March 12, 2024
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The University of West Georgia’s School of the Arts is pleased to announce the upcoming solo exhibition, “Fields of Recognition,” by painter Eilis Crean at the Vault Gallery in Newnan from March 12 to April 12.

"Lakeside Charade" painting by Eilis Crean
"Lakeside Charade," 2024

The works in “Fields of Recognition” have a rather curious origin story. ​​Meant as almost backdrops, over which Crean had intended to place more representational forms, she sensed early on their potential to stand on their own. As Crean articulates, they came to represent “a particular state of mind between waking and dreaming, where your eyes are open but you can’t name anything yet.” As such, the show is situated between the fraught binary of abstraction and representation. 

Though her work over time comprises many facets and movements, still Dr. Nathan Rees, associate professor of art history at UWG, sees consistent currents running throughout. 

“In Crean’s work, seeing is a process that reaches across time and space, bringing perception, memory and the somatic sensation of place into the viewing experience,” Rees wrote in his moving introduction to the exhibition catalog.

Dr. Chad Davidson – UWG’s director of the School of the Arts who worked to institutionalize the state-of-the-art gallery space – is thrilled to be hosting Crean. 

“So often at a university, artists and writers are first thought of as educators and only secondarily as artists,” he said.

Davidson went on to stress the importance of recognizing the power of Crean as an artist, beyond her role as a faculty member. 

Photo of Eilis Crean courtesy of Nathan Rees
Photo courtesy of Nathan Rees

“We were extremely fortunate to have a talent like Eilis’s at our institution,” he continued. “It is my pleasure to continue to share her powerful work with a wider audience.”

Crean recently retired from the UWG art program, after 22 years of service to UWG students and the wider community. 

“The artists who Eilis has taught to paint and teach over the years, and the people across communities who Eilis has brought together, are too numerous to count,” said Erin Dixon, senior lecturer in art at UWG. 

Dixon also concurred that Crean remains “at the top of her game, exploring painting through figuration, abstraction and materiality.”

The Vault Gallery, located in the Wadsworth Auditorium in downtown Newnan, is a creative partnership between UWG’s School of the Arts, the Newnan Artist-in-Residence Program and the City of Newnan. Opening hours during UWG shows are 2-6 p.m., Tuesday-Friday. In addition, the Vault Gallery will remain open until 8 p.m. on Friday, March 22, during Newnan’s Art Walk. Complimentary copies of Crean’s exhibition catalog will be available at the event.