Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy - House near Marion, Alabama

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Image of House near Marion, Alabama

William Christenberry , (Nov 5, 1936–Nov 28, 2016)

House near Marion, Alabama

19 1/2 in. x 43 in. (49.53 cm x 109.22 cm)

Medium and Support: Balsa wood, basswood, plywood, Plexiglas, paper, illustration board, tempera, gouache, and red soil
Credit Line: Purchased as the gift of Ruth and Jacob Kainen
Accession Number: 1993.21


Gallery label for Walls and Beams, Rooms and Dreams, January 23 - July 31, 2016

Throughout his career as photographer, painter, and sculptor, William Christenberry has been consistently drawn to his native South for artistic inspiration. Since 1961, the artist has made annual summer trips to Hale County, Alabama, where he spent much of his childhood, to create photographs that document the life cycles of the humble houses, stores, churches, and graveyards of his rural homeplace. While works of art in their own right, these photographs also function as studies for Christenberry’s sculptures and paintings, which evoke the layered meanings that can only come from an intimate relationship with a place over time. Meticulously detailed and placed atop a field of actual red Alabama soil, Abandoned House Near Marion presents an accurate depiction of a dilapidated house, while it also conjures spirits of the past in its vulnerable state of decay and quiet isolation. Bringing personal memory to bear on present reality, Christenberry’s work speaks of the powerful ways in which past and present, memory and experience shape our notion of “home.”

Allison Kemmerer
Mead Curator of Photography and Curator of Art after 1950

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