The Edith Gilchrist Hamilton Gallery at Montreat College celebrates the visual arts and seeks to educate students while enhancing the campus and surrounding community through contemporary and historical art exhibitions, lectures, and campus events. Opened in 1997, the gallery’s name honors Mrs. Edith Gilchrist Hamilton, a longtime Montreat cottager who loved the beauty and serenity of the Western Carolina mountains. Mrs. Hamilton, a native of Charlotte, N.C., attended Gunston Hall in Washington, D.C., and Hollins College in Roanoke, Va. In 1934, she married Mr. Herman Prioleau Hamilton of Chester, S.C., one of the founders of Interstate Securities Company of Charlotte. Her parents, Ethel Porter Gilchrist and Peter Spence Gilchrist, were among the early summer residents of Montreat, and built what is now the Foreman Cottage on Greybeard Trail. Thanks to the generosity of the families of Mrs. Hamilton and Mrs. Edith Hamilton Kunhle (her daughter), as well as many friends, Mrs. Hamilton’s love of both Montreat and the arts lives on in the gallery that bears her name. Founded and guided by Professor Emeritus of Art Jim Southerland from 1997-2016, the gallery is now curated by Associate Professor of Communication Dr. Joseph Martin.
Southerland Art: Seeing Things Backward Since 1978
Jim Southerland (September 13 – November 16, 2018)
Montreat College will host an exhibit by longtime professor Jim Southerland titled “Southerland Art: Seeing Things Backward Since 1978” from September 13 to November 16, 2018. The exhibit will be on display in the Hamilton Gallery, which is located on the second floor of the college’s L. Nelson Bell Library. There will be two artist receptions on September 13, one from 12 to 1:30 p.m. and another from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
“Many people at Montreat who know Jim as a dedicated teacher may not be aware that he is also an accomplished and critically-acclaimed artist,” says Hamilton Gallery Curator and Montreat College Associate Professor of Communication Dr. Joseph Martin. “This new exhibition documenting his creative gifts seems like a perfect event to help inaugurate the college’s new Fine & Performing Arts Department. The Hamilton Gallery is excited to be able to invite both the campus and the wider community to a wonderful show.”
The exhibit will feature over 35 works created by Prof. Southerland using his unique “camera obscura” method, which he initially invented in 1978 as a way draw portraits of children. Over four decades, he has applied the process to other media, as well, and this exhibit will feature landscapes and a few fascinating still lifes in addition to one portrait.
Professor Southerland has taught art at Montreat College for 30 years. And the college is proud to celebrate both his art and the wonderfully strong recovery he has experienced following a disastrous heart attack which resulted in heart transplant surgery in January 2015. The exhibit is a celebration of both his life and his faithful pursuit of his calling and career.
Patchwork Moments: Images from the Fabric of Life
Nicole Rabon (November 2 – December 15, 2017)
Nicole Rabon grew up in Durham, N.C., and graduated from Montreat College in 2006 having majored in human services and minored in environmental studies. But she was surprised to discover a passion outside her areas of primary study. While at Montreat she enrolled in a photography class, “to fulfill an elective requirement,” she laughingly recalls. It was there she met Professor Jim Southerland, whose encouragement she credits with sparking her passion for photography and lighting a torch she carried out of the college gates. She says Southerland told her she had a photographic eye and a “unique perspective.” And it’s that perspective that is on full display in “A Patchwork of Moments: Images from the Fabric of Life,” the Hamilton Gallery exhibition featuring her photography. “Each of my images is the result of patient hours spent in the field, exploring, learning, feeling, and seeing,” she says. “Occasionally everything aligns and I get to bring home meaningful images, but I enjoy every minute of the experience regardless of my photographic success.
Mnemonic: Everyday Memories from the Montreat Cove
Whitney Dumford (April 17 – May 12, 2017)
Whitney Dumford is a class of 2017 Montreat College graduate from Mooresville, North Carolina. She studied communications and art, along with special interest classes in environmental science and outdoor education. She hopes to pursue a lifestyle that includes photography, design, and plenty of travel. This pursuit took shape after graduation in Cimarron, New Mexico, where Whitney worked as a photographer at Philmont Scout Ranch.
“When you think about Montreat College, what images come to your mind?” asks Whitney. “Do you see stone covered buildings perched on mountains? Perhaps an archway big enough to drive through, and a lake that you have inevitably walked alongside, peering into the water to see trees’ reverse images. These are all things that can be used to describe Montreat’s unique beauty, but what I have found to be true, and what I hope you have found as well, is that there is so much more to be seen in this complex place. When I was approached with the idea to create a portrait of Montreat in a series of photographs, I thought about the obvious imagery mentioned before, but I imagined other things more prominently. Picturing adventures with friends hiking mountains, quiet moments in shared living spaces, bright red leaves of autumn trees, sobering fog settling in the valley, callused fingers from interacting with the earth; I knew that I wanted to take the time to showcase common day-to-day life within the setting of Montreat and its surroundings. Photography has always been, for me, a way to seek, share, and remember the often overlooked beauty of life’s moments. “Mnemonic” is a collection of everyday memories from my personal life in Montreat, pieced together to create a visual representation of a story of life here, from one student’s perspective. I hope that these moments remind you of the unique beauty of the Montreat cove (and of your own ordinary life, too.)”