public Library archivist. “She very much was a person who felt like she did not fit in modern society. Clearly, her artwork illustrates that,’’ says Baggett.

Now through February 21, people may give their own definition of a “bazard’’ and drop it into a box in the gallery. The best and most creative answer will win a prize.

Laquita Thomson, courtesy of Diego Rojas
Laquita Thomson, associate professor of fine arts at Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tennessee, will give a free talk and gallery tour on February 2 at 3:00 p.m. The talk, “Alabama Mystic or Alabama Outsider: The Art of Lois Wilson,” will be held in the Arrington Auditorium at the downtown library. She will then give a guided tour of the gallery. An artist, Thomson has exhibited widely for the past 35 years. Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art, the Huntsville Museum of Art, the Mobile Museum of Art, and the Georgia Museum of Art.

For more information, call Jim Baggett at (205) 226-3631.

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