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In the Gallery: Grinding Sugar Cane by Memphis Wood

Jul

09

 Written by Jocelyn Boigenzahn, Curatorial Intern 

A native of Dacula, Georgia, Memphis Wood studied at the University of Florida and received her M.F.A. from the University of Georgia.

Memphis Wood (American, 1902 - 1989), Grinding Sugar Cane, 1939, oil on canvas, 20 x 30 ¼ in., Purchased with funds from the Morton R. Hirschberg Bequest, AP.2005.2.1.

Memphis Wood (American, 1902 – 1989), Grinding Sugar Cane, 1939, oil on canvas, 20 x 30 ¼ in., Purchased with funds from the Morton R. Hirschberg Bequest, AP.2005.2.1.

This work reveals that early in her career, Wood had an interest in American scene painting with a particular focus on this region, drawing clear inspiration from William Aiken Walker (American 1839 – 1921) who is well –known for his documentation of the daily life of African American Sharescroppers  before & after the Civil War.

William Aiken Walker (American 1839 – 1921). Cabin Scene  6 x 12 in. Private Collection

William Aiken Walker (American 1839 – 1921). Cabin Scene  6 x 12 in. Private Collection

Wood moved to Jacksonville in 1929 in the hopes of securing employment as a teacher.  In the ensuing years, she earned a reputation as an inspiring and widely respected art educator, a skilled multi-media artist, and a notable figure in the city’s arts and culture scene.  Although, she is best remembered for the abstract and non-objective works she created later in her career, this work explores her exploration of earlier art styles and her process as developing artist and future educator of artists.

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