Brenau University Gallery Manager Allison Murphy hanging recently purchased artwork from now alumna Brooke Powell for the Brenau Family Ties show.

Brenau University Explores the Roles of Women, Clothing Throughout History and Celebrates a Decade of Student Art With a Dual Reception

June 18, 2013

The Brenau Galleries are celebrating two summer exhibitions, The Good Wife and Brenau Family Ties, Thursday, June 27 from 5:30-7 p.m. with a reception of light fares and a talk beginning in the Leo Castelli Gallery in the John S. Burd Center for the Performing Arts on the Gainesville campus. After the 6 p.m. talk for The Good Wife, the dual-reception moves across campus to the Presidents Gallery in the Simmons Visual Arts Center for desserts and discussion about Brenau Family Ties. Both receptions are free and open to the public.

The Good Wife, an exhibit of garments and accessories from the Brenau Historic Clothing Collection, explores the changing persona of “the wife” throughout the years. Through a series of vignettes, Brenau University Fashion Design junior Jackie Willis, advised by Brenau University Associate Professor of Fashion Design Lori Gann-Smith, has depicted the ever changing role clothing plays in the lives, careers and status of wives and women. Gann-Smith will briefly discuss the many roles of women represented in the exhibition.

The show’s curator, Willis of Dahlonega, was recently awarded a prestigious internship through the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute in Washington, D.C. where she will conserve, preserve and repair collections of African American clothing and textiles from the Civil War to modern day that will be displayed in the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opens on the National Mall in 2015.

Vignettes and details from the Good Wife exhibit in the Leo Castelli Gallery of the John S. Burd Center for the Perfomring Arts.

Vignettes and details from the Good Wife exhibit in the Leo Castelli Gallery of the John S. Burd Center for the Performing Arts.

“The show is an interesting juxtaposition of women’s clothing and the role it serves throughout history,” said Melissa Morgan, Brenau University’s gallery director. “Take the military wife vignette. On one side you have a hand sewn military ball gown, a WAVES uniform from the 1940s and then a contemporary female combat uniform. It is a tactile way to express change in society and culture over time.”

Brenau Family Ties showcases artwork from the Brenau Student Purchase Awards in the Brenau University Permanent Art Collection, which range from mixed-media and paintings to photographs and etchings. The most recent acquisitions, three hand-colored linoleum prints interpreting phrases from young children such as “I Ate Saturn”, “I Have a Sandwich” and “Houses Will Fly,” came from Brooke Powell who graduated this year with her bachelor’s degree in studio art.

“Family Ties reinforces the bond and commitment the university has to the arts and the work its students produce,” Morgan said. “It’s always interesting to see some of the best work the Brenau art students have produced over the years.”

Many works in the show, the oldest being from 1993, were made by students who still produce art in a professional capacity including Deangela Chastain, Winston Crawford, Sarah Larned and Natasha Haynes.

Brenau Famiiy Ties closes July 7, but The Good Wife is open through September 1. For more information, please call Brenau University Galleries Director Melissa Morgan or gallery assistant Allison Murphy of Brenau Galleries at (770)-534-6263.

General inquiries:, (770) 534-6299 or (800) 252-5119 | Admissions:, (770) 534-6100 or (800) 252-5119 ext. 6100
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