January 23 through June 7, 2015
Real Lives: Observations and Reflections by Dale Kennington
Dale Kennington of Dothan, Alabama opens the
“Storytellers of the South: Voices of Women” series at The Mennello Museum of American Art
The Mennello Museum of American Art opens its yearlong “Storytellers of the South: Voices of Women” series of exhibitions with Real Lives: Observations and Reflections by Dale Kennington, an original exhibition curated by Dr. Lee A. Gray, University of Lafayette, Louisiana. The exhibition continues through June 7, 2015.
Born in Savannah, Georgia in 1935, Kennington has spent most of her life in southeast Alabama. She has lived through momentous periods in American history, and weathered them with them with steely Southern charm, embracing the canvas as her means of emotional expression. In the companion catalog for the exhibit, Dr. Gray writes:
The most powerful element of her work is by far the quality of light. Extremes of light and dark are reminiscent of the 16th century Italian school of Caravaggio or of Rembrandt in the 17th century. In their use of chiaroscuro (the use of light and shadow to create the appearance of volume), these old masters understood how to insert mood and psychological drama into their narratives. Kennington, too, uses chiaroscuro to establish mood. Hers is an unsettling tone that is haunting and disturbing for its ambivalence. Yet we are drawn into the scenes because of their visual depth and intimate sensuality.
Kennington earned her bachelor’s degree in art history and design from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa in 1956 and married her husband, Don Kennington the same year. As a stay-at-home mom, she continued to study art, particularly when, in her early 40s, she wanted to paint portraits of her children. As she grew in reputation as a children’s portrait painter, her client list increased as well.
By the mid-1980s, the artist decided to suspend her commissioned portrait painting business and focus instead on her studio work. Frequent trips to Paris and her local milieu served as the subject matter for which she has become known. Kennington has received numerous awards for her work including being recognized by the Alabama State Council on the Arts in 2009, the Alabama Governor’s Arts Awards, and named as one of Alabama’s “Master Artists” by the Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel. Her works are found in private collections and museums across the nation.
The “Storytellers of the South: Voices of Women” series continues through 2015 with the following exhibits: Folk Art by Southern Women, June 26-September 27; The Ceramic World of Sang Roberson, June 26-September 27; and A Portrait of Us: Paintings and Sketches by Mary Whyte, October 16-January 3, 2016.
Dale Kennington, "Pillars," 2000, oil on canvas, 36 x 96 inches.
The 2015 "Storytellers of the South: Voices of Women" series of exhibitions are sponsored by the City of Orlando and the Friends of The Mennello Museum of American Art with funding from Orange County Government through the Arts & Cultural Affairs Program.