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Year: 2018

Art in the Garden: Randy Gachet

Meet the Artist

Birmingham-based artist Randy Gachet reclaims and re-contextualizes everyday materials into his art. In Hollow Sphere Theory, 2018, he combined salvaged tire pieces from roadsides into two semi-spheres of hexagonal elements.  For Gachet, this is partly a way to return industrial materials to nature, to push humble materials into new directions, and to explore what he terms the “bounty” that exist in areas of urban sprawl. The resulting sculptures are playful ways to examine the tension between nature and artifice, high and low, insider and outsider.

Originally from Mobile, Gachet received his Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from Birmingham-Southern College and now teaches at the Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham. His work has been featured in exhibitions at the Johnson Center for the Arts in Troy, the Wiregrass Museum of Art in Dothan, the Huntsville Museum of Art, and the Meridian Museum of Art in Mississippi.


Art in the Garden: Chris Boyd Taylor

Meet the Artist

Chris Boyd Taylor is primarily interested in craft, scale, color, movement, architecture, and ideas of spectatorship and interpersonal relationships. This piece is part of a series called Stadium Spheres, 2018, inspired by recent travels across the Southeastern United States documenting venues of spectatorship. Taylor found that many stadiums use staggered colored seat patterns in order to trick television viewers into thinking it is full when it is not. This color pattern, and the stair zig-zag that accompanies the profile of most bleachers, is the signature design inspiration for this new body of work.

Taylor received degrees in fine arts from Ohio State University and New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University and is presently an Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. His work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, with major public art commissions in Montevideo, Uruguay, and Clarksville, Tennessee. Taylor is currently working on a commission for the Nashville International Airport to hang in one of the concourse’s skylights.


Art in the Garden: Craig Wedderspoon

Meet the Artist

Craig Wedderspoon trained as a glass and crystal carver but moved to making art from metal and wood in the late 1990s.  Manipulating his chosen material and playing with density, pattern, surface, and the velocity of line, Wedderspoon combines geometry with patterns found in the natural world. This results in elegant abstract forms that are simultaneously fluid and ordered.

Currently, Wedderspoon is an Associate Professor of Art at the University of Alabama. He received his undergraduate degree from Florida International University and his master’s degree in sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University. His work has been exhibited widely, including solo presentations at the Birmingham Museum of Art and the Johnson Center for the Arts in Troy.


Recent Acquisition: After the Rain (Methane)

Jacqueline Bishop (American, born 1955), After the Rain (Methane), 2014–2015, Oil on linen, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts Association Purchase, 2018.7

The Museum has acquired After the Rain (Methane) by Jacqueline Bishop who was recently featured in the Museum’s Natural Wonders: The Art of Jacqueline Bishop and Douglas Bourgeois exhibition in the spring of this year. The addition of Bishop’s work to the Museum’s collection is significant—enhancing representation of contemporary art and women artists in our collection.

A well respected southern painter and printmaker, Bishop’s art is rooted in landscape painting as she considers the delicate balance between the beauty of the natural world, and humankind’s increasingly destructive impact on it. She weaves together layers of paint and imagery that reflect her concern for biodiversity and the extinction of fragile species that were once a vibrant part of our world, and specifically her native Gulf Coast.

After the Rain (Methane), on view now in Durr Fillauer Gallery, is typical of Bishop’s work in its rich combination of symbols—the ancient, gnarled trees, the masses of red roses, the finches that take refuge there, and the wave-like forms of water that increasingly are encroaching on the Gulf coast landscape. The brilliant colors reflect the majesty of a sunset, but also the chemical residues in the atmosphere that produce those sunsets. Her emaciated animals allude to the impact of our industrialized society on the ecosystem and suggest the consequences for mankind’s future.

Docent Awards 2018

Each year we celebrate our new docents, who have completed their studies and begun to lead quality learning experiences at the Museum, and honor those who have gone above and beyond in their service to the Museum. Our docent volunteers lead tours for students (including experiences in the galleries, studios, and ArtWorks) and adults, give off-site presentations, perform puppet shows, and help lead public programs. The work we do at the Museum would not be possible without their dedicated support.

2017–2018 Graduates

This year we welcomed a class of five docents who bring a set of diverse experiences and talents to our distinguished group of docent volunteers.

Paula Hayes, Elizabeth Jean, Bridget Koehler, Susan Lee, and Madeline Williams (not pictured)


100 Hour Club

Awarded to our most dedicated docent volunteers, who have served well beyond the required 40 hours a year.

Gretchen Sippial [125 hours], Mary Lil Owens [100 hours], and Binnie Coats [105 hours]

Outstanding Contribution to Kindergarten Program

Awarded to a docent(s) who helped to deliver on stage magic during the Puppet Show and supported the Cakewalk Tour.

George Jacobsen and Katherine Danley

Outstanding Contribution to Tour Outreach

Awarded to the docent who helped prepare students and schools for their visit to the Museum.

Laura Bocquin, Outreach Coordinator, and Beverly Bennett

Outstanding Contribution to Studio

Awarded to the docent who helped to support and lead programs in the studio including Family Art Affair and Flimp Festival.

Binnie Coats and Kaci Norman, Assistant Curator of Education, Youth, Family, and Studio Programs

Outstanding Contribution to ArtWorks

Awarded to the docent(s) who led interactive tours with enthusiasm and engaged young people on their level.

Kelly Bazan, ArtWorks Educator, Gretchen Sippial, and Paula Smith (not pictured)

Outstanding Contribution to Gallery

Awarded to the docent who goes above the call of duty in the galleries, working to provide quality tours that hold the interest of groups of all ages.

Mary Lil Owens and Kaci Norman, Assistant Curator of Education, Youth, Family, and Studio Programs

Wayne Barto Memorial Award

Awarded to a first-year docent who is an enthusiastic and integral part of our new docent class.

Elisabeth Palmer, Assistant Curator of Education, Docent, and Adult Programs, and Susan Lee

Pat Wanglie Award

Awarded to a docent who creates an enriching experience, and achieves the learning goals of the Museum. This docent is gracious and welcoming of various viewpoints.

Elisabeth Palmer, Assistant Curator of Education, Docent, and Adult Programs, Mary Lil Owens, and Alice Novak, Curator of Education


Guy Davis, Market President for BB&T. The Docent program is made possible by BB&T.

Become a Docent

The Museum is always looking for committed individuals who are interested in art and making connections with people. Teaching credentials or artistic backgrounds are not required. The Museum will supply the necessary training to lead dynamic learning experiences for all ages effectively. Click here to learn more and apply.

Flimp Chalk 2018

Artists of all ages took part in the annual Flimp sidewalk chalk art competition on Friday, May 4 and Saturday, May 5, 2018. Working as individuals and in groups, artists transformed the Museum’s parking lot into a gallery of chalk masterpieces.

Inspired by our spring exhibitions, Journey of the Islander: The Life and Art of Walter Inglis Anderson and Natural Wonders: The Art of Jacqueline Bishop and Douglas Bourgeois, this year’s theme was Gulf Coast Jubilee.


This year’s competition was judged by Tonya Terry of WSFA, local artist Melissa Tubbs, and Rick Dildine, the Artistic Director at Alabama Shakespeare Festival. All prizes were donated by local businesses: Chick-fil-a, Eastdale Mall, Frios Gourmet Pops, Montgomery Biscuits, Montgomery Zoo, Nancy’s Italian Ice, and W.A. Gayle Planetarium.

Elementary School

First Place
“No More Waiting”
Blount Elementary School
Sean Dickson, Morgan Dozier, Valeria Hidlago, Dylan Jenkins
Second Place
“Mystical Excitement”
Blount Elementary School
Ella An, Chloe Lim, Haley McBeal, and Reagan Slinkard
Third Place
“Fun and Free”
Blount Elementary School
Leo Jin, Mahalia Mallory, Audrina Nelson, Daniela Velazquez
“Life is good”
Blount Elementary School
Mimi Darawad, Dallas Henderson, Sidney Lowe, Coleman Russell

Middle School

First Place
“A Sailor’s Perspective”
Floyd Middle Magnet School
Kolbi Bates, Mariah Thomas, and Tyler Toth
Second Place
Saint James School
Nicolas Hakala, Julie Lee, Jiyeon Paek, Zenifa Zaman
Third Place
Montgomery Academy
Annalia Berry, Chandler Brazil, and Jonilah Megie
“Deep Sea”
Trinity Presbyterian
Anna Kate Blissitte, Katherine Lamkin, Abby Taunton, and Lily Yancey

High School

First Place
“Road Trippin”
Saint James School
Christine Choy, Erin Dickey, Camillia Richardson, Aaliya Jo Sims
Second Place
Saint James School
Peyton Christian, Abby Engles, Claudia Hubbard, and Hannah Mathis Ray
Third Place
“Fish Hair, Don’t Care”
Montgomery Catholic
Lauren Beverly, Hailey Covington, Chloe Newell, Samantha Zanglin
“Sweet Catch”
Montgomery Catholic
Daphne Hardy, Cameron Morris, and Mari Caitlin Riggles


First Place
“Excitement Among the Fish”
Laura Murray
Second Place
“Ocean Child”
Meredith Cooper, April Harris, and Stephanie Kirkland
Third Place
“Taste of the Gulf”
Heather Cap
“Excitement Among the Fish”
Laura Murray


Emcee Award
“Gulf Essence”
Booker T. Washington Magnet High School
Kaitlyn Campbell, Alexis Day, Patrice Escalera, and Emily Turner

Thank You

This event would not have been possible without the support of the chalk art sponsors listed below:

  • Mr. and Mrs. Neal Acker in honor of Pamela Swan
  • Dr. and Mrs. Winston M. Ashurst
  • Mr. and Mrs. Bowen Ballard
  • Dr. and Mrs. John Bennett
  • Dr. and Mrs. Arthur Britton
  • Mr. and Mrs. Philip H. Butler
  • Mrs. Dorothy D. Cameron
  • Kearly L. Foster, CPA
  • Mr. and Mrs. William F. Furr
  • Mr. and Mrs. Richard H. Gill
  • Mrs. Ann Hubbert
  • Mr. and Mrs. Thomas H. Keene
  • Mrs. Anne D. King
  • Mrs. H. F. Jim Levy
  • Longleaf Strategies
  • Lowder New Homes
  • Mr. and Mrs. L. Daniel Morris, Jr.
  • C.J. Morrow Carraway Baker Law, LLC
  • Mr. and Mrs. Adam Muhlendorf in memory of Pamela de la Torre
  • Ms. Alice Novak and Mr. David Carter in honor of Gunter Giddens
  • Mr. and Mrs. Tabor R. Novak, Jr.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Phillip O. Rawlings
  • Mr. and Mrs. S. Adam Schloss
  • Mr. and Mrs. Charles A. Stakely
  • Ms. Micki Beth Stiller
  • Dr. and Mrs. John Swan, II in honor of Pamela Swan
  • Mrs. Helen A. Till
  • Dr. Laurie J. Weil and Dr. Tommy Wool in honor of Mark M. Johnson, Jr.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Weil, III
  • Judge Gene Reese and Mrs. Winston Wilson Reese
  • The Tipping Point

First Person: Sharisma Bell

Sharisma BellCongratulations to our former intern Sharisma Bell! Earlier this month, she was hired as the Marketing Producer for Raycom Media in Montgomery. Before getting her new job, she interned here at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in Marketing and Public Relations for six months. In the end, she had dedicated 324 hours of her time towards learning every detail of the department from writing a news release, establishing contacts, to managing social media. Her final task was to write an informative blog about her experience here at the Museum.

Having graduated three years ago, being an intern was in the rear-view mirror for me. I had already completed two internships during my undergraduate studies, so at the age of 25, I couldn’t imagine being one for the third time. I like to think that we always have something to gain from every moment in life and sometimes you have to start as the student. Initially, I wondered could I be an intern again? Was it even worth it to dedicate time to something that I wasn’t receiving credit for? I pushed those thoughts aside when I approached Cynthia Milledge, the director of Public Relations and Marketing at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, about a possible internship. I could not pass up the opportunity to learn a couple of things from one of my favorite childhood places.

When I thought about a possible internship, I felt a sense of pride to be amongst prestige and art. I have always loved art because I think there is beauty in people creating what they feel, what they see, or what affects them. I find that viewing artwork allows you a quick glance at the artist’s mindset. Growing up in Montgomery, there were several occasions where I would visit the MMFA on field trips. I was either in ArtWorks with Bear Elementary or I was picking a piece of artwork and writing a poem for it with Booker T. Washington Magnet High School.

To be a part of what goes on behind the scenes of the Museum was definitely something I wanted to experience. So finally, I was able to achieve my goal and being here has allowed me to grow deeper into my creativity. While interning here, I have met some great people who have given me the foundation to expand my writing skills and my artistic ability. For example, I have researched several art pieces extensively and wrote descriptions of each piece for the Cell Phone Tours in the galleries. Secondly, I had the opportunity to write mock blogs and news releases in the Public Relations Department. Finally, I comprised two potential community projects that stemmed from my being a part of the atmosphere of the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.

All of these opportunities became possible through my decision to become an intern once again despite having graduated from the University of South Alabama in 2014. I refused to let my age or my pride get in the way of me learning. I now realize if you remain humble, you might even see things that you might have been too proud to see. This has been an enlightening and unforgettable experience, and being a part of the MMFA family has only added more significant meaning and value to one of my favorite childhood places growing up in the capital city.

Internship Opportunities

Curious about a career at an art museum? Click here to learn more about internship opportunities at the Museum.

Frank Fleming (1940–2018)

Jerry Siegel (American, born 1958), Frank Fleming, 2010, archival pigment print, Lent by the artist ©

On Sunday, March 18, 2018, renowned Alabama artist Frank Fleming passed away. Born in Bear Creek, Alabama (roughly 155 miles northwest of Montgomery) in 1940, Fleming experienced a typical farm-boy childhood surrounded by animals and constantly outdoors. As a child, Fleming stuttered, and as a result of being teased by other children, he often turned to animals for company. He has said he felt more at home with animals than people as a child.

Because of his love for animals, Fleming originally planned to be a biology major, but when he took an elective course in art and discovered his talent, he decided instead to get a BA in art. He graduated from Florence State College in 1962 and would go on to earn his Master of Arts (1969) and Master of Fine Arts (1973) from the University of Alabama. Unable to find a teaching job, Fleming put aside his teaching ambitions and moved to Birmingham where he began making functional and decorative pottery, continuing his sculptural work on the side.

Fleming preferred to work in porcelain, particularly Tennessee porcelain, but also tried bronze casting—like his work surrounding the Till Fountain. His ceramic pieces were entirely hand-built, and he rarely created conceptual sketches of his works before he began, preferring to watch his compositions evolve as he worked. During his time at Florence State College, Fleming used paints and colored glazes but switched to clear glaze over plain white porcelain when he began to produce pottery professionally. Eventually, he came to leave the surfaces of his works unglazed to make surface textures more palpable and immediate to the viewer.

Fleming’s sculptures are notable for their extreme veracity of detail which makes them highly realistic. The disjunction between the careful detailing and colorless surfaces of his works, however, lends a bizarre, and many times surreal, atmosphere to his pieces. Most of Fleming’s works center around anthropomorphized animals, human-animal hybrids, and other organic hybrids. Humor is a common undercurrent in many of his works which is sometimes ironic, sometimes whimsical, and sometimes directed at Southern culture.

In addition to being an outstanding and creative talent in our state, Frank Fleming was a good friend to the Museum. He consistently supported the Museum’s Art Auction fundraisers, and he was generous with his time in working with our educators and docents.  In addition to the Till Fountain, the Museum holds four other works by Fleming, including two porcelain sculptures that demonstrate his amazing facility in the use of clay.

Learn more

Artist Biography
Objects by the Artist

Our Work in the Schools

2017–2018 School Year

The close of the school year marks two milestones for the Museum—a successful first year of Becoming Alabama: A Cultural Legacy, a tour for Montgomery Public School fifth graders designed to celebrate the bicentennial of Alabama, and the fifth year of the Learning Through Art: Artist in Residence Program weekly art classes at Wares Ferry Road Elementary School. Both engage students in creating and responding to art while making important cross-curricular connections.

Becoming Alabama explores the narrative of Alabama history through art in the Museum’s galleries and creative activities. Learning Through Art incorporates student-led discussion and writing about art along with creating. A teacher at Wares Ferry, whose classroom is impacted by the program, recently encouraged the Museum to “continue to integrate art in all schools for tracking critical thinking skills.”

Teachers, for more information, please contact Kaci Norman at

Learning Through Art is funded in part by a grant from the Central Alabama Community Foundation.

Green Foreground by Adolph Gottlieb

Green Foreground

Adolph Gottlieb (American, 1903–1974), Green Foreground, 1972, screen print on paper, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Gift of Lila Franco in memory of her husband, Ralph Franco, 2009.3.3

In 1951, prominent Abstract Expressionist painter Adolph Gottlieb began working on the series Imaginary Landscapes. The series started after a period of transition for the artist, as he approached ways of merging the ideas of Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism.

In Green Foreground, Gottlieb created an image that simultaneously functions as both an abstract composition and a visionary landscape. By splitting the image in two, the artist alludes to a horizon line while still presenting a flat image. There is no illusion of space; instead, each shape hovers on the same plane. The colors and imaginary terrain are reminiscent of his surroundings in Arizona, an area where Gottlieb lived for a brief period later in life.

The Essence of Form, on view Saturday, February 17, features works on paper from the Museum’s permanent collection, such as Green Foreground, that signify the exciting advances in American and international art as artists embraced non-representational imagery to evoke emotions or to explore purely formal concerns such as shapes and colors.

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