Living up to its name, the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art is keeping things up to date with a splashy new look for its exterior and new exhibitions inside its galleries.

Hieronymus, an artist who paints mainly outdoors, has created colorful murals on the four walls that extend onto the deck from the main gallery.

“For me, it’s about public art — art that’s accessible by anybody,” he said.

Hieronymus had a big canvas to work on — about 27 by 20 feet.

“The size and scale were strenuous. I was painting four paintings at the same time,” he said.

Hieronymus said that he worked from a sketch, but then veered away from it when inspiration struck.

“I didn’t know how this was going to turn out. It’s improvisational like jazz or hip-hop,” he said. “I like asymmetry, geometry and bold lines, but I like to break out of those too. I have a particular style, but I’m always trying to reach beyond my limits. I’m always wary of formulas.”

SECCA updated its branding colors last year in its logoa and signage, so orange, blue, gray and red were the colors that Hieronymous had to work with.

“With the center being something that is so respected, in some ways I had to restrain myself,” he said. “I had their palette. ... I played with how to combine the colors.”

Tangled

Inside the center are exhibits: “Entanglements” by Sonya Clark, “Treatment for the Year of the Rabbit” by Hong-An Truong and “Subliminal” by Taha Heydari. There will be an opening reception for “Entanglements” 6-8 p.m. Sept. 14.

Clark is an award-winning fiber artist who self-identifies as an artist of African, Caribbean and Scottish ancestry.

“Entanglements” surveys her career as a visual storyteller using textile, craft, and design, with works that are beaded, woven, piled and plied. The subtitle of the show is “The Cultural Power of Hair.”

“In this country, hair is still used to negotiate race,” she said. “You can see this as it plays out in many barber shops and hair salons. If you walk into a European American salon with African American hair, many hairdressers get nervous, because they haven’t been trained to work with our hair.

“If a straight-haired person walks into an African American salon, they can get their hair done, because some of us straighten our hair or already have straight hair.

Clark is a Distinguished Research Fellow in the School of the Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

“Race is one of those things that, in this country, is still defined by whether you have someone of African descent in your family, and those legacies are old legacies that are based on white supremacy,” she said. “Race is about ethnicity, but it’s also about culture.

“If you have someone who is 1/16 African, they are black, but if you have someone who is 1/16 European, they aren’t white. If you are lighter skinned and have straighter hair, you might be said to be ‘passing’ even though most of the folks in your family might have been European. It’s a knotty knotty problem.”

“We could blame the anthropologists for categorizing people into races based on physical features, but the categorization alone doesn’t explain the prejudice. Ultimately, it comes down to a hierarchy that is deeply troubled and based on repression of African American persons.”

The exhibit was curated by Cora Fisher, former curator of contemporary art at SECCA, and Mary Anne Redding, curator at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts in Boone.

“When Cora was leaving to go back to New York, she asked me to the be curator on the ground,” Redding said. “I went to see Sonya Clark’s exhibit at the Taubman Museum in Roanoke.

“I think Sonya is an extremely articulate artist, and the work that she is doing is important for our times right now — in the light of Charlottesville and Charleston, and those are just two examples of much larger issues — the race issues and the fact that racism has been uncovered again in our society.

“Her work speaks to that metaphorically and not didactically. Also, in the North Carolina tradition of arts, crafts and weaving are so important. Sonya’s work puts a contemporary twist on that and brings in race and diversity so beautifully.”

Before joining the Turchin Center, Redding was the curator of the Marion Center for Photographic Arts and chair of the photography department at Santa Fe University of Art & Design. She has a master’s degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

There are about 20 pieces in “Entanglements.”

“It’s a very minimal show, which gives the work a lot of power,” Redding said. “There are spaces to breathe between each piece. A lot of it is made out of hair, and a lot is made out of the little black barber combs that you see in shops.

“Hair and combs are her primary materials. She uses hair like any fiber that you would use when you are creating textiles.”

Also showing

“Treatment for a Year of the Rabbit,” by artist and writer Hong-An Truong of Durham, is the current exhibition in the 12 x 12 monthly salon series by North Carolina artists.

Truong uses photography, video and fabric pieces to provide a sense of the past and present. Her installation at SECCA combines video, family photographs and historic photographs to express how a story is created, persists, vanishes and returns.

“This project is a kind of distillation of these concepts of time, memory and cinema in relation to personal and political history,” Truong wrote.

An associate professor of art and director of Graduate Studies in Studio Art at UNC Chapel Hill, Truong’s interdisciplinary projects examine structures of time, memory and the production of knowledge by engaging with archival materials, individual and collective narratives.

The 12 x 12 artist salon series is presenting 12 artists from North Carolina, the 12th State. The series consists of three exhibitions in the spring and fall of 2016 and 2017; it began March of 2016. A group exhibition in the Potter Gallery, opening Feb. 1, will bring together all 12 artists.

“Subliminal,” by Taha Heydari, is on display through Oct. 8. A review by Tom Patterson is at JournalNow.com.

Grand Slam

What organizers are calling “the world’s most artistic golf tournament” to benefit SECCA will be Oct. 3 at Salem Glen Country Club, 1000 Glen Day Drive, Clemmons.

It will be a traditional Captain’s Choice tournament — with a twist. Visual displays, contests and artistic experiences will be around each corner, bringing to life the work of famous artists who have exhibited at SECCA, including Keith Haring, Jasper Johns and Alex Katz.

“This is your chance to play a course designed by Jack Nicklaus while being surrounded by an unforgettable contemporary art experience,” said Frank Campion, SECCA board member and tournament volunteer. “Our goal is to raise awareness of the fact that by visiting or living in Winston-Salem, you’ve seen the works of many of today’s most famous artists, right in your own backyard.”

Check-in starts at 9 a.m. with a gourmet brunch followed by a shotgun start at 10:30 a.m. The deadline to register is Sept. 29, limited to 120 players. Registration is $150 for individuals, $500 for a foursome, and includes brunch, goody bags and a party afterward.

The SECCA Slam Party will be at 4 p.m. with food and drink from Five Points Restaurant, a silent auction of one-of-a-kind art and golf memorabilia music by bluesman Roy Roberts. Tickets for the party only are $40.

“SECCA has never seen a volunteer-driven effort like this,” said Gordon Peterson, executive director at SECCA. “Every golfer will want to have their cameras with them, along with a good set of clubs, to capture the experience and win terrific prizes.”

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lfelder@wsjournal.com (336) 727-7298

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