Recently, I was invited to participate in the faculty exhibition for the Department of Art and Art History here at Auburn. My husband, Paul, was also asked to participate in the exhibition as he, too, is an adjunct at the University. We both accepted, and are excited that we have been given some light motivation to move forward on new projects–the show opens in January at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art.
Now, Paul and I have been married for 4 years. We met in art school some 9 years ago, and have been privy to each others’ work every step of the way, offering feedback, suggestions, and what-not, but we have never officially produced work together. Upon learning that each of us were contributing to the exhibition, and some gab about our newest research crushes, we made the grand decision to work collaboratively. Immediately after agreeing to produce joint work for the exhibition, we gave each other a look; akin to a look that we have only given each other one time previously, specifically, in November, 2008.
One evening in late November, 2008, Paul and I were getting ready to go out for the night to celebrate two years of dating. Just before leaving for dinner, Paul got down on one knee, and proposed. After happy tears, a ‘yes’, a few quick phone calls, and probably one of the happiest car rides ever, we arrived at the restaurant. After being shown to our table, we sat down across from each other, and there it was, this look. A look that was predominately characterized by overwhelming excitement, anticipation, and admiration, but also revealed a mutual realization of the magnitude of our decision. We were inviting change, and while we were ready, it felt monumental.
Now, seven years later, another look under our belts, we embark on a new adventure. We decided to start our collaboration with something playful; kudzu. Apparently, a favored subject of those of us who are transplanted from elsewhere into the South, we have decided to focus on the lore that overtook the South rather than the plant said lore surrounds. It will be an experiment that will most likely prove to be interesting, lighthearted, and maybe even a bit campy, and if I have learned anything from our enduring collaboration, it will at least be fun.
The Auburn University Department of Art and Art History faculty exhibition will open this January and run through March at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art in Auburn, Alabama. For museum hours, please visit their website, www.jcsm.auburn.edu.