Bagley exhibit featured at MacCallum Museum

Published 7:28 pm Friday, September 11, 2020

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The Southern Culture Exhibit by Eldridge Bagley will be shown at the MacCallum More Museum in Chase City from Sept. 20, through Oct. 29. An outdoor reception with the artist will be held on Sunday, Sept. 20 from 3 to 5 p.m. in the gardens. The reception is free and open to the public. In accordance with the governor’s order and precautions for COVID-19, six people will be allowed in the museum at any one time. Social distancing and properly worn face masks are required.

The museum’s new policy allows artwork to be purchased and taken at the time of purchase. This is especially important now as it does not require a second visit to the museum to pick up artwork.

“It is not mere admiration from a distance but a long, intimate relationship with the land and people that has filled my heart and mind with more images than I could ever paint and more stories than I could ever write.” Bagley said of the inspiration for his artwork.

His new exhibit Southern Culture at the MacCallum More Museum and Gardens reflects his long-standing bond with the red clay of Southside Virginia. A national award-winning artist, including the prestigious Folk Art Society of America Artist of the Year (2011), Bagley’s work has been described by critics as “multi-textured,” and “highly original.”

The museum will also be open on the following dates, starting Tuesday, Sept. 22, and continuing through Thursday, Oct. 29: Tuesdays from 10-1; Fridays from 2-5; Saturdays from 2-5; and on Sunday, October 11 from 3-5. Appointments may also be set by calling 434-210-1516. The entrance to the Museum is from Walker Street.

“Regarding the upcoming exhibit, Southern Culture, I feel that the collective work depicts a look at the everyday life of ordinary people engaged in their daily routines,” Bagley said. “Familiar activities that seem commonplace can take on new significance when they become subject matter for art, music, and literature. The arts have the capacity to expand our view of the ‘ordinary’ things and enhance our appreciation of their value. Paintings in this show, like Out of the Woods, Hair Hut, and Nightlife at Greenway Grocery, extend an invitation to look beyond what is merely visible to consider what is implied.”

Bagley’s life journey has taken him primarily through the back roads of quieter living and simpler ways.

“Those roads have not bypassed struggles and trials but have ultimately led to a way of life that is profoundly meaningful, richly satisfying, and inspirational to my artistic leanings,” he said. “The people in my life – my family, friends, neighbors – and the land that has sustained and nurtured them have always been at the heart of my paintings. The genuineness of those people, the authenticity of their relationships, and the integrity of their lives in general influenced me and drew me to them. With no pretense of being more than hard-working farmers, my parents, and so many other folks like them, never sought the limelight and would never have imagined themselves as being an inspiration to anyone. But they have been (at least to me) and they still are.

“We all experience, in varying ways, the challenges and strains of daily living. This is especially true within our current circumstances. Fortunately, we also have the capacity to be heartened, reassured, and inspired through creativity, whether from within ourselves or from someone else. As long as God grants me the privilege, I expect to continue painting the pictures and writing the words about a place and a time that are too memorable and too vital to disappear.”