Gold has served as a metaphor for what we value most. It conveys goodness, excellence, brilliance, and wealth. Across the arts, craftspeople have long pounded gold into thin sheets called leaves, which are applied in a process called gilding. Gilding has illuminated sacred texts, given luster to holy spaces, and allowed religious sculptures to shine.
It appears frequently in the work of contemporary artists. The artists represented in the “Gilded” exhibition on view at
UNCG’s Weatherspoon Museum turn to gilding as a means to reconsider our value systems. They ask us to see the beauty in what we so often overlook and honor that which we so often throw away. Gilding images of people – often those who have been disempowered or forgotten – they ask us to hold up our collective humanity. If, as the saying goes, “all that glitters is not gold,” the artists represented here offer an inverse proposition: perhaps that which does not always shine is most worthy of our attention.
After “Gilded” closes here on April 8, 2023, the project, curated by Dr. Emily Stamey, will travel to the Hunter Museum of Art in Tennessee and the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth.
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