BETH EDWARDS: WONDERSTRUCK
David Lusk Gallery Memphis / 97 Tillman St. March 23, 2021 - May 1, 2021
Beth Edwards is known for contemporary still-life painting with sensuous, metaphorical realism. Referencing historical vanitaspaintings, she re-invents the genre through a saturated palette, magnified cropping, and confrontational scale of her subjects. Her masterfully painted compositions can be read much like an intricate medieval tapestry: every detail of light, shadow, subject, and negative space is considered equally regardless of its actual visibility. Through this heightened immediacy, depictions of seemingly innocuous or straightforward moments in everyday life take on much deeper significance, complexity, and mystery. Meditative scenes of flowers and plants symbolize a magnificent yet vulnerable ephemerality and certainty of death. Portraits of dolls and familiar toys, often set in narrative environments, explore the animate and inanimate spheres of life, fabricated versions of reality, and society’s never-ceasing search for happiness.
Beth Edwards was born in Alabama and lives and works in Memphis. She received a BFA from the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and an MFA from Indiana University. The daughter of a painter and arts educator, Edwards has had an active 30-year career painting, exhibiting and teaching. She has taught painting at the University of Memphis since 2000 and is the recipient of many awards, grants, commissions, and residencies. Recent awards and honors include the Distinguished Research Award from The University of Memphis; Arts Accelerator Grant, ArtsMemphis; Alumni Association Distinguished Achievement in the Creative Arts Award, University of Memphis; Emmett O’Ryan Award for Artistic Inspiration from ArtsMemphis; Willow Park Mural, UrbanArt Commission for the City of Memphis; and awarded artist for Memphis in May honoring Sweden in 2013. She has participated in solo and group exhibitions in galleries, museums, institutions and organizations across the United States, including the Huntsville Museum of Art, Huntsville, AL; the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis; Contemporary Art Workshop, Chicago; Union University; Arkansas Art Center; Delta State University; and the San Francisco International Fine Arts Exposition.