4/2/2008 - Art professor gains inspiration from Alabama's Black Belt
By Michael J. Brooks
Judson College professor of art, Ted Whisenhunt, has been busy this academic year with a number of exhibitions.
He currently has three pieces on display at the "Arts Revive" exhibit in Selma. His most recent piece, entitled "Sanctuary," won the first place award for sculpture. "Sanctuary" features a seven foot tall white and blue clapboard house surrounded by 70 small trees with painted trunks and was inspired by the spirituality and folklore of Alabama's black belt.
Whisenhunt recently received a third place award for his photograph, "Boo," at the "To Kill A Mockingbird" exhibit at Marion's Green Street Gallery.
Whisenhunt did a solo exhibition at the Kentuck Gallery in Northport in September. He also displayed a piece at the Huntsville Museum of Art's biennial juried exhibition in November. His piece, "Haint House," was one of 80 works chosen from over 1000 entries from across the Southeast.
He did a solo exhibition, "Saints and Haints," in January at Gainesville State College in Gainesville, Ga., which "The Gainesville Times" called "a little creepy."
"He's very much inspired by folk art and the spiritual aspects of it," said Gainesville State art professor John Amos. "I was drawn by the imagery. The gallery should show a variety of different types of influences, and I really haven't had anyone that was influenced by local or folk work."
"The idea is to kind of explore the duality of these two figures, the saints or dead people that are supposed to be positive figures and the haints are these kind of negative forces, and they're also kind of mischievous," Whisenhunt said. "Much of this is based on folktales."
Whisenhunt was featured in February in a two-person exhibit with Bethanne Hill of Birmingham at the University of Montevallo.
He plans a solo exhibit at Samford University on Aug. 24.
Whisenhunt is a graduate of Birmingham Southern College and Florida State University. He and his wife, Eloise, also a Judson professor, are parents of two children.
* Article courtesy of the Judson College Public Relations Department