Small statues provide big punch

Small statues provide big punch

The Birmingham Museum of Art is housing a variety of exhibits that are easily accessible to students, including a collection by Frank Fleming called “Between Fantasy and Reality. CW | Reed O'Mara

As the name would suggest, the exhibit includes the tightly-formatted artworks of Dutch and Flemish artists from the 17th century, detailing the golden age for portraiture. The pieces attempt to hide all brush strokes and as a result look like beautifully-rendered photographs. They capture people before selfies and before multimedia. They are something to be treasured, and it’s more than exciting for Birmingham to be housing them – though only for a little while more, as the exhibit closes April 26.

Also housed in the museum currently until the end of the summer is a statuary from Frank Fleming called “Between Fantasy and Reality.” This exhibit is placed poorly in the museum. It’s at an intermediate point, cased in glass at the base of one of the staircases. It’s a transitional exhibit, sure, but its pieces are so fantastic and mesmerizing, it’s a shame the museum didn’t see fit to place them with 
more status.

Fleming’s unglazed porcelain works create a piece wholly unknown to the viewer but inspire something wild, imaginative and representative of a lost childhood. The sculptures of walruses on chaise lounges and alligators holding purses are whimsical and dark, eerie in the silence 
they capture.

Whether to see the classics or to witness 
something more new age, the Birmingham Museum of Art is hosting an array of exhibits very accessible to students – most exhibits are free, and “Small Treasures” is only $5 for students. The exhibits are a great way to break the mold on the usual movie date, and art has a calming effect as dead week assails 
students this coming week.

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