‘Selvage’ Exhibition to Open at CSM

The work of artist Jim Arendt will be featured in the upcoming exhibition "Selvage

Labor Issues Inspire Artist Jim Arendt

Denim has particular meaning for Jim Arendt, the featured artist in the College of Southern Maryland's next exhibition, “Selvage,” set to open Feb. 6. Durable and still worn when faded, stained or ripped, denim represents the human condition to Arendt as he uses it in his art to explore how individuals are affected by economic stress.

“When I was young and my family was living through the farm crisis of the early 1980s, I recall my father sitting at the sewing machine patching his Wranglers in the evening after work,” Arendt said. “He was making do – a concept of thrift and pragmatism that dictates you work with the materials at hand. By my early 20s, that memory mixed with the stories of other working people and led me to denim as a possible material that was much closer to the truth of their lives than oil paint.”

The “Selvage” exhibition at CSM will include seven life-size two- and three-dimensional figures by Arendt. It opens Feb. 6 and will run through March 9, and will include an artist lecture by Arendt at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 7 on campus in the Learning Resource Center (LR Building), Room 102.

At the lecture, Arendt said he plans to talk about what inspires his art. “My artwork grows out of the need for me to understand our shifting relationship with labor and work,” he said. “I grew up on a farm outside of Flint, Michigan, birthplace of General Motors and the United Auto Workers Union. Our region underwent a radical shift in economics as the industrial and agrarian economies disappeared or were outsourced to different regions and countries. Famously depicted in Michael Moore's 1989 documentary 'Roger & Me,' Flint suffered through the loss of 80,000 manufacturing jobs from which it has never fully recovered and the city's struggles continues to make headlines today. The resulting impact on the lives of the people I grew up with has left an indelible mark on my outlook on our relationship with work as a concept as I seek to make sense of the narrative that unfolded.

“My work asks viewers to confront the realities of working people's lives,” he said. “Across the country a shift in monetary policy, commodity prices and globalization were rapidly closing the longest period of economic expansion in American History. A disruption to people's traditional livelihoods and economic status has driven the rise of darker and more primal impulses in the past. Now, we confront a period of similar anger and instinct toward protectionism. History has a way of rhyming; here's to hoping we stick the landing.”

Arendt is the director of the Rebecca Randall Bryan Art Gallery and an assistant professor at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina. His work has been exhibited internationally in numerous group and solo shows.  Recently, Arendt was short-listed for The 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art and received the South Carolina Arts Commission Visual Artist Fellowship. His work was awarded the $50,000 top prize at ArtFields, Best in Show at Hub-Bub Gallery's Emerging Carolina and was included in the 701 Contemporary Center for the Arts 701 CCA Prize 2012. He was awarded Best in Show during Fantastic Fibers at Yeiser Art Center, Paducah, Kentucky, included in Fiberarts International 2013 and 2016 and the 2013 Museum Rijswijk Textile Biennial, Netherlands.

Arendt received his bachelor of fine arts degree from Kendall College of Art & Design and his master of fine arts from the University of South Carolina. He participated in residency programs including The Fields Project in Illinois, Arrowmont's Tactility Forum and has been invited instructor at Penland School of Craft and Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts.

After “Selvage,” the last exhibition this season at CSM will be the Annual Juried Student Exhibition from April 10 to May 5. Submissions for the student exhibition will be accepted from March 28 to April 1. The jury will select exhibition works April 5.

Both “Selvage” and the Annual Juried Student Exhibitions will be at the Tony Hungerford Memorial Art Gallery at the La Plata Campus Fine Arts Center. The gallery is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Artist lectures are usually held Tuesday afternoon and are free and open to the public. Visit www.csmd.edu/community/the-arts/visual-arts/hungerford-gallery/index for more information. For more on Arendt, visit www.jimarendt.com.  




CSM Tony Hungerford Memorial Art Gallery: “Selvage.” Feb. 6 ? March 9, College of Southern Maryland, Fine Arts Center, Tony Hungerford Memorial Art Gallery, 8730 Mitchell Road, La Plata. Featuring the artwork of Jim Arendt. Arendt will give a lecture at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 7 in the Learning Resource (LR) Center, Room 102, with a reception immediately following in the gallery. Free and open to the public. The gallery is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday. www.csmd.edu/VisualArts.